As you may have read from previous articles, ticks are one tough insect. They can survive submerged in water for up to 72 hours (about 3 days), withstand extreme temperatures, and are almost impossible to crush. But what about washing them? Do ticks die in the washing machine? Will the combination of churning water and laundry detergent be enough to kill these resilient insects?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Ticks can outlast a sudsy journey through your washing machine, even the hot water cycle. A study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that most ticks survived nearly all combinations of temperature settings and detergent types (told ya, they are one tough bug). So, if a thorough wash and rinse cycle won’t kill them, what can you do to eliminate these potentially dangerous pests? Will any type of washing kill a tick? Here are some important things you should know about ticks.
Why Are Ticks So Dang Tough?
I think we can all agree—ticks are tough. Any insect capable of surviving a run through your washing machine is worthy of a ‘super bug’ title. Ticks can survive washing by sheltering in crevices and folds of your laundry. Because they trap oxygen from water in tiny, hydrophobic hairs on their bodies, some tick species can survive hours or even days submerged in freshwater.
In addition to escaping the washing machine in one piece, ticks can also survive indoors in carpets, too. These creepy crawlers are drought-resistant, cold tolerant, and can go months without a meal (it just keeps getting better).
Related Topic: Do Ticks Survive Water?
Can Ticks Survive Laundry—Including the Dryer?
It appears that ticks can make it through the washing machine alive, but what about the dryer? This depends on the cycle setting. While most ticks will die after tumbling around for 30 minutes or more at high heat, many can survive a “no heat” dryer cycle. Surprisingly, it’s not the heat that actually kills them—it’s the dryness. Ticks require moisture to survive and are more likely to die in very dry conditions, like those created inside a hot dryer.
How to Kill Ticks in Laundry with Certainty
Want to be certain you kill ticks in the laundry? Here are two simple steps to kill even the most resilient ticks hiding in your clothing:
- Place soiled clothing in the washing machine, and use the hottest water setting along with your regular detergent.
- After washing, immediately place the clothes in the dryer and dry for a minimum of sixty minutes on high heat.
Following these steps immediately after spending time in areas that are known to harbor ticks, will not only ensure your clothes are clean, but tick-free too. Even if your clothes are tick-free, it’s also important to do a thorough inspection of your body to make sure no ticks have latched on and begun feeding.
Related Topic: Where Are Lone Star Ticks Found?
Make Ticks Run for the Hills
There is no doubt that ticks are tough to kill. The best way to deal with ticks is to avoid them as much as possible. But if you enjoy the outdoors that’s not always easy, unless you call the pest control pros at Mosquito Joe. We offer tick control services that help eliminate even the toughest ticks on your property. To keep you and your family safe from ticks and all kinds of biting insects. Schedule online or call 1-855-275-2563 to connect with your local team.