Top 3 Best Tick Repellents, Updated for 2020

Best Tick Repellents

Last update on 2020-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How We Found the Best Tick Repellents
Tick Repellents We Reviewed:

Best Tick Repellents

Ticks are one of the most dangerous parasites that suck your blood and spread diseases.

These blood-sucking creatures typically live in the woods and tall wet grassy areas. They feed most often on deer, dogs, and birds but they are also known to latch on to humans.

Once they latch onto your skin, they cut a hole just big enough to sink their snouts in. Ticks are most commonly known for spreading Lyme Disease which causes fatigue, fever, inflammation, and chills. You do not want to be caught out in the woods unprepared and leave yourself open to ticks. Check out some of the best tick repellents you can find in 2019.

Table of Contents


Sawyer Products Premium Insect Lotion

Last update on 2020-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • Effective at keeping ticks away
  • Works for up to 14 hours
  • 20% more effective than DEET
  • Can be used on people of all ages
  • Starts working within 10 minutes
  • Waterproof
  • Odorless
  • Sometimes causes rashes
Features & Specs
  • 4-ounce bottle
  • Works for 14 hours
  • 20% more effective than DEET
  • All natural
  • Odorless

This lotion is a highly effective barrier between you and ticks. It also works for mosquitoes that carry Zika Virus. The lotion contains Picaridin which is considered twenty percent more effective than DEET.

Once applied to your skin you get protected for up to 14 hours from mosquitoes and ticks and 8 hours for flies and gnats. The lotion is simple to use, you squeeze the bottle and rub the lotion into your skin as you usually would do. The ingredients are safe for the whole family and will not stain clothing either. Once applied to the skin allow the lotion to settle before getting wet.


Sawyer Products Premium Maxi DEET Insect Spray

Last update on 2020-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • 98% DEET
  • Highly effective at keeping ticks away
  • Mild smell
  • Can be sprayed anywhere on the body
  • Effective for up to 10 hours
  • Intended for deep woods
  • Greasy residue on your skin
  • Spraying a high amount of DEET on your skin can be harmful
  • Not intended for children
Features & Specs
  • Comes in a variety of sizes
  • Pump spray bottle
  • 98% DEET
  • Effective for up to 10 hours

This spray is extremely effective at repelling ticks because of its high DEET content. The spray contains 98% DEET and although it is intended for severe tick-infested areas it has a very mild smell.

This spray is extremely effective at repelling ticks because of its high DEET content. The spray contains 98% DEET and although it is intended for severe tick-infested areas it has a very mild smell.

This product is intended for extreme situations only. You do not need this high concentration of DEET in your backyard for example. This product is designed for deep wood hiking and camping or traveling to known tick-infested areas.


YAYA Organics Tick Ban Tick Repellent

Last update on 2020-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • All natural product
  • Contains no DEET
  • 100% plant-based materials
  • No greasy residue
  • Nice smell
  • Safe for children and pets
  • Not as effective as DEET based products
Features & Specs
  • Comes in a 4 ounce and a 16-ounce bottle
  • 100% natural ingredients
  • Organic essential oil based
  • Herbal Scent

This organic tick repellent is completely natural and contains no DEET. This is great for families and people who worry about the possible side effects of overuse of DEET. The spray is made of 100% plant-based materials and is made in the USA. The primary ingredients in the spray are a blend of organic essential oils that are safe for children and pets.

The spray itself has a nice herbal smell and does not have that typical greasy texture as DEET does. The spray goes on nice, and the bottle expels the right amount of spray with each squeeze.

Adams Flea And Tick Spray For Cats And Dogs Review

| Updated for 2019Overall Rating: Pros Starts killing fleas within 5 minutes Kills adult fleas and larvae Repels mosquitoes Cons Uses insecticides May cause mild skin irritation Not safe for.

Bifen Bifenthrin Review

| Updated for 2019Overall Rating: Pros Highly Effective Kills numerous insects Indoor and outdoor Cons Needs diluting Toxic Kills honey bees Ease of.

