From cleaning toilets to whitening clothes, bleach is the ultimate weapon against germs and dirt.
But what if that bottle of bleach under the sink could do more? What if it could kill Ticks?
In this guide you will learn:
- If Bleach is able to kill ticks,
- How effective is Bleach for Killing ticks,
- How to Kill Ticks with Bleach in your Home and Yard,
- If Bleach can be used to kill ticks on your Pets.
Ticks are blood-sucking parasites rife in long grass and bracken. With a specialised mouth, they tag to the soft skin of mammals, birds, amphibians and sometimes reptiles. As they gorge on their blood, they swell to up to 5 millimetres before dropping off.
As vectors for disease-causing pathogens, such as the Borellia bacterium of Lyme disease, they are a critter to avoid for both humans and animals.
Some advice will point you in the direction of expensive pesticides or even professional help.
In this article, we will explore whether bleach is a suitable alternative to all that hassle and if it’s able to kill Ticks.
Does Bleach Kill Ticks?
The active ingredient in bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is highly alkaline and denatures protein membranes, such as those on the shell of a tick.
Bleach, therefore, dissolves the tick’s outer layer, ultimately killing the ticks very effectively.
Even if not in direct contact with the tick, the fumes of nearby undiluted bleach can also interfere with the respiratory system of ticks, resulting in the death of the ticks.
How Quickly does Bleach Kill Ticks?
Bleach means almost instant death for ticks if used in the right proportions.
On contact, they can’t withstand the corrosive damage to their shells and are stopped dead in their tracks.
How to use Bleach to Kill Ticks
Due to its corrosivity, you should NOT try to use bleach to remove engorged ticks from skin that have been attached. A pair of tweezers or tick removal tool are much safer options.
However, bleach can still be used to tackle nests and infestations in your home, garden and clothes.
When battling ticks and handling bleach, ensure you are dressed appropriately with long trousers, shirts, gloves and socks.
In Your Home
Mix nine parts water with one part disinfectant bleach and using a spray bottle, target areas in your home where ticks are prevalent.
Ensure the area is well ventilated and be wary of spraying fabrics and furniture that may discolour.
Keep pets and young children away.
After exterminating the ticks, ensure to keep the house dry and clean.
Since ticks are attracted to moisture and dust, this will help ward them away in the future.
In Your Yard
Bleach lay wastes to pretty much everything in its path. So when using bleach to kill ticks in your yard, try to avoid plants and vegetative areas you do not want to be damaged by the bleach.
Bleach is especially a useful tool for killing ticks on patios, fences, sheds and furniture!
For small tick infestations, you can stick to the spray bottle but for larger areas, use a bucket and mop on hard surfaces to save time.
For outside use, you may wish to use a more concentrated solution of bleach to kill the ticks.
To keep ticks away in future, remove any piles of debris/leaves and consider constructing fences to keep tick-ridden animals such as deer and badgers out.
Also, avoid allowing large areas of grass to grow above 3 inches.
On Your Clothes
The most effective way to kill ticks on clothing is to tumble dry them for twenty minutes in high enough temperature.
In this high heat, ticks at all stages of their life cycle can’t survive. This includes eggs.
However, to be extra sure, you may wish to add bleach to your washing machine load and launder clothes with a mild solution of bleach.
Bleach can be used on many fabrics, including cotton, polyester blends, acrylic and nylon. Bleach should never be used on wool, silk, leather, spandex and mohair.
Surprisingly, bleach, known for its whitening power, can be used on some coloured fabrics.
So long as you use a colour safe bleach, such as Clorox regular, and the fabric is labelled as colour-fast, your fabric won’t be discoloured. Always follow the instructions of use on the bottle.
Also, set your laundry machine at 130°F/54°C or above as high water temperatures are also effective in exterminating ticks.
Be sure to check the garment labels to ensure these temperatures will not damage them.
Related: Bleach to Kill Fleas
What Brands of Bleach are Best for Killing Ticks?
Any normal household chlorine bleach, defined by the active ingredient sodium hypochlorite, will be effective in exterminating ticks.
This includes popular brands such as Zonrox, Clorox and Domestos as well as generic supermarket bleaches.
Sodium hypochlorite content is usually around 5-6% regardless of the brand.
However, if using on coloured clothes, ensure to check for colour-safeness.
Can Bleach be used to Kill Ticks on Dogs?
Like with humans, bleach can be harmful to the skin of dogs and should not be used to remove them.
Also, you should not wash your dog with a bleach solution in hopes of removing any ticks that are not visible and might be hiding in the coat of your dog.
There are many other methods that should be used instead.
However, if you suspect your dog is the source of the ticks, you could wash their bedding and towels with bleach in the same way you would wash your clothes (described above) and disinfect their living quarters.
It is vital to ensure bleach is fully rinsed from bedding and the floors are washed afterwards with water to avoid serious health problems for your dog.
When ingested, bleach can give dogs throat and stomach ulceration and, if comes in contact with paws, can inflict severe chemical burns.
Does Bleach Kill Deer Ticks?
Deer ticks are much smaller than regular ticks but are often equally dangerous when it comes to tick-borne diseases.
Bleach will be effective in killing Deer Ticks in your home and yard and should be used in the same way as with regular ticks (directed above).
Just like with regular ticks, do not use bleach to tackle deer ticks on human or animal skin.
Bleach Baths for Ticks
Bleach baths are sometimes used to treat stubborn skin infections, such as MRSA. However, this is usually a last resort and only under strict medical instruction.
Bathing in bleach to remove ticks is not advised, and there is no research suggesting it would be a very effective method to kill ticks.
For bleach to be effective in killing the ticks the bleach concentration would need to be higher than what is safe for you.
You should also not bathe your Pets in Bleach baths to try to kill any hidden ticks, this can cause extremely severe skin burns!