I just saw this facebook post claiming that vinegar and essential oils can repel ticks.

In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups of distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of water. To make a scented solution so you do not smell like bitter vinegar all day, add 20 drops of your favorite essential oil.

Eucalyptus oil is a calm, soothing scent that also works as a tick repellent, while peppermint and citrus oils give off a strong crisp scent that also repel ticks.

After mixing the solution, spray onto clothing, skin, and hair before going outdoors. Reapply every four hours to keep ticks at bay, and examine your skin and hair when back inside to make sure no ticks are on the body.

A quick search also led me to a post on MDJunction "Essential Oils to Kill Ticks":

Natural alternatives for pest relief are in great demand. Essential oils are a popular choice, and some can repel ticks even if they don't kill ticks. In 2004, Swedish researchers Gardulf, Wohlfart and Gustafson found that the mosquito repellent Citriodiol lessened tick attacks on people by 34 percent.

The essential oils most commonly promoted as tick repellents include clove, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, geranium, palmarosa, pennyroyal, rose and sweet myrrh.

However, other sources such as outdoors.org and the CDC do not mention these at all - they only mention DEET and permethrin.

Do vinegar and essential oils actually repel ticks?

1 Answer 1


This does appear to be reasonably supportable.

The essential oil bit if not so much the vinegar.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0367326X06000438 Arthropod repellency, especially tick (Ixodes ricinus), exerted by extract from Artemisia abrotanum and essential oil from flowers of Dianthus caryophyllum

A toluene extract of southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) and the essential oil from flowers of carnation (Dianthus caryophyllum ) exerted pronounced a repellent effect both against ticks (nymphs of Ixodes ricinus) and yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti).

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1570-7458.1995.tb01965.x/abstract Cleome monophylla essential oil and its constituents as tick (Rhipicephalus ppendiculatus) and maize weevil (Sitophilus zeamais) repellents

This article is about Callosobruchus chinensis (bean weavils) but it's likely that other insects will be harmed in a similar way.


The findings of the present study indicate that the essential oils of N.sativa, A. graveolens, C. cyminum, I.verum , P. nigrum, M. fragrans and T. ammi are toxic to the larva and adults of the Callosobruchus chinensis.

After fumigation, these essential oils reduce oviposition,egg hatchability, pupal formation and adult emergence of the insect. These also prevent infestation rate in experimental condition suggesting chronic toxicity of the essential oils. Therefore, these essential oils may prove effective when used as protectant for infestation in pulse grains. Furthermore, isolation and characterization of the oil constituents will provide complete insight into the pesticidal activity and will help in the preparation of formulations against the pulse beetle, Callosobruchus chinensis.

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