Rid Your Clothing Of Pesky Ticks With An Easy Laundry Trick

Each year, you might look forward to spending more time outside during the warmer months. Hiking, gardening, camping, picnics, and other activities become more popular, as great weather provides more opportunities to be in nature. While these activities can be a lot of fun, they unfortunately also increase the likelihood of ticks attaching themselves to your clothing. Thankfully, just by placing your clothes in the dryer on high heat for at least six minutes, you can to put an end to any ticks that may have hitched a ride on your clothes.

A 2016 study published in Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases found that this is an effective way to help prevent tick-borne diseases. There is a long list of these diseases that can threaten your health, including Alpha-gal syndrome (AGS), Lyme, and Anaplasmosis, just to name a few. It's important to take precautions before and after spending time outside to protect yourself and your family from these illnesses. Placing your clothes in the washer and dryer immediately after coming into contact with potentially tick-infested areas is a simple way to stay safe.

How to dry your clothes to kill ticks

In order to effectively kill any ticks that might be on your clothes, it is important to remove them after coming inside and immediately place them in the dryer. However, if they need to be cleaned, you can place them in the washing machine first and then transfer them to the dryer. Do not sit them in a laundry basket, on your bed, on the floor, or anywhere else that would allow the ticks to spread throughout your living space. Placing your articles of clothing directly in an appliance will help you keep ticks out of your house.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), potentially tick-infested clothes that need to run through a washer should be washed on a hot cycle. The previously mentioned 2016 study published in Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases mentions that researchers found that cold and warm washes do not kill ticks. Instead, the temperature of the water needs to be at least 130 degrees Farenheit to be effective. The CDC also recommends tumble-drying these clothes on high heat for a total of 10 minutes, though wet clothes will probably require a longer drying time.

The types of environments that attract ticks

At this point, you might be wondering when you should be worried about ticks coming into contact with your clothes. There are certain environments that are more likely to harbor these bugs, so if you're in these areas, you should definitely follow the laundry steps outlined above after coming inside. They are commonly found in grassy areas with lots of bushes. Ticks also like to gather in gardens, wooded places, and even on animals. Your family pet can introduce ticks into your home, so it is important to conduct routine checks after your furry friend comes inside as well. If you commonly find ticks around your outdoor space, there are tricks for keeping ticks out of your yard.

If you know that you are going to be outdoors in areas where ticks are commonly found, there are a few other things you can do to protect yourself beforehand and afterwards. First, you can spray your clothes and shoes with 0.5% permethrin spray. You may also use insect repellents to keep ticks away. The CDC recommends using sprays that are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. You should also shower as soon as you can after coming indoors and inspect your body for ticks to stay safe. If you do this within two hours after returning home, you can help reduce the risk of getting certain tick-borne illnesses.