• The Wait Is Over. From this thread, orders for the 2023 BladeForums Traditional Knife are open & here's your handy order button.
    OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS $200 ea, one per household, must have been a member prior to 3/2023
    User Name

Insect Repellent attacks Kydex

Nov 23, 1998
I recently discovered insect repellent attacked my kydex sheath. Anyone have similar experiences.

Damn, thanks for the heads up Will. FYI, I heard it (actually the ingredient DEET) does the same thing to Micarta.

I normally carry my sheath knives on my belt. I'm not bother if mosquitos or black flies try to eat my sheath. I was doing things a little differently and was carrying the sheath in my hands.

Insect propellants with a lot of DEET like Ben's for example will also destroy/melt (whatever you want to call it) fly line, and fishing lures, too. I found out the hard way. DEET works well on bugs, but it is terrible on a lot of plastics. I use a head net and long sleeve shirts now instead. DEET really burns when you get it in your eyes. It is nasty stuff!
It would be intresting to know the levels of DEET in the products that are causing this. DEET is a very nasty chemical and CAN cause convulsions in young children. In this area (Camp Lejeune) it is not uncommon for a camper to by surplus bug spray not knowing it was intended ONLY for equipment, such as tents and sleeping bags. The level of DEET in these types of sprays are poisinous to humans when applied to the skin.


DEET attacks automotive paint too.

From my recent experiences, it's getting hard to find DEET-based repellents.

Hy All,
I wonder if a Judge would buy a plea of not guilty because of Deet. I've been using the high test stuff since '65, which may account for why I am the way I am!! Don't know about that, but you don't want to get that stuff on clothing that is made of anything but 100% natural fibers!!!!!
Deet also has a real taste for the handels on Cold Steel knives.
Happy Trails,
Gee, and I thought Kydex was supposed to be "impervious to most chemicals". Does anybody know if DEET eats away at Zytel too? I usually carry my Seal Pup whenever I go camping, and I'm afraid that the Muskol I use (which is 95% DEET) will eat away at the handle and the kydex sheath.

Sounds as if we need some testing. I am also in the Camp LeJeune area and will acquire the various DEET products being used by the military. I will take suggestions for a test. After we arrange a test and complete it perhaps Cliff or someone else will repeat it to see if the results are consistent.

A side note: Deet is dangerous to the nervous system. Some have theorized that the combination of deet bug repellent and anti nerve agents used in the Persian gulf have contributed the mysterious Gulf War Syndrome. I never took any of the NBC counter measure drugs that were issued when I was there and “Skin So Sof”t was as effective as any DEET product with no side effects.

Last: any chemical that can eat Kydex (if it can) is not going on my skin.

The sheath was the Mission MPKS sheath. I'll check out my Mad Dog sheath's tonight. DEET handle of the knife was not affected.

The insect repellent is: "Deep woods off"

95% DEET 5% Toluamides


[This message has been edited by Will Kwan (edited 01 June 1999).]
DEET? That stuff we so lovingly called "bug juice"? Bug juice+cammo stick=ow! my eyes! I can't see!!!
I remember that stuff taking off the print on the outside of the bottle that contained it. On unopened bottles, the warning label read something like "don't let it come in contact with any plastic such as watch crystals, and paint. That stuff will craze plastic in much the same way as acetone.

I rubbed some insect repellent "Deep Woods Off" on the sheath of my Mad Dog YFA 3. The paper towel I was using was blackened slightly. The insect repellent became sticky and slimy so I suspect this kydex was attacked as well. After I washed the sheath off, I found that it was discolored where the insect repellent was. I believe the YFA3 sheath is more resistant to insect repellent than the MPKS

The amount kydex dissolved with either sheath (YFA3 or MPKS) is really insignifigant. So unless the strength is somehow comprised by DEET it is not a real problem. .

I put a film of insect repellent on part of my YFA 3. After half an hour the there was no change to the properities of the insect repellent. The handle was not visably affected by the insect repellent.

Scott, looking forward to what you find. I too have had it attack fishing line, plastic on reels, the synthetic stocks, various plastics, CS handles, and myself.


[This message has been edited by Will Kwan (edited 01 June 1999).]
Something else that maybe interesting is if Concealex, with the patterned oberlays such as the camo, will hold up. If the overlay is eaten away you would be left with the light colored plastic underneath. Then there is the chance the overlay might protect the plastic.
Just a thought.