Peer Reviewed: Eco-friendly mosquito repellent textiles

Excerpt: In this review we outline the application of different eco-friendly finishes for protection against the mosquito menace.


The greatest challenge at this moment is to come up with environmental friendly sustainable technologies that would contribute in making the life tranquil and prolific for the present as well as the upcoming generations. One such problem faced is the growing rate of mosquito population due to some favorable conditions for their breeding. Mosquitoes are tremendously dangerous creatures and are accountable for spreading diseases like malaria, encephalitis, yellow fever and dengue fever. In this review we outline the application of different eco-friendly finishes for protection against the mosquito menace. Elixirs from roots, stem, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds of varied species of floras show mosquito repellent characteristics. These elixirs can be utilized as textile coating agents as they are eco-friendly in nature and not harmful to the human body in any way. Methods like direct application and microencapsulation are used to give finish to the fabric and assessed using a Mosquito Repellency Behavioral test. The main tests are the Repellency test and the Wash durability test.


Mosquitoes are insects of major public health concern as they are medically significant vectors and are responsible for transmitting organisms which have a devastating impact on human beings. They are also the key carriers for the fatal diseases like malaria, dengue, chikungunya and elephantiasis. Most of the arthropod-borne diseases remain vaccine less. Malaria still has no effective vaccine and the lone way to evade dengue is evading mosquito bites.

Almost 120 million people in the world have been infected due to mosquito bites, and around 4 million are facing common chronic manifestations.

Presently, skin lotions, coils, creams and liquidators are the measures taken for personal protection from mosquitoes. The innovation that is the mosquito repellant fabric, is a revolutionary idea which is a result of coating fabric with a suitable mosquito repellant. This can account for saving most of the human body, as clothes cover a large portion of the body. The method practiced the most is the use of synthetic chemical larvicide application, but reportedly most of these synthetic mosquito repellant coatings are toxic in nature. Therefore, after keeping in mind the growing need for nature friendly sustainable technologies, the need of the hour is the production of eco-friendly finishes that fit the need.

Mosquitoes possess a compound way of detecting hosts and various types of mosquitoes respond to various stimuli. The below mentioned attractants are considered to attract mosquitoes the most: dark clothes, carbon dioxide, lactic acid, sweet and flowery scents, skin temperature and humidity, due to this insects drives off the treated surface blood sucking even after touching the surface. The repellant agent action for blood loving creatures comprising mosquitoes can be generally divided into two types: action of repellent on sense of smell is called transpiration repelling, and this has the effect of keeping insects away without them touching a surface processed with the repellent agent. Action of repellent stimulating sense of touch is called direct-contact repelling.

In the early civilization of China, North east and India medicinal plants were used as a relief from illnesses since the past five million years. Established nations such as USA devote almost around 25% to plant based medications as compared to the total medications whereas newly emerging nations like India and China contribute around 80% to plant based drugs. Hence the significance of curative plants economically is more to emerging nations as compared to the developed ones.

A very important role is played by textiles in the evolution of mankind and the culture of humans by being at the head of both artistic and technological developments. Herbs are generally defined in commerce as an extract, plants or plant part which can be used for medicinal purpose, flavor, food and fragrance. Insect repellents aid in preventing and controlling the outburst or epidemic of insect-borne viruses such as dengue fever, chickungunya and malaria. Thus these herbs and plants contain certain compounds that prevent attacks from phytophagous insects. Several categories of these chemicals are toxins, repellents, growth regulators and feeding deterrents.

Herbal Textile has formed a remarkable place in the world of textiles as it has been very useful in an eco-friendly way. The world is progressively taking a turn towards herbal formulations as they work well against a large range of ailments and diseases. They are thus directed at protecting and conserving human health as well as extending life on earth. For the cure of an innumerable number of diseases among humans, plants have been a gift from nature. There are plenty of plants on the earth's surface, and its abundance has led to a growing interest in the search of various extracts found from the traditional medicinal plants as probable sources of different mosquito repellent agents. Anti-mosquito repellent textiles find a diversity of applications like infection control, health and hygiene produces, barrier material. To avoid and overcome the symptomatic problems, natural sources are preferred rather than using synthetic chemicals.

