View Full Version : OrangeGuard Review and commentary

2006-06-10, 03:39
Orange Guard Review

Preamble: Comes now the summer of 2006 and the return of fleas, mosquitoes, chiggers, and numerous other varieties of bugs, invading hammock beds and other camping equipment, such as packs and sleeping bags.

The usual insect solution for cloth and nylon is permethrin which, they say, is chemically similar to chrysanthemums and about half as dangerous as DDT. This is not borne out on the warnings on the permethrin labels, which lists it as dangerous and toxic. I'll use it, but less often. After reading this fact sheet (http://www.safe2use.com/poisons-pesticides/pesticides/permethrin/cox-report/cox.htm), it occured to me that permethrin might be too much of a health risk to be safely used as extensively as needed for protection from insects. Note that the scent of DDT is robust and high-tech to me. I prefer it to the scent of OG, which is rather orangy.

Safe for use: Enter Orange Guard (http://www.orangeguard.com), an insecticide made from orange peels, and containing no toxic chemicals. The active ingredient d-Limonene (orange peel extract) destroys the wax coating of the insect's respiratory system. When applied directly, the insect suffocates. The citrus fragrance of d-Limonene acts as a repellent.

Orange Guard (http://www.orangeguard.com) is a water-based insecticide. All ingredients in Orange Guard meet the G.R.A.S. (generally recognized as safe) standard set by FDA. d-Limonene is approved by the FDA as a food additive, and is found in products such as fruit cakes, cleaners, degreasers, air fresheners and pet shampoos. Orange Guard is 100% biodegradable and water-soluble. Orange Guard is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute.

Note that Orange Guard is completely safe for use on nylon, including tents, hammocks, nylon cordura packs, and sleeping bags. It will absolutely not hurt nylon. Can be applied indoors or outdoors. Need not be applied in a well-ventilated or open area.

To order: A gallon from Orange Guard, Inc. (http://www.orangeguard.com) is $33.49 delivered from Carmel, CA. The price included a 1 gallon container filled with product, and an empty high quality 32 fl. oz. spray bottle (http://www.orangeguard.com/webart/spraybottle.jpg), plus a plastic funnel for filling the spray bottle. It's also available in a two-pac (http://store.prostores.com/servlet/orangeguardonebay/Detail?no=1) of 32 fluid ounce spray bottles.

Value: not as good as permethrin. For $32 on Ebay, I can purchase a pint (16 fl. oz.) of 38% permethrin which, when diluted with water, will make 8-16 gallons of ready-to-use bug juice. Permethin lasts thru washing for up to 4 weeks.

Conclusion: I found OG to be a product worthy of consideration for ultralight backpackers, because of its non-toxicity, and the fact that it is also a citrus cleaner (like GooGone), though not intended or marketed as such. Also, it soothes insect bites and stings.

It's desireable to carry items that have more than one purpose, and a small spray bottle of this carried in a pack will certainly be used before meals to deter ants and other insects, and after chow, to clean the hands. It's not the most potent bug killer, but it works and deserves a place in my pack.


OrangeGuard has some additional side benefits for hikers. It probably also kills molds and fungus (fungicide) that grow inside a damp sleeping bag, pack, or tent. It also soothes the itch and sting of insect bites.

Naturally these claims are not endorsed by the the manufacturer, nor is it marketed as such. Certification for these claims is prohibitively expensive.

But anecdotal evidence exists that these claims are generally accurate. A hardware store owner in CA reported that maintenance crews were using Orange Guard to purge the white mildew off bricks. Another claim was that it loosened sticky bolts similar to WD-40 because it's so viscous (oily).

With Orange Guard, however, "Exposure shortens the life of the repellency. Orange Guard repels best in cracks and crevices and works when the surface is absorbent and saturated." Means it probably kills bug as long as wet, and repels them as long as the aroma is maintained.

I suggest filling a small nylon "plastic" spray bottle, available for <$0.99 with a few ounces of OG. Such a bottle might also serve as a bear repellent, if squirted into the animals's eyes. Don't get this product into your eyes, it will sting the eyes something fierce. If you do accidently get some into your eyes, just flush with water. Of course, children shouldn't use the spray bottle because their shorter arms and lack of comprehension might lead to contaminating their eyes with product.

I would especially recommend this product if you take regularly hike, camp or take to the woods with children or women. In practice, OrangeGuard works quite well, contains no permethrin, and has a pleasant scent. My cat likes it, too, and will nest on a newly treated bed as soon as it dries.

I put some in a spray bottle and applied it topically on a warm buggy night. It mixed with my sweat and dripped down into my eyes and stung a little bit. And mosquitos did sting the unprotected areas such as the back of my ankle.

Notes on the alternative, Permethrin (http://www.safe2use.com/poisons-pesticides/pesticides/permethrin/cox-report/cox.htm) BY CAROLINE COX (Caroline Cox is JPR's editor.) Permethrin, like all synthetic pyrethroids, is a neurotoxin. Symptoms include tremors, incoordination, elevated body temperature, increased aggressive behavior, and disruption of learning. Laboratory tests suggest that permethrin is more acutely toxic to children than to adults.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified permethrin as a carcinogen because it causes lung tumors in female mice and liver tumors in mice of both sexes. Permethrin inhibits the activity of the immune system in laboratory tests, and also binds to the receptors for a male sex hormone. It causes chromosome aberrations in human and hamster cells.

Permethrin is toxic to honey bees and other beneficial insects, fish, aquatic insects, crayfish, and shrimp. For many species, concentrations of less than one part per billion are lethal. Permethrin causes deformities and other developmental problems in tadpoles, and reduces the number of oxygen-carrying cells in the blood of birds.

Permethrin has been found in streams and rivers throughout the United States. It is also routinely found on produce, particularly spinach, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, and peaches.

A wide variety of insects have developed resistance to permethrin. High levels of resistance have been documented in cockroaches, head lice, and tobacco budworm. ...cont (http://www.safe2use.com/poisons-pesticides/pesticides/permethrin/cox-report/cox.htm)