5 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Mosquito Bites
I am from Minnesota-thus, I have an extremely intimate relationship with mosquitos. Especially given the time I spend up in the north woods. I’ll never forget the evening I was visiting with an out-of-state friend and, without even thinking about it, idly clapped a mosquito straight out of the air that she hadn’t even seen. She was quite impressed as I continued to do this throughout the night. Detecting, deterring, and ridding the area of mosquitos is something us Minnesotans learn to do practically before we learn to walk.
Female mosquitos are attracted to us, and other animals, for our blood. They take about 3 milligrams per bite, and use the iron and proteins in it to develop their eggs. The mosquito doesn’t actually “bite” of course. She pokes around with her proboscis (a long, needle like mouth part) and finds a blood vessel close to the skin. She then punctures the skin with her proboscis, and sucks out the blood.
The irritation that comes after the mosquito bite is the result of the mosquito’s saliva, which acts as an anti-coagulant that keeps the blood flowing while she’s feeding. The human body reacts to the foreign saliva by releasing histamines, organic compounds that (put very simply) regulate inflammation. The itchy swollen red bump (called a wheal) that raises up becomes a bullseye target for your itching and scratching.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
A dab of apple cider vinegar may help with inflammation and itching-especially the itching. I couldn’t tell you exactly why it works, but it does. It’s just one of those things. If you’ve scratched at the bite and it’s open, this will sting. Sometimes even that is preferable to the infuriating itch you’re feeling though! **
You will need…
-Apple cider vinegar
Soak a cotton ball in the ACV and squeeze out the excess so it’s not dripping all over the place. Press over the bug bite for 5 seconds or so. Repeat if needed (which it probably will be.)
2. Ice It
When it starts to really drive you nuts, break out the ice. The coolness reduces the hot, uncomfortable inflammation, and numbs the area enough to drive away the sensation of itching for the time being. It can get a little messy, but I prefer to place an ice cube directly on the bite, versus putting some in a plastic bag and holding it on.
You will need…
Hold the ice on the bite until the ice cube melts-or at least until it’s halfway melted. It’s really not an exact science.
3. Cucumber It
The same as icing it-only with a cucumber instead of ice. And with less mess. It’s not *as* effective, in my personal experience, but other people experience the opposite-where the cucumber is more effective than the ice. It’s a matter of trial and error, as everybody is going to respond differently. Cucumbers do have an anti-inflammatory constituent known as fisetin, which has been shown to inhibit several inflammatory causing cytokines. Cytokines are basically a broad and generalized group of proteins that signal cells to act a certain way. I would think you’d have to ingest the cucumber to get these benefits, but if your bites are terrible and you’re desperate for relief, feel free to see if it helps with the itching. (And do report back, as I am curious to see if this would have any effect-although I suspect you’d need to consumer quite a few.)
You will need…
Slice up a cucumber and store the slices in the refrigerator. When you need it, hold the slice over the bite until the itching stops. It’s cool, soothing, and unlike the ice the cucumber won’t melt against your skin (and if it does you have bigger worries than a mosquito bite) so simply hold it there until you get relief.
4. Peppermint Toothpaste
This one is good if you’re REALLY in a pinch. Apply some (organic) peppermint toothpaste to the affected area. It can help take the bite (pun totally intended) out of the itchiness. The menthol in the peppermint will create a cooling sensation that can bring you some measure of relief until a more formal (for lack of a better word) remedy becomes available.
You will need…
-Organic peppermint toothpaste
Dab a small amount of toothpaste over the bite and spread it in a thin layer. Before reapplying, rinse the old stuff off first.
5. Got Lemons?
You should. I am NEVER with lemons on hand-especially if I know I am going to be getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Honestly, I think the sting, or potential to sting, is what takes away some of the discomfort, as odd as that sounds. It may also help prevent bacteria from entering or irritating the area if you’ve scratched it open.
You will need…
-A lemon OR lemon juice, if you don’t have the fresh fruit on hand.
Cut a slice of lemon, then wrap the rest of the fruit and stick it in the fridge for a later use. Rinse the bite with cool water, pat dry, and then squeeze a few drop of lemon juice out directly onto the bite. Alternatively squeeze it into a bowl, then use a cotton ball (or your clean fingers) and dab it on.
Do Mosquitos Love You More?
Ever get the feeling that you’re getting singled out when you go camping? Like all of your friends are untouched by mosquitos, and you must have sweet blood because you’re getting eaten alive? It turns out, it may not all be in your head. Studies have shown that mosquitos will land on folks with blood type O nearly twice as often as people with blood type A. Based on other genes, about 85% of people secrete a chemical signal through their skin that tells what blood type you have. Mosquitos seem to favor them, versus the 15% who kept their blood type “secret.”
