Warm weather is here, calling us all to get out and enjoy nature. Unfortunately, icky creepy crawlies also got the message. Ticks are an especially annoying summertime foe, but there’s no need to cover ourselves in heavy chemicals to avoid them. Instead, there are some powerful essential oils we can rely on to repel ticks.
On top of protecting us from potential health problems caused by ticks, like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, essential oils tend to provide a much nicer aroma than typical bug sprays. Take a look to see which ones scientists and experts recommend for keeping you and your loved ones tick-free all summer long.
What essential oils are good for tick repellent?
The experts at The Tick and Mosquito Project list geranium oil (Buy on Amazon, $9.99) as their go-to non-chemical remedy for nixing ticks. They cite multiple reliable studies to back it up — and it has a relaxing floral scent. Win-win!
The organization recommends another calming option: lavender oil (Buy on Amazon, $6.99). They claim it helps to keep ticks from getting close and deter any of the ones that do from laying their eggs nearby.
For those who prefer a more savory herbal aroma, a bottle of oregano oil (Buy on Amazon, $6.99) will do the trick thanks to a natural alcohol in it called cedrol. One study found that it was just as effective as DEET at repelling ticks from clothes, while another claimed it killed 100 percent of the ticks it came into contact with.
According to Consumer Reports, who tested several different plant-oil repellants, lemon eucalyptus oil (Buy on Amazon, $7.95) was effective at warding off both ticks and mosquitos for up to seven hours.
And while we all know of citronella oil (Buy on Amazon, $6.99) and its reputation as a mosquito repellant, a study found that combining it with thyme oil (Buy on Amazon, $12.99) amped up its ability to prevent ticks from latching onto us, too.
How do you make tick repellent with essential oils?
Now that you know the best essential oils to repel ticks, you’re probably wondering how exactly to go about using them. Like any other essential oil remedy, you should avoid putting them directly onto your skin. Some of them, like geranium and lavender, can also be toxic to pets in high volumes — so be careful around furbabies who might want to cover you in cuddles and smooches while using them.
The Tick and Mosquito Project recommends diluting whichever oil you pick in a spray with water and witch hazel (which helps the oil mix with water). They suggest a couple tablespoons of witch hazel (Buy on Amazon, $7.54) per two ounces of water, then 20 to 40 drops of your preferred essential oil.
You can also use a carrier oil, like jojoba (Buy on Amazon, $9.99), to create a spray with the same ratio of essential oils drops. Dipping a cotton ball into the mixture and dabbing areas of exposed skin works great, too.
Now go out and enjoy your summer adventures without worrying about ticks trying to hitch a ride on you or your loved ones along the way!
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