Nothing ruins a fun-filled day in the great outdoors faster than finding your family covered in nasty little ticks that night. These gross little pests are always on the hunt for their next meal, and oftentimes their next meal is you or your pet. While the image of a tick burrowed inside my son’s head makes my skin crawl and gives me the heebie-jeebies every time I think about it, what bugs me even more is to think that my sweet little play-outside-til-it’s-dark four-year-old could have contracted Lyme disease from it. While treatable, Lyme disease can be very debilitating by causing unrelenting fatigue, reoccurring fevers, headaches, and joint and muscle pain. It’s nothing to fool around with. So with two boys who would play outside from sun up til sun down and a backyard (and woods) crawling with ticks, what’s a person to do? Well, I could douse them in bug spray that contains DEET, the pesticide that not only KILLS mosquitos but is also dangerous enough to humans that we should wash it off when we come back indoors and avoid breathing it in. If you’ve ever sprayed bug spray on a child who’s writhing around like you’re hurting him, you know that some of it gets ingested (like it or not!). So with that option off the table, I turned to homemade tick repellents and was surprised at what I found. Loads of options exist for making my very own tick repellents that are not just highly effective at keeping bugs off my kids but they're really fragrant too (in a good way!). Bingo! While I still recommend doing tick checks every night after a day outdoors, give these DIY tick repellents a try for safe, effective bug control for you and your family (even your pets!). You can experiment with different essential oils, but the ones below are known to be great insect repellents. Try them all to see which works the best for you! And get out and enjoy a tick-free season! Here’s to ticks staying outside and in the grass, where they belong!
Tick Repellent Sprays Made with Household Ingredients
Tick Repellent for Humans
In a spray bottle, mix 2 C. distilled white vinegar with 1 C. water. Slowly add about 20 drops of sweet bath oil for a nice fragrant scent. Put the top on and shake well. Spray on clothes, hair, and skin every 4 hours.
Tick Repellent for Pets
In a spray bottle, mix 1 C. water with 2 C. distilled white vinegar. Add 2 spoonfuls of almond or vegetable oil. Put the top on and shake well. Spray on your pet’s DRY coat, avoiding their eyes, mouth, nose, and other sensitive areas. If they're outside all day, reapply 2-3 times during the day.
(both recipes are from ohsimply.com - thank you!)
Tick Repellent Sprays Made With Essential Oils (EOs)
DIY Natural Tick Repellent
In a 4 oz. spray bottle, combine ½ C. water and 1 C. white vinegar. Slowly add the following essential oils (EOs):
20 drops lavender (sweet scent repels ticks and prevents tick eggs from hatching)
20 drops eucalyptus (proven insecticide)
15 drops peppermint (strong scent deters ticks)
Put the top on tightly and shake it well. Spray on ankles, legs, wrists, neck, etc. Reapply every few hours for maximum effectiveness.
(courtesy of kornerstonefarms.blogspot.com)
Tick Repellent That Really Works
In a 4 oz. spray bottle, mix 1 Tbsp. of either vodka or witch hazel. Slowly add 40 drops of rose geranium EO. Add in 1/3 C. distilled water and you’re done. Put the top on tightly and give it a good shake. Spray on clothes, ankles, neck, hair, etc.
*Rose geranium on its own works very well at repelling ticks too. Just put a dab behind your ear or on your wrist and you’re good to go. You can also dab a little between your dog’s shoulder blades and at the base of his tail for complete coverage for your furry friend.
(thanks to primallyinspired.com)
Spray Your Clothes, Not Your Skin
For a spray that is meant for your clothing but not for your skin, check out Permethrin Repellent. This insecticide spray is long lasting and works amazingly well by killing ticks as they travel across your clothes. Once sprayed on clothes, it lasts 2-6 weeks and withstands weekly detergent washings! Apply about 3-6 ounces of the product for powerful protection.
For more tips and tricks on dodging those pesky bugs this summer, check out our post on how to make a mosquito repelling bracelet!