Mosquitoes are one of the dreaded parts of summer, and even when you take precautions with bug spray and long, loose-fitting outfits, it seems like they still find a way to bite you. Can mosquitoes bite through clothes?
Mosquitoes can bite you through your clothes. It isn’t always enough to simply cover-up. You’ll need to buy the right fabrics (denim, wool, fleece) and wear the right fits (looser is better) to avoid mosquito bites. You should also consider applying a repellent to your clothing for more protection.
Let’s talk about mosquitoes and how your clothes can and can’t help you avoid them.
How Mosquitoes Can Bite Through Clothes
Mosquitoes have more than one mouthpart. What looks like a single “spear” or “needle” is actually 6 different parts working together like a drill to pierce the skin of their victims. They’re called a proboscis.
The proboscis is much stronger than it looks. They can easily pierce thin or flimsy barriers, including certain types of clothing fabric.
They can also get through gauze, band-aids, and mesh.
6 Best Fabrics to Avoid Mosquito Bites
What are the best fabrics to avoid mosquito bites?
Thick, heavy fabrics are the best for preventing mosquito bites. These include:
- Nylon ripstop
- Thick cotton blends
The problem, of course, is that these heavy fabrics aren’t the most comfortable to wear during warm weather when mosquitoes are around. You might have to make a trade-off between different kinds of discomfort.
Another possibility is layering up on the parts of your body that you most want to protect: You could wear wool socks, for example, while hiking through tall grass.
Last but not least, you could consider looking into athletic gear with densely woven fabrics.
These aren’t mosquito-proof, but their tight stitching and threading have fewer weak spots than something with a loosely woven material.
6 Worst Fabrics for Mosquito Bites
Light and thin fabrics are the worst to wear around mosquitoes.
They’re easily pierced by the mosquito’s mouthparts, and in the case of things like spandex, their form-fitting material allows easy access to the skin beneath.
Here are a few fabrics that can’t hold up to mosquitoes:
- Thin cotton
Again, you might notice that these are popular summer fabrics for their airy and lightweight materials.
However, the same thing that keeps them breathable is what allows mosquitoes to bite through them.
Dressing to Prevent Mosquito Bites
In addition to wearing the right fabrics, there are two other ways to make you less scrumptious to mosquitoes:
- Light colors. Mosquitoes like heat, so dark, heat-retaining colors are more likely to draw their attention than light ones. Don’t wear black. Wear white, neutral, monochrome, or pastel shades instead.
- Loose fabrics. Skintight clothing is the easiest for a mosquito to pierce. This includes tights, leggings, swimsuits, close-fitting undershirts, and anything made out of spandex. Think about lighter and looser outfits to keep mosquitoes from easily reaching your skin.
Mosquito Bite FAQ
Can mosquitoes bite through jeans?
While it isn’t impossible for mosquitoes to bite through jeans, it’s much more difficult for their mouthparts to penetrate denim than other types of fabric.
Denim is a good choice to wear to prevent mosquito bites. Thicker cuts of denim are better than skinny jeans or “jeggings.”
Healthline recommends denim fabric for strong protection against mosquito bites.
Can mosquitoes bite through leggings?
Mosquitoes can bite through leggings quite easily.
Not only are leggings usually made of light, stretchy fabrics like polyester and spandex, but they’re also form-fitting, which means that mosquitos have a straight shot to the skin when they bite.
If you want to wear leggings in the summer, think about investing in thicker or courser types of material that will be harder for the mosquitoes to puncture, or pick a generous fit rather than a skintight one.
How do mosquitoes bite through clothes?
Mosquitoes are able to bite through clothes because they have a complex series of mouthparts called proboscis.
Though the proboscis look like a single “spear,” they’re actually six different needle-like appendages, and they work together like a drill to penetrate skin, fabric, and fiber.
They can’t get through dense barriers like denim and wool, but lighter fabrics like silk and cotton aren’t a problem.
WebMD recommends wearing “long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent will give extra protection.”
Whats the best clothing spray to prevent mosquito bites?
One of the most popular clothing sprays to repel mosquitoes is Sawyer Permethrin Spray.
One 24 ounce bottle will treat 5 complete outfits of clothing (shirt, pants, socks), when using 4.5 ounces per outfit.
Permethrin is a synthetic version of pyrethrum (naturally derived repellent from the chrysanthemum flower).
Can mosquitoes bite through socks?
Mosquitoes can bite through certain types of socks. It depends on the fabric.
Lightweight fabrics like cotton are easy to bite through, but thicker, denser fabrics like wool and fleece can be too tough for them to puncture.
What other bugs bite through clothes?
Many types of insects, including fleas and bed bugs, are not able to bite you through your clothes. Their mouthparts aren’t strong enough to get through the barrier that clothing provides.
Lice, on the other hand, can and will bite you through your clothes.
There are also bugs like chiggers that can attach themselves to fabrics and crawl around looking for exposed skin. They aren’t able to pierce the fabric directly, but they can utilize it to their advantage.
Can mosquitoes bite through blankets?
Mosquitoes can bite through thin and lightweight blankets. Again, it all depends on the material.
If the threading of the fabric is thin or loose, mosquitoes will have no problem finding weak spots or just jabbing their mouthparts straight through it.
If the blanket is made with denser material, however, or a close-knit weave, mosquitoes will have a harder time getting through.
More reading: What eats mosquitoes?
Learn more about other tiny black bugs around the home.
Preventing Mosquito Bites With Your Clothes
Can mosquitoes bite through clothes? As you can see, the answer depends on several different variables, so it pays to be prepared when you’re dressing for outdoor activity. Make sure that you’re taking precautions to avoid becoming a mosquito meal!
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Dena Haines is a co-founder and writer at The Buginator. And is working to make it the best resource for taking back the outdoors from biting, stinging pests.
She also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at GudPixel. Dena is a partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company she runs with her husband, Bryan.