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How to Kill Ticks in a Washing Machine

Jennifer Eblin

Ticks are small insects found in wooded areas and outdoor spaces with high weeds. These little bugs cause lyme disease and generally make their presence known with itchy red bumps that look similar to mosquito bites and other types of insect bites.

If you have ticks in your home, you’ll need to get rid of them, and that includes killing ticks that may be in your washing machine.

  1. Look for signs of ticks in your washing machine. If the inside of your machine is black, then you might have a hard time locating the bugs because their color is also black. The best thing to do is inspect your laundry before putting it in the dryer and look for any signs of ticks on the clothing, which may indicate their presence in your machine.

  2. Set the washing machine to high and turn the water to hot. Then let the washer run through an entire cycle without laundry inside. You want to do this to remove as many of the ticks as possible and then let the water drain out. Many of the ticks should drain out of the machine.

  3. Treat the inside of your washing machine with permethrin, which is a type of insecticide specifically created for ticks. Cover your hands with rubber gloves to protect against the insecticide. Then spray it directly into your washing machine, making sure to coat all surfaces and let sit for at least an hour.

  4. Run your washing machine again on the hottest setting. This removes all traces of the insecticide and also carries off the dead bodies of the ticks that you killed with the insecticide. You can even check the water as it comes out of the washing machine and look for signs of the bodies.

  5. Ensure that you killed all of the ticks by placing pieces of masking tape around the inside of the washing machine, sticky side up. Then place a piece of dry ice in the center of the washing machine and close the lid. Check the tape the next day because ticks are drawn to the dry ice. If there are any ticks stuck to the tape, you’ll need to treat the washing machine again.

  6. Warning

    Simply running the washing machine a few times won’t kill ticks because contrary to popular belief, the ticks don’t drown in the water. The ticks will continue to live in your washing machine until you treat the appliance properly.