removing a tick from the scalp

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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  1. Dee

    I want to know how do you know if your dog has ticks ? My dog keeps biting her back . I’ve bath her in dawn dish soap an I’ve now washed her in flie an tick shampoo. I can’t see anything but she has scabs on her back . I’ve use a comb to see if I can see anything but I can’t I have pulled scabs off . She is a shitzu dog an he hair isn’t long but I tried to cut her very low but she is going crasy . Please help me ….. I hate seeing her like this or even sometimes crying .

  2. mitch

    I’ve heard you should put a blob of vicks vapo rub on a tick. it will die quickly & be easy to remove.

    • elizabeth

      Don’t use the Vicks it may cause the tick to borough in deeper, the Listerine works. If you live in a “tick” area buy some and use it for that purpose.

  3. C

    How to get rid of tick larva in your home. Take a small desk light with a 40w or under bulb. Shine it on a flat glue board. The kind of glue board you can buy any where for catching both mice and insects. You will know right away if there are fleas or ticks. They are attracted to the light and heat. The glue board catches them fast without toxic sprays.

    Clove spray is a good flea and tick repellent. Use this all the time as I go to herding trials all over and run into ticks and fleas Just take a comb, spray the comb and comb though the dogs coat. Works very well and again no toxic chemicals. I also put the light and glue board in my van when I get home to catch anything that may have dropped off.

  4. Damaris

    Give me advice on how to stop my dog from moving when im putting rubbing alcohol and listerine (blue). Plz give me advice

  5. Damaris
    Los lunas, NM

    Omg this really does work my dog is back inside my house! Thank you thank you thank you!!????

  6. Vanessa
    Mylestom Australia

    Thanks for that great advice. We (my four year old and I ) woke this morning to a tick under her arm……. Devastation as you could imagine not allowed to touch it – and then searched and read your article … went to bathroom to retrieve mouth wash (blue) and put some on it for a min or so and BINGO out it came sooooo easy… :-) Thanks again

  7. anna

    When you remove the tick drop it in a jar of bleach, The die right a way.

  8. jm

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

  9. jm

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

  10. sherri

    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.

  11. DB

    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.

  12. RDJ

    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.

  13. Robyn

    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.

  14. Darlene

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

  15. Nina

    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.

  16. Bmcg

    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.

  17. ss

    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.

  18. Jlddd

    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?

    • elizabeth

      It sounds more like bedbugs, they look very much alike.

  19. lr

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

  20. Nina

    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.

  21. mary d.

    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

  22. susan l

    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.

  23. N.p.

    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.

  24. Mary

    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.

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