· Natural Remedies · 10 Easy And Effective Ways To Stop The Itch Of A Bug Bite

10 Easy And Effective Ways To Stop The Itch Of A Bug Bite

Last summer, I wrote a post here on the blog with tips for avoiding bug bites. But we all know that mosquitoes and other bite-y insects have a mind of their own. Sometimes, even if you did all the right things to avoid getting bitten, you end up with a hot, painful, itchy bug bite that threatens to drive you crazy!

Related: 10 Ways To Bug-Proof Your Summer

I’ve gotten a lot of great ideas from my readers over the years, so when I decided that I wanted to do a post about ways to treat bug bites, I knew just what to do! I clicked over to the One Good Thing By Jillee page on Facebook and asked a simple question: “What’s the best way to get mosquito bites to stop itching?” And just as I suspected, you guys were were full to bursting with good ideas! :-)

That Facebook post received over 350 suggestions of ways to take care of a bug bite. And while I’d love to feature every single response in this blog post, I think we’d be here all day! So I went ahead and distilled the responses down to an easily digestible Top 10 list. Next time you’re dealing with a pesky bug bite, give one of these methods a try!

Related: This Is What Solved My Mosquito Problems In My Backyard

1. Essential Oils

Many essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties, including tea tree, eucalyptus, and lavender oil. Apply a drop of one of these oils to a bug bite to help reduce pain, itching, and swelling.

Bug Bites

2. Hydrocortisone Cream

Hydrocortisone has a strong anti-inflammatory effect, which is key when dealing with an itchy bug bite. Apply a hydrocortisone cream to a bug bite to reduce swelling and keep the itchy feeling under control.

Bug Bites

3. Rubbing Alcohol

If you are really limited on first-aid supplies, rubbing alcohol can help cool the itch temporarily. Dab a bit of rubbing alcohol onto a bug bite, and the quick evaporation of the alcohol will leave behind a pleasantly cool sensation. It can be a great hold-over cure until you can make it to the pharmacy!

Bug Bites

4. Antihistamines

Histamines are your body’s defense against potential allergens. They try to eliminate allergens from your body by causing sneezing, water-y eyes, and itchy skin. An antihistamine like Benadryl or Claritin can help with bug bites by blocking histamine action in your body, which will reduce swelling and itching.

Bug Bites

5. Pain Relief Cream

Try a pain-relieving cream. Readers suggest Resinol, Gold Bond with Lidocaine and AfterBite.

Plenty of commenters mentioned pain-relieving creams as their go-to method for treating a bug bite. Many different products were mentioned, but a few of the more popular ones were AfterBite, Resinol, and Gold Bond with Lidocaine. Or you can make your own by following the instructions at the link below!

Related: Make Your Own Homemade Pain Relieving Cream

Bug Bites

6. Hemorrhoid Cream

Hemorrhoid cream helps reduce itching, swelling, and burning, which makes it great for bug bites. Dab a bit of hemorrhoid cream onto your bug bite for quick relief.

Bug Bites

7. Basil

Basil leaves are packed with chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, and the essential oils inside the leaves produce a nice cooling effect. Reap the benefits of the anti-inflammatory and cooling action to help soothe a bug bit. Just crush a basil leave between your fingers to release the essential oils inside, then rub the crushed leaf on the affected area.

Bug Bites

8. Hot Water

Plain old hot water (or the heat from a hair dryer) can effectively curb the itch of a bug bite, surprisingly enough! The itchy sensation of a bug bite is caused by the nerves in your skin, but when you run hot water or air over the area, the nerves get “overloaded” by the intensity of the heat, and the itchy feeling goes away (temporarily, of course).

This process of “overloading” your nerves works much the same way that scratching a bug bite does. Hot water can be a better alternative because there’s less risk of tearing or damaging your skin. Make sure the water isn’t TOO hot to avoid getting burned!

Bug Bites

9. Antiperspirant

I couldn’t find very many details about how this one works, but many people swear by antiperspirant as a quick and easy way to treat a bug bite! Some people suggest the aluminum salts in the antiperspirant are the key to stopping the itch. However it works, a lot of people swear by it!

Bug Bites

10. Vitamin B1

Some readers suggested that taking vitamin B1 supplements can help deter mosquitos from wanting to bite you in the first place. I’m not a doctor or a medical researcher, so I can’t verify this claim, but I thought I’d put it out there as an interesting possibility!

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Natural Remedies

  • I actually had to go the Dr last week. I’m not sure what bit me. Iwaki was actually inside and the bug came in my room. I ended up going in became 2 days later it was still swollen. I had tried the Lavender and Simply Neosporin. I ended up getting a Prescription strength Hydocortizone cream.

  • One of my favorite ways if I know I’ll be outside to keep the mosquitoes away is I’ve had a zapper device for years from Glade . I just hook it onto my belt loop or pant pocket. So far I’ve only had to replace the cartridge once. I’d rather do this than smell like big spray.

  • I swear by the eucalyptus oil! Works great to relieve the itching and repel insects from biting. Lavender and peppermint are great too…I fish at night. I use skin so soft original scent for that.

