How To Remove And Successfully Kill A Tick

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Tick season is in full swing and wildlife experts are saying that this 2016 year is going to be nothing shy of a ‘tick tsunami’.

If you happen to find a tick on your person or on your clothing, here is how you can safely remove the tick and destroy it properly. Remember, once the tick is removed and dead, it is good practice to save the tick and bring it in to your local hospital for testing. Most hospitals will provide free disease testing on the tick in order to gather information about how many ticks are carrying dreadful diseases such as Lyme disease.

Killing An Attached Tick

Remove the ticks. If the tick is fastened to a person or a pet, detach it first. Grasp the tick’s head with a pair of tweezers with pointy tips. Pull slowly upward, in a straight motion.

  • Tweezers with wide tips may crush the tick or squeeze out infectious germs.
  • Never use your bare hands. If you must touch the tick, wear disposable gloves.


Wrap the tick tightly in tape. Cover the tick with transparent tape on all sides. The tick will die on its own, and cannot get free. This is the best method to use, since the tick will be mostly undamaged. This makes it easy for a doctor to identify the tick, if you end up showing symptoms.

  • You can use a sealed, clear container instead, such as a small zip-locked bag. Check for holes and make sure it is fully sealed.


Kill with rubbing alcohol. If you do not have tape, drop the tick into a container full of alcohol. It may take a while for the tick to die. Watch it or cover with a transparent lid to make sure it does not escape.

  • Water will not kill the tick. If you don’t have rubbing alcohol, try bleach or vinegar.


Killing Loose Ticks On Pets Or Clothing

Choose a pet treatment. There are many chemicals and herbal treatments sold as tick killers for pets. Many of these can be dangerous for young animals, or for small children who play with the pet. Talk to a veterinarian first if possible.

  • Use a treatment specifically for your pet’s species (such as cat or dog).
  • If small children or other pets are in the house, look for an oral medicine.
  • Never use a treatment that contains an organophosphate. Check the ingredients for amitraz, fenoxycarb, permethrin, propoxur, and tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP).


Put clothes through the dryer first. Dry heat will kill almost all ticks, but wet heat might not. After walking through areas with ticks, put your clothes through the dryer. Wash them afterward, then dry again.


Spray clothes with permethrin. This chemical kills ticks faster than other insecticides, and is safer for humans.Spray it over your clothes before a hike, and on the inside rim of shirt sleeves and trouser legs.

  • Never use permethrin around cats. They can become sick and may even die.
  • Talk to your doctor first if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or allergic to ragweed.
  • Permethrin skin cream is not typically used for ticks.


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