Natural Tick Repellents To Ward Off Bites

Once the cold of winter has passed, you can expect the emergence of ticks come springtime. Drawn out by warmer temperatures, ticks are able to carry disease. It's important to take preventative measures to reduce the chances of tick bites to help protect yourself against Lyme disease and other potential illnesses (via WebMD). In addition to wearing protective clothing, applying tick repellent is another preventative measure you can take. While you can find plenty of repellent products sold in stores, some people may opt for chemical-free alternatives. It's important to note that some studies have shown natural tick repellents do not measure up to the same degree as their chemical counterparts when it comes to protection (via WebMD). However, if you're looking to swap out your can of DEET, here are some plant-based options to try.

Certain essential oils have been found effective in warding off ticks — particularly cedar oil, reports The Healthy. Affecting multiple bodily systems, the oil impacts the tick's sense of smell. Once exposed, the body of the tick will begin to dry out and break down. To concoct this natural tick repellent at home DIY-style, The Healthy suggests combining 4-ounces of distilled or boiled water with witch hazel and adding between 30 and 50 drops of cedar oil. Lemongrass, thyme, and peppermint are other commonly used essential oils in natural tick repellent solutions (via WebMD).

Is natural tick repellent safe to use on pets?

Garlic oil and oil of lemon eucalyptus are two other popular ingredients sometimes found in natural tick repellent products (via WebMD). However, each should be used with caution. Pure oil of lemon eucalyptus should not come in direct contact with skin, and it is not advised for children younger than 3-years-old. In addition, the effectiveness of the oil won't last all day, so it will need to be reapplied frequently. Garlic oil may also need repeated applications, but not on your skin. Rather, garlic oil may be used as an effective lawn spray against ticks.

Although these natural remedies may be successful in keeping ticks off of you or your lawn, it doesn't mean they should be applied to your pets as an effective repellent treatment. Tina Wismer, medical director of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Animal Poison Control Center, tells Consumer Reports that the essential oils used in natural tick repellents can have adverse health effects on cats and dogs. Instead, consult with your veterinarian to explore the best options for tick prevention for your pet.