This review outlines the various developments in the mosquito repellant textiles as well as the challenges and opportunities in this area of research.


Eucalyptus globulus

Herbs such as Eucalyptus globulus, Hemidesmus indicus and Santalum album were used for the study because of their good fragrance properties. The natural finishing agent is extracted from the selected herbs using the Soxhelt extractor. Solvent used was Ethanol. The apparatus consists of 50 gms of grinded herbs being refluxed separately with 500 ml of ethanol. The temperature is kept at 50 degrees. The procedure is continued till pale colour of the experimental solution is obtained. The solution is evaporated for 24 hrs at room temperature.

Andrographis paniculata

Andrographis paniculata is an herb that is erect with quadrangular stem, white flowers and leaves. This herb is abundantly available. One of the active elements that is isolated from the herb is Andrographolide. It is used as a great febrifuge as well as a blood purifier. This herb is used in the curing of diseases such as jaundice and torpid liver. It shows high repellency against snakes, insects and mosquitoes. The entire plant can be used for extraction since all of its elements consist of some medicinal powder. The plant is first washed thoroughly with tap water and then distilled water and then kept for drying. The plants leaves after being dried completely are ground into powder form. The extraction is carried out by mixing the dried powder with methanol. After leaving the mixture for overnight incubation, it is filtered and then made into a concentrated extract by keeping at room temperature. This extract made from methanol and andrographis paniculata is used for fabric application.


Rosemary provides both insect repelling effect as well as natural fragrance property. Rosemary is used for treating a number of health issues such as muscle spam, headache. It is also used for treating depression and is used as a tonic for digestion problems. Rosemary leaves are initially shade dried and then they are converted to powder form by grinding. This dried powder is then treated with methanol and kept overnight. After the overnight procedure is done, it is then filtered. The herb extract is later condensed to form a proper end product that can be used for application.

Pomegranate peels

Pomegranate peels are used as they provide good mosquito repellent finish and in addition to that they can also be used for dyeing. These pomegranate peels are first washed thoroughly in water. Then they are shade dried for a period of almost 10 days under room temperature. The peels after getting dried are ground into powder form. This powdered form of the pomegranate peels is sieved and its extraction is done using methanol. This extracted solution is further treated with 0.5 % copper sulphate concentration to form the final extract solution.


Textiles that are micro encapsulated with lemongrass are highly resistant against mosquitos and it is an eco-friendly process. Hydro distillation process is used for the extraction of lemongrass oil. This extracted lemongrass oil is used as the core and the wall material is made up of gum acacia. Hot water is used for carrying out the swelling of gum acacia. Swelling of about 10% is done and then it is stirred properly at a temperature of 50 degrees. 10 ml of lemongrass extract is added further to the mixture and stirred for 15 minutes at 400 rpm. The microcapsules are obtained in this manner. The mixture of lemongrass extract is smeared on the material by pad dry cure technique.

Mint leaves

Mint leaves were plucked from domestic area and the forest area which is its natural habitat, which were grown under optimal environmental condition that is free from disease and contamination. These mint leaves were dried under the sun and grinded. The powder obtained after drying is mixed with methanol to form a solution in a closed container. After keeping this aside overnight the solution is filtered by using a filter paper. After the extraction of the herb extract, the methanolic components are evaporated and the herb extract is condensed.



Microencapsulation is a quickly growing innovative technique and has found a noteworthy applicability in textile materials nowadays. Exclusivity of microencapsulation is the use of tiniest of covered particles and it contributes as a method for bundling, isolating and putting away extracts on a minute scale for future discharge in precise circumstances. Miniaturized scale cases containing natural separates were readied utilizing 3% of Sodium alginate. An equivalent amount with extent of sodium alginate and herbal elixirs were readied independently and were showered in calcium chloride arrangement by the use of a sprayer. The shaped beads were held in calcium chloride for a total of 15 minutes to solidify the capsules. The microcapsules were then acquired by decantation and by continuous washing with isopropyl liquor and then dried at 45ºC for 12hrs. After this the material is finished using exhaustion method. The material is soaked in the microcapsule solution for 30 minutes at 50ºC. Afterwards, the material is removed, pressed and dried out at 80ºC for 5 minutes and cured at 120ºC for 2 minutes.

