Will Rubbing Alcohol Make a Tick Back Out?

It felt like my family had an at-home remedy for everything growing up. We’d have honey for a sore throat or drink ginger tea if we felt nauseous. 

We had plenty of tricks to deal with bugs too, and many involved rubbing alcohol.

When it comes to ticks, you may have heard that rubbing alcohol can be an at-home trick to remove one from your skin.

But will rubbing alcohol make a tick back out and does rubbing alcohol kill ticks?

While rubbing alcohol can cause a tick to become agitated and detach from the skin, it’s not a reliable method for removing ticks. Instead, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to remove the tick from your skin, then use rubbing alcohol to kill the tick instantly.

Ticks are persistent little parasites that should not be left to back out on their own. The longer you wait for a tick to back out, the higher the chance of tick-borne illness becomes.

Rubbing alcohol can be used to kill ticks effectively, but you’ll want to keep reading to learn the easiest way to get one out of your skin.

What Does Rubbing Alcohol Do To Ticks?

Rubbing alcohol is great for killing bacteria and cleaning a cut, but it’s also a pretty popular method for dealing with bugs.

With ticks, rubbing alcohol works by dissolving cells and drying out their bodies. This makes it great for instantly killing any ticks that aren’t attached to your skin.

Ticks require a warm and humid environment with plenty of moisture, making rubbing alcohol their natural enemy.

While you may have heard that you can “suffocate” a tick with rubbing alcohol and make it back out of your skin, this isn’t really a safe method to remove a tick.

Using solutions like rubbing alcohol to get a tick to back out might cause it to regurgitate its stomach trying to escape the irritation (gross). This can increase the likelihood of becoming infected or getting a tick-borne illness such as Lyme disease.

Ticks live in grassy and wooded areas like parks, so it’s important to take precautions to avoid tick bites such as wearing long clothes or using tick repellents

How To Kill Ticks With Rubbing Alcohol

Before killing a tick with rubbing alcohol, you’ll need to get it out of your skin.

Grab a pair of fine-tipped tweezers. If you’re like me and spend most of your time outside, it might be worth your money to pick up a special tick-removal kit like this one from Amazon

TickCheck Premium Tick Remover Kit

Kit includes stainless steel tick remover for safely removing larger embedded ticks and a specially shaped super-fine-tip tweezer for removing nymphs and small deer ticks. All kept in a leather pouch with a handy tick identification card.

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03/07/2024 01:07 am GMT

Once you have your tool, grab the tick as close to your skin as you can (where its head is). Slowly pull the tick straight out of your skin and make sure not to twist it as this could cause its head to break off in your skin. 

This video illustrates the technique:

Now that the tick is out of your skin you can drop it in a cup of rubbing alcohol to instantly kill it. If you’re out of rubbing alcohol, bleach works in a similar fashion to kill ticks.

You should also be sure to disinfect the bite using rubbing alcohol and thoroughly wash your hands with warm water and soap. 

If you want to avoid the hassle of dealing with these pesky guys in the future, check out my guide on the best tick repellents for clothes.