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Mouthwash Kills Ticks on Contact

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Q. Last summer I learned that antiseptic mouth rinse kills ticks immediately. When I found a tick, I used to remove it and put it into rubbing alcohol where it died after a minute or so. Once I had no alcohol, but my mouthwash was handy. I wet some toilet paper with it, laid it on the tick for a few seconds and, shazam! The tick released its nasty grip. I wiped it away with the paper.

Check it out. Be sure the active ingredients match those of Listerine blue or yellow. If you put a live tick into this solution, it dies in a couple of seconds.

A. Dermatologists advise using tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull steadily (no jerking or twisting) until it lets go. Putting alcohol or petroleum jelly on the tick is not recommended.

A tick should not be handled with bare fingers, to prevent picking up the germs it may carry. Dropping it into rubbing alcohol or a mouthwash like Listerine that contains alcohol should kill it quickly. If you don't have anything like that available, you can entomb the tick in transparent adhesive tape and dispose of it.

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So if we did use alcohol while he still had a grip on the skin . . . what could happen? We did that just this weekend, and the guy came out a little easier with the tweezers, but now I worry as there is a little bump there.

As a long time sufferer of Lyme Disease who was misdiagnosed in 1993 with CFS when it was really Lyme, I would get to a Lyme Literate physician and get a blood test through Igenex Labs. The regular Lyme test is not always accurate and I still come up negative on it. The sooner you get treatment the less likely you will become debilitated from this disease. Check out,,,,, You can also have Lyme without having the rash and/or bull's eye. I never saw either.


Pulling out the tick alive is preferable so that your Health Department may test it for Lyme Disease. Human blood tests are not as reliable.

I will try this the next time I have a tick. My husband has had several tiny ticks this year, we think they were nymphs because even though they were very small, they weren't the correct color for deer ticks. They were so tiny that the body crumbled when I tried to pull them out. I like this approach if it will kill them and make it easier to remove them. I got them out with very fine tweezers, but I was concerned because they were so small and the body came apart as I pulled.

I have to go with the reader who wrote that Listerine caused the tick to release its hold and then die. The oils in Listerine that kill fungus could be the explanation. Whatever the case, I am adding Listerine to my Natural Disaster evacuation kit {or its less expensive equivalent}.

Can someone tell us why we should not use alcohol or the mouthwash to first kill the tick and then pull if off? Not killing it first makes no sense to me. Help?


I pulled out a couple of wood ticks with no difficulty and flushed them down the toilet.

My understanding is that the tick in dying can release its toxins under the skin of the person it has bitten. Pulling it out gently, apparently, does not stimulate this reaction.

Why do Dermatologists advise against putting alcohol on the tick? It seems to me that putting alcohol or Listerine on the tick would serve two purposes: kill the germs the tick is carrying and kill the tick. Please let me know why Dermatologists would make this recommendation.


If you have it, and this might seem like a "duh!" moment because it was when I did it one time last year, but put deep woods off on a cotton ball and hold it on him and watch him back out ASAP! doesn't kill him though.
plan B - gotta go with the Listerine

No offense to those who have contracted Lyme Disease... it's serious! But I guess I've been flirting with danger most of my life. Have pulled hundreds of ticks off of dogs & cats or myself using only my fingernails as "tweezers". Nothing more gross than a engorged tick. You pull it off and there's 3 or 4 more underneath it. Yuck!

My advice to anyone who pulls off an attached tick is save it, and if you have symptoms remember to take it to your doctor or the ER. In my case, I forgot to take my saved tick and the ER doctor refused to consider I might have tick fever. He said mid-March was too early for ticks! I returned 5 days later very ill with multi-organ involvement and remained hospitalized 7 days with a 3 month recuperation. The follow-up blood titer confirmed Ehrlichiosis, a tick disease similar to Rocky Spotted Mountain Fever spread also by the American dog tick. Several days of Doxycycline or Tetracycline would have prevented my worsening illness and huge hospital bill. Sandy

I was lucky to have the bulls eye because I was very ill and had a high fever. Our HMO emergency room treated immediately and aggressively for Lyme Disease . I was told by my primary care physician that a blood test diagnosis might not be accurate until after several weeks had gone by. The test began with an M. can't remember more than that now.

A cousin had serious neurological, brain and muscular problems eventually diagnosed as untreated Lyme disease. I don't recommend being cavalier about tick bites.

When I went in to find the listerine, I found two different blue listerines with different active ingredients. Please, author be more specific about which listerine to get. thanks Doug


Thank you so much! Our dog had a huge tick in her ear and would not let us do anything with it. We poured a capfull of mouthwash in her ear and in less than a minute the tick fell out, stone dead. Amazing. Thanks again.

