Can Mosquitoes Bite Through Clothes?

Updated: May 03, 2023

Avoid mosquito bites all summer long by wearing the right clothing.

Mosquitoes are not just annoying — they’re also dangerous. They’re known to transmit diseases that can cause severe illness and even death. Illnesses include malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus, West Nile virus and yellow fever.

Mosquito bites can also cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals, resulting in swelling, hives and difficulty breathing. Thankfully, protective clothing can shield you from the potential dangers of mosquito-borne diseases.

Can Mosquitoes Bite Through Clothes?

Yes, but not all clothing.

Mosquitoes have sharp and elongated mouthparts called proboscis that pierce the skin and feed on blood, according to The proboscis is thin enough to penetrate through some fabrics. However, certain types of clothes are more effective in preventing mosquito bites than others.

What Clothes Prevent Mosquito Bites?

Thick, heavy, loose-fitting items and materials like denim, canvas and wool provide a more difficult barrier for mosquitoes to penetrate. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are also effective in preventing mosquito bites.

Wear light-colored clothing when possible since mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. Socks and closed-toe shoes also prevent bites on the feet and ankles.

Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester trap heat and moisture, making it easier for mosquitoes to detect human skin and bite through. Natural fibers like cotton and linen are more effective.

Other Ways to Prevent Mosquito Bites

Wearing protective clothing isn’t always practical or comfortable, especially in hot and humid climates. Here are some other ways to keep biting mosquitoes at bay:

  • Use insect repellent: DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are all effective ingredients in mosquito repellent.
  • Eliminate standing water: Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so eliminating any around your home can reduce their population. Empty any containers that collect water — buckets, flower pots, children’s pools and birdbaths.
  • Use mosquito nets: If camping or sleeping outside, a mosquito net can provide protection while still allowing for ventilation.