Ticks are one of those problems where it seems like everyone has their own “family” fix.
I’ve experimented with a handful of at-home tick fixes in my time spent hiking, and I’ve found that there are really only so many chemicals that these crawlers avoid.
One of the biggest tick repellent myths concerns vinegar, as some people claim the smell and chemical makeup can keep the parasite away from humans and dogs, and even kill ticks.
But does vinegar repel or affect ticks at all?
There is little evidence that at-home vinegar sprays or solutions can be effective in repelling ticks from dogs or humans. The acidity may be able to break down and kill a tick if submerged, but vinegar should not be considered an effective solution for killing or repelling ticks.
You might see some results if you drop a tick in a cup of pure vinegar, but it just isn’t as effective and guaranteed as solutions like rubbing alcohol or bleach.
There are also rumors that apple cider vinegar can kill or repel ticks from dogs, and I’ll be going more into depth about that below.
Can Vinegar Repel Ticks?
Some claim that due to a mixture of acidity and strong smell (ticks are very sensitive to certain smells), vinegar is capable of being used as a tick repellent or even a solution to kill ticks.
I usually see suggestions along the lines of dabbing attached ticks with vinegar to get them to release or using some sort of homemade spray containing vinegar to repel ticks.
While the qualities of vinegar may slightly irritate a tick, and even kill it if submerged, attempting to make a tick release with any sort of solution may result in the tick regurgitating its stomach into the bite.
This response is commonly seen when ticks are in distress, and if this happens it means that all sorts of nasty bacteria and blood are going to enter your skin (gross).
For this reason, you should never attempt to irritate an attached tick with vinegar (or any other substance really).
When it comes to repellency, you’re likely to see little results with vinegar. Some smells are indeed effective in repelling ticks, but these are usually essential oils found in plants and other natural oils.
When it comes to dealing with ticks, I would only consider vinegar useful as a last resort.
Dropping a detached tick in a cup of vinegar may be enough to kill it due to the acidity, but you likely won’t see the instant result you get from strong solutions like rubbing alcohol (which is what the CDC recommends).
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Repel Ticks?
I’ve seen plenty of websites suggest spraying Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) on pets and other pet items to repel ticks, but I would avoid doing this for a couple of reasons.
For starters, there just isn’t any evidence to suggest that ticks are affected by the stuff. Ticks are stubborn little things, and can even make their way onto pets through the most effective pet repellents.
And while ACV has gained popularity as a “wonder drink” for humans, it can actually have some negative effects on the health of our pets. Vinegar is acidic, and if you regularly have your pets drink it to repel ticks, it may cause stomach ulcers or even break down the stomach lining.
I also can’t imagine any pet owner wanting to deal with the stickiness and smell of apple cider vinegar on their pet’s bedding, fur, or anywhere in the house. This downside is easily avoidable by using more conventional repellents.
These cons make apple cider vinegar extremely inconvenient as a tick solution. If you’re looking for an all-natural tick solution, there are plenty of well-researched natural tick repellents to choose from.
What’s the Best Natural Tick Remedy?
Most of your go-to natural tick remedies are going to come in the form of products that contain a mixture of natural oils that ticks avoid.
There’s a long list of these products to choose from, but one of my favorites is Cedarcide.
Cedarcide is made using Cedarwood oil, which is a known deterrent of ticks. The stuff can cause dehydration and suffocation in ticks while still being non-toxic to us humans and our pets.
Protect your lawn from harmful pests without endangering your family or pets. Cedar Insect Repelling Granules are ready-to-use 100% Pure Cedar Tree Shavings that keep out fleas, mosquitoes, mites, ticks and ants without harmful chemicals or Toxins.
Cedarcide granules are great to spread around your garden, pool or entries to your house to stop ticks from getting inside.
You can also get a cedarcide oil or spray which can act as a natural tick and mosquito repellent.
Cedarcide Original is a plant-based and family-safe bug spray for use directly on people, indoor spaces, and your pets. Original Protects your family from harmful bugs like Mosquitoes, Fleas, Ticks Ants, and Mites.
You’ll need to massage Cedarcide into your pet’s coat every 5-7 hours, or as needed (especially if your pup loves to swim).
Cedarcide has pretty great results given it’s an all-natural solution, and I find it super useful for carrying around on a weekend hike or a walk in the park.