2020 Tick Forecast

Updated for 20202020 Tick Forecast Jump to: Northeast Southeast Midwest Southwest Northwest Ticks can be nuisances (no one wants to have to tweezer a tick off their skin, or their child’s skin, or a pet’s), and due to the diseases they carry, then can be real threats.


Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Repellent

Last update on 2020-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • Great at keeping ticks off of clothing for deep woods hikes
  • Works for up to six weeks
  • Works on clothes even after washing
  • Odorless
  • Strong formula
  • Dangerous if it gets on your skin
Features & Specs
  • Comes in 9, 12, and 24-ounce bottles
  • Works for up to six weeks
  • Highly effective
  • Strong, deep woods formula

This insect repellent is Permethrin based and is intended for use on clothing only. The spray works to keep away ticks and mosquitoes and is as effective as 100% DEET without all the nasty side effects.

See also:  Controlling and Preventing Flies at Home and At Work

Once sprayed directly onto your clothing you will be protected for up to six weeks. One of the greatest things about this spray is that it is even effective for up to six clothes washings. When you spray it onto your clothing, it does not stain or do any damage. One 12 ounce bottle is enough to treat two complete outfits.

In addition to protecting yourself with the proper repellents, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure you do not become covered with ticks.

How To Help Keep Ticks Away From You

It is no secret that ticks pose a real threat to you and your family and you can quickly find yourself in a dangerous situation if you are caught out without the right protection. In addition to protecting yourself with the proper repellents, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure you do not become covered with ticks.

Dress Appropriately

If you are doing any deep woods hiking or camping, you want to wear long sleeves and pants whenever possible. If it is going to be excessively hot, try to wear long pants at least. Ticks are known for hiding in tall grass so if you feel grass brushing up against your legs you are leaving yourself open to a tick bite.

Wearing long pants does not guarantee you will not catch ticks though, because they can still latch onto your clothing and follow you home. The only way to ensure optimal protection is to pair the right outfit with the right repellent. Check out the Sawyer Product Clothing Repellent above for more information on how you can keep ticks off your clothing.

Check Yourself Often

This is something we highly recommend. The best way to guarantee you do not get bitten is to check yourself thoroughly and do so often. If you are traveling with children or pets, check them as often as possible as well. You do not want to have ticks on your for extended periods of time because the longer they are on you, the higher of a risk you have for Lyme Disease.

Keep Your Yard Well Manicured

If you are worried about ticks in your yard, a great way to keep them away is to make sure you do not have too much tall grass or overgrown greenery. If you keep everything nice and trimmed ticks will see your yard as too hot, and they will leave to find someplace cooler. Do not let shrubs become too overgrown because they like to stay inside the bushes where it is cool. Try to limit yourself from brushing up against thick greenery when maintaining it as well.

How To Choose The Right Repellent

You could do everything right and take great care of your lawn, check yourself for ticks frequently, and wear the appropriate clothing-but if you are not using the right repellent for the job it does not matter what you do. The correct repellent is going to be your strong barrier of protection in situations where you will come in contact with a lot of ticks. We’re going to help you decide which repellent is right for you.


You want to use lotion instead of a spray if you worry about inhaling aerosols and if you do not like the sometimes greasy residue that sprays leave on your skin. The lotions dry up rather quickly and once they are dry have a very little effect on the feel of your skin. Regarding effectiveness, there is no difference.


This method is the most typical and often the most effective. Spray repellents contain the highest concentrations of repellents and as a result are usually the best at keeping ticks away. With the comes associated risks though. Sprays tend the contain the highest levels of DEET which can be dangerous if you apply too much. Sprays also have a strong odor and leave a residue on your skin. If that does not bother you, sprays are the way to go.

All Natural

If the thought of covering yourself in chemicals to keep bugs away freaks you out, you want to go with an all natural repellent. These are typically 100% organic and made from essential oils like lemon and other citrus materials. They are often safe for use on children and pets as well so if you are worried about ticks on your children than an all natural organic spray is the right choice for you.

