18 Home Remedies For Soothing Irritated Eyes

Recently I bought some eyeliner that did NOT agree with me! I actually should have known better (why does it seem like I say that a lot?) because I have had an adverse reaction to pink and/or purple-hued eye shadow or eyeliner in the past.

But it had been a LONG time….and I was doing a TV appearance…and I was wearing this pretty pink sweater…and…well, you know. I can rationalize almost anything. :-)

Suffice it to say…after wearing the purply eyeshadow for a day…my eyes were not happy. And then the next morning when I woke up, they were pretty much glued shut. :-(

Here is a picture I snapped with my camera phone.

Isn’t that just one of the saddest things you’ve ever seen? lol. I look SO pathetic!!

irritated eyes

Well, I was FEELING pretty pathetic until a friend of mine, who saw the picture on Instagram, sent me some home remedies for eye irritation (thanks Rebecca!). I tried a few of them and not only were they helpful, they were also easy to make/use, and affordable…so I thought I would share some of them with you!


cold compress

Cold compress:

Splash ice water on the face and eyes. Then, take ice packs or ice cubes, wrap them in a clean cotton towel and place it on closed eyelids. This helps relieve the eyelids and irritated eyes.





Add 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers to 1 cup of boiled water. Steep for 5 minutes, strain, let cool, and use as an eyewash. May also be made into a compress. OR, add 12 drops of tincture of chamomile to 1 cup of boiled water, cool, and use as an eyewash.





Make a solution using 2 teaspoons of the herb to a cup of boiled water and use for a warm compress. May also be used as eyedrops, 2-3 drops, three times daily.



cucumber slices


Cucumber Slices:

This is one of the most common remedies which effectively treats eye irritation and inflammation. Cut two slices of cucumber, place in ice cold water for 10 minutes and place them on your closed eyelids for 10 more minutes. The cool cucumber soothes your eyes. Closing and resting your eyes also helps reduce soreness.



tea bags on eyes

Tea Bags:

Tea Tea contains bioflavonoids that fight viral and bacterial infections and can help reduce inflammation. Put a moist green or black teabag on the affected eye for several minutes. Repeat several times a day. If your eye is swollen, moisten the teabag with cool water. The tannic acid in the tea will soothe the itching. A weak solution of tea may be used as an eyewash.




Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Intake of extra fluids helps to keep the eyes hydrated.



chilled spoon

Chilled Spoons:

Place four metal spoons in a glass of ice water. When chilled, place one spoon on each eye. As the spoons begin to warm, switch them with the spoons chilling in the glass of ice water. Continue until swelling subsides. The cool temperature of the metal spoons constricts the blood vessels, which helps decrease redness and puffiness in the eye area.
witch hazel

Witch Hazel:

American Indians used witch hazel for inflammation. Use a gauze pad or cottonballs soaked in witch hazel as a compress over closed eyes. Witch hazel has astringent properties and will help reduce the swelling.



aloe vera juice

Aloe Vera Juice:

Freeze aloe vera juice and then mix with a little bit of cold water and using a clean piece of cotton, place this mixture over your eyes. VERY soothing!!



frozen peas

Frozen Vegetables:

Wrap a bag of frozen vegetables in a thin towel (you want to be able to feel the cold through it). Place it over closed eyes for 10 minutes.



castor oil dropper

Castor Oil:

Many commercial eye drops contain castor oil. Purchase a clean dropper, wash it thoroughly with soapy water, and rinse well. Suck 100-percent pure castor oil into the clean dropper. Administer one drop of oil into each eye. Repeat this three times a day or as needed. The castor oil will soothe the eye and reduce the swelling and redness.



milk and honey

Warm Milk and Honey:

Honey has amazing anti-bacterial properties. Making an eyewash with warm milk and honey can help to soothe and treat conjunctivitis. Use equal parts of both honey and milk, making sure the milk is warm (not boiling). Mix together the remedy and keep stirring until the honey becomes smooth in the milk. Use an eyedropper and drop 2-3 drops into your eye several times a day. Alternatively, you can use this mixture as a compress. The anti-bacterial properties in the honey and the soothing effects of the milk will start to work immediately.



apple cider vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar:

Mix 1 Tbsp pure apple cider vinegar with a cup of water. Use this mixture to wash your eyes by using a cotton ball. Use apple cider vinegar which contains “mother”. “Mother” is malic acid which fights against bacterial infections.



grated potato


Grate a potato and place on the eye. It is an astringent and will help reduce the inflammation. The potato may also be made into a poultice and placed over the eye for 15 minutes. Do this for three successive nights.




Rose Water:

Rose water is also helpful when a person has sore eyes. The procedure is simple, just take a cotton ball soaked in rose water and place it over the eyes. This will provide immediate relief and most of the burning will be gone after about five minutes.



