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Every Type of Spray for Ticks Experts Recommend

Lyme season is starting early this year—here's what you need to know about spraying for ticks.

Every Type of Spray for Ticks Experts Recommend

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The outdoors is packed with family fun — from hiking to kayaking to splashing in muddy puddles. Parents know to put the best Deet-free bug spray in their bags, but what about tick spray? The pesky parasite hides in your grass and nearby trees, targeting us and our little ones.

Instead of cutting down your time spent outside, we’ve found the top-notch spray for ticks to keep the bugs at bay and a smile on everyone’s faces.

Types of tick spray

  • Yard tick spray: Look for sprays with an easy-to-use nozzle and ingredients including Deet, IR3535, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil, para-menthane-diol (PMD), 2-undecanoate
  • Tick spray for bodies: Look for non-greasy sprays with ingredients including Deet, IR3535, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil, para-menthane-diol (PMD), 2-undecanoate
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What to look for in spray for ticks

“Ticks feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles,” says Nicole Carpenter, President of Black Pest Prevention. “They are known to transmit diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever via their bites, making them a hazard to humans and animals.”

Carpenter suggests products with sprays using natural essential oils like eucalyptus, citronella, peppermint, or lemongrass when seeking the ideal tick spray. “The strong scent of these essential oils deter ticks and make it difficult to find their targets.”

Choose a tick repellent that contains at least 20% (but no higher than 30%) of these active ingredients, since repellents containing 10% or less may only protect you for a couple of hours.

“Ticks locate their potential hosts by detecting CO2 humans exhale and body odors, and the strong scent of sprays with essential oils interferes with ticks' ability to sense these cues.” It’s worth noting that while natural sprays effectively repel ticks, they don't kill them.”

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For combatting ticks in the yard, the spray should be water-resistant. “If you live in a region with frequent rainfall, choosing a spray with a water-resistant formula is essential,” explains Carpenter.

“Pay attention to the duration of effectiveness of a tick spray. Products that require less frequent reapplication are preferable as they don't require constant monitoring or frequent maintenance and don't become a headache.”

Carpenter emphasizes using tick sprays with a high concentration of natural components like essential oils. “Outdoor tick sprays need to be potent enough to withstand various environmental factors such as rain, wind and sunlight, which can diminish their effectiveness of a product.”

What about diffusers or candles? “Since strong smells can repel ticks, using diffusers and candles can be considered a working tactic” explains Carpenter. However, it’s best when it combination with a tick spray, as “their effectiveness is insignificant.”

The best family-friendly tick spray options

Best overall

Quantum Health Buzz Away Extreme Insect Repellent

Quantum Health Buzz Away Extreme Insect Repellent, every type of spray for ticks Merchant

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This is the insect repellent you've been searching for. The plant-based formula features a blend of natural essential oils including citronella, peppermint and lemongrass. It wards off ticks and mosquitoes for hours while leaving you smelling terrific!

At eight ounces, the bottle is a convenient size for travel — keep it in tow on your next camping or outdoor trip! Best of all, the spray is family and environment-friendly with no DEET or unwanted toxins.

Pros

  • Plant-based formula
  • Includes natural essential oils like citronella and lemongrass
  • Repels ticks and mosquitoes
  • Stays on for up to eight hours
  • Ideal travel size makes it our best tick spray overall

Cons

  • On the pricier side

Best budget

Repel Tick Defense

Repel Tick Defense, every type of spray for ticks Merchant

Repel’s tick repellent is affordable while offering dependable coverage that lasts for up to 10 hours. The spray protects against ticks, including deer ticks that may carry Lyme disease. Formulated with 15% picaridin, the unscented spray can be applied on your clothing for full coverage, without damaging the fabrics.

We love this pick because it offers strong protection that feels light on the skin. “I walk through heavy Tennessee forests and I went from 1-2 ticks on my body per day down to NOTHING once I started using this spray,” says verified Amazon shopper Ryan.

Pros

  • Formulated with 15% picaridin to protect against ticks and tick bites
  • Lasts up to 10 hours
  • Unscented
  • Repels ticks and mosquitoes
  • Works overtop of clothing

Cons

  • Not a plant-based formula

Best all-natural

Grandpa Gus's Natural Tick Repellent Spray

Grandpa Gus's Natural Tick Repellent Spray, every type of spray for ticks Merchant
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Perfect for the whole family, this natural tick repellent steadily releases its plant-based ingredients over time, so you can enjoy up to eight hours of outdoor fun before reapplication! It’s crafted with active essential oils including geraniol, lemongrass and peppermint, which work together to naturally repel pesky ticks.

Thanks to its natural ingredients, the repellent is safe for little ones and pets when used as directed.

Pros

  • Plant-based repellent
  • Includes natural essential oils like lemongrass and peppermint
  • Repels ticks for up to eight hours, even in deep woods
  • Non-greasy formula
  • Doesn’t stain clothing
  • Deet-free
  • Safe for children and pets
  • Good for clothing, gear and other wearable outdoor items

Cons

  • On the pricier side

Best for yards

TropiClean Natural Flea and Tick Yard Spray

TropiClean Natural Flea and Tick Yard Spray, every type of spray for ticks Merchant

Operating at maximum strength, this tick spray is a must-have for your yard. It’s guaranteed to kill fleas, ticks, larvae and eggs by contact and repels pests and mosquitoes for up to two weeks. The spray is formulated with natural essential oils, leaving behind a natural scent of lemongrass and cedarwood.

Pros

  • Formulated with natural essential oils
  • Repels ticks and mosquitoes for up to two weeks
  • Fresh scent
  • Pet, kid-friendly
  • Maximum strength
  • Easy spray

Cons

  • Somewhat strong scent

Best all-natural outdoor spray

Murphy's Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent Mist

Murphy's Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent Mist, every type of spray for ticks Merchant
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This tick-repellent harnesses the power of all-natural ingredients. Recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the plant-based spray uses lemon eucalyptus, corn ethanol and distilled water to protect against ticks. It protects against deer ticks for up to four hours, while lone star and brown dog ticks go up to eight hours.

With the 360-degree application, this specially formulated repellent can be sprayed directly on your skin or your outdoor gear — say hello to worry-free protection on your next adventure! We love spraying this on fabric for a pre-treated clothing effect that lasts several hours.

Pros

  • Plant-based ingredients
  • Repels ticks for up to eight hours
  • Apply tick spray on skin or overtop of clothing
  • 360-degree application
  • Deet-free
  • CDC-approved
  • Works in tall grasses and wooded areas

Cons

  • Not for sale in the state of California

Best candle

Coleman Scented Outdoor Citronella Candle

Coleman Scented Outdoor Citronella Candle, every type of spray for ticks Merchant

In combination with one of the above tick sprays, this outdoor candle is a game changer. Formulated with citronella, the natural ingredient works to repel ticks, mosquitoes and pesky flies. Available in three camp-appropriate scents, the candle burns up to 25 hours and is completely recyclable when the flame dies.

Pros

  • Uses citronella
  • Ideal for camping
  • Burns up to 25 hours
  • Available in three scents
  • 100% recyclable packaging
  • Ideal for preventing ticks in a small area or campsite

Cons

  • Not effective as a tick-repellent

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