16 Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites: Ways to Stop the Itch (2023)

When a mosquito bite causes itching and discomfort, you can often find relief with kitchen staples like oatmeal, honey, or baking soda.

Mosquito bites are the hallmark of warmer weather. Though the bites are often harmless, some can cause complications.

Mosquitoes bite because they are attracted to human blood. The bite, which might not appear until hours later, creates a bump that is typically swollen, sore, or itchy.

Mosquitoes can carry diseases, although the likelihood of being infected by a mosquito depends largely on where you live. Another rare problem caused by a mosquito bite is a serious reaction to the bite itself.

If you have a mosquito bite and develop symptoms of an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, or a swollen throat, contact a doctor immediately.

You may not feel it immediately when a mosquito bites you. But the bump the bite leaves behind comes with a persistent itch that can linger for days. Creams and ointments can help, but you can also beat the itch with things that are probably already lying around your house.

One remedy for an uncomfortable mosquito bite may also be one of your favorite breakfasts. Oatmeal can relieve itching and swelling because it contains special compounds that have anti-irritant qualities.

Make an oatmeal paste by mixing equal amounts of oatmeal and water in a bowl until you have a spackle-like substance. Spoon some paste onto a washcloth and hold it, paste-side down, on the irritated skin for about 10 minutes. Then wipe the area clean.

If you have many bites, try an oatmeal bath instead. Place 1 cup of oatmeal or ground oats into a bathtub full of warm water. To avoid potential plumbing problems, you may want to tie up the oats first in a piece of cheesecloth or another light fabric. Think of it like a giant tea bag that you’ll toss into the bath water. Soak in the oatmeal bath for 20 minutes.

Cold temperatures and ice can reduce inflammation. The cold also numbs the skin, which can give you immediate but short-term relief. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using a cold, damp cloth or an ice pack to relieve the itching caused by a mosquito bite. A bag of crushed ice can also work well in a pinch.

Do not put ice directly on your skin, because it can cause damage. Instead, put a barrier such as a washcloth between your skin and the ice.

To relieve itch, apply a cold pack for up to 5 or 10 minutes, several times a day.

3. Heat

(Video) Home remedies to help with itchy mosquito bites | Your Morning

Turning up the temperature on your bug bite may also help you get relief. There’s no evidence to say how well it works, but you can buy a special tool such as BiteAway that applies direct, controlled heat to the bite. This is said to reduce swelling and itching. The treatment only takes a few seconds, but these tools can be expensive.

To try for a similar effect, soak a clean cloth in water that feels as warm as you can comfortably stand (but be careful not to burn yourself). Wring out the cloth and apply it to the bite. Re-soak the cloth as needed to keep it warm, and continue for up to 10 minutes. Do not apply heat therapy to an open wound.

This sugary sweet substance is a common pick among home-remedy enthusiasts. Honey has been used for hundreds of years as a treatment for ailments like sore throats and dry skin. Medical grade honey has many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

A small drop on an itchy bite could potentially reduce the inflammation. It may reduce your temptation to scratch, as scratching skin covered in honey can create a sticky mess.

A common household plant, aloe vera has many uses beyond shelf decoration. The gel has been shown to reduce pain from burns and help them heal faster. That’s why it may be a good bet for healing a bug bite, too.

To try this, cut open a small section of the plant. Apply the plant’s gel to the area that’s irritated. Let it dry, and apply again as needed.

Found in virtually every kitchen, baking soda has a multitude of uses — from baking bread to clearing drains. Otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda may also provide relief from a mosquito bite.

It’s easy to make a baking soda paste, and you can use it in a similar manner to oatmeal paste. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to create a paste. Apply it to the bug bite, and let it sit for 10 minutes before washing it away.

If skin irritation occurs, stop this treatment.