Nano spray drying procedure

The 500ml of removed home grown arrangement was taken in a measuring glass. The arrangement was changed over into nano molecule utilizing Nano Spray Dryer B-90. The shower drying process began with the preheating of the splash dryer to the preset delta air temperature. Without oil packed quality of 1.5 bars was utilized as a drying gas. A drying wind stream rate of 126 L/min was connected. In this examination, the bay temperature was continually kept at 120ºC. Subsequent to achieving the set channel temperature, refined water was pumped by gulf tube and showered until the point that a steady outlet temperature had been acquired after the home grown arrangement was splashed through the 4 micron test into the chamber. The splashed arrangement was dried inside the chamber by terminal. The procedure was then proceeded for 12 hours in chose parameters. After shower drying, the barrel with the particles gathered was left to chill off until the point when it achieved room temperature. The subsequent powder was weighed and filled into a sealed shut compartment, and afterward it was kept into the Deep cooler in - 40˚C. The gathered nano particles were blended with 100ml refined water and 9 percent citrus extract was included with the arrangement as a folio. The arrangement was sonicated utilizing ultra-sonic shower for dissolving particles, after the arrangement was connected on Cotton texture by utilizing Ultra sonic atomizer.

Ultrasonic atomizer

The pretreated cotton texture in the measurement of 50cm long and 50 cm in width was put in the plastic plate for completing procedure utilizing ultra-sonic atomizer. The 500 ml of natural arrangement was taken in the measuring glass. 9 level of citrus extract was included the arrangement as a fastener. The arrangement was administered to the atomizing test (spouts), by little low-weight metering pump. The extent of the pump was 4 mm. the one end of the pump was settled with sucker, and the another end was settled with test.

The accompanying parameters are utilized as a part of this examination Volume - 300m, Tube measure - 4mm, Flow rate - 10 ml for every min, Repetition - 5, Bearing - clock shrewd The arrangement was achieved the test. The arrangement went through a test and spread out a thin film on the atomizing surface. The swaying tip breaks down the arrangement into 50mm smaller scale beads, and discharges them to deliver a delicate, low speed shower on the texture.

Pad-dry-cure method

The extracted methanol elixir was specifically smeared on the Cotton fabric by using pad-dry-cure method. The material is submerged for 30 minutes in the concentrate.30 minutes later, the fabric is detached, pressed and dried at 80- 85 ºC in the broiler for 5 minutes and cured at 150 ºC for 2 minutes.

According to Tanveer Malik, Krishna Gadodiya and Anmol Kumar the fibres must be imparted with some genetic operation for applying the finish to the fibres. A good and proper yield is obtained from cotton. Cotton is modified genetically to a greater extent thus the genes of the mosquitoes and insects that can cause damage to place get introduced in the seeds. Hence a repelling personality is imparted in the plant and a great yield is obtained. In this manner the fibres can get reformed and adjusted to get a repelling action from inside the plant and gives space for better progress of technology. Secondly, the technology has to be used to apply the finish using natural extracts rather than chemicals therefore helping in preserving the ecological equilibrium and can make the goods easily accessible to all commons.

