Home Remedies for Bed Bug Bites

Hitching rides on luggage, burrowing in the cracks of furniture, and even infesting the swankiest of hotel mattresses, bed bugs are becoming an increasingly frustrating problem. To the horror of victims, noticeably red lesions can cover an entire back or spread across limbs. Doctors often use antihistamines and corticosteroids as suitable treatments, but don’t rule out home remedies for bed bug bites.

Bed Bug Bites

What is a Bed Bug?

Feeding on the blood of warm-blooded creatures, bed bugs are small, wingless insects that wait until nighttime before painlessly stealing away a few drops of blood [1]. During the feeding process, a miniscule amount of their saliva enters the skin, which causes victims to suffer skin reactions. Bites tend to occur around the arms, hands, neck, torso, and even the face.


People with skin sensitivities and individuals with repeated exposure to bed bugs walk away with mild to severe allergic responses. For some, bed bug bites look nothing more than mosquito bites, and are hard to tell apart. In other cases, the frequency or cluster of bites often alert victims to a bed bug attack, but can also be mistaken for a severe rash. Welts or red lesions are a common bodily reaction to bed bug bites, where scratching intensifies bites in size and level of itchiness.

Bed Bug Bite Home Remedies

A bed bug bite can last from a couple of days to a few weeks, which all depends on the allergic sensitivities of a victim. At first, the itching will subside, followed by the fading away of the bite mark. To speed up the process and ease unbearable itching, consider the following home remedies for bed bug bites:

a) Soap and Water:

Clean bed bug bites with antibacterial soap and water to prevent bacteria from entering broken skin.

b) Calamine Lotion:

Offering protection for the skin, calamine lotion dries out the bites, promotes healing, and calms itchiness.

c) Cool Water:

Rinse bed bug bites with cool water to take some of the sting out of itchy skin and calm down any swelling.

d) Ice:

Treat swollen and itchy skin by applying ice to cool the bites, decrease inflammation, and ease your desire to scratch. Press an ice cube on and off the skin for a couple of minutes throughout the day for relief. Some people reduce their chances of frostbitten skin by wrapping ice in a towel to create a cool compress.

e) Oatmeal:

Add powdered oatmeal to a lukewarm bath and soak to reduce the irritation of itchy skin.

f) Salt and Baking Soda:

Relieve the discomfort and itchiness of bed bug bites by mixing equal parts of baking soda and salt with enough water to make a thick paste. Apply to bites when needed.

g) Alka-Seltzer:

Treat the itch of bed bug bites by dipping a cotton ball into a ½ glass of water containing two Alka-Seltzer tablets and applying to bites. If you are allergic to aspirin, do not try this remedy.


[1]  Reader’s Digest Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things; pg 38