10 Best Tick Repellents for Humans 2020

Many humans spend a lot of time learning how to protect their pets from pesky little parasites without giving much thought to protecting themselves.

If you walk through the forest and some ticks fall on your dog, they’ll probably fall on you, too!

We’re glad to see that you set out in search of the best tick repellent for humans because it shows that you understand the real dangers of Lyme disease and other diseases that ticks carry.

The problem is that most products contain DEET (a.k.a. diethyltoluamide, the common ingredient found in insect repellent), which is just not healthy for humans! Even though it does repel the bugs quite well, it is just not worth using due to the number of side effects it poses.

Some of you may prefer the strong stuff and some of you may prefer the natural solution, so while we aren’t to food of the stronger products, we will be including a few in our table below and label each one clearly so you know the difference.

Top 10 Tick Repellents for Humans Comparison

PictureNameTypePriceRating (1-5)
Rating (1-5)
1. Rose Geranium 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential OilNatural Essential Oil$$$4.7
2. Repel Permethrin Clothing & Gear Insect Repellent AerosolInsecticide (Permethrin)$4.6
3. Sawyer Products Premium Maxi-DEET Insect RepellentInsecticide (DEET)$$4.5
4. Eucalyptus 100% Pure, Best Therapeutic Grade Essential OilNatural Essential Oil$4.5
5. Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect RepellentInsecticide (Permethrin)$$4.4
6. Botanical Solutions Tick Guard Repellant SprayNatural Repellent$$4.3
7. Repel 100 Insect RepellentInsecticide (DEET)$4.3
8. Tick Ban - YAYA Organics Tick and Bug RepellentNatural Repellent$$4.2
9. Bugs BeGone by Amrita AromatherapyNatural Repellent$3.9
10. Natural Insect Repellent DEET-FreeNatural Repellent$$3.8

What to Look for When Shopping for Human-Friendly Tick Repellents

When shopping for tick repellent, there are a few particular products or ingredients that we prefer over others since they are natural insect repellents. These include:

  • Rose Geranium Oil. This is probably the best tick repellent for humans on our list if you want to go the all-natural route.

Unlike most essential oils that need to be diluted in another oil (called the “carrier oil”), this oil can be applied directly to the skin. A few drops placed strategically on your body in the most tick-prone areas (behind the ears, ankles, wrists, knees and back of the neck) will safely and effectively repel them.

We have actually seen two different suggestions when it comes choosing this type of oil: some say to use Geranium Bourbon oil (whose botanical name is Pelargonium Graveolens) while others find that Rose Geranium oil (Pelargonium Roseum) works better. Taking it even further, some swear by a particular species of the Rose Geranium (Pelargonium Capitatum x Radens) and feel that it is even more effective.

While all three do come from the same plant genus, they are different species within that genus and therefore have different characteristics.

Left: Geranium Bourbon Oil          Right: Rose Geranium Oil

There are a few other essential oils that are helpful in the fight against ticks, but none seem to be as effective as the two we just looked at.

In case you’re wondering, these include:

  • Eucalyptus Oil (included in our table)
  • Lemongrass Oil
  • Citronella Oil
  • Cedar Wood Oil
  • Lavender Oil

While rose geranium oil and geranium bourbon oil can be applied directly to the skin, you’ll need to do some independent research in order to see how these other oils should be safely used and applied.

The Stronger Options

As we mentioned, there are some stronger options available for those of you interested (we’ve clearly labeled them in our table of the best tick repellent for humans.)

They usually contain DEET (which we mentioned in the introduction), but some products contain Permethrin, which is another kind of insecticide.

The important thing to remember when using them is that YOU NEED TO APPLY THEM ACCORDING TO MANUFACTURER INSTRUCTIONS.

These should…

  • NEVER be applied directly to the skin
  • NEVER be applied to areas where you have open wounds/open skin
  • NEVER be applied to clothing while it is on your body (or on someone’s body whom you are spraying)

The ingredients in these are toxic (that’s why they do such a great job at keeping the ticks away), but you should only apply them…

  • Outdoors
  • To the outer surface of clothing that you are not wearing

Basically, you need to take your clothes outside, put them in some hangers, lightly mist them and then let the clothing dry before you put any of them on your body.

Top 3 Best Tick Repellent for Humans Reviews

1. Morn Aroma Rose Geranium Essential Oil

We’ve already praised the wonders of Rose Geranium oil when it comes to repelling ticks, and this particular brand is ideal since it is so pure.

Extracting oils from plants is a delicate business, and we’re glad to say that Morn Aroma did not dilute or add any other ingredients into their oil in order to keep it as pure as possible.

Not only is this a human-friendly repellent but you can also use it on your dog, as well. Keep in mind that they are more sensitive to smells so apply it to the tail and back of the neck.

This oil should not be used on cats.

2. Repel Permethrin Clothing & Gear Insect Repellent

This insecticide is strong and while it is not our favorite product, it certainly keeps the ticks off. The active ingredient it contains is permethrin.

We see this being useful to hunters or those of you who live in tick-infested areas. Hunters appreciate that this is unscented, so it won’t alert the game of their presence.

One application is said to last two weeks (if you don’t wash the clothes) and those who use it find this to be true!

Too bad it is so toxic.

3. Sawyer Products Premium Maxi DEET

This is another insecticide option containing DEET. It contains a 98.11% solution of DEET and once applied to clothing, it is said to last for up to 10 hours.

The manufacturer states that it is safe to use directly on the skin (the previous product, for example, was only for clothing).

While this might be true, we would still advise against it. Spray this on netting, clothing or other materials in order to get temporary tick protection.

We’d avoid direct skin contact ourselves, but the choice is up to you. Be sure to read the directions and usage carefully!