Natural Tick Repellent Recipe

Tea tree oil is most commonly known in the U.S. for uses like skin irritations but it can also be used to ward off fleas and ticks. Here is an effective natural tick repellent recipe for humans while outside in areas that harbor ticks and fleas. Make sure to find out the many other tea tree oil uses for insects and pests.

Homemade Tick Repellent Recipe Tea Tree Oil

Lately I’ve been finding teeny tiny ticks on the dog – and I almost wouldn’t have seen it but for the fact that I’ve been hyper-vigilant about checking for ticks. It looked like a piece of dirt!! But those teeny tiny ticks still bite and they still transmit lyme disease. If you do find any tick bites, see this post on How to Remove a Tick.

Last week I made this homemade tick repellent recipe using tea tree oil and a few other essential oils and low and behold – NO MORE TICKS!

Tick Prevention While Hiking

Ticks don’t necessarily appear just because you’ve let your grass grow or you are hiking through tall grass areas. They tend to need humid conditions to survive. Vince D’Amico, a fellow USDA Forest Service research entomologist says, “While there’s no doubt that blacklegged ticks lurk in people’s yards, a lawn is probably too dry for them.” He goes on to explain that “This species needs near 100% humidity for at least part of the day,” and that a tick population does well in leaf litter where moisture gets hidden in between the debris.

When hiking in humid, wooded areas, it is best to use natural repellents with tea tree oil, rose geranium oil, and some cedar oil during the summer months. The blacklegged tick (or deer tick) spreads lyme disease in the northeastern states, with less than 1% to more than 50% of the ticks carrying it.

{ Read More: How to Keep Yourself Safe from Lyme Disease }

9 Different Kinds of Ticks

Here is quite a long list of ticks around the country that you may encounter.

American Dog Tick
The American dog tick has a dark brown body that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever. They are located east of the Rocky Mountains, throughout the East and Gulf Coast, along the Pacific Coast, into Canada and parts of Alaska.

Blacklegged Deer Tick
This tick is most easily identified by its reddish-orange body, black shield and dark black legs and they are known to carry lyme disease. This seems to be the most common tick in the United States. These ticks do not only surface during the warm months but in any weather that is above freezing. They are located anywhere animals might be but usually they transfer to humans that are in contact with grass, brush, leaves, logs or pets that have been roaming the outdoors.

Brown Dog Tick
The brown dog tick is a reddish brown with a narrow shape in comparison to other ticks that can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever to humans. They can also transmit several diseases specific to dogs.

Groundhog Tick
The groundhog tick, also known as woodchuck tick, has a light brown or blond color. They normally attack wild animals but can bite humans and domestic pets as well.

Lone Star Tick
This tick is reddish-brown in color with the adult female having a white dot or “lone star” on her back. These ticks are very common in the south but can be located in the east as well and are notoriously aggressive biters.

Pacific Coast Tick
The Pacific Coast tick has a mottled brownish-black color and can transmit a host of diseases to humans unknowingly as their bite is often mistaken for a spider or other insect bite. The Pacific Coast ticks are the most common tick found throughout California.

Rocky Mountain Wood Tick
These ticks are reddish-brown and look very similar to American dog ticks and contain a neurotoxin that can occasionally cause tick paralysis in humans and pets. The toxin takes anywhere from 24-72 hours to dissipate after tick removal. In the U.S., their geographical distribution is generally restricted to higher elevations above 4,000 feet as they seem to prefer colder weather.

Soft Ticks
Soft ticks do not have a hard shell and are shaped like a large raisin and bite people as they sleep in rustic mountain cabins that have been previously infested with rodents in Colorado, Arizona, and the Lake Tahoe area in California.

Western Blacklegged Tick
These ticks have a reddish body with a black shield and black legs and can transmit lyme disease. They are most prevalent in California but can also be found in Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.

If you do happen to get bit by a tick,
learn how to remove a tick properly.

What are the Best Ways to Prevent Tick Bites?

  1. Use an effective tick repellent with natural ingredients like tea tree oil
  2. Wear light-colored protective clothing.
  3. Tuck pant legs into socks so a tick is less likely to come in contact with your skin
  4. Avoid tick-infested areas like off-trail areas, wet leaves and rocks, logs and wood piles
  5. Check yourself, your children, and your pets daily for ticks and carefully remove any ticks.
  6. Shower after going inside or at the very least change your clothing.
tea tree oil benefits

What is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of the tree using steam distillation or a similar process. Natural insect repellents especially for ticks can be made for both animals and humans using tea tree oil as an active ingredient. If you are not into DIY or don’t have time, scroll down to the bottom to find a ready-made mixture you can apply easily to repel ticks naturally and effectively without using toxic chemicals!