Best Insect Repellents for You and Your Family

CR’s latest ratings include lotions, sprays, wipes, and plant-based repellents

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are taking precautionary measures to avoid infection, from abiding by social distancing rules to washing hands more frequently. But with a heavily burdened health system, it’s also important to take steps to avoid other kinds of infections. Now that the weather is warming and days are lengthening, that includes protecting against the many diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes—an important precaution even if you’re not straying far from your own backyard.

The number of bug-borne diseases is increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the number of places they’re spreading to is also on the rise. A report from 2018 showed that reported cases of tick- and mosquito-borne diseases more than tripled between 2004 and 2016.

This includes familiar diseases like the mosquito-borne West Nile virus and tick-borne Lyme disease, as well as some lesser-known ones such as the Powassan virus and tularemia, which are both spread by tick bites. In fact, the CDC reported that since 2004, at least nine new mosquito- and tick-borne diseases have been reported in the U.S. and its territories. And there’s always the possibility that previously obscure diseases, like Zika, could re-emerge as widespread threats.

“We need to continue growing our arsenal for controlling mosquitoes and ticks at the community level,” says Benjamin Haynes, a CDC spokesman. “And personal protection will always be most important.”

A key component of personal protection is insect repellents. The good news is that there are a lot of insect repellents to choose from, such as sprays, lotions, and wipes, and they contain a range of active ingredients—that is, the ingredients that make the repellents work.

But these products are not equally effective.

“There’s a mind-boggling number of choices that you have to make,” says Joe Conlon, a former Navy entomologist and technical adviser to the American Mosquito Control Association. “And it’s actually very important to pick the right product because it will be your best defense against some very serious diseases.”

See also:  7 Common Garden Pests (And How to Get Rid of Them)

That’s where Consumer Reports comes in. We’ve added six new products to our ratings, for a total of 43 this year—including three products containing deet alternatives such as picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus—to give you the best possible sense of what matters most when you’re buying an insect repellent for you and your family.

And our testing paints a clear picture: Whatever the type of repellent—be it a spray, wipe, or lotion—products made with the active ingredient deet, in concentrations of 15 to 30 percent, have proved most consistently to provide high levels of protection against biting bugs.

Here, five of our top-rated repellents (the full ratings are online here).

Price: $7 Shop

Price: $9 Shop

Price: $7 Shop

Price: $8 Shop

Price: $7 Shop

What CR’s Tests Found

Fifteen of our 20 recommended insect repellents use deet as their active ingredient. Two are made with 20 percent picaridin, one is made with 10 percent picaridin, and two contain 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). Most plant-oil-based products we’ve tested—including several containing citronella oil, peppermint oil, soybean oil, or others—have performed poorly. (OLE, although it sounds like an essential oil, occurs naturally in the lemon eucalyptus plant but is synthesized chemically for use in commercial bug repellents.)

Our ratings are primarily based on how long a product protected test subjects against mosquitoes. Our highest-rated ones protected for 6.5 hours or longer; our lowest-rated ones lasted 2 hours or less. We currently test repellents only against mosquitoes, but in past years of testing we’ve found that repellents that worked well against mosquitoes also worked well against ticks. We also test for how well the product resisted causing damage to materials that repellents are likely to come into contact with, like fabric, paint, and nail polish.

Our testing suggests that when it comes to effectiveness, what matters most isn’t the brand name or whether it’s a lotion, spray, or wipe, but rather the type and concentration of active ingredient in the repellent.

For example, two wipes (Ben’s Tick & Insect Repellent Wipes and Off Deep Woods Insect Repellent Towelettes), a store-brand spray (Total Home Woodland Scent, sold by CVS), and a lotion (Sawyer Ultra 30 Insect Repellent) have all made our recommended list. All contain deet.

Consumers should note: There’s one key pattern that has continued to appear year after year in our insect repellent testing. Though we’ve found some sprays using the active ingredients picaridin or OLE that performed well, deet-based products consistently earn most of our top scores.

