If you are being harassed by ticks and fleas, chances are that, like millions of people, you are looking for chemical-free solutions to this pesky problem. Off late, many people have started using coconut oil for myriad uses including repelling fleas and ticks in pets and humans. The question remains: is this an effective treatment when you are dealing with a massive tick infestation? I will attempt to answer this and other questions and also discuss some homemade tick repellents using coconut oil.
Does coconut oil really repel ticks on humans and pets?
Coconut oil is a traditional folk remedy for many different kinds of parasitic infestation including lice, fleas, ticks, roaches, ants etc. The oil works in the following way to kill these bugs: it coats the insects’ exoskeleton and blocks off its oxygen supply thereby killing them. In addition to suffocating ticks, fleas or lice, coconut oil also prevents sores and rashes on the human and pet skin. The antimicrobial property of coconut oil prevents infections and also stimulates rapid cell turnover to heal the skin quickly. This is due to coconut oil’s energy inducing and metabolic stimulating properties. Many pet owners strongly believe that coconut oil, when used topically and internally, not only kills parasites in pets but also repels and keeps them away.
Coconut oil for tick removal
If you have a tick embedded deep into the skin, you can use coconut oil for removing it. Liberally pour melted coconut oil on the tick’s body. Like petroleum jelly, coconut oil acts as a lubricant and suffocates the tick by coating its exoskeleton. As a result, the tick loosens its grip on the host’s skin and falls off. Coconut oil is completely safe for use on humans and pets and unlike conventional tick medication, will not cause any adverse side effects.
Let us discuss some easy homemade recipes for repelling ticks and fleas on humans.
Easy homemade coconut oil tick repellent for humans
- 1-2% Neem oil – 5-10 drops
- Coconut oil- 5ml or one teaspoon
Mix both the oils and apply the blend all over the skin. This remedy will repel ticks, fleas and mosquitoes too. Neem oil has a strong acrid and bitter taste which bugs hate. Coconut oil also coats the insects body and prevents transfer of nutrients and oxygen. The above blend deters bugs and can be very handy in preventing bites and rashes.
Here is another wonderful insect repellent rub with coconut oil and other essential oils:
- 25 drops of essential oils (lemongrass, citronella, lavender, lemon eucalyptus etc)
- ¼ cup coconut oil
Mix the oils well and store them in a glass jar. To use, take requisite amount and apply liberally on exposed areas of the skin. Repeat application every few hours.
Coconut oil flea bath and tick bath
An oil bath for repelling ticks and fleas does not entail placing the pet in a bath tub filled with oil. Instead, what you do is use coconut oil tick and flea bath oil in combination of massages as well as feed them the oil. Here is a sample dosage reference for ticks and fleas prevention in dogs/cats:
- Large/medium breeds-Start with 1 tsp extra virgin, coconut oil until you can give generous 2-tablespoons in 1-2 weeks.
- Small/toy breeds/puppies– 1-2 tsp increasing to 1 tbsp over the next few weeks.
- Cats– ½ tsp to 1-3 tsp over the next few weeks. Coconut oil is safe for use to repel fleas and ticks in cats.
- Kittens-1/4 tsp starting dose. Also massage the oil in the fur to repel all kinds of parasites.
Humans can also safely consume coconut oil through their baking, sautéing and stir fry recipes.
Also massage the coconut oil all throughout the pet’s fur. You can use coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner after bath (or before). The oil helps repel ticks and fleas. Also use a few tablespoons of coconut oil in the final rinse of pet’s bathwater. Humans can also massage their body with coconut oil before bath. In winters, coconut oil acts as an excellent moisturizer by forming a protective barrier against the cold dry air. It also repels ticks, fleas and mosquitoes.
If you are dealing with a tick infestation, you need to bathe your pet/s, clean their environment by vacuuming regularly and also thoroughly wash their bedding in hot water. Also use preventative measures to continuously repel fleas and ticks. As a part of an integrated pest management program, continue using coconut oil internally as well as topically on both human skin as well as on your pet’s fur. Mix the oil with essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree etc to enhance bug repellent action on the skin/fur. You can also safely use coconut oil for tick removal.Coconut oil does work and it does repel fleas and ticks from humans and pets. However, you need to be diligent with its use and continuously monitor results to ensure that it works as desired. Also, in case of a massive tick infestation, you might want to use chemical measures, since coconut oil alone may not be enough. Talk to your vet about safe tick and flea control options and also check out other resources provided on our website.