Home » Home Remedies for Ticks: What Works and What to Avoid Like the Plague

Home Remedies for Ticks: What Works and What to Avoid Like the Plague

Searching for the best home remedies for ticks? You’re in good company. Anyone with a internet connection who has ever discovered a tick on their pet or in their house has most likely done the same thing.

It makes sense, right? After all, it’s nice to think we have the solution to our tick problems sitting right there in our bathroom cabinet. And if it’s all natural, even better, since we’re about to use it on ourselves and our beloved pets.

The problem is, many home remedies for ticks simply don’t work. And usually that would be okay, but when it comes to ticks, any time that you waste on useless remedies is time that the ticks are spending to procreate and grow their numbers in your home.

When you consider that a single female Brown Dog Tick, which is a tick species that can live its entire life indoors, can lay up to 5,000 eggs in one go, there’s no time to waste!

Even worse, some home remedies that are recommended around the internet can actually be harmful. These include tick removal home remedies that suggest applying things like Vaseline, nail polish, or fire to embedded ticks.

Home Remedies for Ticks: What Works and What Doesn’t

Of course, not all home remedies are terrible – there are a few that are very effective. The trick is knowing which home remedies for ticks actually work. And of course, you’ll also want to know whether the home remedy is effective to kill ticks or to simply repel them.

Well, we’ve got you covered here. So save yourself some time and agony and check out the master list of home remedies for ticks!

Does salt kill ticks?

Verdict: Nope. There’s some evidence that ordinary table salt can be effective against pre-adult fleas since it’s a desiccant and can dry them out, but there is no evidence to suggest salt kills adult or pre-adult ticks.

In addition, applying salt on an embedded tick is not a good idea for tick removal. Applying salt to make the tick release can actually cause the tick to release toxins and bacteria into the bite.

Does baking soda kill ticks?

Verdict: No, but can help release. Baking soda has no known effects on ticks. The only time baking soda may be helpful is in removing small, nymph-size ticks that are too tiny to spot or remove. In this case, you can soak in a warm bath with 1 cup of baking soda added for around 20 minutes until they release.

Does boric acid kill ticks?

Verdict: No, and it’s dangerous, too. According to the Dodson Pest Control company, borax and boric acid works for many household pests but not for ticks. That’s ’cause ticks feed on blood and do not groom themselves so boric acid has no chance to be ingested and thus work its pest-killing magic.

It’s also a very bad idea to go rubbing this substance into your dog or cat’s fur – not only is it ineffective, but keep in mind that boric acid can cause serious illness to your pets if they ingest it, which they’re likely to do since both dogs and cats groom themselves.

Does diatomaceous earth kill ticks?

Verdict: Yes! Diatomaceous earth (DE) can kill ticks by slowly dehydrating them to death. The downside is that DE is not a quick process – it requires the ticks to first make contact with it in order for it to work. 

That being said, it is an all-natural, affordable and safe home remedy for ticks that actually works. Just make sure you get food-grade diatomaceous earth.

Does dish detergent kill ticks?

Verdict: Kind of. Ticks are fairly hardy creatures and they don’t drown easily. In fact, studies have shown that ticks aren’t killed in the washer, even when washed in hot water!

That being said, liquid detergents like Dawn dish soap can facilitate the removal of ticks, by blocking respiration. Just keep in mind that using detergent as shampoo can dry out your dog or cat’s skin and result in irritation.

Does heat kill ticks?

Verdict: Yes! Heat – specifically, dry heat – is one of the easiest, most natural ways to kill ticks. Studies found that ticks are better killed in the dryer than in the wash (even when the wash is run at the hottest setting) and at the highest heat setting, 54-85°C (129-185°F)], all adult and nymphal ticks died within 6 minutes.

To ensure that all ticks are killed, leave clothes in the dryer on high for 10 minutes whenever you get in from a walk through the woods.

Does vinegar kill ticks?

Verdict: Maybe. Apple cider vinegar is enjoying the spotlight these days as the cure for everything from acne to fatigue to ticks. But vinegar doesn’t kill ticks on contact. Sure, the high levels of acetic acid can be toxic to fleas but it can also be harmful to your pet’s skin with repeated and long-term exposure.

In terms of a repellent, apple cider vinegar is anecdotally somewhat effective when given to pets orally or applied on their fur. Where it does seem to shine, though, is when used topically on tick bites to reduce irritation and itchiness and speed up healing.

