How to Kill Ticks: 7 Most Effective Tick Killers

Wondering how to kill ticks? Join the club. All it takes is a chance encounter with a tick or two to develop a deep dislike of these pesky pests.

And it's no surprise why these blood suckers aren't winning any popularity contests. After all, ticks steal blood from us and our loved ones, pass diseases and can be dangerous and even deadly.

It simply makes sense to annihilate ticks as quickly and as effectively as possible.

So how do you do it?

There are a whole load of options to snuff out the fiends pretty quickly, but before we get to the list of what kills ticks, here are a few things you should know before you begin the massacre...

  • Handle with care

Found a tick? It can be tempting to go ahead and squash it between your nails. But resist the urge. Tick secretions can be infectious so don't touch a tick with your bare hands. Wear gloves and if you must squash - do so with a tool.

  • Remove before you kill

If the tick has already bitten and fastened itself to you or your pet, you need to remove it before you kill it. Your best options are to use fine-tip tweezers or a tick removal tool to carefully remove the tick near the head. Here's how to safely remove a tick.

Do NOT try to remove a tick by covering it with Vaseline, gasoline, rubbing alcohol, nail polish or holding a match or cigarette against the tick. These methods do not work and can even increase the chance of getting an infection.

The only thing you should do it remove the tick. Once the sucker is off your body, the killing can begin.

  • Keep the tick

The best thing you can do with a tick that was found (and removed) from you or your loved ones is to not dispose of it. Instead, tape the tick to an index card with the date and location it was found. Make sure to completely cover the tick with the tape so it can't get free and will die on its own.

In the rare chance that the person or pet who was bitten becomes sick, you can bring the dead tick to the doctor to identify it and test for diseases.

What Kills Ticks?

Okay, now that you know what to do with the ticks are found on people and pets, let's get to killing the loose ticks you come across. Here's a list of the most effective tick killers to use in your battle against ticks - and the best ways to use them!

Rubbing alcohol

Best for killing stray ticks

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Dropping a tick into a container full of alcohol - or even a mouthwash like Listerine that contains alcohol - will kill it. It's not instantaneous, though, and can take a while so cover the container with a lid so the tick can't escape.

Heat

Best for killing ticks on clothing and bedding

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Good, old trusty heat can be relied on to kill ticks, which is great news since we all have access to a washer and dryer. Curious what temperature kills ticks? Studies show that in order to kill all nymphal and adult ticks, they should be washed in water temperature of at least 54°C (130°F).

There's no point in running a cold wash since all ticks were shown to survive cold washes running from 15-27°C (59-80°F).

If your clothes aren't soiled, a better idea is to stick them in the dryer first since dry heat kills all ticks much quicker than wet heat. When already dry clothes are dried on high heat setting, 54-85°C (129-185°F)], all adult and nymphal ticks died within 6 minutes.

Tick killer sprays

Best for killing ticks on walls and furniture

Tick sprays are a convenient, effective way to instantly kill ticks on contact. These are perfect for the buggers you find crawling around in awkward, hard-to-reach places like the walls.

The best tick spray is Hartz UltraGuard Plus Flea & Tick Home Spray, which kills ticks on contact - as well as fleas, roaches, silverfish, ants and other creepy crawlies. It's great for killing adult ticks as well as targeting pre-adult ticks, thanks to the Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) that's used in the spray.

The downside, of course, is that Hartz's spray contains pesticides so you may not want to use this in homes with small children. A natural alternative that also kills ticks on contact is Vet's Best Natural Flea & Tick Home Spray. It won't do anything for pre-adult ticks but it's effective for killing off adult ticks.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Best for killing ticks in carpet

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diatomaceous earth scorpions

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth, $22

Diatomaceous Earth is one of the most effective natural remedies for ticks. Actually, this in innocuous looking white powder is lethal for pretty much all insects and arachnids with an exoskeleton.

The powder is made up of tiny fossilized aquatic organisms and it works by by piercing the tick's outer layer as it crawls over the fine powder. It contains no toxic pesticides - it simply dehydrates the blood suckers from the inside out.

The only downside is that DE is not an immediate solution. To work, the ticks must first make contact with it, which is why it should be spread evenly over the carpet and in places where ticks reside and undisturbed for at least a week.

For best results, vacuum first and then evenly apply the DE to your carpets using a duster. Leave the DE alone for around a week before vacuuming it up - along with the dead ticks - and then repeat.

Drione Pest Insecticide Dust

Best for killing ticks in cracks and crevices

how to kill ticks

Drione Insecticide Dust, $55

The bad news is that there are over 800 species of ticks. The good news? Most tick species don't survive well inside homes. There are always exceptions, though, like the brown dog tick, a tick species that not only survives but reproduces and thrives indoors.

These ticks seek safety in undisturbed, sheltered places within the home like cracks and crevices, nooks and crannies where they can hide away until it's time to come feast on a host.

This is where Drione's Pest Insecticide Dust comes in - it'll wipe out ticks lurking in cracks and crevices in and around your home. It even comes in a puffer bottle that helps the dust particles to stick to all sides of any crevice or void you apply it to so you can easily squirt into and fully cover nooks and crannies.

Beneficial nematodes

Best for naturally killing ticks in the yard

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Beneficial Nematodes, $9

If you have a tick infestation indoors, it's highly probably that it's a hundred times worse out in your yard and the surrounding areas of your home. So there's no point in battling ticks inside your house unless you also take measures to destroy the tick population that's in your yard.

One of the easiest, most natural ways to kill fleas in your yard is with the help of beneficial nematodes. These wonderful worms do to ticks what ticks to do us – minus the itchy bites. Okay, not really – what they do is a lot worse. These parasitic worms basically enter their prey and infect them with toxic bacteria that kills them in 24 to 48 hours.

The best part is that nematodes are 100% natural, affordable and totally safe for humans and other animals!

Tick pesticides

Best for killing ticks indoors and outdoors

what kills ticks

Talstar Pro, $37

For general areas both indoor and outdoor, a tick pesticide is a great option to kill off a tick infestation. The best tick pesticide is Talstar Pro - it's exactly the sort of product used by professional exterminators and has been shown to provide 100% kill rates even after two weeks.

It's also easy to use - simply dissolve it in water using the recommended ratio and spray in the areas where you know ticks like to hide out. Ticks must make contact with the pesticide in order for it to work so keep in mind that it can take a few weeks for you to stop seeing ticks indoors.

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