How long does OFF last?

OFF is an insect repellent brand that helps provide protection against mosquitoes, black flies, stable flies, deer flies, gnats, no-see-ums, sand flies, chiggers, and ticks that may carry dangerous diseases like West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and Zika.

What is OFF?

OFF uses the active ingredient DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) which is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to effectively repel insects when applied to the skin and clothing. DEET works by blocking receptors in insects that detect chemicals like lactic acid and carbon dioxide that humans emit. This confuses and repels the insects so they do not bite.

Types of OFF Products

There are several different OFF product lines that provide insect repellency:

  • OFF! Deep Woods – Contains 25% DEET, lasts up to 8 hours.
  • OFF! FamilyCare – Different options between 10-25% DEET, lasts 3-8 hours.
  • OFF! Botanicals – Uses essential oil ingredients, no DEET, lasts 1-2 hours.
  • OFF! Active – Pump sprays and towelettes with 15-25% DEET, lasts 4-8 hours.
  • OFF! Clip-On – DEET formulas in clip-on dispensers, lasts 4-12 hours.

The concentration of DEET and product type determines how long protection will last before needing to reapply. The higher the percentage of DEET, the longer it will repel insects.

How Long Does OFF Last?

How long OFF insect repellent lasts depends on several factors:

1. DEET Percentage

The percentage of DEET in the OFF product determines the duration of effectiveness:

  • Low concentration DEET (10% or less) – Lasts about 2 hours
  • Moderate DEET (10-25%) – Lasts about 3-6 hours
  • High concentration DEET (25-40%) – Lasts about 6-12 hours

Higher DEET concentrations like those found in OFF! Deep Woods provide longer-lasting protection from insects, while lower concentrations may need to be reapplied more frequently.

2. Environmental Factors

How long OFF lasts depends on factors like temperature, exposure to water, amount of perspiration, and abrasion from clothing:

  • Hot humid environments – OFF may need to be reapplied more often
  • Cooler dry climates – OFF lasts longer before reapplying
  • Swimming or profuse sweating – Can wash OFF off the skin
  • Tight clothing over area applied – Can rub OFF off the skin

Reapplication may be needed after heavy perspiration, swimming, or after a few hours in hot and humid conditions.

3. Body Chemistry

DEET is absorbed at different rates based on skin pH, temperature, and moisture levels. The chemicals in insect repellents like OFF can bind differently to everyone’s unique skin chemistry. For some, OFF may last shorter or longer than the labeled time period. Know your body’s response and reapply OFF as needed.

4. Method of Application

How you apply OFF also impacts duration:

  • Sprays – Easier to evenly coat skin, but can run off easier
  • Lotions – Thicker and stays on skin longer
  • Towelettes – Convenient but can dry out quicker
  • Controlled-release – Longest duration, slowly releases DEET over time

Lotions, gels, and cream formulas may adhere better and last a bit longer than sprays. However, sprays often allow fuller coverage on skin and clothing.

5. Where OFF is Applied

Where you apply OFF makes a difference in duration:

  • Uncovered skin – Protects exposed area, reapply after a few hours
  • Clothing – Soak clothing to provide longer protection even with washings
  • Gear – Treat hats, tents, bags to repel insects

Treating clothes, shoes, camping gear means you don’t have to keep reapplying to skin as frequently.

Tips for Making OFF Last Longer

There are some best practices for getting the longest duration from your OFF repellent:

  • Choose a formula with adequate DEET percentage for length of outdoor activity
  • Reapply according to label instructions based on DEET percentage
  • Spray both skin and clothing for broader protection
  • Use cream or lotion formulas on exposed skin for longer adhesion
  • Reapply after swimming or heavy sweating
  • Bring extra repellent if outdoors for extended periods
  • Keep repellent stored in cool temperatures if possible

Carefully following label directions, choosing higher DEET concentrations, and reapplying after a few hours or water exposure will help OFF better repel insects.

OFF Safety Precautions

While OFF can provide long-lasting protection against dangerous insects, keep these safety guidelines in mind:

  • Avoid applying high concentrations to children – use no more than 30% DEET
  • Do not allow young children to handle or apply repellent
  • Spray on hands first then apply to face, avoiding eyes and mouth
  • Do not apply over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin
  • Wash treated skin with soap and water after returning indoors
  • Do not spray directly on plastics, synthetic fabrics, leather, or painted surfaces

Carefully follow all label directions and supervise use on children. Do not overapply. Using insect repellent safely is vital, especially for vulnerable populations like pregnant women and children.


OFF duration depends on the DEET percentage, conditions when applied, your body chemistry, application method, and usage tips followed. Higher DEET formulations, lotions, and treating clothes and gear can prolong effectiveness. But remember to take safety precautions and always follow label directions when using insect repellents. Reapply OFF as needed to ensure you get lasting protection from dangerous insects and the diseases they may transmit. With smart application, OFF can provide long-lasting, effective defense against bites during outdoor activities.

Leave a Comment