Ticks are parasites that can cause Lyme disease- a deadly infection which can cause several complications if not treated right away. There are a number of ways to prevent ticks in your house and yard and there are many resourceful tips, articles and products that we have already discussed on our website. However, the number one activity that can bring ticks inside the house is camping or any other outdoor recreational activity like hunting. Ticks can hitchhike their way into your home not only on your pets but also through your camping gear, hiking clothes and even your hunted carcasses. Moreover, they can live on your clothing for several days until they find a host to complete their lifecycle stages. So today, we will look at ways to get rid of ticks on clothes and also consider some top tick repellent products as well.
Is there a tick wash for humans?
The best way to get rid of ticks on humans is to thoroughly examine each other after you come back from infested woody areas, camping trails etc. Parents must examine their children completely and look for ticks in their wards’ scalp, on the neck under the collar, in the armpit, under the knees and in the groin as well. Scan the body for a small black dot that feels like a scab. You can also examine your clothing, camping gear and shoes. It is best if you can leave these items in the garage or basement. Disinfect them with permethrin sprays before bringing them indoors. This will help reduce your chances of bringing ticks inside your home. If possible, you may wash all the gear and clothing in hot water and use a tick repellent laundry detergent.
There is no particular body wash for repelling ticks but any good antibacterial soap will do. Shower or soak in hot water and scrub your body and scalp well. This will reduce your chances of getting bitten by ticks. If in case you are already bitten, seek medical help if you experience symptoms like fever, skin rashes, joint pain etc. Make sure you first remove the embedded tick by using a pair of tweezers.
Precautions for hunters, campers and hikers
The best way to deter ticks on camping trips is to wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, light colored clothing, long socks and wide-brimmed hats with scarves to protect the head and neck area. It is best if you can tuck the pant bottoms inside your socks and also tape the sleeves of your shirts to your wrists. If you have cuts on your hands, protect them from getting infected by wearing rubber gloves. Once you are back home, leave your hiking boots/shoes outside your door. Wash all clothing in hot water and bleach or detergent.
Hunters who kill deer need to be extra careful as deer tick can live on the carcass and may leave it to find another host. So if you are handling the deer at home, be very careful.
Spraying the car
Ticks can live inside your car (which you take on your hunts or hikes) for several days. The deer carcass can also have ticks which may leave the carcass and hide inside your car. So spray the car with insecticide such as 20% to 30% DEET or permethrin or both before and after the hunt. This is important to prevent getting ticks inside the house.
Simply washing clothes is not enough
Simply washing the hiking/hunting clothing is not enough. You must run everything in the dryer for at least 10 minutes. This is because; heat is the best way to get rid of ticks in all stages. Heat kills the eggs and larvae of ticks. It will help if you can use mild bleach solution or a strong detergent to wash clothes. But the drying part is especially important.
What really works for preventing ticks in the first place?
The answer is Permethrin based sprays. These can help prevent ticks from climbing on your clothing. Dried permethrin actually continues to kill ticks for up to 2 weeks on contact. It also lasts through rains and wash cycles. However, the killing action can be slow in that; permethrin takes about an hour to kill ticks. But it is the best way to protect yourself, so do buy several cans of Permethrin sprays from sporting goods stores in case you are planning a camping trip of several days.
Permethrin wash kits
Permethrin wash kits are available in sports stores or recreational stores. Follow the label instructions when using them. Permerthin treated sports clothes and hiking wear is also available. These remain effective for up to 200 washes or more.
Once you are back from the hike, soak the clothes in hot water and tick repellent detergent. Then scrub the clothes with a brush. Next put them in the washer for a rinse cycle and later toss them in the dryer. Run the dryer on the hottest setting.
With these basic precautions you can definitely kill ticks on clothes and minimize your risk of getting all kinds of tick borne diseases.