  • I make a smooth paste with almond oil and bentonite clay, add a couple drops each of lavender and frankincense oils. Apply it immediately and the bites literally disappear! My daughter gets terrible welts and blisters from mosquito bites, if I catch them right away, this makes all the difference in the world for her!

  • Lemon. I swear by it. Whenever I get bitten by mosquitoes, I simply rub a piece of lemon on it. Since it is completely natural, I don’t worry about side effects or how much I use, and it is easy to apply wherever there is a need… Trust me, I’ve been bitten on arms, legs, head… I think it has something to do with the acid, so it might sting a bit (like After Bite), and it dries out the bite.

  • Growing up Mom had us use a washcloth to dampen the bite area and them sprinkle salt on it because the salt would draw out the toxin from the bug bite that was causing the itch. and the second remedy we did was simply to use our thumb nail and make a cross into the skin over the bug bite. I am not quite sure why or how this one worked but it did. So those our my home remedies I had from childhood.

  • I have used the Antiperspirant to treat poison ivy. It dries it up faster and stops the itching. Never gave it a thought to use on bug bites…..duh. I was told by a Park Ranger, on Assateague Island, to use salt. Skeeters can get pretty bad out there! After getting bite, wet the bite & sprinkle salt on it. Let it stay as long as you can, eventually the moisture dries & the salt falls off. Takes the itch away & keeps it away!

  • I have been kept awake for the last four nights by the itchiest bites I can recall ever having! I tried most of the above and what worked well enough was the toothpaste. Just a very thin layer, let it dry, and leave it on for about eight hours. My wrist was swollen with bites so I put on the toothpaste, wrapped a folded Kleenex around and secured it with first aid tape. It calmed things enough so I could at least take a nap today. To prevent bites in the future, I am now taking garlic supplements. They will make me smell bad to the insects and prevent bites in the first place. Also, I bought Avon Skin So Soft Original Bath Oil spray which has been known for years to be a great bug deterrent. Good luck to every one. There are some hungry critters out there!

  • I found that Avon’s Skin So Soft Bath Oil Spray (Original) took the itch away for quite some time. I had heard about it repelling mosquitoes, so I was really surprised it took the itch away also.

  • I have been using Vicks, probably the eucalyptus. tried most of the others mentioned and they don’t work for me.
    summer is my time to get bit by mason bees especially.

  • Another thing to try is what helped everyone in my family with itching of any kind: dry scalp, mosquito bites, sunburned skin, and even poison ivy is a product called “Scalpicin”. It is a little pricy–about $9 for 1.5 oz; however, you just need a little bit goes a long way, and it’s one of the best products I run across.

    It has 1% Hydrocortisone, but is way more effective than any cream I’ve ever used.

    Thank you Jillee for all of your helpful posts. I’ve become a huge fan of your!!

  • Spray WD40 on the bite, esp for wasps, hornets, etc.
    Works like a charm! Esp for those with allergic reactions.

    Also, covering area with a paste of baking soda and water afterwards.

  • My daughter told me to run hot water on a metal teaspoon until it gets heated up (not too hot) and hold the spoon on the bite area. I don’t know if it works, but I’m going to try it anyway.

  • Apple cider vinegar. I’m not sure what bites me in my house. But I get a tiny red dot that itches like mad. After a couple of hours it is a red circle with a white center. Looks a bit like ringworm but it isn’t. I have used orajel on it that stops the itch for a few hours. I accidentally found heat is wonderful. My arm touched the door on my car, I was like oh that burns but it feels so good. That completely stopped the itch. Then one day I was reading about the benefits of cider vinegar one was bug bites. So the next time I had a bite, I put the vinegar on a cotton ball and held it on my arm for a minute. The itch stopped and the red dot never became a circle.

  • Agree on Benadryl gel. Get more than one. The handier it is, the less likely you are to scratch.
    Also, I’ve found washing the area with cool soapy water stops the itching temporarily. Then I apply the gel.I got several red ant bites when I stepped in their way and let me tell you, mosquitoes are pikers compared to them.

  • Benadryl gel for bites. It is in the Kids section at CVS, not with calamine lotion where I expected it. Carry 1 in purse, 1 on nightstand, 1 in travel toiletries. Got about 20 chigger bites one evening last summer that drove me nuts. This fixes it immediately. May wish to apply again later, depends on the bites.

  • Ditto on the ammonia. It’s the active ingredient in AfterBite, which is the best thing I’ve found for itchy bites. For stings, I use a paste of vinegar and unflavored meat tenderizer.

  • Ammonia is wonderful for itchy bites. They used to put it and mink oil in After Bite, but now they only use baking soda, and that doesn’t work for me.


  • I am trying to sign up for site. It is not working. I cannot find the submit button. I was forwarded this site from a friend because I and my dog have gotten bitten by unidentifiable bugs. Someone said it might be Midges. 2 cm big which you can not see. I live in Ilinois and has been said in the newspaper that we have them especially when we had at lot of rain in the spring and now summer.
    I want to try your essential oils recipe.

    I have used 40% Deet spray, but use cannot use it on Spandex clothing; it weakens the fibers in your clothing which is almost my entire wardrobe. I can not be used on animals.

