Between all the rain and the “dog days of summer,” mosquitoes have been out in full force lately here in my area. I’m sure you’re probably dealing with the same thing (unless you live in, say, Australia, where it’s currently winter!). I absolutely cannot stand mosquito bites. I’d rather be stabbed in the foot with a knife than be covered in itchy bites. Being itchy is worse than pain to me. As someone who deals with chronic pain, that’s saying a lot.
I usually try to stock up on things like cortisone creams and bug bite sticks, but sometimes I run out. Other times, well, they get lost under my bed or in the depths of my over-flowing medicine cabinet. When I’m itchy, I can’t sleep. So I have two choice: knock myself out cold with a double dose of antihistamines or reach for one of my tried and true home remedies for mosquito bites! Since the former leaves me with a hangover worse than my barfly days, I usually go with the remedies. Check out a few of my favorites.
Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites that Actually Work
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1. Honey and a band-aid
This sticky home remedy for mosquito bites isn’t my favorite, but it definitely works fantastic! Apply a little honey (preferably raw and locally harvested) to the bite, then cover with a band-aid! Not only does it help relieve the itching, but the anti-microbial properties of honey can also help stave off infection.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar works great at stopping itching from mosquito bites, and you don’t have to take a bath in it to get relief! Well, not unless you’re covered from head to toe! Just moisten a cotton ball and apply to the bite. While any vinegar will work, I find that apple cider vinegar smells a little better than the straight stuff.
If you read my post on 10 uses of Listerine, you’ll notice that soothing bug bites is one of them. Now, everyone else says to use the plain old Listerine. The one that’s a yellowish color. Guess what? The mint one works just as well! Not only that, but it also seems to repel mosquitoes. I’m not saying walk around doused in Listerine, but if you’re hanging out on your own back porch at night with your family, why not? To ease the itching from mosquito bites, just put some on a cotton ball and apply it to the bite.
It sounds weird, but this odd home remedy for mosquito bites really does work! Here’s the thing: It has to be paste, not gel. I have no idea why. Apply a small dab on the bite. Leave it there. That’s it. Repeat as needed.
5. Tea bags
Must be black or green tea, not herbal (although some herbs do help with mosquito bites). Make the tea as you normally would but don’t make the water as hot. Steep the bag for about a minute, long enough to get it really soaked. Take it out of the water and wring it out a bit in a paper towel. Then press it against the bug bite. Leave it there for a few minutes. I think it’s the tannic acid that helps. I’m not really sure, to be honest, I just know that it works.
6. Things that sting
It sounds counterproductive, but if you make the bite hurt, it won’t itch as much. I’m not saying cut it open with a knife of anything, but giving it a bit of a sting with something like rubbing alcohol or witch hazel can help. I wouldn’t try this one on a child though. Stick to stinging your own skin. The same theory behind this works for the old “X marks the spot” remedy, where you make a little X indentation in the bug bite. Yes, that actually works too.
7. Lavender oil
It’s not just for making great bath salts! Lavender is one of the very few oils that you can apply “neat” to your skin, meaning without diluting it first. Add a tiny dab to the bite to sooth the itch. With essential oils, a little goes a VERY long way, so I mean it when I say a “tiny dab.”
If you had chicken pox as a kid, you’ll remember how much you loved oatmeal bath time. The healthy breakfast food is also one of the greatest itch relievers of all time. If you’ve been made into a buffet by mosquitoes, take a bath in old-fashioned oatmeal (like the actual old-fashioned kind, the instant oatmeal will quite literally turn your bath into a breakfast buffet). If you just have a couple bites, make a paste out of the oatmeal and apply it to the affected areas.
9. Aloe Leaf
Aloe is great not just for helping to relieve the itching from mosquito bites, but also for helping the wound itself heal faster. Theoretically, you can use aloe gel (like the cheap stuff that you buy in bulk at the start of the summer for those days that your sunscreen fails), but you’ll get more relief if you use the juice right from the plant. If you have a black thumb like I do (I killed my poor aloe plant), you can usually find giant leafs of aloe in your grocery store produce section for about $3 each. Just pop them in the fridge, then snip off a piece, open it up, and rub it on your bite.
10. Plain old baking soda and water
If you’re in a pinch and don’t have anything else on hand (and don’t really feel like doing the X marks the spot trick), a paste made from baking soda and water should do the trick. This is probably the least effective mosquito bite remedy for me, but it could work wonders for you. In any case, it does offer some relief, and that’s definitely better than nothing.
Do you have any other favorite tried and true mosquito bite remedies? Tell me all about them!