So, the world is a wildly unfair place, and mosquitos might just like you more than everyone else on your camping trip.
(You may also like: 4 Homemade Traps to Get Rid of Fruit Flies)
P.S. Make sure to take a look at the Everyday Roots Book with 350+ pages of the best home remedies, natural beauty recipes, homemade cleaners and diy household products. View Remedies
By Claire GoodallClaire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, playing with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse. Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything 🙂 Meet Claire
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:
Hi Claire, Thanks for all the wonderful tips!
I found, just last summer, a great way to KEEP from getting bitten by almost any stinging/biting bug, and I have Type O blood. Take a good quality B Complex vitamin – EVERY DAY! It takes 30 days to get built up in your system enough to keep the bugs away, (so get started!) but it really does help. For whatever reason, Mosquitos, Chiggers, Ants, whatever, do NOT like whatever B Complex does to your body.
Interesting! I’d heard this before but haven’t tried it myself. Thanks for sharing-I might be experimenting with it this summer of its a nasty season up north!
I have heard this as well but have never tried it. My friend who is a pediatrician recommended it. B complex, I believe, is water-soluble. Thus, you really cannot over-dose on it. Your body washes out whatever it does not really need and does not store it.
Beverly, it’s actually NOT the B-COMPLEX that keeps the mosquitoes at bay….it’s been scientifically proven (so I read) that it’s the Vitamin B1 in it that keeps them away…..
Best remedy – lick your finger, rub bite with saliva and make an X with your nail over the centre of the bite. Instant relief… 😉
Huh, that’s a new one to me! Whatever it takes eh? Thanks for sharing 🙂
The digestive enzymes in saliva will digest the anticoagulant and provide relief. We have been making a cross on bites since we were very young and spitting on the bites. It does work. Also eat a lot of garlic before going into the woods. And lavender oil on the skin is also a good detergent b/c it prevents the females from smelling your blood type.
Hahaha Debi – that is what we used to do all the time when i was little and we lived by the Mosel River in Germany. Mosquitos were the one and all dreaded thing in the evenings. 🙂 I can say the saliva AND the X worked well for my whole family 🙂
Lol! I’ve been doing that since i was a kid and I’m 61y/o now. I SWEAR IT WORKS!!
One that works both as a repellent and soothes mosquito bites is lavender essential oil! Diluting it with water and spraying it all over your body works wonders repelling the little buggers. But the undiluted essential oil itself works beautifully in soothing the itch of a bite and promoting healing if you’ve itched it open. Been doing this my entire life and have found it extremely effective!!
Yes, lavender essential oil is so wonderful for soothing anything itchy and irritating! Thanks for your tip 😀
You say it’s for anything itchy, I have very dry skin., from head to toe..any ideas on what/how to use? Thanks. Also, thanks for your articles.
Thanks for the suggestions! What do you recommend as a mosquito repellant?
Good question! I am actually planning on doing a post on DIY repellant for this week-be sure to check your inbox for it! It’s a nifty recipie 🙂
I will be looking forward to that new post about the DIY repellant. I live in Northern Michigan and the mosquitos are terrible up here! =)
Patchouli lotion keeps them away temporarily, but for longer protection I use the essential oil. Mixture of patchouli and sandalwood oil also good.
For bite relief: lavender oil or peppermint oil will do the trick.
(Florida is also a “bad”-“good” place for mosquitos)
And now with the Zika virus you have to be extra careful not to get bitten.
I live in Texas where all bugs seem to thrive. I use eucalyptus oil to rub on itchy bites – mostly mosquitos and chiggers here. You’ve probably seen home remedies recommending rubbing Listerine on bites. It does work a little (because it has eucalyptus oil in it), but the pure oil is much more effective and not sticky. As far as repellant, you can use essential oils mixed with a carrier oil that work without poisoning your skin. Lemon, citronella, and peppermint essential oils – all are natural insect repellants.
Best for bites: Tea tree oil will immediately make selling go down and completely remove itch. I am never without tea tree oil. Also to help aid as natural repellant: Lavender, peppermint and rosemary essential oils with water in spray bottle.
Tea tree oil work extremely well with any itching caused by mosquito bites or itchy skin conditions. Always carry it with me!
It is a great one!!
I use tea tree oil on my mosquito bites. It is antibacterial and antiseptic as well, and it really helps stop the itching.
A good mosquito repellent is orange essential oil.