And among the lotions and wipes we tested, only those containing deet were found to be highly effective. In a few instances in previous years of testing, we’ve found that products containing 20 percent picaridin scored well as a spray but not in another form, such as a wipe or lotion.

«We expect that differences in formulation, and how the active ingredient is incorporated into a repellent, can make a large difference in how effectively it repels insects,” says Joan Muratore, test project leader for insect repellents for CR. “However, among the products we’ve tested, we have found deet, at levels of 15 to 30 percent, to afford the most reliable protection against mosquitoes and ticks.»

‘Natural’ Is Not More Effective

Each year, we add new insect repellents to our ratings, which already include repellents tested in previous years that are still being sold.

In a Consumer Reports March 2020 nationally representative survey of 1,079 U.S. adults, 29 percent told us they never use insect repellents that contain deet. CR’s survey also found that 44 percent of Americans agree that there are effective alternatives to deet-based insect repellents. So for this year’s tests, we evaluated six new products, half of which don’t contain deet.

Unfortunately, our testing shows that “deet-free” isn’t generally a good thing. Aside from some products that contain the aforementioned active ingredients picaridin and OLE, other products without deet don’t perform as well as those containing deet. For example, the products we’ve tested whose active ingredients are essential oils all earned a rating of Poor for protection against mosquitoes.

If you do want to avoid deet, there are five deet-free repellents we’ve evaluated in past years of testing that have earned our recommendation. Two contain 20 percent picaridin (Natrapel Tick & Insect Repellent and Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent), one contains 10 percent picaridin (Off FamilyCare Insect Repellent VIII with Picaridin), and two contain 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus (Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent and Natrapel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent).

But it’s also important to remember that despite consumer concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency says that deet, when used properly, “does not present a health concern to the general population.” The agency has performed extensive reviews of the potential harms of deet and found that the risk, when deet is used properly, is minor. The agency estimates that seizures linked to deet may occur in about 1 in 100 million applications of the substance, for example. (Your chances of being struck by lightning in a given year are about 100 times greater.)

And according to the CDC, rare problems with rash or skin irritation from deet usually arise from using too much or too high a concentration of deet. Consumer Reports doesn’t test products with more than 30 percent deet for this reason—for good results, it’s unnecessary to expose yourself to higher concentrations.

Parents should be aware that most insect repellents should not be used on children younger than 2 months, and those with OLE shouldn’t be used on children younger than 3 years. For children younger than 2 months, using mosquito netting over your infant carrier is an option.

How We Test Insect Repellents

At our insect repellent testing lab, a testing day begins with applying a standard dose of repellent to a measured area of skin on our test subjects’ arms. The standard dose is determined from the EPA product testing guidelines.

After 30 minutes, these volunteers then place their arms into the first two of four cages of 200 disease-free mosquitoes for 5 minutes. Our testers watch closely to see what happens inside the cage, and they count up every time a mosquito lands on a subject’s arm, uses its proboscis (its long mouth) to probe the skin in an attempt to find a capillary, or bites the subject’s arm and begins to feed—which the testers can tell by watching for the insect’s abdomen to turn from gray to red or brown.

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After 5 minutes, the subjects withdraw their arms, then repeat the process by placing their arms into a second pair of cages of disease-free mosquitoes of a different species, for another 5 minutes. The subjects then walk around for 10 minutes, to stimulate sweating—this is to mimic a real-world setting, in which users might exercise while wearing repellent.

Half an hour later, this procedure is repeated once, and then again once every hour after that until a repellent fails our test, or until 8 hours have passed since it was applied. We consider a failure to be two confirmed mosquito bites in one 5-minute session inside the cage, or one confirmed bite in each of two consecutive 5-minute sessions.

How to Apply Insect Repellent Properly

For best results, follow the directions on the label and these five tips:

1. Apply a thin coat to all exposed skin, but avoid eyes and mouth, and use sparingly around your ears. You can also spray repellent on top of your clothing, but do not apply under clothing.