7. Basil

(Video) Home Remedies For Mosquito Bites! | The Meredith Vieira Show

The fragrant basil plant is a key ingredient of many of your favorite Italian recipes, but it does double duty as a mosquito-bite remedy. The plant is used in herbal remedies for skin infections, and the antioxidants found in basil leaves may reduce inflammation.

To make a basil rub, boil 2 cups of water and add half an ounce of dried basil leaves. Leave the mixture to steep until it’s cool. Then dip a washcloth into the liquid, and rub it gently on your mosquito bites.

Alternately, you can chop some fresh basil leaves up until very fine, and rub them on to your skin.

If you notice irritation, stop using this remedy.

For centuries, apple cider vinegar has been used as a natural remedy to treat many medical conditions, from infections to blood glucose problems.

If you have an itchy bite, dab a drop of vinegar on it. The vinegar can help reduce stinging and burning sensations. It can also act as a natural disinfectant if you’ve been scratching too much.

If you need more relief, try soaking a washcloth in cold water and vinegar, and then applying it to the bite. If you have many bites, dilute 2 cups of vinegar in a tepid bath and soak for 20 minutes. Beware, a hot bath may make itching worse.

If skin irritation occurs, stop this treatment.

Not only can onions bring tears to your eyes, they can bring relief to your mosquito bites. The onion’s juices, which leak out from the freshly cut bulb, may reduce the bite’s sting and irritation. Onions also have natural antifungal and antibacterial properties that can reduce your risk for an infection.

Cut a slice from an onion — the type doesn’t matter — and apply it directly to the bite for several minutes. Rinse and wash the area well after you remove the onion.

The petite leaves of the thyme plant are delicious on potatoes, fish, and more. They may also help ease the itching of a mosquito bite.

Thyme is longstanding natural remedy for skin issues. It has antibacterial properties, so it can help reduce your risk of irritating and infecting the skin around a mosquito bite.

(Video) Top 5 Home Remedies to Relieve Bug Bite Itch

To get the most benefit from thyme, finely mince the fresh leaves. You can apply the leaves directly to your bite, and let them sit for 10 minutes.

You can also make a concentrated liquid by bringing water to boil, and adding several sprigs of thyme. Let the sprigs steep until the water is cooled. Then dip a washcloth into the thyme-infused water, and apply to the bites. Leave the washcloth in place for a few minutes.

For extra relief, wrap a thyme-soaked washcloth around an ice cube for a natural cooling effect.

Peppermint oil is another centuries-old natural remedy used to relieve itching. A small study from 2016 suggests this oil can relieve itching from long-term causes like diabetes and liver conditions. So in theory, it could also work for temporary causes like an insect bite.

Mix a few drops of peppermint oil into an ounce of carrier oil, like coconut oil or olive oil. Dab a small amount of the mixture onto your mosquito bite and gently rub it in. Do not apply undiluted peppermint oil to your skin.

You can also add a few drops of peppermint oil to a bathtub full of tepid water for a soothing soak.

Take care when using essential oils, as they can interact with medications or have other unexpected effects. Do your research, always talk with your doctor first, and follow all safety guidelines.

This treatment is not appropriate for young children.

Lemon balm is a leafy plant that’s closely related to mint. The herb has been used for centuries as a soothing all-natural treatment for everything from anxiety to upset stomach. An older 1999 study found that a cream containing lemon balm extract relieved itching and other symptoms in people with cold sores.

For mosquito bites, you can apply finely chopped leaves directly to the bite, or you can buy a lemon balm cream.

Lemon balm contains tannin, a natural astringent. In addition, lemon balm contains polyphenols. Together, these natural compounds ease inflammation, speed up healing, and reduce the risk of an infection.

Witch hazel is a natural astringent you can buy over the counter in pharmacies and grocery stores. Like lemon balm, witch hazel contains tannins, which can reduce inflammation when applied to the skin.

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Used alone, witch hazel can be beneficial for any number of skin irritations, from minor cuts and scrapes to hemorrhoids. Applying witch hazel to the skin reduces inflammation, soothes the burning and irritation the bite causes, and can speed up healing.

