7 Natural Ways To Repel Ticks

7 Natural Ways To Repel Ticksimage preview

Many of us already have had encounters with ticks from simply venturing outside. This proves you don’t have to walk deep into the woods to come in contact with ticks. But how can you stay safe?

Prevention is the best way to avoid the itching and the devastating effects of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Powassan encephalitis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis, just to name a few, that can be transmitted by tick bites.

There are many different types of ticks (the blacklegged tick, or deer tick, is notorious for spreading Lyme disease and its co-infections) but the risk of developing these infections depends on several factors, including type of tick and how long it was attached to the skin.

But you probably don’t want to take any chances. Try these natural and effective ways to keep those nasty parasites away without having to resort to harsh chemicals:

Natural Tick Repellents

1. Try Cedar Oil Spray

Cedar oil is a non-toxic, natural tick and insect repellent. It can be sprayed directly on clothing and skin. It is safe for use on humans and pets. Not only does cedar oil repel ticks and other irritating insects, but it kills them. Cedar oil spray can be purchased online and at most pet stores and big-box retailers.

2. Homemade Tick and Insect Repellent 

Try this simple recipe. Just mix and apply to exposed skin before heading outdoors:

  •  9 drops citronella essential oil
  • 6 drops Tea Tree essential oil
  • 6 drops Peppermint essential oils
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil or jojoba oil

3. Eucalyptus Oil 

Eucalyptus oil is known as an effective tick repeller and killer. Just combine 4 ounces of purified or distilled water to a small spray bottle along with 20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Shake before using and spray on skin, pant cuffs, and shoes. Safe for use on dogs (eucalyptus oil must be diluted with the water before application on dogs).

4. Neem Oil

Need oil is used as a natural remedy to repel and remove ticks. To use, add several drops to the palm of your hand and rub on exposed skin. It can also be diluted and mixed with almond or other light carrier oil. When diluted, it’s safe for dogs. To remove a tick, apply a drop or two of neem oil directly on the tick and it will extract itself quickly.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar to the rescue once again! This wonderful natural remedy also helps to repel ticks. The following solution can be sprayed on clothing and exposed skin, even lawn furniture. Combine the following in a spray bottle:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of organic neem oil

6. Certain Aromatherapy Essential Oils 

Not only smell great, but they are also known to be natural tick repellents. Ticks hate the smell of lemon, orange, cinnamon, lavender, peppermint, and rose geranium so they’ll avoid latching on to anything that smells of those items. Any of these or a combination can be used in DIY sprays or added to almond oil and rubbed on exposed skin. We recommend using 100% certified organic essential oils in any of the above mixtures, which can be found online at PennHerb products.

7. Eat Garlic!

We all know that garlic has excellent health benefits, and now we can add one more to the list. Regular consumption of garlic* or garlic capsules reduces the risk of tick bites. The garlic causes the body to excrete a scent that ticks hate.

*Cautions:

  1. It is not recommended to feed garlic to pets—please talk to your veterinarian.
  2. Essential oils are not recommended for use on cats. Please consult with your veterinarian about effective flea and tick control for cats.
  3. Always dilute solutions before applying to your dog. For further reading on essential oils and dogs, check here.

You See A Tick On You… Now What?

If you see a tick crawling on your clothing, or if you have ventured into a known tick-infested area, you should do the following:

  1. Grab the lint roller (take it with you on outings!). A sticky tape lint roller is excellent for picking ticks of any size off your skin and clothing. Carry one with you and brush it over your skin and clothes (and pet’s fur) periodically.
  2. Toss your clothing into a hot dryer for 10 to 15 minutes to kill any lurking ticks.
  3. Do a full-body check on yourself, family members, and pets. Brush your hair and jump in the shower. Rinse pets using the outdoor hose before heading inside.

Have A Tick That’s Attached to the Skin? Here’s What Should You Do

Not all ticks carry Lyme disease but it still can be unsettling. Visit the Center for Disease Control’s web site for more information on removing ticks safely and next steps.

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004. Her article on salt-based home remedies appears in the 2020 Farmers' Almanac.

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big fred
big fred
1 month ago

crude oil..crudoleum by barr company rubbed onto any animals or people who have lice ticks etc, leave for 20mins…wash well with neutral soap/shampoo…rinse well. essential oils a plenty didn’t kill the bugs, or prevent them coming back for us. The oil did. Plus its inexpensive, and makes your hair/fur look& feel silky healthy & shiny afterwards

Megan bebout
Megan bebout
4 months ago

I need to get my dogs legs that are full of deer ticks that advantix plus is not killing off of her ( German shepherd) we live on farm so I have read that equal ratios of water.vinegar, & dawn will remove them ????