Artificial Tears:

Drops will soothe the eye and help flush it out. Artificial tears are also a good way to lubricate your irritated eyes. Add two drops of artificial tears twice a day. It will help moisten the eyes. However, do not use lubricating drops that contain preservatives for more than 3 to 4 times a day. You can also create your own saline solution by adding one teaspoon of table salt to a liter (or quart) of distilled water.



baking soda

Baking Soda:

Make a soothing eyewash by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 cup of water. Submerge your eye completely in the solution, doing your best to hold it open and roll it around for one full minute.



sliced bread

Cold Bread:

And last but not least….believe it or not, you can place cold bread on your eyelids and it will helps reduce irritation, itchiness and inflammation. BELIEVE IT! It works! I tried it!


These remedies should help most minor eye irritations…but be sure and consult your eye specialist if the condition worsens to rule out more serious conditions or an infectious condition that requires the use of antibiotics. Herbal remedies can’t effectively treat infections, and in fact you can spread the infection to others if care isn’t used.

And a final NOTE TO SELF…..stay away from pink and/or purple eye makeup!  DUH! :-)

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  1. Lana says

    This sounds to me like an allergic reaction of some kind.. something I’m unfortunately very familiar with! What I use are allergy eye drops, which actually have a small amount of antihistamine in them. The natural solutions are also very good, but I find the drops work quickly for allergies.

  2. Elizabeth says


    It sounds like you are allergic to the red dye they use in the eye shadows / liners. I used to work for a makeup line and saw more people than you would think that are allergic.

  3. Linda says

    These are fabulous ideas. I use a green-tea bag after I have my cup of tea. The best of both worlds: a nice cuppa and a compress, too.

  4. Elizabeth says

    Warm/hot tea bags are also good for styes. I have used them before and they clear them up much more quickly than OTC medications or anything else I have tried …

  5. Casey says

    My eyelids tend to get itchy and flaky… assuming it is caused from my make-up, bu can’t seem to find any that doesn’t irritate, and though the obvious answer would be to not wear eyeshadow, my lids are so thin an veiny that if I don’t I look like I have black eyes! I have tried every kind of lotaion, cream, etc. After to OCM blog by Jillee, I have been inspired to try different oils– used grapeseed oil with a bit of Vitamin E this moring… Still on a mission to find some kind of eyeshadow to preven the irritation in the fist place.

    • Heather says

      Casey~ that’s called blepharitis. I know because I have it too! It’s relentless, and you are right– there isn’t too much you can do about it. BUT, my doctor recommended using baby shampoo to wipe my eyes. It really helps. I also add a drop of tea tree oil (antibiotic, antifungal, etc.) to a “sample” size container. HTH!

      • Casey says

        Thank you for the advice Heather– I didn’t even know the name for it! I will definitely try the baby shampoo with the tea tree oil.

      • Charles says

        Hi there,

        I stumbled upon your comment, and I just want to let you know that there’s a potential cure to blepharitis. It’s probiotic eye drops. I found a forum where probiotic eye drops has helped a young lady with chronic blepharitis. There’s even actual research out there stating how effective it is to treat eye inflammations by putting probiotics in your eyes. I think they however do not sell this anywhere! So the young lady in this forum made her own home made probiotics and she shares it with us in the forum. Here is the link:


        I hope this helps you and others out there. I wish you all the best!



    • Brenda says

      I assumed it was some of the makeup I was using also, until college age son in California came home (to Texas) and he had the same thing! He has been to several dermatologists and been diagnosed with “dermatitis” – a sort of skin irritation. His eyes are red and scaly and a little swollen. Not much seems to help him, except oral antihistamines. But, the oral antihistamines (benadryl, zyrtec, claritin, and allegra) don’t seem to help me. Neither do the antihistamine eyedrops. I will try a couple of these home remedies, but I am not hopeful.

  6. Terri says

    Ah, Jillee…you are like the big sister I never had. You know, the one who was smarter and always looked out for you. By sharing your life and scouring for goodies just for us, we have become part of your family. That’s a good thing!

    • KarenDF says

      @Susan : ), thanks for sharing. How do you use coconut oil for your eyes? Do you put coconut oil IN your eye? I love coconut oil, use it on my skin (it’s great as an eye make-up remover), hair and cook/bake with it often; but, I’ve never used it in my eyes.

    • Peggy says

      I used coconut oil last night for the first time. My eyes have been watering for almost 2 weeks from allergies. The sensitive skin right at the eyelashes is so raw from rubbing that I don’t want to use anything that is astringent. The coconut oil was very soothing and feels really good all around the eyes. I’m going to continue to use it until my eyes are back to normal.

  7. says

    There’s only a few of these that can be done if you have to leave to work in the morning. I don’t know many people who aren’t rushed before work, getting ready, getting the household ready for the day, etc. That is the only problem… well, maybe a big problem is that we are too rushed no matter what we do… we sleep in until the last possible moment, and have a big to do list before work. We can’t take time to make a cold compress of some type and lay down on the couch to put it over our eyes :(

  8. Georgann G says

    Be careful with chamomile if you have seasonal allergies. This IS a flower after all and I’m had some issues with seasonal allergy-type reactions.