Apply a small amount of witch hazel to a cotton ball. Gently dab or swipe it over the bite. Allow it to dry. Repeat this as needed.

Arnica is another natural product you can buy to treat minor skin concerns. The herb itself is toxic, but can be diluted to produce the products available in stores. Options include creams and gels.

Although it’s a popular home remedy, scientific evidence shows mixed results. However, many claim that arnica reduces bruising, pain, swelling, and inflammation when applied to skin. So you might choose to try it on a mosquito bite.

All you need to do is apply a small amount of arnica cream or gel to the bite. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how to choose a good quality arnica product.

Chamomile, which is a member of the daisy family, is a common natural remedy for many ailments. When applied to skin, the oils found in chamomile can reduce itching and inflammation.

Steep a tea bag filled with the dried, crushed flowers in water in a refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then squeeze any excess water from the tea bag, and apply it directly to your bite. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Wipe the area clean with a wet rag. You can chill the tea bag in the fridge for additional applications later.

It’s rare, but be aware that chamomile can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Garlic is a well-known natural remedy for conditions from heart disease to high blood pressure. While more conventional treatments may be preferred for those serious conditions, a bit of garlic applied to an irritating bug bite is an easy home remedy for a mosquito bite.

But before you slice into a bulb and apply it to your bite, know that applying cut garlic straight to a skin wound or bite may cause burning and stinging.

Instead of that, finely mince up fresh garlic and stir a small amount in with an unscented lotion or petroleum jelly. These ointments and creams will help reduce the garlic’s potency but still allow you to get relief from the garlic’s natural antibacterial and healing effects.

Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then wipe it off your skin. Wipe the area down with a cool washcloth. Apply more later if the itching persists.

(Video) Mosquito Bites | How To Get Rid Of Mosquito Bites

Of course, the best way to get rid of mosquito bite irritation is to avoid a bite altogether. Keep in mind that these insects are more active in the evening and at night. If you want to enjoy a summer evening outdoors but fear the petite blood-sucking bugs, cover your skin and stay away from standing water to reduce your exposure. If you are bitten, quickly stop the swelling and itching with a safe, cost-efficient homemade remedy.

If you notice irritation or other negative reactions when using a home remedy, stop using it right away.

FAQs

What stops mosquito itch immediately? ›

Treatment
  • Wash the area with soap and water.
  • Apply an ice pack for 10 minutes to reduce swelling and itching. Reapply ice pack as needed.
  • Apply a mixture of baking soda and water, which can help reduce the itch response. ...
  • Use an over-the-counter anti-itch or antihistamine cream to help relieve itching.
6 Mar 2020

What kills a mosquito bite itch? ›

Wash the area with soap and water. Apply calamine lotion or anti-itch cream. Put an ice pack on the bite. Take an over-the-counter antihistamine.

Does toothpaste help itchy bites? ›

Toothpaste Why it Works: A dab of toothpaste on the bite will act as an astringent, drawing itchy venom from the wound as it dries. Menthol in the toothpaste will also provide a “cooling” sensation that will occupy the nerves in the same way ice does, relieving discomfort.

How can you stop itching? ›

For temporary relief of itching, try these self-care measures:
  1. Avoid items or situations that cause you to itch. ...
  2. Moisturize daily. ...
  3. Treat the scalp. ...
  4. Reduce stress or anxiety. ...
  5. Try over-the-counter oral allergy medicine. ...
  6. Use a humidifier. ...
  7. Use creams, lotions or gels that soothe and cool the skin. ...
  8. Avoid scratching.
6 Jan 2021

Does hand sanitizer make mosquito bites stop itching? ›

Dr. Wu says: “Rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, and tea tree oil have antiseptic properties, so they could help prevent bites from getting infected. And their stinging sensation helps distract you from the itch. Hand sanitizers with alcohol will act in the same way.”