Darnell Feluciano
Darnell Feluciano
5 months ago

I’m having a really hard time with the tick situation. So after their baths I rub in vinegar diluted in water throughout their coats. It’s working for one of my dogs but the other one it’s not. It’s doubled. What can I do?

Buddy Segura
Buddy Segura
7 months ago

My cat has a tick of its ear would mineral oil work all over it to make it fall off somebody please reply thank you

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
7 months ago
Reply to  Buddy Segura

Hi Buddy, you’ll have to safely remove the tick with tweezers or have a vet do it. Mineral oil really won’t do anything and could drive the tick further into the skin.

Corrinna
Corrinna
3 months ago
Reply to  Susan Higgins

I read that a drop of neem oil on top of the tick would make the tick drop off.

1002cats
1002cats
6 months ago
Reply to  Buddy Segura

The almanac says that Neem Oil applied on the tick will cause it to losen and fall off.

Corrinna
Corrinna
3 months ago
Reply to  1002cats

Whoops. I had not read this msg…so I guess neem oil is a good start.

HooodyHooo
HooodyHooo
5 months ago
Reply to  Buddy Segura

Touch a Qtip dipped in alcohol at the entry point.
OR
light a match, put it out, and quickly apply to tick body and he’ll probably back out and let go long enough to brush him off (or better yet, grab him with tweezers and drop in a little cup of alcohol). No more tic.
Don’t pull them out because the head will stay in there (with the bacteria or causing an infection simply from being a foreign mass under the skin)

HML
HML
24 days ago
Reply to  Buddy Segura

Do not smother a tick with anything. Studies show it actually causes them to regurgitate their toxins, feeding them into the host’s bloodstream. Even if the tick hasn’t been attached the 48hrs it’s said to take for transmission to take place. If the head gets stuck in the skin, do not attempt to dig it out. Doing so can facilitate the transmission of bacteria and any diseases it is carrying. Pull with a ticker remover, clean with hydrogen peroxide, apply antibiotic ointment, inspect daily for expanding rash (only about half of those infected with Lyme will develop the ‘bullseye’ rash), and wait for the skin to expel the head.

Charles William Segura
Charles William Segura
7 months ago

On the outside of my cat’s ear there is a tick I was wondering is mineral oil would be good can you overlap the tick with mineral oil please reply thank you

Linda
Linda
7 months ago

which is the best natural tick repellent for use on young children?

Esme
Esme
7 months ago
Reply to  Linda

Rose geranium is very good and has a pleasant smell. Be sure to use it in a carrier oil though.

1002cats
1002cats
6 months ago
Reply to  Linda

Any essential oil recommended by Farmers Almanac. I love lemon eucalyptus diluted in a carrier oil, like mineral oil.

Karen Crowell
Karen Crowell
8 months ago

Could I use castor oil instead of almond oil?

Esme
Esme
7 months ago
Reply to  Karen Crowell

Castor oil is very sticky and messy, are there other oils you are ok with? Coconut oil?

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
7 months ago
Reply to  Esme

Agree. Castor oil doesn’t mix well with much and is not a good carrier oil.

Norm
Norm
5 months ago
Reply to  Esme

Plus it will give ticks diarrhea.

Asia
Asia
5 months ago
Reply to  Norm

lol… thanks for a good laugh. Much needed these days

MomsRock76
MomsRock76
8 months ago

Great!Article some things I knew others I didn’t. It would be great to have a way to save favorite articles.

Thank you!

NanaB
NanaB
7 months ago
Reply to  MomsRock76

Copy the article you want and paste the article on an email to yourself. Make a file to organize what you want.

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
7 months ago
Reply to  MomsRock76

You can “bookmark” articles you like from your browser. Simply go to the top menu and select “Bookmarks” then “Bookmark this page/tab”

Judi
Judi
8 months ago

Any vitamin/supplement that will help with itchy skin on my dog? Also one for repelling fleas and ticks?

heysue2u
heysue2u
7 months ago
Reply to  Judi

We’ve been using garlic for years and been flea free. We still find occasional ticks, but fewer than others report. Fish oil is good for itchy skin, but there are supplements with a mixture of beneficial ingredients such as Skinhealth by Pethonesty.

HooodyHooo
HooodyHooo
5 months ago
Reply to  heysue2u

Slipped a little garlic powder in dog food (caution it did say not to do this) but we went from regular tick removal to never again! I had that dog 17 years and after year one and garlic powder once or twice monthly in food…no ticks. No fleas. Healthy. Cats I can’t say but they self clean so much they usually don’t get ticks cuz ticks need time to get to skin and burrow in

Carra albert
Carra albert
5 months ago
Reply to  HooodyHooo

Garlic is Poisonous for dogs

Corrinna
Corrinna
3 months ago
Reply to  HooodyHooo

Cats do get ticks, my cat had one on the back of her neck.

