A Natural Homemade Tick Repellent That Works!

Homemade Tick Repellent DIY

Having trouble with ticks? Rest easy with this natural, homemade tick repellent recipe! It’s made with natural ingredients, is simple, and it works! Enjoy!

Is it me, or is tick season worse than ever this year?

This year alone I have found five ticks on myself and my two children. We have a relatively small yard in a small town, but we still seem to have many ticks around.

Homemade Tick Repellent Naturally

For months I have been searching for a natural homemade tick repellent. I’ve come across a lot of recipes for at-home tick repellents, but very few that cite ingredients and research. I’m always hesitant to try something if there is not enough research to prove it works – especially when it comes to my kids.

Research-Based Natural Tick Repellents

Essential oils are often wonderful insect repellents, but I had heard little research when it came to ticks. I had heard that geranium essential oil has been used effectively against ticks but had seen no concrete evidence before a few months ago. Then I read this great article on the Tisserand Institute.

The article cites several studies indicating geranium essential oil can be an effective tick repellent. This study examined 10 different chemotypes of geranium essential oil and found them to be quite effective. The best part: geranium essential oil is safe to use around kids.

Another oil mentioned in that study is cedarwood essential oil. This makes sense to me because cedar chips are often used as a form of natural tick prevention around gardens and yards. This 2014 study indicates that Virginian Cedarwood can repel ants and kill ticks. Cedarwood essential oil is also safe to use around children.

Next, I looked to the CDC’s guidance on natural tick repellents. They have a great article here that details some natural tick repellents and the research that supports them. Among these is garlic essential oil. I have never used garlic essential oil before and I’m a certified aromatherapist! Quite honestly, the smell alone is enough to keep me away. However, this article cites that garlic is most often used in lawn care. Another study I found here also confirmed the effectiveness of this oil against ticks.

Important Notes & Precautions

Garlic essential oil can really irritate skin and should be used at very low dilutions and not with children under 2. It also inhibits blood clotting, so it should not be used with people who are taking blood thinners. I feel comfortable using garlic essential oil with this recipe because it’s not intended to be used on skin, only clothes.

While essential oils are wonderful, they should to be diluted in a carrier oil to be used on skin or in a spray. I knew I wanted to make a spray for clothes as we do a lot of walking. Oil and water do not mix. Any time you put essential oils in water they are guaranteed to separate. However, if you mix essential oils with a bit of high proof alcohol they will disperse more easily. I typically choose grain alcohol because I can buy it at my local liquor store. You can also choose rubbing alcohol, but it is actually only 70% alcohol while grain alcohol is 95% alcohol. It will work, but not as well as grain alcohol.

Homemade Tick Repellent for Clothing & Shoes

Ingredients

  • 30 drops geranium essential oil (find it here)
  • 30 drops Virginia cedarwood essential oil (find it here)
  • 10 drops garlic essential oil (find it here)
  • 1 ounce grain alcohol
  • 3 ounces distilled water
  • a dark colored 4-ounce spray bottle (like this)

Instructions

  1. Fill a dark colored spray bottle with 1 ounce of grain alcohol.
  2. Carefully measure in 30 drops of geranium essential oil, 30 drops of cedarwood (Virginian) essential oil, and 10 drops of garlic essential oil.
  3. Screw on cap and shake or mix well.
  4. Fill with remaining 3 ounces of distilled water.
  5. Shake to mix well (shake before each use).
  6. Spray on clothing and shoes.
  7. Store in a cool, dark area away from light.

Notes

This recipe is only intended for clothing. Some of the essential oils in this blend can irritate skin, but they will work great on hiking boots, pants, and shirts. Also, you’ll want to use this DIY tick repellent with adults and children older than 2.

Hopefully this homemade tick repellent recipe will keep you as tick-free as it does us!

What if you are bitten by a tick?

If you are bitten by a tick, there are some steps you should take immediately after noticing the bite. This article covers what you can do: How to Remove a Tick Once You Have Been Bitten

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Comments

  1. Great article. The only thing I would add however would be to add the essential oils first before adding the other ingredients to take advantage of the synergism of the combined oils.

    • I also wanted 2 know if it can be used on dogs both of mine r full grown 1 weighs 73lbs the other 42lbs. I appreciate ur time. Thank u

    • Cedarwood and Geranium should be safe for dogs, but garlic is not. I would omit that from the recipe and just put the rest on your dog’s collar.

  2. I didn’t see anything in your link about Rose Geranium oil. Is that as effective as Geranium oil? And I’m also curious if I can spray this on my dogs coat?

    • My sister and I have been using rose geranium oil since the beginning of May. I have the woods surrounding my house and she does a lot of trail running. I’d found 3 ticks in a week on my dog, and she said even in her back yard (which is suburban) she was pulling off ticks left and right. We did some research and decided to try the rose geranium oil. I put a tiny bit (probably 2 drops?) On my dog’s collard and the tongue of my shoe when we’re going outside. My sister does the same except she puts a drop above the tail on the hips and of dot near or on the collar. Her dogs are labs mine is a small mix about the size of a corgi. She does the 2nd drop for coverage, although this stuff is so good she probably doesn’t need the 2nd drop. In 2 months not a single tick between us. After they were everywhere. Idk, but I sure love IT! Good luck!

    • In the study linked above, they actually used 12 different types of Geranium. I’m thinking rose geranium was one of them, but if you click the study, you can find them all.

  3. I have a question: INSTEAD of using Garlic in this recipe, could I add Lavender E/O instead? I put Lavender on my dogs’ collars to ward off and repel fleas. I also add Bragg’s ACV to their drinking water to fight fleas and also for their well-being, as it’s good for them. This seems to work, as I haven’t seen a flea on them or in the house! But ticks are another enemy altogether!

    • You definitely could add in Lavender although it isn’t as effective as garlic for repelling ticks. Glad to know some extra flea repelling tips, thanks for sharing!

    • Worth it! These essential oils can be used in so many ways, not just as a tick repellent. Diffuse them, put them in creams, make a bath salt, the list goes on!

  4. Okay , good point now a couple more . Look on your property for barrels , tubs ,buckets anything with the ability to have a gap under it . Turn them over . You should be prepared for a lot of ticks . I use a weed eater gas/oil mix ,pour on ticks and lite. Keep looking and keep your grass mowed . Ticks get on and off a host three times and go to those places I mentioned . Then they get on the top of a blade of grass for a host to walk by and they attach to it . You catch them at one of their three gather mes . Won’t be but a season or two and they will be almost no more. Promise.

  5. Where I live in Australia we only have septic tanks, so we channel our grey water (laundry water) out into the back yard. Will this washing water (that has my newly sprayed tick kill in it) kill the good bugs in my grass or garden. We spread this grey water over fruit trees too.

  6. Does anyone have a good repellent for flies that chew on the tips of my German Shepard’s ears? Tried so many things and have had no sucess.

    • Lavender, basil, thyme, lemon eucalyptus, lime, peppermint and bergamot are useful in repelling flies. Check with your veterinarian first before applying any essential oil on their coats however. Dogs and cats react differently and some oils, such as tea tree, are toxic to them.