What smell does mosquito hate? ›

Certain Natural Scents

Mosquitoes are turned off by several natural scents: cinnamon, peppermint, cedar, citronella, lemongrass, patchouli, catnip, lavender, and more. Find a favorite, and use it when you want to spend time outside.

Why does a hot spoon stop itching? ›

Apply A Heated Spoon to Stop the Itch

Targeted intense heat is very effective at stopping an itch. The protein that mosquitoes inject under your skin to prevent blood from clotting is the same one that causes itching, but it can't survive at moderately high levels of heat.

Does nail polish help with mosquito bites? ›

The itching from mosquito bites can be treated with oral anti-histamine such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or with over-the counter cortisone cream. Dr. Taub says that applying clear nail polish to the bites stops the itching.

Does rubbing alcohol help mosquito bites? ›

Clean the area with rubbing alcohol

If you catch the bite soon after the mosquito bites you, quickly wipe the bite with rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol has a cooling effect when it dries, which may relieve itching. Avoid using too much alcohol as it can irritate the skin.

Does Vicks Vaporub help mosquito bites? ›

Vapour rub is fantastic for mosquito bites. it not only cools the skin (since menthol is a top active ingredient), but it also alleviates the itching immensely.

What is the strongest medicine to stop itching? ›

For mild itching, use calamine lotion. For a more intense itch, use hydrocortisone cream. Oral antihistamines can also help.

What is a natural remedy for itchy skin? ›

Some popular natural remedies for itchy skin include taking lukewarm baths with colloidal oatmeal, avoiding itch triggers, moisturizing throughout the day with a gentle and fragrance free moisturizer, and using a humidifier. OTC antihistamines can also be helpful.

How do you dry up mosquito bites fast? ›

Try these options:
  1. Ice. The cold stuff can help decrease inflammation and swelling, Dr. ...
  2. Hydrocortisone cream. This “is like a fire extinguisher that puts out inflammation in the skin,” Dr. ...
  3. Baking soda. This can help dry out the bite and tamp down on inflammation, Dr. ...
  4. Oatmeal. ...
  5. Toothpaste. ...
  6. Calamine lotion.
10 May 2021

Why do mosquito bites itch more at night? ›

You're not imagining it—mosquito bites do itch more at night. "Most people itch more at night because our cortisol levels (our bodies' own anti-inflammatory hormone) are higher in the morning, and also because we are less distracted as we wind down and try to fall asleep," said Dr. Kassouf.

Is hydrogen peroxide good for mosquito bites? ›

Q: The best tip I ever received for mosquito bites is to dab on hydrogen peroxide. I have very sensitive skin, and bites used to get very swollen and itch for weeks. Now, I apply drugstore hydrogen peroxide, and in less than 15 minutes, I have no itch and no bump. You need to apply it to bites as soon as possible.

What can I wear to keep mosquitoes away? ›

Colors that help keep mosquitoes away

Try wearing lighter, calmer colours, such as white, beige, khaki, pastel yellow and even soft grey. You can also wear green, blue and avoid black, red and orange.

How can I be less attractive to mosquitoes? ›

Basically, to avoid being a mosquito-target you should stay as scent-free as possible, wear light clothes, avoid bogs and use an effective repellent (such as those containing DEET or icaridin).

Will hot water stop itching? ›

Hot water can provide immediate itch relief. Many people with eczema report that very hot water feels good on their skin and takes away the itching and inflammation. This happens because hot water can stimulate the nerves on your skin in a way that's similar to scratching.

What happens if you cut a mosquito bite? ›

Scratching mosquito bites just makes them itch more and increases the risk of developing a skin infection. If you scratch too much and break the skin open, a bacterial skin infection can develop, which will require a visit to urgent care or UnityPoint Clinic - Express,” Becker says.

How long after a mosquito bite does it start to itch? ›

The red bump appears shortly after the bite, while itchiness sets in somewhat slower — peaking around 24 to 36 hours post-blood sucking. In most cases, a mosquito bite is a harmless nuisance that results in minor irritation and resolves on its own in a few days.