Judy Brus
Judy Brus
3 months ago
Reply to  Corrinna

Corrinna, I know cats CAN get ticks but my experience was that it’s pretty rare. Same as putting garlic in dog food. I won’t waste my time posting anymore…the people who know me know I am a good source of pre-validated info… I dont need this site or you to validate that. Spare me the negative response because I’ll never see it. Best wishes to you and your pet family!

Christy
Christy
1 month ago
Reply to  Judy Brus

It’s not rare for cats to get ticks my feral outside cat gets them a lot.

SPat
SPat
16 days ago
Reply to  Judy Brus

Any warm blooded mammal can get ticks. That’s just a fact. Ticks don’t discriminate unfortunately

Corrinna
Corrinna
3 months ago
Reply to  heysue2u

I thought garlic was bad for dogs.

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
7 months ago
Reply to  Judi

Hi Judi, our article Natural Remedies For Your Dog’s Skin Allergies may be helpful.

Tracy
Tracy
4 months ago
Reply to  Judi

Garlic is poisonous for dogs and will make them sick if they are fed it over time. There are many oral medicines for dogs that are safe. They work like a vaccine and the tick will die when they bite your dog. I use this

Laura Kenyon
Laura Kenyon
8 months ago

CAT TICK. Help out of 4 cats my baby keeps coming in with ticks. She is dark charcoal fur and so far two treatments haven’t worked. None of the others have this problem. Suggestions please

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
7 months ago
Reply to  Laura Kenyon

Hi Laura, I’m a big believer that cats should stay indoors, but if yours must go out, there are a few non-chemical things you can try, 8 Natural Ways To Keep Ticks Off Your Pets. But ask your vet for safe flea and tick treatments that are once a month treatments and are relatively safe. New ones are popping up all the time.

Sapataria Sapatos
Sapataria Sapatos
9 months ago

Posso usar oleo de eucalipto para prevenir carraças no meu rottwaley?

sharon
sharon
9 months ago

is eucalyptus good for cats. I see it is good for dogs.

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
9 months ago
Reply to  sharon

Hi Sharon, in the article, under precautions, we say, “Essential oils are not recommended for use on cats. Please consult with your veterinarian about effective flea and tick control for cats.” We hope that helps!

Marion
Marion
11 months ago

Hi, I have 2 lambs & am wondering what might be a good natural repellent against ticks, lice, mites, mozzies etc, thankyou

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
11 months ago
Reply to  Marion

Hi Marion, we’re not sure what would be a safe natural repellent. It would be best if you contact your vet to see what’s safe and reliable.

Mia Delacruz
Mia Delacruz
1 year ago

What should I do if I found a trick on my dog one day & wasn’t able to get it off & the next not see it anywhere? I’m not sure if it fell off in the house or not. We have carpet.

Robert
Robert
1 year ago

Will mulching up cedar trees and mixing with water in a 50 gallon drum for a week help repel the ticks

StevenGrant
StevenGrant
1 year ago

HI TINA DO YOU HAVE ALOT ELECTRONICS OR DUSTBUILDS UP FAST. THAT MAY BE DUST MITES . DO A BIG CLEANING,. CLUTTER AND ELECT. BUILD DUST ETC. USE LEMON CLOROX REMOVE ALL THE DUST YOU CAn see then etc. IN AREAS YOU MAY JAVE A COMPUTER XBOX PRINTER PORTS HARDRIVES ETC START TURNING THEM OFF OR ORGANIZE AN CLEAN DAILY.also check termites abstebostos mold GOOD LUCK

Faith Harbarger
Faith Harbarger
1 year ago

I use baby shampoo on my dogs for flea and tick because the vet told me Dawn dish liquid was to harsh on !y dogs skin. Then after the bath I apply the apple cider mixture to the coat and work it in.

Laura.
Laura.
9 months ago

How do u mix apple cider Vinager do you delute it

Tina
Tina
2 years ago

Something small and brown that look like a tick with no legs bit me what should I do? I noticed serval bites on back and front of chest close to left shoulder should I be worried..I rubbed burn medication on the bit and took Bayer asprin what do u recommend??

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
2 years ago
Reply to  Tina

Hi Tina, could it be mites or bed bugs? Without seeing the bugs it’s difficult to tell.

1002cats
1002cats
6 months ago
Reply to  Tina

The best anti-spirochete for ticks is oil of oregano, as much as you want and liquid silver

HML
HML
24 days ago
Reply to  1002cats

Thymol from oil of thyme as well.

julia
julia
2 years ago

good day
I got ticks all over our yard small ones I’ve tried most remedies like apple cider vinegar, sheep deep but still is there, I am scared cause we got children who’s playing around they mate be danger to them need help urgently please

Noel Frankland
Noel Frankland
2 years ago

How often should I apply the neem oil spray.The solution Iam using is 2 water 4 tbl spoons apple cider vinegar 2 tbl spoons neem oil. Thanks Noel

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
2 years ago
Reply to  Noel Frankland

Hi Noel, think of it as an “as needed” spray. All ingredients are perfectly safe to use often.

