written by: jciotta•edited by: Lindsay Evans•updated: 6/6/2013
For eco-friendly consumers, staving off ticks with chemical-based products is not an option. Discover some safe and effective natural methods to repel ticks.
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Home Remedies for Tick Repellent
They are everywhere. On your clothes, in your ears, up your nose. Or so it seems when tick season rolls around. Even more frustrating is trying to protect your children, especially when they love running around barefoot through tall stalks of grass in the summer. You want to keep you and your loved ones safe from Lyme disease and other tick ailments, yet you don't want to spray harmful chemicals onto human skin.
It is an understandable dilemma. Therefore, here are some natural home remedies for tick repellent that are safe and effective. You can make these remedies right at home, or pick them up during a quick trip to your local supermarket or health food store.
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Natural Tick Repellent for Humans
Here are a variety of remedies that show you how to repel ticks naturally. Here are the natural remedies that seem to work the best overall to protect you and your family:
Believe it or not, garlic pills are said to work wonders as a natural deterrent for ticks. For some reason, ticks do not like the smell of garlic and scram once they catch a whiff. However, this remedy might deter others as well, because of the all-day smell of garlic on the breath. Try odorless garlic pills, which is said to still repel ticks while keeping the smell down to a minimum for you. Garlic pills can be picked up at your local pharmacy, health food store or supermarket.
Note: While safe for people, garlic can be toxic to cats and dogs. We do not recommend feeding to your pets.
Neem oil is found mostly in India and used in Ayurvedic treatments for various ailments. Neem is a vegetable oil that comes from a type of evergreen tree that is found in India. People use it to treat acne, as an astringent for cuts and sores and even in cases of tuberculosis. It is also safe enough to be an ingredient in soaps, hand creams and other cosmetic products. Neem oil is also a common repellent for ticks. The most direct way to repel ticks is to apply a few droplets of neem oil directly onto your skin. You will notice it has a garlic scent as well. You can buy neem at a health food store or order online.
Tea tree oil is also said to fight off ticks and other bugs. It is commonly used in the US as an astringent, and a powerful remedy for mild cases of acne. Tea tree oil can easily be bought at your local pharmacy or health food store. To make a home remedy tick repellent, simply mix about two ounces or so of tea tree oil with water. It is a very strong agent, so make sure that the amount of water exceeds the oil, but not by a lot. Put the mixture into a spray bottle and spray on yourself and your family. Once you've done this a few times, you will be able to estimate the best mixture of tea tree oil to water, especially in regard to the strong smell.
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How to Repel Ticks on Clothing
Besides taking pills or spraying oils onto your skin, there is the safest and most natural method of all to repel ticks. However, many people will not do it. Simply put, the method is to cover up skin completely. When hiking or camping, people have a tendency to wear shorts and low socks due to the hot weather. That is the obvious inclination for anyone; however, this only invites ticks to bite into juicy, human skin. Before your next trip to the great outdoors, think about these cover-up methods:
Buy high top hiking boots that cover the ankle. There is a trend to buy low, sneaker-like hiking boots, but these are not a good option to fight off ticks around the ankles. In addition, lacing up higher boots give better support to the ankle.
Wear high socks that can be pulled up. Tucking in pants to socks may look incredibly geeky, but this is the best way to repel the critters, especially in high Lyme disease areas. If you are not willing to do that, at least buy high socks that you can pull up underneath your pants.
Wear light pants, not shorts. Cover up your legs for tick repellent reasons as well as being scratched or cut by sharp plants and branches. Also, if you take a small spill, wearing pants could minimize damage to your legs.
Wear a long shirt that breathes. Visit a bike shop to buy a long shirt that pulls away moisture from the skin. This is how bikers keep cool on long rides.
Wear a hat. This keeps the ticks out of the hair, off the head and pulls sweat away from the forehead into the hat's band, making you cooler.
After a day outdoors, do a tick check on you and your family. Do it immediately after coming inside on each person from head to toe. Be especially careful when checking dark clothing or dark hair.
Visit your local grocery or health food store to easily employ some of these natural tick-prevention methods. Now, enjoy your summer!
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Photo 1 (child): Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net -- http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=404
Photo 2 (garlic): Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net -- http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=151
Photo 3 (grass): Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net