In small concentrations (.1% to 1%), tea tree oil is tolerated and safe for cats and dogs.

essential oils dilution chart
geranium oil

Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium essential oil is safe to use around kids and this study showed it as very effective in repelling ticks.

This study from the National Institutes for Health found that geranium oil works comparably to DEET in repelling ticks. Never use geranium on dogs.

Cedarwood Essential Oil

According to this study in Environmental Entomology, cedarwood oil repels fire ants and actually kills ticks! It is so toxic to ticks but safe for kids!

natural tick repellent spray

Homemade Tick Repellent Recipe

Never apply tea tree oil directly to the skin as it could cause an allergic reaction, particularly if the oil is highly concentrated. Mix the oil in some carrier oil like sweet almond oil to dilute it a bit.

For best results, use a glass bottle. Oils such as tea tree oil react with plastic and may cause dangerous chemicals to leech into your repellent. Before each use, shake the bottle vigorously to thoroughly mix the oils. When applying to pets, rub the repellent under their fur so that it reaches their skin. Here is a great wasp repellent spray to keep the flying insects away.

You can also use a plastic spray bottle that is labeled as safe for oils, like this one.

2 ounces liquid oil such as jojoba oil (which is non-greasy), olive or almond oil.
15 drops geranium essential oil
15 drops tea tree oil
15 drops cedarwood oil


  • Mix oil and essential oils together into spray bottle. Store in a cool, dark area when not in use. Should last 2-3 months.
  • Spray directly on skin before going outdoors.

If you prefer, you could add peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, or camphor oil or lemongrass.

Natural Tick Repellent with Neem

I’ve used this before on my dogs and it is an effective natural tick repellent when used on a regular basis. The apple cider vinegar helps to repel the ticks while also making their fur soft. The neem oil is a natural insecticide that is safe for dogs when diluted. It is also a great spray for humans as well!

Add the following ingredients into a spray bottle.

  • 2 cups of water.
  • 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
  • 2 tablespoons of organic neem oil.

Spray lightly on your dog’s coat each time they go outside. Do not saturate.

Bug Off Tick Spray Recipe

Don’t have time or patience to make the Natural Tick Repellent Tea Tree Oil Recipe? Don’t have all the essential oils on hand? No worries, you can get Bug Off! essential oil blend to help keep mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and other insects away.

This gentle blend features Citronella, Cedarwood, Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus citriodora, Thyme, and Lemongrass. You can also try diffusing it on your patio in the evening, or mixing it with a carrier oil in a roller bottle and applying it to ankles, wrists, and back of the neck.

75 drops Bug Off!
4 ounces Distilled Water

Add all ingredients to a 4 ounce, fine mist spray bottle. Shake well before every use. You can apply to areas where you might be bit. (If the spray is for your pet, use 10-15 drops) You can also use a light carrier oil or witch hazel instead of water if you are spraying on the skin.

rocky mountain essential oils

I love Rocky Mountain Oils because of their quality 100% pure essential oils that require no minimum purchase and always gives FREE shipping! Plus they always have specials going on!

Rocky Mountain Oils’ essential oils are verified by a third-party, independent lab. GC/MS tests verify purity and quality of the oils sold so you can look at the bottom of the bottle to find your individual batch code and then input that number into our website to pull up the GC/MS test results.

Rocky Mountain Products can be returned for any reason, even if opened, for up to 90 days. RMO also pays for our customers’ return shipping expenses to make our ordering process completely risk-free.

RMO includes three different icons for recommended use on each bottle for easy reference: Diffuse, Topical Application and Household. So you can look at the bottle and know in what way it’s intended for use.

essential oils

Buy the Summer Pest Control Bundle Now!

The Summer Home Remedies for Pest Control Bundle includes:

  • Four EASY natural insect repellent recipes: wasp, tick, mosquito and spider
  • Two insect bite treatment guides
  • Two label formats for all the recipes (round and rectangle)


If your pest problem persists, then you might be dealing with a severe pest infestation. Consult with a professional before the infestation gets any worse, which can also affect your family’s health.

More Tea Tree Oil Uses

Tea Tree Oil is a versatile essential oil that can be used in many ways. Here are some of my favorites!