Irv mauran
Irv mauran
9 months ago
Reply to  Susan Higgins

Thanks for all the tick info Sharon. I have a room spray made here in the Adirondacks. It contains, spring water, vodka, lavender oil, and peppermint oil. Just by reading the ingredients I thought perhaps it might work?

Dr. P
Dr. P
8 months ago
Reply to  Irv mauran

Yes. That mixture would work. You can also add a few drops of neem, cedarwood, lemon eucalyptus or tea tree oil in as well.

Rosie Fusco
Rosie Fusco
2 years ago

Please never saturate a tick with oil in attempts to remove it. The tick will regurgitate into your body. Always pull out straight up with tweezer. No twisting or smothering.

Kim
Kim
3 years ago

Do you what would be good to put on horses? I have one horse that the flies just eat on her, its terrible, fly sprays don’t work.

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim

Hi Kim, in this article, we include a section on fly control for horses. Check it out: Natural Fly Repellents You Can Make In Your Kitchen

Karen Kolbu
Karen Kolbu
3 years ago

Also, for those with fire ants, don’t kill the all off. Fire ants feed on ticks. Nummy!

Sharon
Sharon
3 years ago

I add 10 drops of neem oil in a small bottle of dawn dish soap when I bath my dogs.

Lee F.
Lee F.
3 years ago

So much conflicting info out there! What to believe or not believe. I can only relay on what has worked for me and my canine pals. !st, not only have I used cedar oil topically on my dogs fur, I use it on myself on my clothes (successfully) to help with repelling ticks and chiggers. 2nd, I strongly disagree that garlic used daily in moderation has any negative effects on dogs. I have had many dogs in my 73 years on this planet, and have been feeding them all daily a small chopped clove of garlic in their food. Not only does in help repel ticks and fleas but keeps them clean of worms. One other hint. A raw egg once in awhile will keep their coats shiny and healthy. Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. p.s no need to pay a vet $100 to tell you whats free out there from those in the know…

Regina
Regina
6 months ago
Reply to  Lee F.

I really appreciate you and all your knowledge, some folks are too eager to run to the vet for every little thing and I read your post and it was a pure delight to finally read someone’s story about the way they use common sense for a change instead of running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.

Teresa Hampton
Teresa Hampton
3 years ago

Be very careful what you use. CEDARWOOD OIL Is Toxic. We never used cedarwood chips in the tank for the lizards or tarantula, and it can be toxic for pets.
Cedar leaf oil from Cedrus atlantica does not contain thujone. Cedarwood oil is a mixture of organic compounds considered generally safe by the FDA as a food additive preservative. … Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to high levels of cedarwood oil can cause liver and pulmonary toxicity.

John E Perry
John E Perry
3 years ago

Good info! Keep up the good work.

Charlotte Hall
Charlotte Hall
3 years ago

I have used Apple Cider vinegar with the “Mother” for years. I put it in their drinking water, apply topically after bathing (with Dawn detergent) works inside and outside!

Brenda
Brenda
3 years ago
Reply to  Charlotte Hall

How much apple cider vinegar do you put in the water? Also, how do you apply topically and how much? Can you put this on cats too?

Vikki
Vikki
3 years ago

Thank you all for such good info. Are any of these remedies effective for fleas and or chiggers? (Not sure if the latter is just a southernism?)

cheri
cheri
3 years ago

The peppermint oil works also for black flies! I was getting black flies in my hair, mouth etc. Biting like crazy and I went inside and put oil all over my arms and neck. They were there around me, but never bothered me again.

Lucee Nozik
Lucee Nozik
3 years ago

We use Springtime Bug Off for the dogs. It is dehydrated garlic and it is perfectly SAFE for your dogs. My dogs have it every day with their meals and while everyone else is getting bit by mosquitoes and bothered by ticks my dogs remain untouched. I’ve been using this for years with great success.

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
3 years ago
Reply to  Lucee Nozik

Hi Lucee Nozik, we ran a recipe for dog treats that was effective in repelling fleas — that original recipe included dried garlic. We had checked with vets on its safety and agree that in small doses it’s safe. However, our readers disagreed, so we’d rather people check with their vets as every dog is different.

Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
3 years ago
Reply to  Lucee Nozik

Hi Eva S. Yes, we agree and mention that under “Cautions” in the story.

Vicki Richards
Vicki Richards
3 years ago

We put tea tree oil on our little Pomchi, she was affected to a serious degree, if using tea tree oil dilute, dilute, dilute !!! Very important!

Eva S
Eva S
3 years ago

Never use Tea Tree oil on cats!