I killed a tick with the nails on my thumbs but people say you shouldn't kill it with your hands. What's gonna happen now that I killed it with my thumbs?

The concern is that the Spirochetes or other bacterial organisms could penetrate your skin and infect you if you handle them in any way. I also survived Lyme Disease and it really is nothing to take chances. I think it's worth having ticks tested to see if the Lyme is in your area.

Ticks are carried far and wide on birds and rodents, so it is pretty much everywhere now.

Mouthwash doesn't kill ticks here in Hawaii. I've been looking for something non-toxic that works on killing them as they seem resistant to Advantix II, etc. Gold Listerine stuns/paralyzes them, but after a few minutes, they are back to crawling around - although a little more slowly. It is soooo frustrating! There is no dormant season here and I haven't been able to get rid of them for over 1 year!

I just bought a couch from the Salvation Army and after bring it home week discovered it had ticks, so we took it outside. There were mostly babies and a few larger ones. I love the couch and want to keep it, so what should I use to kill them?

Shoots! I was almost hopeful about the Listerine until I read your post. I live on Maui and I can't get control of this tick situation. Have you found a solution yet?

The mouthwash doesn't work in the deep woods in PA either..... I have tried every kind of Listerine and none of them work.... Need to find something else.

I am a bit confused. Sounds like some people are putting this mouthwash on before removing the tick, which would kill it, thereby releasing the toxins from the tick? Seems that others are using it to kill the tick afterwords. The initial post states that "I used to remove it and put it into rubbing alcohol where it died after a minute or so. Once I had no alcohol, but my mouthwash was handy. I wet some toilet paper with it, laid it on the tick for a few seconds and, shazam! The tick released its nasty grip."

This seems to indicate two different scenarios. Also I use front line, this does kill the ticks, but only after they have started feeding and are at least partially engorged, thereby potentially infecting the animals with pathogenic bacteria. Another point to ponder if these toxins and/or bacteria are released in the ticks saliva, would this not also occur while the tick is alive and feeding,my inclination is "yes", since I am assuming some infected people/pets may have had a tick exposure that did not always end with the tick's death? (so what difference is there if the tick is dead or alive when you remove it)??

Would like some way to get them off in less than 24 hours (it seems that they need to feed for 24-48 hours to transmit disease). And I guess if alive is better for us that would be preferable. Another concern is that if they transmit bacteria while alive and feeding thru saliva and when dead there is a greater transfer potential, does that also indicate a greater transfer AS the tick is DYING? IE: if you do something that will cause death, but tick is still alive at removal will there be a "surge" release at the time the tick backs out? Thanks for any clarification and ideas!

A friend told me she always puts Lysol in the final rinse when washing clothes she intends to wear when camping and riding.

She says she has found dead ticks on her socks as a result. I realize that Lysol is toxic, but I have used a diluted spray on my horses' manes and tails. When I find live ticks I have a jar of Lysol and drop them, they do not last long there!
I am wondering if the toxicity of Lysol is worth the risk of putting it on clothes and to the animals?

A little Dawn dish washing liquid on a cotton ball works great to make them back out of your skin. Put a dollop on the cotton ball and hold on the tick for 20-30 seconds and then wipe away the tick will be stuck to the cotton! It will still need to be killed so have alcohol or whatever handy once it's on the cotton ball.

I found that my bassett hound was covered with ticks. Embedded ones. What/how can I get them off of him. I have given him a bath but that made no difference.
Any ideas???????

We found out that putting dish soap on the tick while on our puppy sufficates it and it will back out.

Tried Listerine mouthwash, blue mint and it works pretty good on my dogs tick problem. He was infested with ticks and fleas and the Listerine really worked.

I have read lots of different remedies, and I think I will start with the listerine it seems the less expensive. I have picked up a few dogs and given then a home with us, and now they are covered with ticks, and I can't afford the fancy drops. I have 6 dogs and 11 cats. Just feeding them is expensive enough. I hope those remedies work because I am desperate.

I live in Central Ohio and remove up to several dozen dog ticks from my body daily in season. Who has the time, let alone the funding, to properly tag each such tick and rush it to a cooperative biological laboratory for analysis? My suspicion is many individual specimens are not infected with anything at all serious. Just like mosquitos or anything else.

I was in the woods all day with my dad and got home after my dad showered he had a tick crawling on him. How can I make sure there are none on me. I can't look on my hair I just want a way to kill them if any. If I rinse my hair in mouthwash will it work??

My Dad uses Eucalyptus oil in Dawn dishwashing soap. He leaves it on the dog for about 10 minutes and washes it out. It keeps the ticks from getting back on his dog.

Thank you this really worked! I woke up this morning only to discover that my dog had a tick and this technique worked! I only had the up&up brand from target and it took a little longer to take off but it did its job.

