4 Old-School Tricks to Avoid Ticks, According to TikTok’s Favorite Grandma

published Sep 4, 2023
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A quaint fairytale cottage, covered by lush plant life and flowers, in the Rose Garden at Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Credit: Bianca Izurieta | Getty Images

Ticks aren’t just a nuisance; not only are they extremely tiny and frequently hard to detect, they carry lots of nasty diseases that can make you very sick. Tick-borne illnesses are also on the rise in many parts of the country thanks to longer warmer seasons, which means you’ll need to stay vigilant for them long after summer is officially over.

If you want to avoid tick bites in the first place (and you certainly do if you spend any amount of time outdoors), TikTok’s favorite grandma Barbara “Babs” Costello (aka @brunchwithbabs) just shared the three household items (plus a another smart tip) that help repel ticks and remove them if you happen to come home with any unwanted visitors, and you probably have them all on hand right now.

Spray an apple cider vinegar solution. 

Before heading outdoors, Costello recommends spraying clothes and skin with equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle. “The ticks hate the smell and it’ll keep you hopefully tick-free,” she says.

Use Vicks VapoRub around your ankles.

“For tick hot spots, like around your ankles, take some Vicks VapoRub and just put it right on your socks. Just rub it all over,” she suggests. “The menthol and the camphor in this are going to repel those ticks; they hate the smell.”

Wear light clothing and pull up your socks. 

Costello also advises wearing light-colored clothes, which makes it easier to spot these tiny pests. And yes, they are tiny: ticks can be as small as a poppy seed in the nymph stage and a sesame seed in the adult stage. You’ll also want to roll your socks over your pant leg to prevent them from crawling up your ankles in the first place, she adds.

Do a thorough check with a lint roller. 

Even with these techniques, you’ll want to diligently check your entire body as soon as you come back inside. Costello’s helpful tip: “When you’re done with your outdoor activity and you’re ready to go inside, use a lint roller. Go over all your clothing, even your skin.” Ticks will “stick to the lint roller and not you,” she says.

After lint rolling, you’ll want to remove all your clothes and put them in the laundry ASAP. You’ll also want to thoroughly check easy-to-hide body parts, such as your scalp, groin, armpits, and any other dark, moist areas, as ticks love to hide where they can’t be easily spotted. Taking just a few minutes to check these areas will help keep you and your family members safe from ticks and the awful pathogens they carry.