  • White vinegar is an old standby for getting rid of the itch of bug bites. It can also used for itchy rashes, measles or chicken pox. For those of you who have spent to much time in the sun, it can be used to help cool your skin after a sunburn. It can also be used on your pet if they get flea bites, but use it sparingly on them because it also tends to dry out their fur if used to much.
    If you’re someone who suffers from heat rashes in the summer, use corn starch on the rash to help keep it dry and irritant free. You can also use corn starch on your feet if you tend to have sweaty, stinky feet by the end of the work day, and a light dusting on your fingers will help bowling balls to slide off your fingers easily when bowling.
    I have found that a lot of the ‘old home remedies’ are still some of the best to use today.

      • Initially, when using white vinegar on a sunburn, it stings. BUT it dissipates the heat from the burn allowing it to heal must faster. Apply with a soft cloth and don’t RUB, lay the vinegar soaked cloth on top of the burn for about a couple of minutes. Notice the cloth is now warm from removing the heat of the burn continue soaking and laying on other areas of the body. When dry, there is no vinegar odor. I have fair and sensitive skin and this works for me and my family. Good luck to you and yours…………………

  • I use apple cider vinegar (the raw, nonpasteurized, unstrained kind) on wasp stings. Works like a charm to ease the pain if used immediately. I’ve used it on mosquito bites (which I am very allergic), and it helps, but must be used more than once.

  • Chapstick!! The blue medicated works best. It also is good for small cuts, the pain or itch disappear immediately! The good thing is it’s easy to have with you anywhere.

  • Add Vicks VapoRub to this list! I heard it on the radio one day and it just so happened that my friend was outside one day and ended up with itchy bites. I told her about it and she reported back……it worked! lol

  • My mom is one of those people who doesn’t attract mosquitos. The reason I use the bug zapper is I didn’t care for the smell of the mosquito repellant. As I said earlier the Chigarid is wonderful. One year our area where we live was having a huge problems with chigger bites, and the stores couldn’t keep it on the shelves. One of our neighbors had to borrow it, because the stores had sold out of it. My Dad had a strange bit, last year. It turned out to be an Oakmite. This was in the fall. Im hoping we don’t have an infestation problem this year. The news media said it happened because of our mild winters.

  • When my daughter was bit by a spider the doctor suggested an ice pack to 1.) stop the swelling and 2.) stop the itching. Her bite swelled up huge but thankfully wasn’t poisonous she just had more of a reaction to it. I’ve found an ice pack does work great for bites that do itch and swell up, like getting bit by a black fly (which we have a lot of in Maine). The ice pack helps to numb the area which helps with itching and thus the possiblity of infection.

  • I never seem to be around home or the drug store when I get a bite or sting. I’m usually outside in the garden or the woods. My go-to absolutely FREE and always around herb is plantain. It grows in crappy soil and even throughout your lawn. It grows in a rosette shape and has 5 veins on the back of the leaves. Take one of the inner leaves, wipe or wash it off. Tear it into pieces, grind it in your teeth a few times to release the juices and rub on your bite, itch or sting. You won’t believe the results. I’ve. Been know to be outside in the dark wrapped in a towel with a flashlight looking for a piece for an itching bite that’s driving me crazy. You can also pick a bunch, wash it and then dry it in dehydrator or very low oven. (On a tray or screen in a hot car works well too. I dry lots of herbs that way.) Place dried leaves in a jar. Cover with an oil like almond, olive or any other carrier oil. Leave it in the sun for two weeks turning occasionally then strain and bottle. Great for babies’ bottom, any skin irritation or rash. Great stuff.

  • Mosquitoes love me and my family. On July 4th I was overtaken by about 100 or more. My daughter had sprayed us all with Avon’s Skin so soft repellant beforehand. I got a few bites as did my daughter but guess what. They never itched!! Go figure! We don’t sell Avon but it I’m buying some of this! Also vinegar helps with itchy bug bites. Thanks!

  • The mention of hemorrhoid cream in your column today reminded me of a treatment the high school soccer players used when they got those awful huge friction burns on their legs. Preparation H was the ‘go to’ cure. It helped with the pain and the wound healed more quickly.

  • This is interesting. Some of them like the cortisone cream don’t really help much. I’m one of those folks who for some reason just attracts the darn mosquitos.I finally a few years ago broke down and bought a bug zapper- a little device with a fan that you can clip on your clothes. It really helps. One thing that really helps with these bites is a product called chigarid. It comes in a small bottle about the size of nail polish, Where I live we have Chiggers and their bites are worse than mosquitos.U usually will,itch like crazy for awhile, but if you keep using it, the itch should calm down after a day or two. I usually try to keep,a bottle in our bathroom closet. You don’t even have to be outside to get bitten.

  • Oh, what perfect timing you have. I think it’s mosquito city down here and they’ve all heard how yummy I am! As usual, thank you very much, Jillee!

  • These are all good, and ammonia is, too. It’s the active ingredient in some OTC bug-bite relief remedies. Just put some on a cotton ball, and dab onto the bite.

    Make sure it’s household ammonia, though, not ammonia that is used in a science lab, as that type is too irritating to skin.

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