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  1. I did not know that about geranium. I will have to get some. We live in the country and are outside quite a bit. Ticks especially seem to like my 4 year old. :/ I like that this is an easy recipe without a bunch of essential oils that are hard to find! Thanks for sharing on This is How We Roll link up.

  2. I am so happy you shared this. I plan on making this since this is a big problem. Thank you for sharing at Dishing it and Digging it link party. I am a huge fan of your blog.

  3. Wow! So glad I saw you on a link party. I’ve got tea tree oil, i’ll need to get the generenuim. We’ve had BAD ticks this year, and it scares me because 3 summers ago, I got Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and had NO IDEA what it was until I was at the hospital with all my organs enlarging and a rash, muscle stiffness and trouble breathing. Scared the heck out of me, now I’m so paranoid my kids or I will get it again. Nothing seems to bother my husband, lucky guy! The kids and I are always the buffet when we step outside. I even had to stop drying my clothes outside this summer because ticks were getting on them!! Thank you for this recpie!! I’m grateful to learn of a nontoxic treatment for our skin! (Because I’m not joking, we’ve treated the lawn three times, and they still keep coming!)

    1. Oh my goodness! I actually was just tested for lyme disease because I was having muscle/joint stiffness and PAIN! But I didn’t believe it was that since I always use these oils. I love that there is a study that proves these oils effective against ticks. PS. It was a reaction to new meds.

  4. I started spraying our shoes before hiking in the woods to prevent picking up ticks. My husband thinks the bug spray destroyed the waterproofness of his hiking boots. Is that even possible? This tea tree oil spray sounds much better than the chemical sprays. I’ll have to douse my husband when he’s not paying attention!

  5. I have contracted Lyme disease twice and had a scare last month when we visited Shiloh Civil War Battleground and I found a tick crawling on me. So glad to have this recipe for a natural tick repellent. Have begun using a tea tree oil conditioner on my hair and love the fragrance. Will be mixing up some of this.

  6. Hi, Will this dog spray deodorant also work to deter fleas & ticks on dogs??? Since it is natural, I was just wondering if I can also spray my mini poodle . .cause we are always outside walking & hiking thru the woods. Plz reply

    1. The recipe I use is only .05% concentration of tea tree oil. Per the article you included, “In small concentrations (.1% to 1%), tea tree oil is tolerated and safe for cats and dogs.” You can use 12-20 drops of oil to achieve a 0.05% dilution in 4oz of liquid which is what my recipe calls for. I’ve been using this on my dog for months and she is fine. Of course, with anything, you need to watch out for reactions for your pet as just like with humans they may be sensitive or allergic.

  7. We have lots of wonderful friends we hike with that share their spray with us and I know I have heard her mention all of these in it. It does work quite well; not perfectly of course but quite well.

    1. Hi Sinea – Yes Bug Off does have a scent. I believe it has citronella in it so it smells like bug spray. I am sensitive to smells as well and perfumes can trigger migraines but I am not affected by essential oils because they are natural. If he really doesn’t like citronella, I would make your own spray using lavender, lemongrass, cedarwood and tea tree oil. Those are not strong-smelling oils especially when mixed together!

  8. Thanks for doing the research on safe oils for pets AND kids. For some reason people don’t seem to realize they need to know if a oil is safe for them. They also aren’t told that a carrier should be used with oils (!). Thank you! I’m going to check out the link for the cats & dogs you posted above. I have a indoor only cat so I’d definitely like to see what you have to say on that. And I need to see about the tick recipe for the kids and I – we live at the parks in the summer time!

    1. Thanks Tina! Yes a lot of it is hit or miss so I like to include other oils that also work but you don’t have to use ALL of the oils. And cats are so different from dogs.

  9. Wow. What great information. I use tea tree essential oil for so many things, but am going to try you combo for tick repellent this week. Will pin and reshare. Congrats at being featured at Pretty Pintastic Party #262, where I posted Recipes for Remarkable Vegan Meatballs (a vegan meatball roundup). Have a great weekend and be well.

  10. Almond, geranium, and tea tree oil are all toxic to dogs. Cedarwood does kill ticks, but it is dose dependent and, more importantly, it does NOT repel ticks.

    1. Hi Steve – I agree with you about needing to be cautious using those oils with dogs. However, this tick repellent recipe is for humans. And Cedarwood actually has been proven by the CDC to repel ticks! 🙂

  11. This is such a handy and informative posy Vicky. Ticks are a real problem in the sub-tropical climate I live in, here in Northern Australia.
    Thank you for sharing your natural tick repellent recipe at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I’m delighted to be featuring it at tonight’s party and pinning too.

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