Using Insect Repellents Safely

For the safe and effective use of pesticide products, always read the product label before using the product. Apply just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing. Remember these important points to use repellents safely:

  • Follow the label directions to ensure proper use.
  • Repellents should be applied only to exposed skin and/or clothing. Do not use under clothing.
  • Store insect repellents safely out of the reach of children, in a locked utility cabinet or garden shed.
  • Do not apply near eyes and mouth, and apply sparingly around ears.
  • When using sprays, do not spray directly into face; spray on hands first and then apply to face.
  • Never use repellents over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
  • Do not spray in enclosed areas. Avoid breathing a spray product, and do not use it near food.
  • After returning indoors, wash treated skin and clothes with soap and water.
  • Do not use any product on pets or other animals unless the label clearly states it is for animals.
  • Most insect repellents do not work on lice or fleas.
Always store insect repellents safely out of the reach of children.

If you are concerned about using repellent products you may wish to consult a health care provider for advice or contact the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) through their toll-free number, 1-800-858-7378.