Bentonite Clay Poultice for Rashes, Burns & Bug Bites

bentonite clayBentonite clay sounds incredibly obscure, but it’s a word that should be in the vocabulary of every person interested in using natural remedies. It is a wonderfully versatile clay, used in cosmetics, taken internally, and included in many dermatological products. It comes from volcanic ash that has fallen into ancient bodies of water, which when evaporated; leave behind mineral rich beds of bentonite clay. These beds can contain up to 50 trace minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Bentonite Clay Poultice- for rashes, burns & bug bites.

Bentonite is perhaps best known for removing toxins, but externally provides a plethora of benefits. Made into a poultice it can soothe burns, relieve itching caused by bug bites, and protect from poison ivy and poison oak (as well as relieve the rash caused by it.) The reason it is particularly useful with the poison ivy family is because it provides a shield against urishol, the irritating oil found in those plants that causes a reaction.

You will need…
-Bentonite clay
-1/4 cup warm water
– ¼ cup warmed olive or grapeseed oil

poultice ingredients

Mix together ¼ cup of warm olive oil and a ¼ cup warm water (yes, it will separate.)

Cover the irritated area generously with the mixture, and then wrap a piece of clean gauze or light, thin, cotton around it to keep it covered. Let it dry for 3-4 hours and then rinse off with warm water, reapplying if needed. Its normal for your skin to feel a little tight as it dries.

Add enough bentonite clay until you get a nice thick paste that will stay in place well.

adding the water
adding the olive oil
oil and water

almost done
poultice paste

applying the poultice
with gauze

Keeping a little jar of dry bentonite clay on hand is a good idea, after an unfortunate brush up with poison ivy, getting attacked by a swarm of mosquitos, or a winding up with a minor burn, just mix with your warm water, cover, and wait for relief.

You may also like our recipe for Homemade “Soothing Roots” Headache Balm.

We Want to Hear from You! Let us know which remedies work and do not work for you, ask a question or leave a comment:


  1. Merci says:

    Re your article on Bentonite clay
    Where can I get it
    In the San Francisco Bay Area?

    • Claire (Everyday Roots) says:

      Hi Merci,

      I am not terribly familiar with what shops might stock it there, but we order ours online from Mountain Rose Herbs-it saves you a trip to the store too 🙂

  2. Betti says:

    Fantastic. I have a huge box of this stuff for my fish pond. Good to know I can use it on me too.

  3. Leah says:

    Great article. I have a couple of questions: I’ve been using more clay recently (earthpaste, clay mixed with water and drinking it, an occasional capsule or two filled with Redmond clay, and I also mixed it in with my homemade deodorant). I noticed since I added clay to the deodorant I’ve gotten an itchy rash under my arms. Also, sometimes when I drink the clay with water, especially first thing in the morning, I get a bad headache. Do you think the rash and the headache could be a detox reaction from the clay? Is there any documentation that this could happen?

  4. marion belcastro says:

    need something natural for boils

  5. Jared says:

    Would using raw apple cider vinegar in the mix be a good alternative?

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