Do lemons and oranges kill ticks?

Verdict: Depends. There are a bunch of home remedy articles floating around that make it sound like repelling ticks is as easy as cutting up an orange and spritzing it on your dog. It’s not.

But that doesn’t mean citrus peels aren’t effective – in fact, the orange remedy is not entirely false. You see, orange peels contain D-Limonene, which when extracted into a concentrated form can be very effective as a tick repellent.

Does steam kill ticks?

Hot, hot steam is surprisingly effective for a number of pesky pests like fleas and bed bugs, and ticks are no exception.

Heat kills ticks in all life stages and is a totally natural, non-toxic way to get rid of ticks in the house, which is great news if you have children and pets or you simply don’t like to use pesticides in your home. The drawback, of course, is that you can’t exactly throw your entire house in the dryer.

A simple, elegant solution to this is to get yourself a steamer. A steamer is one of the most handy tool to kill ticks in your home because it allows you to kill ticks in the places they’re most likely to hide, like corners, cracks and crevices, in nooks and crannies of furniture, curtains as well as along the baseboards.

A professional heat steam treatment costs $300 to $1,200 but you can pick up a home steam cleaner that you can use again and again to clean and sanitize your house, even after you get rid of ticks. We recommend the Vapamore Primo Steam Cleaning System – it produces steam at a temperature of 214 degrees, which will kill bed bugs and more importantly, their eggs.  

Do essential oils kill ticks?

Verdict: Maybe not kill, but they do repel! Essential oils are all-natural and usually pleasant smelling ways to keep ticks off of you and your pets. Plus, you have many choices when it comes to mixing and matching your own DIY tick spray! Here are your best bets…

Rose geranium tops the list. The main perks? It smells lovely and is a potent repellent against ticks. Just one drop between the shoulder blades and one at the base of your dog’s tail should do the trick. Oh, and of course, you and the other humans can use it, too

Lemon eucalyptus oil is also a winner for repelling ticks – as well as other pesky blood suckers like mosquitoes. Just make sure that you get lemon eucalyptus oil that comes from the actual lemon eucalyptus tree and not a blend of lemon oil and eucalyptus oil. Actually, you shouldn’t use lemon oil on your dog at all since it can be toxic.

Other essential oils that are helpful for repelling ticks include tea tree oil, lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus, and cedar wood, rosemary, peppermint, thyme, geraniol, and garlic oil.

Does neem oil kill ticks?

Verdict: It depends. Neem oil may not kill ticks but it’s been shown to repel ticks as well as to affect the eggs and larvae. It can even cause tick females to lay sterile eggs.

That all sounds good but apparently the brown dog tick – which is the most likely tick species to cause home infestations – don’t respond as well to neem. So overall, neem oil and neem sprays can be a useful, all-natural tick repellent to use in the great outdoors but may not be effective in wiping out an indoor tick infestation.

Does DMSO kill ticks?

Verdict: Yes. DMSO (Dimethyl sulfoxide) is often used on horses to get rid of ticks and has been shown to kill adult ticks as well as inhibiting the hatching of eggs that are laid by ticks who are affected by DMSO. Thanks to the lipophilicity (fat-friendliness) of these compounds, they can actually remove the waxy layer of ticks and deliver the active ingredients interally.

3 thoughts on “Home Remedies for Ticks: What Works and What to Avoid Like the Plague”

  1. Loved this article, but I am still confused on the DMSO part to kills ticks. Do we buy gel and rub it on the cat? How much is too many much? I’ve visited man sites now trying to answer this, but found no answer. I’d never heard of DMSO before your article!

  2. If it’s not a prescription don’t use it. Remember topical use on cats and dogs can be harmful as they lick and groom themselves. There isn’t a whole lot of information about it but I do know we used it on our horses and was told to always use gloves. There can be nasty side effects if humans absorb through the skin, but the dmso we used was bought over counter. I don’t know if this helps but just wanted to warn you to consult a vet before you use it on pets.

  3. The Australia Museum website lists sodium bicarbonate as the number one paralysis tick removal method, and with good reason. Ticks drop off fast after a light application of a baking soda/water paste, and unlike harsher agents it can be used in sensitive areas like around eyes and genitals. Less hubris and more real world experience might stop you misleading people, as ticks kill a lot of pets in this country.


Leave a Comment

PestHacks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and its affiliate sites.