I purchased Odorless Garlic Capsules to repel tick and bought mouth wash to spray on myself. My neighbor recommended dunking the ticks in a spot of dish detergent and that will kill them instantly and cleanly!

People's Pharmacy response: You certainly will have clean Ticks, but we don't know if that is an advantage. Rubbing alcohol will also kill the ticks. We imprison them in Scotch tape. Frequent tick checks are essential during the season.

I think I have the mouth still in my back, and it remains very itchy and never heals. No one can help me.. I would prefer to have had the bacteria which is easily treated if done immediately.. I still live with this itchy spot for 9 years now. I can only assume it left the mouth behind.. It has not been proven yet. No one cares enough to look.. Doctors ignore it.

What would the symptoms be if it is the probucus left behind ? Would it ever dissolve ??? It can drive one to crazy person.. I am now 80 and still trying to landscape... but this is like the plague .. itches all day .. never heals , just makes a thin tissue over itself... what else can it be ? mary

I would strongly suggest you find a Lyme Literate M.D. (which are few and far between.) The majority of physicians are NOT given correct information from the IDSA/CDC about Lyme Disease and its' many co-infections. I was misdiagnosed for more than fifteen years before I got the correct diagnoses of Lyme, Babesia and Bartonella.

An Infectious Disease doc diagnosed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1993. Most docs are afraid to diagnose and treat Lyme because of the misinformed IDSA guidelines. It's a very political disease. Check out to find a Lyme Literate physician in your area.

Also check out This documentary tells the truth about Lyme Disease. The IDSA says Lyme is hard to get and easy to treat... WRONG!! The majority of people walking around with diagnoses like Lupus, MS, CFS, Fibromyalgia, even ALS Lyme could be the culprit. Of course this pharmacy will more than likely dispute what I have written. But I have learned this and so much more since my correct diagnoses in 2008.

I rinsed wet the paws on my dog and just did not work,
What did I do wrong?
Or another better alternative

Can ticks live in your bed, my wife and I have been bitten while sleeping and it looks like tiny ticks.
Is it safe to wash our bodies and spray listerine?

I am an rn, the first time I saw a pt with lymes disease was in mid fla.. they said he had als. he was alert and oriented one day the next his memory gone and violent behaviors. this is nothing to play with. my grandchildren came down from tenn.. and a week later I found a tick on me. all signs and symptoms were present. my doc said couldn't be. we don't have deer ticks in fla. doc did the tests and came back elevated lab results. they put me on doxycycline and I did improve, but still have slight effects with memory, lupus like sx, fibromyalgia. don't mess around go to a doc who is well versed in this debilitating disease. I can no longer work as a nurse.

We removed the tick from behind my cat's ear, but a bump is still there. I put some bacitracin on the wound. Is this bump normal? Also, should I put some amber lister end on the area later.

Hi Tammy,

Please read my two posts, one from 2010 and one this past June. Lyme is known as the great imitator and mimics and/or causes so many things like ALS, CFS, MS, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Parkinson's, etc. Unfortunately Lyme is an extremely political disease and the information that the IDSA gives doctors is inaccurate.

I have learned so much after being ill and diagnosed with CFS since '93 and getting my Lyme, Babesia and Bartonella diagnoses in '08. The tests are severely flawed and chances are your doctor doesn't even know about all the co-infections that a tick can transmit. And Lyme is everywhere around the world. It's more concentrated in the northeast US, but believe me, it's all over the world.

How do you get rid of newly hatched ticks from you scalp and hair? I am infested!

What did you end up doing to get rid of the tick larvae in your hair? I have the same problem and can't find an answer. Help me please, I'm so grossed out from this.

I picked up a utensil from the local pet store that easily removed the tick without squashing it..

For newbees most Tweezers found around the house due to the large tips only squash the tick. Notice that the pictures shown removing ticks do not pull the tick out backwards they use small tipped tweezers that push the tick out from the ticks head.

The University of Rhode Island has a Tick Encounter Resource Center that has all kinds of identification, prevention, disease and testing information on it. They have a very useful website and FB page. Anyone concerned about ticks should check it out.

I tried the mouth wash it didn't work yea he balled up and fell to the bottom but it wasn't dead. I gave it 1 minute and it was moving again. It did die after 5 minutes. What I found that killed them in less than a minute was dish water (pamolive) I used it on the dog all my clothes matters I filled a kids small plastic pool and washed everything in it than washed in washer after. It may have been over kill but I DON'T want them in my house.

Dawn, those weren't ticks. Those were likely bedbugs. Don't keep the couch, to say the least.

That sounds like bedbugs, not ticks. Bedbugs don't carry disease but are tough to get rid of.

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