According to Susheela Palanisami, Ezhili Nataranjan and Radha Rajamma herbal mosquito repellents have better working activity as compared to mosquito coils. It is found out that after burning of the herbal mosquito repellents upto 80% of mosquitoes are reduced. By utilizing the effect of smoke toxicity on herbal mosquito repellent and mosquito coils it is shown that with herbal mosquito almost 56 mosquitoes were plunged down and 25 of them died whereas with the commercial coil 70 mosquitoes died. As compared to arthropod species a higher number of essential oils mined out from various families have higher repellency activity. Mosquito repellent action showed by lemongrass is great along with a high moquitocidal mediator. Essential oil obtained from lemongrass that is used as a single agent or in combination with other plant species can be used for formation of different products with high mosquito repellency. Thus these kind of formulations can help in decreasing harmful and harsh effects of synthetic repellents on health of humans. Lemongrass oil helps in controlling the diseases that are vector borne. Hence providing a repellent that is herbal along with long lasting safeguard, no side effect to animal and domestic life, safety for humans and no chances of ill effect to the environment. However the only drawback of such herbal essential oils is that they are operatively effective to initial half an hour to one hour and it requires reapplication over several hour of time. Hence the repellents with synthetic base are more lengthier lasting and effective than repellents with natural base.

According to C.N Sivakaramma one of the most revolutionary types of finishes is the insect repellent finish which helps in advancing the textiles by giving features of driving the mosquitoes away mostly in tropical areas. It helps in the protection of humans from mosquito bites and therefore providing safety from all the diseases caused by them such as nile fever, malaria, dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue fever which lead to serious health issues especially in regions life Asia and Africa. The effect of an repellent that is applied to textiles in any form generally has its effect for a longer time than when applied on skin. The subject of fibre science of textiles has a broader scope. Innovative and new type of products and unique finishes are leading to a vast change in the field of technical textiles. Value addition carried out by discovering various functional finishes thus helps in strengthening the product manufacturing line and helps in the diversification of new undiscovered areas in textiles.

According to Amol G. Tithe and Dr. M. Y Gudiyawar the mosquito repellent effect of fabrics before washing is better than its effects after washing. The fabrics that are treated with lemongrass and DEET have excellent mosquito repellent property. However, in case of citronella oil and tulsi the durability decreases. This is because citronella oil and tulsi have poor bonding to surface of fabric as compared to lemongrass and DEET. The durability is because of proper adherence and fabric penetration. Tulsi and citronella oil has poor durability and very low repellency from mosquitoes. Lemongrass and DEET show high repellency to mosquitoes and high durability as well. Different tests such as GSM difference, bending modulus, air permeability, drape and crease recovery were carried out on fabrics tested with mosquito repellent finishes. The tests showed that the weight of fabric increases when the repellents are applied because of additional mass of the finish applied and GSM is upheld at same reading by keeping a control on the time taken for dipping of oil. The application of the finish causes the crease recovery to increase. The repellent applied fabrics show great amount of crease recovery. Along with increase in crease recovery the finishing also leads to an improvement in air permeability. This improvement is because the fabric that is treated have hair on surface clinging to it leading to more number of pores. This finish application os mosquito repellency doesn't have any difference in elongation and the strength of fabric.

According to Priyadarshinirajkumar and Dr. N Vasugi Rajaa the samples on which mosquito repellency was carried out by nano finishing there is a maximum increase in its weight. Along with it there is also a considerable increase in its thickness. As the reading rate increases there is a considerable increase in its properties such as strength and elongation. This therefore shows that nano finishing improves the elongation and tensile strength of fabric. The stiffness and crease recovery also increases by carrying out finishing by nano finishing. Eureka tester is used for crease recovery testing. Lesser value of recovery means higher the crease recovery. The drape meter is used for analyzing the drape coefficient. It shows that the nano finished testers have reduced drape coefficient. The absorbency is also increased when the fabric is treated by nanofinishing.

According to Ramya.K and Maheshwari.V the samples that are encapsulated have efficiency better than the samples that are having the extracts straightaway applied to them. That is because the samples with microencapsulation carried out on them have greater retention of repellency. The main problem in developing nations is the vector borne diseases. Thus to get rid of such problems faced by humans mosquito repellent fabrics can be used. Naturally extracted finished of mosquito repellency are ecofriendly and safe and help to guard the body from such insects and mosquitoes. The trial sample that is undergone treatment with extract of andrographis paniculata is ecofriendly, inexpensive and effective. The testers that are undergone direct application displayed good resiliency up to 10 washes because the extracts are only applied over the surface and not through the intices of the fabrics. However the testers that are micro encapsulated showed fantastic resiliency up to 30 wash cycles due to the continuous release of the extracts that are encapsulated. This therefore depicts that the fabrics treated with microencapsulation have higher repellency than the directly applied testers.