Does hand sanitizer make mosquito bites stop itching? ›

Dr. Wu says: “Rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, and tea tree oil have antiseptic properties, so they could help prevent bites from getting infected. And their stinging sensation helps distract you from the itch. Hand sanitizers with alcohol will act in the same way.”

Does vinegar stop itching? ›

Apple cider vinegar has antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that help relieve dry skin and itching. For best results, use raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. You can apply it directly on your affected skin with a cotton ball or washcloth.

Will hand sanitizer keep mosquitoes away? ›

If mosquitoes are disturbing and you are on lockdown without insecticide, try using your hands sanitizer to repel those and if there is any itch after mosquito bites, rub a little there and see how it works almost instantly.

How do you stop mosquitoes from biting me? ›

Use insect repellent
  1. DEET.
  2. Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
  3. IR3535.
  4. Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
  5. Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  6. 2-undecanone.

Why does a hot spoon stop itching? ›

Apply A Heated Spoon to Stop the Itch

Targeted intense heat is very effective at stopping an itch. The protein that mosquitoes inject under your skin to prevent blood from clotting is the same one that causes itching, but it can't survive at moderately high levels of heat.

What scents do mosquitoes not like? ›

Certain Natural Scents

Mosquitoes are turned off by several natural scents: cinnamon, peppermint, cedar, citronella, lemongrass, patchouli, catnip, lavender, and more. Find a favorite, and use it when you want to spend time outside.

Why do mosquito bites itch more at night? ›

You're not imagining it—mosquito bites do itch more at night. "Most people itch more at night because our cortisol levels (our bodies' own anti-inflammatory hormone) are higher in the morning, and also because we are less distracted as we wind down and try to fall asleep," said Dr. Kassouf.

Can baking soda stop itching? ›

Baking soda can soothe the inflamed skin and reduce irritation and itching. Soaking in a lukewarm tub with ½ to 1 cup of baking soda may help reduce symptoms. Adding oatmeal to the bath can also ease itching.

Why does baking soda relieve itching? ›

Baking soda also contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. This makes it an ideal ingredient in over-the-counter creams for skin irritation, bug bites, and mild rashes.

How long does it take a mosquito bite to stop itching? ›

The itching usually peaks within 24-48 hours. The bite generally fades over three-to-four days. It may take up to a week to completely heal. Unfortunately, some people experience mosquito bites worse than others.

Does rubbing alcohol help mosquito bites? ›

Clean the area with rubbing alcohol

If you catch the bite soon after the mosquito bites you, quickly wipe the bite with rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol has a cooling effect when it dries, which may relieve itching. Avoid using too much alcohol as it can irritate the skin.

Can you put alcohol on mosquito bites? ›

Rubbing Alcohol, Calamine Lotion, and Other OTC Creams Can Help Relieve the Itch. First of all, try your best not to scratch your itchy bug bite. That will only further inflame the lesion, and make the itching, swelling, and irritation worse, Day says. Instead, he recommends dabbing the bite with rubbing alcohol.

How do I make myself less attractive to mosquitoes? ›

Basically, to avoid being a mosquito-target you should stay as scent-free as possible, wear light clothes, avoid bogs and use an effective repellent (such as those containing DEET or icaridin).

Why do mosquitoes bite me so much? ›

If you feel like mosquitoes bite you more often than other people, you may be onto something! Several specific factors can attract mosquitoes, including the carbon dioxide you exhale, your body odor, and your body temperature. A combination of these factors likely makes certain people more attractive to mosquitoes.

Can mosquitoes bite through clothes? ›

Yes, unfortunately, mosquitoes can bite through clothes. So, how can mosquitoes bite through clothes? While they'd rather tear directly into your skin, mosquitoes have a half-dozen long, sharp mouthparts that can easily pierce thin or loosely knit materials.

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