One of the worst things about summer and early fall is the profusion of mosquitoes. Besides carrying diseases, mosquito bites are just plain annoying. The itching caused by the saliva of mosquitoes may be painful and distracting, but there are ways to get relief without scratching. While there are many commercial ant-itch ointments and creams available, they can be expensive or irritating to sensitive skin. Luckily, if you’re in the market for a cost-effective, safe and natural way to stop the itch, these 13 home remedies for mosquito bites are perfect.
Fight the discomfort and itchiness caused by bites with our home remedies for mosquito bites.
Honey has natural anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-microbial aspect helps to heal the bite faster, and keep it from getting infected if you’ve already scratched. It will also decrease inflammation, reducing swelling and angry redness. This mosquito bites home remedy, though delicious, works best as a topical treatment. Because honey is so sticky, be sure to use it on areas of skin not covered by clothing or let it dry before covering.
- Stir 1 tsp. honey into 1 tbsp. water.
- Use a cotton ball or fingertips to gently dab mixture onto mosquito bite.
- Rub into skin using small, circular motions.
- Repeat 2 times a day, washing area thoroughly before re-application.
2. Wood Vinegar
The anti-bacterial properties of vinegar make it excellent for keeping mosquito bites clean. While sources differ on which vinegar is most effective – apple cider, white distilled, wood, etc. – the consensus is that vinegar will help stop itching and heal bites faster as a topical treatment. The benefits are even more far-reaching than that, however. One study in the Journal of Entomological Research found that wood vinegar is a highly potent mosquito repellent. Be careful about applying vinegar to skin, however. In its undiluted form it can be irritating and cause burns when out in the sun.
- Mix 3 parts wood vinegar to 2 parts clean water.
- Use cotton ball to dab on affected areas.
- Wash vinegar off thoroughly before exposing skin to sun.
3. Aloe Vera
While the use of aloe vera to treat sunburns is very widely known, its natural cooling effect and healing properties make it excellent in home remedies for mosquito bites. Scientists hail aloe vera as both the oldest medicinal plant, and the most widely used around the world. Having an aloe plant in your home can help with even the worst mosquito bites, as commercially available ointments containing aloe have little of the active ingredient.
- Use scissors to cut off a tip of an aloe leaf.
- Rub the cut edge over mosquito bites.
- Repeat 2 times a day.
4. Mint Leaves
In addition to having a pleasant scent, freshly crushed mint leaves release a mentholated juice that soothes itchy mosquito bites. The same properties in the menthol that give it a refreshing flavor also cool the skin and reduce inflammation. In addition to being used in home remedies for mosquito bites, one study found that it’s also as effective as commercial repellents, such as DEET. The upside is that crushed mint leaves smell better, are less harmful to the body and contain no harsh chemicals.
- Crush 8-10 fresh mint leaves in food processor or with mortar and pestle.
- Use fingertips to rub the resulting paste onto mosquito bites.
- Repeat 2 times a day, washing off previous application before the next.
5. Baking Soda
Because baking soda is alkaline by nature, it can stop the itching caused by mosquito bites by restoring pH balance to skin. According to one article in Prevention Magazine, baking soda can be used as a general itch reliever. It may not help with swelling or healing, but it is one of the most effective mosquito bites home remedies when it comes to the annoying need to scratch.
- Dissolve 2 tbsp. baking soda into 1 cup water.
- Dip clean washcloth in the solution and lay over bites.
- Let sit 10-15 minutes, then remove cloth.
- Moisturize skin.
6. Used Tea Bags
Don’t throw away your used tea bags. If you drink green, chamomile, or black tea with no sugar or additives, save the bags. They have a cooling, anti-inflammatory effect on irritated skin. It’s one of the reasons chamomile tea bags are so popular for reducing bags under the eyes. Dr. Rob Hicks says that the tannins in tea are a natural astringent, helping to reduce swelling and provide itch relief.
- Boil 1 cup water.
- Steep a tea bag for 10 minutes.
- Let tea bag cool.
- Rub over affected areas and let dry.
Oatmeal is one of the simplest home remedies for mosquito bites, but may be one of the most powerful. While it’s been used as a treatment for itchy or irritated skin for centuries, a recent study found just why that is. Polyphenols in natural oatmeal have anti-oxidant properties that can help heal bites faster. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties that help fight the itch and reduce swelling and redness. This is a messy home remedy, so set aside some time for cleanup afterward!
- Mix 1 cup oatmeal into 1 cup warm water.
- Let sit 10 minutes at room temperature.
