10 home remedies to treat mosquito bites

10 home remedies to treat mosquito bites

Summertime means outdoor time, especially in a Midwest still shaking off the cabin fever of foot-high snow and polar vortexes. With picnics, beach visits and hikes come the inevitable mosquitoes that just seem to be drawn to some people more than others.

Though an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, you may not want to hear that if you’ve become a smorgasbord for these buzzing vampires. To help ditch that itch, Dr. Paul Ringel, internist with Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, says all you need is a quick visit to your medicine cabinet or pantry.

Here, he provides 10 cost-saving, effective itch-relieving home remedies for those pesky bites.

From your medicine cabinet

Your daily mouth cleaner can be used for more than beating back tartar. Toothpaste—not the gel—can help reduce mosquito bite itch. Just cover the bite with a dab of the paste and leave it on. Not only will the paste reduce the itch, but letting it dry on the bite will help reduce the swelling. To get the most relief, try peppermint toothpaste, which is an anti-inflammatory, or one with baking soda (more on that to come).

Mouth wash
Toothpaste isn’t the only item from your oral hygiene arsenal that can help with the torment of mosquito bites. Many mouthwashes contain menthol, a mint extract, which is also an ingredient in many pain relievers. Just dab some on with a cotton swab and let the relief—and minty fresh skin—commence.

An active ingredient in aspirin is acetyl salicylic acid, an anti-inflammatory that can help reduce the swelling and itch caused by mosquito bites. You can either grind up a tablet and create a paste with a few drops of water, or you can wet the bite and hold the tablet to the affected skin.

From your pantry

Did you know that this common condiment has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties? As with the aspirin, you can mix a little water with table salt to create a topical paste. Or, if you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean, take a dip in the salty sea waters for some itch relief.

Baking soda
Again, another common household product that can be used to form a healing paste with just a little water added. Baking soda is an alkaline, so it can help to neutralize the pH of the skin and alleviate the itch.

Cinnamon and honey
Not just for your toast anymore, a combination of cinnamon and honey can provide quick relief to nasty mosquito bites. Cinnamon has antibacterial and antifungal qualities and can also be an effective mosquito repellent, if you’re venturing back out. Be careful with the use of honey, however, as too much of the sweet substance can have the opposite effect and attract mosquitoes to you.

From your refrigerator

Lemon or limemosq
These citrus fruits both contain anti-itch, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, making them a perfect solution for mosquito bites. The juices not only help with the itch, but they will help reduce the chances of infection. A word of caution, however; don’t apply the juices to the skin if you’ll be outdoors in direct sunlight as this can cause blistering.

Minced or sliced onion will help reduce the swelling caused by your mosquito bite, as well as sooth the itch. In addition, the strong smell will help to repel further mosquitoes from feasting on you.

Cooling cucumber slices can provide relief from itch and, when applied cold, provide some benefit to swelling of the bite. Simply apply a slice of the veggie to the bite to soothe the irritation.

Fresh basil contains camphor and thymol, two known itch-relievers, as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Crush some of this fresh herb to release the essential oils and apply directly to your bite. It can be an effective mosquito repellant as well.

What works for you?

Like many home remedies, there are those that work and those that are based on misinformation. Do you have any mosquito bite remedies you swear by? Post them here and we’ll ask our experts if they’re fact or fiction.

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  1. My go to remedy for mosquito bites is peppermint essential oil. Less messy than toothpaste! I’m a mosquito magnet and keep a small bottle with a roll on applicator in my purse and another on my counter. If I’ve already scratched – I might use a dab of aloe vera gel with both lavender and peppermint in it on the inflamed skin.

  2. For those really annoying mosquito bites, I like to dab just a bit of orajel on it. It numbs the area enough so I don’t notice the itch and by the time it wears off, the bite isn’t as bothersome anymore.

  3. Julie Nakis

    Wow, I had never heard of these alternative remedies. Great to know as nothing is worse than an itchy bug bite!

  4. I’ll keep these tips in mind, agreed that these are great alternatives!

  5. Speaking from personal experience, I didn’t have much luck with the toothpaste. But the ground up aspirin paste worked wonders! It seemed to work just as well as the antihistimine spray I picked up later.

    • Toothpaste is great not the coloured gel though. The old style white mint paste works every time. I use Colgate Total Original, unbeatable. I have two dogs and I am allergic to flea bites

  6. I have found rubbing the bite with the inside of a banana peel relieves the itch sometimes.

  7. Great to know! I got so many bites this weekend at a friends lake house

  8. Aloe vera juice or gel, of course! The kind blended with lidocaine for sunburn is perfect, but plain old aloe by itself is just fine — especially if you have an aloe plant in the house: just break off a leaf, split it down the middle lengthwise, and rub the clear pulp inside over the bug bite (or your burn). Works every time for me. Aloe also has healing properties. There’s a good reason it’s used for burn cases.

  9. Rebecca Taylor August 8, 2014 at 2:31 pm · Reply

    I’m suffering from mosquito bites big time right now, so I think I’ll give these a try when I get home. The bites are driving me crazy!!

  10. use toothpaste and wait for it to dry, once it’s dry, get some cold water and just put it under the water. if it starts to itch just add more toothpaste. if it’s a really bad bite, it’ll help but it only soothes it, it won’t get rid of it very fast but it feels really good! i have a bite on my leg right now too so i’ll be using this method since it’s an easy one!

  11. Mohammad Nikpour May 29, 2020 at 3:29 pm · Reply

    I love it … the toothpaste actually worked for me

  12. Sharon Simpson July 19, 2021 at 3:37 pm · Reply

    My go to itch reliever is an old remedy that Mom used on us kids. It’s called Campho-phenique. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s still available.

  13. I think Im getting allergic to mosquito bites. The bites swell and itch beyond any memory of previous years. A friend randomly tried toothpaste on her bites and was amazed. I received three bites on the tender skin on back shoulder/arm where a tank top doesnt cover. Tender, unsunned skin. Bites swollen to dime size, one long bright red arc from bite to bite. Only white paste toothpaste I had was Sensodyne. Figured, great! Has some numbing agent or something too. Put big dabs on bites. Smeared along half inch wide red line. Kind of felt like it aggravated the bites for a minute. Then didnt feel them the rest of the evening thru the night. Never felt them again let alone an itch. Showered, dotted tge still big but not so red bites again. Then forgot about them. Three days later. Skin colored bumps, no itch. Think getting the paste on them pretty soon after mattered. Just imho. Others done the next day worked pretty good. But not AS good.

  14. Hot water works like a charm. Hurts at first but then the itch goes away for hours.

  15. Earth Bath Hot Spot Relief Spritz for dogs and puppies (natural pet care), with tea tree oil and aloe vera. Sounds crazy but I love this stuff! It’s the only thing (other than ice), that relieves the itch. My bites always swell up large and red, and I keep this on my bedside table if I wake up itching at night. It also works great on rashes and other skin irritations!

  16. Sorry I haven’t tried any of these yet I’m just wondering which one is the best one to use cause I’m outside a lot this year and I’m getting bit a lot I’m not use to this at all where I live which is in the Mojave desert I just wanted to say thank you for all of your ideas I will give them all a try and get back with you hope you all have a bless time

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.