A tiny dab og Vick’s vaporub or generic equivalent stops itching. Old fashioned formula of Listerine helps. Oil of Oregano can stop even wasp stings. Easy to carry these things in your auto’s first aid kit.
I discovered last year that the BEST repellent for mosquitoes and biting gnats is Clove essential oil. Not only does it smell wonderful, but bugs DON’T like it at all. They don’t bite because they won’t light on you. You rub a drop or two on each wrist, in the inside crook of each elbow, on your neck (front and back), and at the backs of both knees, then wipe a little on your shirt and pants by rubbing some into your hands and wiping them on your clothes and I promise you they will NOT light on you. My dryer broke last year so I was having to hang my clothes out to dry and early morning was the best time to do this, BUT, the mosquitoes were TERRIBLE at that time. I had read on another blog about the joys of using clove oil so I decided to try it as the citrus oils I was using didn’t seem to do any good. I am type O+ so mosquitoes REALLY like me! I did not get another bite the whole summer as long as I applied clove oil first thing in the morning and I didn’t have to re-apply it during the day. It lasted until my next shower. Vitamin B complex works well, but the clove oil does work better — at least for me.
Just a heads up that the Zika virus and Chick V which are common to tropical climes unfortunately have been making their way north. While in theory the type of mosquito breed does not abide above say Georgia the virus has now been confirmed by the CDC to spread through bodily fluids which therefore (in theory means a local mosquito could technically bite an infected person with the virus and then re bite someone else. just sayin, other than deet, what proven natural ingredients could ward them off, citronella plants?
To relieve the itch after a mosquito bite, I mix a handfull of fresh Chickweed ( Stellaria media), Olive Oil, and a vitamin E capsule in a blender. After blending, pour into a jar and let it sit in sunny location for a few days. Strain into a clean jar, and place in the fridge. Just a dab on a bite will take away the itch for a few hours.
Tea tree essential oil works well for itching. Lavender ES doesn’t work as well for me.
I live in Mexico on the ocean next to the jungle, Lots of little biters here. i heard about vitamin B six months ago and I promise it has made a huge difference. Even my husband is now a believer.
I use apple cider vinegar and white vinegar a lot. It’s great for anything itchy! It is antibacterial and antiseptic qualities make it great for relieving itch. It is also great around the house. I have gotten rid of most of my chemical cleaning products as vinegar is a great natural replacement. Looking forward to your mosquito repellent. I take garlic pills and/or eat a ton of garlic if I’m going to be in a mosquito infested area and they leave me alone (and I’m an O blood type 😉 ! )
thanks for all your tips!!
I rub any lavender scented cream on my skin and clothes. Keeps mosquitoes and knats from landing. They hate the scent.
Baking soda works (make a paste with water), also Aloe Vera Gel, hand sanitizer and I like the old syptic pencil (the old kind that men use when they cut themselves shaving. Just wet the tip and rub on) When I have an itch I will try anything. LOL One other odd thing. If your itch is driving you crazy and you don’t want to scratch it, scratch somewhere else on your body and the need or want will stop. Sound silly but it works. Kind of like a sneeze, if you rub under your nose it stops it.
Have had good success with bites, whether mosquito or ant or something with a dab of extra virgin olive oil. Especially if you have been scratching!
If it bites it will fly miles or jumps out of oaks or crawls up my pant legs to bite me. In SW Louisiana it Is usually an all year around event for me, no one next to me just me. I also find instant relief from spit.
I recently moved to New Zealand and they have Tiger Mosquitos. I’m a gardener and am constantly being bitten. I’m terribly sensitive to the bites and come up in huge red lumps where I have been bitten. They keep me awake and generally drive me nuts. I read about a remedy and as I was at my wits end I tried it. Use a hairdryer on them! Hold the hairdryer a few inches away from the bite and turn it on. Make sure you don’t hold it too close. Heat the bite until it feels really itchy maybe 5-10 seconds. Remove hairdryer and the itching will fade away. Apparently the heat disperses the histamine. All I know is it can give me up to 6 hours of relief. Enough to get to sleep. Some bites need a blast every couple of hours but the hairdryer method has changed my life!
We find that Tea Tree oil (Undiluted) dabbed on the bite stops the sting and inflammation.
You kidding, here in South Carolina they are the state bird. I have for years taken 3 – 4 Garlic tablets daily and the mosquito’s don’t bite me. They fly all around me, but don’t bite.
The mozzies are pure evil here in NZ… me and the kids use Lucas paw paw ointment which is brilliant on any bite (and burns, chapped lips, cuts) if I haven’t got any in then it’s toothpaste if baking soda and water paste. Good luck with your summer.
