New 6-minute plan to remove ticks from clothes

WASHINGTON — If you spend much time communing with nature, you know it’s tick season, but a new plan can shorten the time it takes to deal with those bloodsucking disease carriers.

Until now, the protocol for tick-infested clothing has been to run the clothes through the washer and dryer.

A new study in the journal Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases says spinning dry clothes in a hot dryer for 6 minutes will kill the arachnids and reduce the risk of tick-related illnesses.

The new research shows ticks are extremely sensitive to dryness, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The scientists washed and dried hundreds of blacklegged ticks, and found ticks were rarely harmed by washing, even in hot water.

By comparison, all ticks dried with dry towels were killed in 4 to 11 minutes, depending on the temperature.

In cases where infested clothes need to be washed first, drying on low heat will take 70 minutes to kill ticks, and 50 minutes at high heat.

Tick bites are responsible for an estimated 300,000 Lyme disease infections in the U.S. per year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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