Home Remedies for Itchy Insect Bites

home remedies for insect bites that itch

Once you step outside, a wide-open world of insects and bugs await. If you’re one of the unlucky victims of a sting or bite, chances are you’re in for a wave of itchiness that lasts throughout the day and can keep you up all night. To combat one of the most annoying effects of bugs, consider using home remedies for itchy insect bites to gain relief.

Causes and Symptoms

The itchiness that comes from insect bites are linked to chemicals found in the saliva or stinger. Some people are highly sensitive and allergic to these components and will display more intense symptoms. Common culprits of itchy bug bites include bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, mosquitoes, fire ants, fleas, ticks, lice, and bed bugs [1]. Besides itchiness, other symptoms that accompany an insect bite include redness, swelling, inflamed skin, and rashes.

Itchy Insect Bite Home Remedies

From common kitchen ingredients to everyday over-the-counter products taking up space in your bathroom cabinet, there are plenty of ways to ease the itchiness of a bug bite. To enjoy instant relief, consider the following home remedies for itchy insect bites:

a) Powdered Milk:

When the itch of a bug bite drives you crazy, create a soothing paste by combining one part powdered milk and two parts water with a pinch or two of salt. Dab the remedy on a bite. The enzymes of the powdered milk help to neutralize the venom associated with a bite or sting.

b) Ivory Soap:

Rubbing a bar of soap over an itchy bug bite can provide instant relief. Use a wet bar of soap for the best results.

c) Tape:

Position a piece of scotch tape over an insect bite. Some people have noted better results when dabbing on rubbing alcohol or ammonia on the bite before applying the tape.

d) Hot Water:
Home Remedies for Insect bites Hot Water

Since heat has proven effective against the itchiness of some insect bites, try taking a hot shower or bath. The hotter and more steam, the more soothing it will be to your skin. Applying a hot compress will also help.

e) Alka Seltzer [2]:

To address itchy mosquito and other insect bites, ease the itch by dropping two Alka-Seltzer tablets in a half a glass of water. Dip a cotton ball into the glass, and then apply to affected skin. If you are allergic to aspirin, do not follow this home remedy.

f) Toothpaste:

Ease the itch of bug bites by applying white toothpaste to affected skin.

g) Mouthwash:

The antiseptic properties of mouthwash (like Listerine)[3] contain components that will soothe the itch of an insect bite.

h) Vinegar:

Directly apply white vinegar to an insect bite, or soak in a hot bath after adding two cups of vinegar to the water.

i) Tea:

Add rubbing alcohol to a strongly brewed cup of tea to create a solution that treats insect bites that itch. You may also place a used, hot tea bag directly on a bite or soak a cotton ball in hot tea that is then applied to affected skin.

j) Deodorant:

Directly apply the solid or roll-on type of underarm deodorant to a bug bite to gain relief from bothersome itching.

k) Nail Polish:

Ease the itching of bug bites by applying a single or double layer of clear nail polish on and around affected skin. Leave the polish on for a couple of days to continue enjoying relief from itchiness.

l) Salt:

After pouring a quarter size of salt on your hand, rub on the affected area of an itchy insect bite to enjoy relief.

m) Liquor:

Any liquor (from vodka to tequila) can serve as a substitute for rubbing alcohol, which temporarily helps stop the inflammation and itch of insect bites.

n) Baking Soda:

Add enough water to baking soda to form a paste that will help dry out and ease the discomfort of itchy insect bites. The consistency of this remedy needs to be slightly thick so that it will stay in place.

o) Hand Sanitizer:

A small amount of hand sanitizer rubbed into an itchy bug bite can bring soothing relief.

p) Meat Tenderizer:

Mixing meat tenderizer with a bit of water creates a paste that soothes painful, itchy insect bites and stings.

q) Tums:

While you may know Tums as an antacid, crushing a few tablets and adding a couple drops of water can create a soothing paste for itchy bug bites.

r) Aspirin:
Holding asprin and water ready to mix into a paste for insect bite home remedies

Do not take it orally for insect biting wounds. Use the water to mix the aspirin with. Crush an aspirin and add a few drops of water to create a paste that is directly applied to itchy bug bites. Some people will substitute the water for a couple of drops of rubbing alcohol to enhance the antibacterial and cooling effect of the remedy.

s) Honey:

Applying honey to an insect bite will encourage the healing process and soothe the discomfort caused by allergens found in a bug’s saliva.

t) Epsom Salts:

A foot soak of water and Epsom salts is known to treat bug bites on the ankle and foot region.

u) Benadryl [4]:

Taking an antihistamine that contains diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl) can fight the factors that causes your skin to itch after a bug bite. You may also directly apply Benadryl cream to affected skin to see results.

v) Orajel:

The numbing properties of the toothache treatment called Orajel can provide relief for itchy insect bites. You can count on this remedy to last a couple of hours.

w) Oatmeal and Cornstarch:

Soothe itchy bug bites by soaking in bath water filled with powdered oatmeal (grinded in food processor or blender) or cornstarch.

x) Vicks VapoRub:

The menthol and camphor contained in Vicks VapoRub[5] can help soothe the effects of an itchy mosquito bite because it boosts circulation of your blood and helps break up the anti-bloodclotting agents that accompanies some insect bites.

y) Preparation H:

Used to fight hemorrhoids, components found in Preparation H is known to reduce the swelling and itch of bites for up to 24 hours.

z) Mylanta:

Although no one seems to be able to pinpoint the exact reason why it works, the heartburn relief product known as Mylanta contains ingredients known to soothe itchy insect bites. Some believe the remedy is effective because Mylanta may reduce the acidity of the anticoagulant chemicals found in the saliva of insects.

aa) Witch Hazel:

You can apply undiluted witch hazel (an astringent for the skin) directly to insect bites to ease itching and discomfort.

bb) Rubbing Alcohol:

Ease the itch and stinging sensation of an insect bite by dipping a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and dabbing on mosquito bites.

cc) Ice:

Apply an ice cube or ice pack to a bug bite to gain relief from itching. If the bite is on the hand or arm, run very cold water from the faucet over affected skin.

dd) Basil:

Crush the fresh leaves of basil to express the oils, and then apply to a bug bite.

ee) Citrus Fruits:

Apply fresh lemon or lime slices directly to an itchy bite. You may also treat itchiness with the juice of lemons or limes.

ff) Banana Peel:

Rub the inside of a banana peel on a bug bite to relieve the itching.


[1] http://dermnetnz.org/arthropods/bites.html
[2] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things; pg. 38

[3] https://www.listerine.com/

[4] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-insect-bites/FA00046

[5] http://www.vicks.co.uk/products/decongestants/vicks-vaporub-ointment/