How to Kill Ticks: Put Them in the Dryer

Mislav Marohnić/FlickrDeer ticks. Get them before they get you.

It’s that time again. Ticks are back, ready to creepy-crawly their way to a blood meal from your succulent flesh. If you’re like me, however, you probably prefer to keep your blood to yourself — and to avoid potential exposure to Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

And there’s one sure-fire way to kill any ticks that might have hitched a ride on your clothing. Throw any potential tick-bearing clothes in the dryer and run it on high heat for 10 minutes.

It’s not the heat that kills them. It’s the dryness. Ticks require moisture to survive and will rapidly desiccate and die in dry conditions—and a quick spin in the dryer is all that’s needed to crisp ’em to death. (Ticks can actually survive a hot-water run through the washing machine.)

So anytime you’re out in tick country—hiking, gardening, or being otherwise active in known tick areas—consider stripping down as soon as you get back inside, firing up a tick dryer death cycle, and thoroughly checking yourself in the process.

Of course, there are many other ways to defend against ticks, including treating your clothes with permethrin, tucking pant legs into your socks, wearing light-colored clothing to make tick-spotting easier, and performing constant and regular checks of yourself, your kids, and your dog. A dryer spin is just yet another effective technique to add to your arsenal.

For more on these and other techniques, as well as everything you ever wanted to know about ticks, definitely visit the TickEncounter Resource Center.


About the Author…

Matt Heid


Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear expert: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.

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