Home Remedies for Spider Bites

spider bite home remedies

You probably didn’t know that nearly all the spiders you come in contact with are poisonous – a common feature that allows them to hunt their prey. However, the majority of spiders in the United States are harmless – too small to pose a threat to a human. Yet, if you live in a warm climate, you should keep an eye out for the black widow and brown recluse spiders, which pack quite a bite. Getting familiar with home remedies for spider bites couldn’t hurt either.


Spider Bite Symptoms and Facts

In the United States, the black widow and brown recluse spider pose the largest hazard to humans. The black widow (sometimes called the red-black spider) is shiny black with a red mark (in the shape of an hourglass) on its back. Since a black widow spider delivers a toxin that affects the nervous system, it is important to act fast. When bitten, the spider’s venom causes instantaneous pain, burning, swelling, and redness at the site. Double fang marks are sometimes visible [1].

Dwelling in the southeastern region of the U.S., the brown recluse is known for leaving behind large wounds, but is less likely to significantly injure a human victim. Measuring about 1-inch long, these spiders possess a violin-shaped mark on the back of their midsections. They often reside in closets, basements, and attics. While not an aggressive species, they will attack when trapped or pressed against the skin. A brown recluse spider bite causes burning, pain, itching, redness, deep blue or purple discoloring, rash, fever, nausea or vomiting.

Spider Bite Home Remedies

Even though most spiders do not possess strong enough venom, some people will suffer an allergic reaction, which includes redness, swelling, pain, itching, and symptoms that seem to worsen over a period of 24 hours. Severe reactions include hives, shortness of breath, wheezing, and weakness [2]. To minimize your reaction to a spider’s toxins and treat existing bites, consider the following home remedies:


a) Cold Water and Ice:

Reduce swelling and provide spider bite relief by applying an ice pack or cold, wet washcloth to the skin.

b) Baking Soda:

Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water to create a paste to speed up the healing process of a spider bite. Depending on the severity of your bite, you will see changes within a couple of days.

c) WD-40:

Prevent a reoccurrence of spider bites that take place in the home by spraying your windowsills, door frames, and screens with WD-40 in an attempt to keep these insects out of your household [3].

d) Elevation:

If a spider has bitten you in the arm or leg, it is suggested to elevate the site to prevent swelling.

e) Hydrocortisone 1% Cream:

Treat itching and redness of a spider bite by applying hydrocortisone cream (1%). Calamine lotion makes an effective substitute.

f) Hydrogen Peroxide:

Since washing a spider bite site will help disinfect, choose hydrogen peroxide as an effective antiseptic for insect bites.

g) Dried Basil:

To ease the itch of a spider bite, take a pinch of crushed basil and rub on your bite until the basil turns into the consistency of fine sand. This home remedy will also help keep the swelling down.

h) Turmeric and Olive Oil:

Mix turmeric and olive oil to make a paste that treats the swelling and redness of a spider bite. Over the course of seven days, apply to your bite to help release some of the toxins. The combination also makes a decent pain reliever. Repeat the treatment at least two to three times throughout the week.

i) Aspirin:

To gain relief from a spider bite, it is necessary to neutralize some of the poison. Soak an aspirin tablet in a little bit of water until it creates a paste. Apply to your spider bite to alleviate itching. For some people, symptoms are relieved within ½ hour.

j) Antibiotic Lotion or Cream:

Fight infection (especially in children) by applying an antibiotic lotion or cream to a spider bite.


[1] http://www.umm.edu/non_trauma/spider.htm
[2] http://firstaid.about.com/od/bitesstings/qt/07_spider_bites.htm
[3] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg 376.