Nobody wants to find a tick after spending time outdoors, but it will eventually happen. Killing them is easier said than done. They’re hardy creatures, living months/years without food, but can they survive a hot water bath?
Will Ticks Die in Hot Water? Yes a tick will die in hot water, but the temperature needs to be over 130°F. Your body won’t be able to stand that temperature so a shower or dip in the hot tub won’t help. However, a normal hot water wash cycle should kill ticks on your clothes.
So how can I use hot water to kill ticks? Continue reading below to find out.
Will Ticks Die In Hot Water?
Yes hot water will kill ticks, but it’s not an effective way to remove a tick embedded in your skin. There’s only one safe way to remove a tick. You need to get a pair of tweezers and gently pull it out (continue below for a video demonstration).
Your body won’t be able to withstand the temperatures required to kill ticks. A quick shower will help wash off ticks that aren’t already embedded, but the water temperature won’t be hot enough to kill them.
If it won’t kill them embedded in your skin, where does hot water come into play when dealing with ticks? You can use a washing machine to kill ticks latched onto your clothes and bedding. A carpet steamer can be used to deal with ticks in a home infestation.
What Water Temperature Kills Ticks?
The water needs to be over 130°F to kill ticks. It might not seem very hot, but it will cause 3rd degree in under 30 seconds. So don’t even try to hand wash your infested clothing. Head down to the laundromat if you don’t have a washing machine.
Most home washing machines should be able to get up 130°F on the hot water cycle. Just make sure you run a full length cycle so there’s enough time to kill them. A quick spin in the dryer will also work, but tick infested clothing should probably be washed anyway.
Killing Ticks In The Washing Machine
It’s really not that hard to kill ticks in the washing machine. Just toss your tick infested clothing in and put it on a normal hot water cycle. You don’t need any kind of special detergents or anything.
All it takes is extended time submerged in hot water. Once you’re clothes are done toss them in the dryer like you always do. There’s no need to search for all the ticks. They should fall off on their own and get sucked in the lint trap.
Can Ticks Survive in a Hot Tub?
A dip in the hot tub might wash off loose ticks, but it won’t kill them. The typical hot tub maxes out at 104°F so it’s not hot enough to kill a tick. Even hot tub chemicals like chlorine and salt water systems won’t kill ticks.
Honestly, you wouldn’t want to get in a hot tub that could kill ticks. It would have to be either ridiculously hot causing burns or have extreme quantities of chemicals.
Will Ticks Wash Off In The Shower?
You always hear the recommendation to check for ticks in the shower when you get home. It might not kill ticks, but it makes it much easier to spot them.
Check your entire body paying special attention to exposed skin. Ticks crawl around on your clothes looking for the first area of exposed skin. So you should start off checking your waistline, underarms, ankles, neckline, etc.
Can You Drown Ticks In Water?
Ticks might not be able to swim, but it’s very hard to drown them. They go into a hibernation mode that requires very little oxygen. It will take several days to drown a tick that’s submerged in water. They’re actually tiny blind spiders so he will probably just crawl up the sides and get out.
If you want to kill a tick fast drop it in a small cup of rubbing alcohol. The alcohol will dry out its body killing it almost instantly. You can also flush a tick down the toilet, or wrap it in tape to kill it. Just don’t smash it between your fingers.
Tweezers are The Best Way to Remove a Tick
Forget all the old wives tales you’ve heard about removing ticks. You can’t burn them out, smother them with vaseline, coat them in nail polish, etc. There’s only one safe way to remove a tick and all you need is tweezers.
I actually bought a specialized tick removal tool a few years ago called the Tick Key. My dogs were picking up a bunch of ticks and they would squirm/panic whenever I’d bring out the tweezers. I use it on myself now since it’s so easy to use.
Watch the above video for a demonstration or continue reading below.
- Use a pair of fine tipped tweezers to gently grasp a tick that’s embedded in your skin.
- Grab as close to your skin as possible and try not to squeeze with uneven pressure. You don’t want to accidentally smash or break parts of the tick while they’re still embedded in your skin.
- Gently pull the tick up and out of your skin. Never use a twisting motion because it increases the chance of leaving behind parts of the tick.
- To avoid infection, use soap and water or rubbing alcohol to clean the bite area. Don’t worry if the tick’s mouth is left behind in your skin. As long as the areas clean you shouldn’t have any problems and it will eventually work its way out.
- Call your doctor immediately if you notice a rash or fever in the following weeks. Lyme disease can only be cured if it’s found in the first few weeks.
Don’t Worry! Just because you were bitten by a tick doesn’t mean you will catch a tick-borne illness. There’s very little chance of getting sick if it’s removed within 24 hours.
Even a tick that goes through it’s entire feeding cycle and falls off on its own might not be a problem. Most people that get tick bites never even realize they’ve been bitten. Just keep an eye out for a nasty rash or signs of fever.