According to M. Anish Sharmila, P. Senthil Priya, S. Boobalan and L.M.Kartikeyan natural finishing agents such as vetiveria zizanioides and phyllanthus niruri give out great finish of mosquito repellency. This finish is applied using the pad dry cure method. These agents that are naturally available are bio–degradable, nonirritant, ecofriendly and nontoxic towards the skin. When it was applied on fabrics made up of cotton and blends with tencel and cotton together a good mosquito repellent effect is obtained. This effect is checked by carrying out various tests such as cage test, wear study and cone test. However, because of the finishing carried out on the fabric the value range of various tests such as fabric stiffness, abrasion resistance and drapability is reduced slightly. It also showed an increase in the strength, absorbency and elongation. The repellency effect achieved in blend of tencel cotton is better than the repellency effect found in cotton fabric.

According to ASM Raja, Sujata Kawlekar, Sujata Saxena, A Arputharaj and PG Patil the major drawbacks when natural products are used is that the durability of the finish is very less. Almost all of the repellents applied to them using direct application can be washed off during the treatment of washing since they have no affinity towards the textiles. There is one method by which these finish agents can be trapped in the walls of the textile materials which is microencapsulation.


The fabrics treated with natural plant extracts possess good mosquito repellant properties, both the methods of direct application and microencapsulation are effective. One of the major and critical problems are vector borne illnesses in developing places and nations. This kind of infection transmission to animals and humans can be avoided by mosquito repellent fabrics. Hence such extraction of mosquito repellent finishes that's carried out naturally can be used to guard the body from mosquitos thus becoming ecofriendly and safe. This method is also found to be economical and eco-friendly.


1) A. Priyadarshinirajkumar, Dr. N. Vasugi R (2015), Innovative herbal nanofinishing on cotton fabric; International Journal of Fiber and Textile Research 2015; 5(3): 44-47 2) ASM Raja, Sujata Kawlekar, Sujata Saxena, A Arputharaj, PG Patil (2015), Development of mosquito repellent finished cotton fabric using ecofriendly mint; International Journal of Mosquito Research 3) Rajendran Ramasamy, Radhai Rajan and Raja Lakshmi Velmurugan (2013); Development of Mosquito Repellent Fabrics using Vitex negundo loaded Nanoparticles; Malaya Journal of Biosciences 2014, 1(1):19–23 4) Rimpi Pandey, Archana Singh (2016); Development of ecofriendly mosquito repellent cotton fabric; International Journal of Current Research, Vol. 08, Issue, 07, pp.33877-33879 5) Rimpi, Archana Singh (2017); Protection and application of natural mosquito repellents cotton fabric through dyeing; international journal for innovative research in multidisciplinary field ISSN – 2455-0620 volume - 3, issue - 8, Aug – 2017. 6) R. Anitha, T. Ramachandran1, R. Rajendran and M. Mahalakshmi(2011); Microencapsulation of lemon grass oil for mosquito repellent finishes in polyester textiles; Elixir Bio Phys. 40 (2011) 5196-5200. 7) M. Anish Sharmila, P. Senthil Priya, S. Boobalan, L. M Karthikeyan (2015) ;Development of mosquito repellent Finished cotton fabric using ecofriendly Cymbopogancitros oil ; International Journal of Science, Technology & Management Volume No.04, Issue No. 02, February 2015. 8) Susheela Palanisami, Ezhili Natarajan, Radha Rajamma (2014); Development of eco-friendly herbal mosquito repellent; September 2014 Vol. 1, Issue 3

Author Details

Aamena Mulla, Ishani Shinde, Dr. V.S. Shivankar, Dr. P.P. Raichurkar

Centre for Textile Functions, MPSTME, NMIMS, Shirpur, Dist: Dhule