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The proper way to remove a tick

Ticks can be hard to avoid because they are out in nature. They are found on hikes and in forests, but can also be found right outside of your back door. These pests are incredibly tiny making them very difficult to spot.

Finding a tick on yourself usually solicits panic mode. And panic mode is the exact opposite of what you need when a tick has latched on to you. It’s important to know and understand best practices for removing a tick from yourself or from someone else – the quicker you remove a tick, the better. Learn the proper way to remove a tick with our tick do's and don'ts list!

american dog tick

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How to properly remove a tick

If it hasn’t happened already, chances are you will end up having to remove a tick from yourself, someone else, or your pup at some point. Prepare yourself with the right tips and follow the ‘do list’ below to properly remove a tick that has latched on.


  • Use clean, fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers.
  • Once you’ve removed the tick, wash the bite area using soap and water or rubbing alcohol to clean the area as you would any cut to prevent a skin infection.
  • Dispose of the tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
  • If you decide to see a physician, bring the preserved dead tick in a sealed container for identification.
Using white tweezers to properly remove a tick out of human skin

What not to do when removing a tick

You may have seen some of the advice below while doing a quick Google search on how to remove a tick. These, however, are definitely not recommended for proper tick removal. Below are some things that need to be avoided when removing a tick from yourself or someone else. 


  • Avoid crushing the tick between your fingers or fingernails. Doing this could spread potentially infected blood and fluids on your hands. Plus, it’s harder to salvage a crushed tick if you want to save it and bring it to your doctor for inspection and testing.
  • Never squeeze the body of a tick as you remove it. You could accidentally separate the head and the body, leaving the head attached to the skin. 
  • Don’t use fire, petroleum jelly, nail polish, or other chemicals to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–not waiting for it to detach.
A male crushing a tick between his fingers. Not removing a tick the proper way.

Tick-borne diseases

In most cases, ticks must be attached for 36-48 hours or more before Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted. Checking yourself for ticks as soon as you come indoors is crucial to prevent yourself from contracting a serious tick-borne illness. If you find one, don’t wait! Remove it immediately.

You may know by now that not all tick species transmit Lyme disease. There are, however, many other tick-borne illnesses, like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. If you experience a tick bite, be alert for symptoms suggestive of tick-borne illness. Consult a physician if you are concerned or if fever, rash, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, or other symptoms of concern develop.

Western Exterminator technician spraying tall green bushes with mosquito and tick control spray

Prevent ticks with Western Exterminator

Unfortunately, you cannot completely get rid of ticks because, as we said before, they are a part of nature. This makes proper tick prevention and control methods the key to avoiding a tick-borne illness. 

Tick prevention can be as simple as wearing a long sleeve shirt and long pants when you walk outside, but the best protection is working with a pest control company and having your yard treated for mosquitoes and ticks.

Our mosquito and tick control service will lower the population of these biting pests on your property. This service reduces your exposure to both ticks and mosquitoes and the health threats they pose. Contact us today to learn how you can get your yard treated!

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