Thanks for all your great articles and references Claire. I use my own homemade Plantain salve for just about everything. My brother was completely sold on it when he was stung twice back to back by yellow jackets. The stuff is wonderful and grows all over my yard. The leaves themselves are good, chew one and place over the irritated area.
Love this article! I have not used cucumber, but I know those others work. I have used high-quality frankincense and lavender oil to relieve swelling and itching. It works immediately. 1 drop of each is a small container and apply with a swab to the affected area. It will certainly do the trick!! I have used just plain tea-tree oil too, but I feel that was not as effective.
Regarding any kind of itch: run very hot water over poison, mosquito bites, etc. Pat it dry with a paper towel. Then, put anti-itch cream (we use Benedryl) on the poison or bites. It will stop the itch immediately for a long time. It seems to work for us, anyway.
I like to use tea tree essentisl oil. It eases the itch and inflammation. I just dab a bit on each bite using a cotyon swab. You can also use lavender or peppermint essentisl oils.
I always mix some ground tumeric with cold water and put the paste onto the bite. It looks kind of ugly, but it’s cool and soothing and makes the itching stop 🙂
Bay rum…An old tyme after shave. Or absorbine Jr on bites. Used them for yeats
Banana peel works wonders. Just rub on the bite, the relief instantaneous. I live in Africa BTW.
ACV reduces inflammation, which will decrease the swelling and any pain. For the itch, you want an antiseptic, such as tea tree or lavender EO. I personally make a blend of Shea butter and Coconut Oil, whipped with Tea Tree and Lavender. Easy, effective, and you can adjust the levels of EO depending on your skin needs.
Also, if you have widespread itching, baths can be your best friend. Colloidal oatmeal powder soothes, EOs disinfect, baking soda detoxifies (I use a deconstructed bath bomb mix), and a little cocoa or shea to moisturize. Soak for 20 mins, and pat dry. Don’t overdo it. Prolonged periods of bathing, especially if the temp is high, can cause adverse effects.
Another alternative for reducing inflammation, is coffee grounds. I make a coffee scrub that I use often. It keeps itching at bay, bumps away, and as it is made with coconut oil, you won’t need to moisturize. It’s not a mosquito bite cure, but it will certainly aid in accelerating the healing process.
I live in Australia and have found that original listerine mixed 50/50 with water and spray with a spray bottle repels mozzies here
Good tips Claire. Here in Trivandrum, South India, we have mosquito problem when it is raining and also when humidity is more in atmosphere. We use some ayurvedic herbal powders and smokes the mosquitos out. They not only removes mosquitos, but also refreshes the air. For mosquito bites, I have made a mixture of virgin coconut oil with few drops of peppermint essential oil. Juice of onion or Tulsi leaves (holy basil), juice of neem, juice of turmeric, juice of Indian Borage leaves, etc. are can be applied to skin to get relief from itching causes by mosquitos and other insects.
My friend ( a bug man) told me never to eat bananas or drink beer as mosquitos are drawn to those scents. Also the brewers yeast tablets are good for dogs . The B vitamins are important also. I don’t go camping anymore nor go outside at twilight when the critters are out. I’m going to try spraying the yard with garlic as my son-in -law is always being bit.
We have lots of lemon balm planted all around the yard. To help repel, just grab a leaf, crush it a little and rub it on exposed skin. it really helps keep them at bay. Love all the essential oils listed in other’s comments. Thought I might mention witch hazel for a bite. Good for mosquito bites and those HORRIBLE yellow fly bites that really burn and itch.
Going to do my best to avoid getting bitten this year so will make a start with the (smelly) vitamins.
Five ankle bites from last year have resulted in psoriasis – not only itchy but ugly.
(by the way you can’t say ‘fiddling in the garden’ here in the UK. It has an entirely different meaning…!)
Izzy, take Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)….it’s not smelly and keeps mosquitoes at bay… By the way, it’s FUN doing some “fiddling in the garden” as long as you don’t have nosy or other neighbours near you!!!!
I live in the Deep South and we have mosquitoes from Feb. to Nov.. LOL! Years ago, a very wise old man told me that mosquitoes don’t bite him. He said he put a capful of ACV in one of the many glasses of iced tea he drank everyday. It changes your blood chemistry just enough that they won’t bite you. I tried this and he was right. it takes about a week to kick in, but once it does… Of course, the mosquitoes will still buzz annoying around your head, but they won’t bite. It gives my tea a cidery taste.
Your home remedies are all too good.
We are from India and here too the mosquito problems are severe. Here we used to apply the normall tooth paste
Will check out your remedies too Claire, surely.