- Spread some mixture on mosquito bites, then cover with damp washcloth.
- Let sit 10 minutes, then wipe off.
- Rinse area thoroughly with cool water, but do not use soap.
8. Basil Leaves
Much like fresh mint leaves, fresh basil has a pleasant fragrance, is very easy to find and can help relieve the itch of mosquito bites. One study found that basil contains eugenol, a naturally-occurring chemical that provides itch relief and reduces inflammation. In its synthetic form, eugenol is present in many commercially available anti-itch creams. However, if you prefer a natural home remedy, all you need is some fresh basil.
- Crush 10-12 fresh basil leaves in food processor or with mortar and pestle.
- Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Use fingertips to gently rub crushed basil into mosquito bites.
- Let sit 10-15 minutes.
- Rinse off with cool water, but do not use soap.
- Repeat 2 times a day.
9. Cold Compress
While cold therapy won’t help with long-term itch relief, applying a cold compress to mosquito bites will help to reduce swelling and redness. It also numbs the skin, making itching less noticeable, for a time. According to the staff at the Mayo Clinic, using cold therapy in conjunction with other home remedies for mosquito bites will provide relief and help your skin heal much faster. Be careful when using ice packs or ice cubes, as prolonged exposure may damage nerve endings or result in poor blood circulation.
- Wrap an ice pack or plastic bag filled with ice cubes in towel.
- Apply to affected area.
- Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then remove.
10. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, long known for its anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties, is also successful at reducing itch. While the evidence is fairly new, studies suggest that chemical compounds found in tea tree oil are anti-inflammatory. When you combine its healing powers, ability to clean wounds and the swelling reducing properties of tea tree oil, you see it’s a highly effective mosquito bite home remedy. Tea tree oil is very powerful and should not be used in its undiluted form. It also should not be used on children under 6 or those with very sensitive skin.
- Mix 6 drops tea tree oil into 1 tbsp. olive oil.
- Use fingertips or cotton swab to gently rub mixture into affected skin.
- Let dry.
- Wash off with cool water and gentle soap if any form of skin irritation starts to appear.
11. Witch Hazel
Keeping a bottle of witch hazel in the freezer is a common practice. A cotton ball soaked in the liquid has a great cooling effect when rubbed on the face. This cooling effect is due to the alcohol dilution, but also the anti-inflammatory aspects of the witch hazel itself. One study purported that the chemicals found in witch hazel can not only reduce itching and swelling, but also protect skin from further irritation.
- Store witch hazel infusion in freezer.
- Soak cotton ball or pad in cold witch hazel.
- Rub over affected areas every 3 hours.
Aspirin works to treat headaches by reducing inflammation in the head and allowing for better circulation. In the instance of a headache, it’s generally taken orally. One study from Oxford University says that even when applied topically, the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of aspirin were effective. Not only does a paste or ointment made from aspirin work to relieve itch and reduce skin irritation caused by mosquito bites, but there are none of the side effects associated with its use. For best results, use aspirin in its chalky tablet form, rather than capsules or liquids.
- Crush 1 aspirin tablet into powder.
- Mix powder with 1 tsp. water.
- Use fingertip to dab mixture onto mosquito bites.
- Let dry.
13. Lemon Juice
Lemon is a natural anesthetic, delivering itch and pain relief almost immediately. It also has some anti-inflammatory properties, so may help reduce swelling and redness. Because of its inherent bacteria-killing powers, lemon juice is also effective for cleaning the bite and preventing infection. Be careful when using lemon juice, and only apply it to bites that haven’t been scratched. Even if you can’t see the wound, an already-scratched mosquito bite has tiny skin abrasions and the lemon will sting. Also be sure that when using lemon in home remedies for mosquito bites, you thoroughly rinse it off before going out into the sun. Sun exposure on lemon juice can cause terrible burns and even skin discoloration. Do not put lemon juice on the skin of infants or children under 6.
- Juice 1 lemon.
- Use cotton ball or clean washcloth to dab lemon juice onto mosquito bites.
- Wash off before going outside or if you experience stinging.
Mosquito bites are an unfortunate, but inevitable part of the warmer months. However, even if one catches you by surprise, you don’t have to suffer or make a trip to the drugstore for commercial treatments. If you want to try one of our home remedies for mosquito bites, it’s likely you already have some of the ingredients right in your kitchen.
All natural relief from the itching, redness and swelling of mosquito bites without harsh chemicals is possible. What are your favorite home remedies for mosquito bites? Let us know in the comments below what’s worked for you.