Thermacell works by way of a no-spray insect repellent that many campers, hunters and other outdoor adventurers call a game-changer for tackling bug problems. Thermacell mosquito repellant is a great option for the outdoors, but how does it work?

Thermacell devices work by emitting one of the following repellents, depending on the device: allethrin, prallethrin or metofluthrin. All have been found to be effective at repelling mosquitos and other biting insects. Charged by either fuel or batteries, Thermacell devices heat-activate the repellent and disperse it to create sprayless zone of protection.

When using this device you will notice that there are no harmful chemicals or sprays. Instead of spraying dangerous toxins into the air and onto your skin. Want to learn more about how it works and whether you should switch to Thermacell? Read on.

What Fuel Makes Thermacell Work?

With Thermacell devices, there are three active ingredients used in repelling mosquitos and other biting insects. These chemicals include allethrin, prallethrin or metofluthrin which act as an insecticide for the device when activated by heating elements.

All of these components have been deemed safe by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), when used appropriately and in moderation.  These chemicals are found in a variety of products on the market, including some pet flea and tick medications. The difference with Thermacell is that these chemicals aren’t sprayed; they are emitted through the Thermacell process.

What is the Thermacell Process?

When you turn on a Thermacell device, it releases small puffs containing allethrin or one of the other active ingredients listed above into your environment.   The Thermacell device uses a butane cartridge to create an area of airborne vapor that forms around you, creating your own personal protection zone.

The steps listed on the Thermacell website are as follows:

  1. Heat: a fuel cartridge creates heat and directs it to a metal grill.
  2. Activation: Repellent in the Thermacell mat is activated by the heat.
  3. Dispersion: Heat activation causes the repellent to disperse.
  4. Protection: The dispersed repellent protects a zone up to 20 feet around.

How Do You Use the Thermacell Device?

The process is simple! The first step in using your Thermacell device is to attach it firmly to its accessories (charging station , repellent mats, and fuel cartridge). Once it is firmly attached, the device will turn on automatically.

To make a Thermacell device work, insert the mat and fuel cartridge into the unit. Then rotate the device to “on,” click it to start and wait for an orange glow. Set the unit in the center of the area you want to protect, wait 15 minutes, then rotate the device to “off.”

If you are using a handheld Thermacell device, the directions are basically the same. Insert the cartridge and mat, turn the until on. The butane-powered device will need a few sections to prime. Then press the start button several times to activate. When you see the orange glow, hyou’ll know it’s working.

Note: Any Thermacell device is not to be used indoors.

How Long Do Thermacell Mats and Cartridges Last?

Thermacell fuel-powered products last for up to 12 hours of continuous use. For battery-powered units, expect the battery to last 6 hours or more on a full charge.

Repellent mats last about 4 continous hours and must be replaced when the mat itself has turned white. The refill for battery-powered devices comes in 12-hour or 40-hour protection.

It is advisable to bring replacement supplies and accessories, so you know you have reliable protection available at all times during your trip.

How Do I Clean Thermacell?

Cleaning your Thermacell is simple! Just wipe it down with a damp cloth and let it dry before using again. Never submerge the unit or any part of the unit.

Do Thermacell Devices Have an Odor?

Thermacell devices produce no odor. You will not be able to smell the mosquito repellent, but your friends and family around you may notice a slight scent left behind by the device’s mat.

Deer hunters report little to no effect on game when using Thermacell. The repellent is no more noticeable than your regular human scent. Great insect protection allows you to sit comfortably – and quietly – so it’s worth having!

Is Thermacell Safe for Kids and Pets?

Yes. Thermacell is safe for kids and pets. The EPA has not associated any dangers for children or pets when the repellent is used with all safety practices in mind. That being said, if you have children on your camping trip, as with any insect repellent, store Thermacell safely outside of their reach. The product is for adult use, though an adult may safely use it around children. The same goes for pets.