B Vaidyanathan, coming from India you surely should know about the benefits of neem oil!! It not only takes away the itching and the burn…..it actually keeps mosquitoes at bay!!!
Over the past 60 years I have tried some of Grand Mother’s 1895 Home Remedies for different things, and they all worked.. I live in New Jersey and along the Raritan Bay we have tens of thousand’s of acres of wetlands that the Mosquitoes breed in so I have nothing to loose trying these remedies, I do know the Peppermint leaves right from the plant work well..
Toilet soap application is best immediate remedy for msaquito ittiching.
Prevention is key. I and my husband take brewers yeast tablets. I used to give them to my dog when she was still with us. Mosquitos
don’t like it..Don’t know why but I’ve done this for years and my hubby was being eaten alive. He is bite free now. And my dog was free of them as well. She used to come in the house with them all over her nose.. Then it stopped with one tab a day.Just sharing
Barbara Loeding, it’s the Vit.B 1 contained in the brewer yearst that does it!
Brewers Yeast tablets are chock full of the B Vitamins….which the little biters don’t like!
I use toothpaste for the itch. It doesn’t have to be organic. Just rub it over bite and let it dry. When we go camping we rub a dryer sheet all over us for a repellant and it works well. I don’t know if it works for mosquitoes but the green tree car fresheners work for buffalo gnats. Just cut a piece of and put in shirt pocket if u have one or safety pin it to shirt or hat.
Pure vanilla. My sister and friends used it camping. Works great! Listerine and water sprayed on grass and outside area keeps mosquitos away. I hang a ziplock bag with water and 6 pennies in it, on my porch, keeps flies away. It works!
Deodorant stops the itch instantly, easy to apply . I carry a stick in my purse all summer.
I’m very sensitive to bites. Other people just don’t seem to get as bad an itching or swell as I get.
I found that by far the best method is those anti mosquito heating devices you can get at an pharmacy.
Apply it 5 to 10 times for 6 seconds on a fresh bite and it will hardly bother me anymore.
I never used a natural remedy, but i suppose they all work like cooling creams which don’t really do it for me.
But I guess heat is pretty natural too! 😉
I use a paste made from goats milk powder and water. Relieves the itch right away and really works well for poison oak rashes too. I’ve been homeless for 4 years living in my vehicle and I’m always around poison oak, ticks, spiders, ants and mosquitos so I get a lot of bites. This stuff really works. A Mi Wuk Indian friend told me about it.
I make a salve with calendula, st. john’s wort, comfrey (purchased from mountainroseherbs.com) and plantain from my lawn. I call it Grandma’s Summer Salve and my entire family uses it in 3 states and a territory. Works great on any itchy rash or bite. The base is olive oil thickened with bee’s wax. I learned it from a kit by learningherbs.com which started me on my herbal journey some years ago.
Thanks for the good advice I will try it, I live in Brisbane Australia, we also have mosquitoes during our summer months, nasty critters for sure. I find Tea Tree Oil works really well as it is a natural product and works immediately .
I use organic PURE Neem oil, which not only relieves the sting but actaully keeps the mosquitoes from biting you……AND it makes the skin silky soft. I also use it for allergic rashes of all kinds, cuts, burns….even the allergic dermatitis of my dog. He used to eat his paws and scratched all over, no antibiotics, cortozone etc. helped, until I started using neem oil. It’s marvellous too on scars
For anti-mosquito ideas….we use Aloe Vera gel. We slather it on exposed skin before going out and the little biters don’t even want to land on the skin. It also helps in healing them if we forget to apply before hand.
For stings or bites of any kind we use ACV to take the sting away. I’ve heard that raw onion applied to the bite will do the same thing. I prefer the smell of ACV though!
In a pinch…..a Bounce dryer sheet in your pocket is supposed to keep them away, but have never tried it.
This is perfect! Going through your list as I scratch a few new bites. Perfect timing. Let’s see how they work
Claire, for me if I spray the bite with hydrogen peroxide it helps immensely. Works for black fly bites too.
Ohhh I can see that providing relief, although for me it would probably be the sting that would take away the itch knowing how I scratch at my bug bites! 😛 Thanks for sharing your tip!
An excellent repellent is mint. I spent a hot summer in Italy with NO flywire screens on the windows or doors. I bashed sprigs of mint to release the perfume, then put them in glasses of water to keep them alive, and put one in each open bedroom window. Wonderful! No mozzies!!! And we were able to sleep! You can also scrunch mint and rub it on your arms, legs, face, etc while you do the gardening.