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Check it Out: Ticks on your clothes? Nuke 'em.

Now here's an idea I wouldn't have considered for getting ticks out of your clothes after spending time outdoors.

Hilary Stoltman—or "H.P.," as he's known to his friends—of Thief River Falls called the other day with a tip for making sure any ticks that might crawl onto your clothes don't survive to bite another day:

Nuke 'em.

Stoltman, an avid outdoorsman who has a cabin east of Fourtown, Minn., near the border of the Red Lake Indian Reservation, said he wears white coveralls when working outside or traipsing through the woods.

The coveralls have a Velcro fly instead of a zipper, and when he's done working outside, Stoltman throws the coveralls in the microwave. Ditto for socks, base layers and any other clothing that doesn't have metal.

It takes some experimenting to determine how long to nuke the clothes, but 40 seconds is a good starting point for socks, base layers and similar clothing, Stoltman says. He'll put the coveralls in for 30 seconds, give them a quick turn and then zap them another 30 seconds.

"All the clothes I wear when I come out of the woods, I put in the microwave," Stoltman says. "Otherwise, the ticks are just waiting. It works real good.

"I can tell you right now, they're not interested in biting anymore."

Finding coveralls with Velcro closures instead of metal zippers or buttons can be a challenge, but Stoltman said he found his at an Army Surplus store. He also tucks the legs of his coveralls into white socks, securing the tops of the socks with rubber bands. That way, no ticks can crawl up his legs to bite.

Every microwave is different, and Stoltman says it's important to use caution to avoid burning the clothes.

"A person has to experiment, and the only way is to find a live tick or two and put them in the microwave and see how long it takes," Stoltman said.

Cruel? Perhaps.

But hey, it's a tick.

-- Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998.  A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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