2. Adults should dispense repellent on their hands to apply to children. Don’t spray repellent onto kids or apply to their hands to avoid it getting into their eyes or mouth, and avoid applying to cuts or irritated skin. (Insect repellents with deet should not be used on children younger than 2 months.)

3. Frequent reapplication isn’t necessary. Wash hands after applying and wash off repellent at the end of the day.

4. Never spray directly onto the face. Spray on palms, then apply to the face.

5. When using towelettes, be sure to use enough of them to cover all exposed skin with repellent.

Jeneen Interlandi and Catherine Roberts contributed reporting to this article.

How to Keep Ticks Out of Your Yard

Ticks love tall grass and cool, damp areas. On the «Consumer 101» TV show, Consumer Reports expert Catherine Roberts explains how to make your yard less inviting to these pests.

Natural Repellent for Ticks

Published April 14, 2013 Last Updated April 2, 2019 By Lori Ryman 53 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.

Natural Repellent for Ticks

The weather is finally warming up, the sun is shining and ticks will soon be lurking in the grass! Depending on where you live, your yard may be covered with thousands of ticks or they may be of no concern. Since living in the Northeast, as soon as Spring comes around, I am on high alert watching out for not only ticks latching on to my pets but also myself. Especially since more than half of the ticks in my area carry Lyme disease, it becomes a serious concern.

Animals are the most likely to pick up ticks with their long fur and bodies being closer to the ground. Plus, your dog may roll around in the grass, mine sure does! Not only is it concern for your pets safety, but many of the ticks will take a ride on your pets fur into the house and end up on your floor or furniture where they could end up latching on to you or your family members!

Why You Should Use Natural Repellents for Ticks

The chemical tick repellents out there contain toxic chemicals which can end up being absorbed by pet owners. When the instructions state that you can’t touch your pet for a certain number of hours, you know you’re dealing with harmful chemicals. One of the most common ones that is sold contains Permethrin, which is a synthetic toxic pesticide that can be absorbed through skin and is also harmful to breathe .

Last summer, I set out on a mission to try all possible natural repellents for ticks. After trying several different essential oils and other natural mixtures, the ones that I found to work best and that have great reviews are listed below.

Natural Repellents for Ticks

1. Rose Geranium Essential Oil – Mix 3 Tablespoons of almond oil with 20 drops of Geranium essential oil. Apply several drops to your dogs fur, particularly around the collar area. (To be used only on dogs)

2. Apple Cider Vinegar and Lavender Oil – Mix 1 cup water with ¼ apple cider vinegar and 15 drops of lavender oil. Apply to your dog’s fur, or spray on.

3. Citrus Repellent – This natural repellent for ticks can be used on dogs or cats. Boil 1 cup of water, remove from heat and add in 3 fruits, such as lemons or limes by squeezing out the juice. Add 5 to 15 drops of lemongrass oil (for dogs, but optional). Shake well and allow the mixture to cool before applying to skin or pets fur.

4. Garlic Powder – In general add 1/8 of a teaspoon of garlic powder per pound of dog food.

5. Pet grooming – To help prevent attracting ticks, make sure to keep your pets hair as short as possible. This will also make it easier to spot any ticks on their fur.

The first natural repellent for ticks of Rose Geranium seemed to be the most effective, many have also mentioned having great success with it. Although, I continue to use a combination of these to get the most benefits.

Have you tried any of these natural repellents for ticks?

About Lori Ryman

Lori Ryman, BS, MS, has been dedicated to researching natural alternatives for the past 15 years. Lori has a background in research methods, health, and nutrition. She started with an Interest in natural alternatives to improve her own health and she continues to share natural DIY projects, recipes and natural alternatives with millions of viewers on

Lori’s research for posts is based on peer reviewed evidenced-based research. Lori is a published author in a peer reviewed research journal. Her work has been covered by MSN, The Huffington Post, wikiHow, The New York Times, and many more.

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