First you catch a glimpse of a mere wisp of movement out of the corner of your eye. You swipe at it, but hit only air as the tiny predator deftly evades your hand and disappears. Then comes the high-pitch buzzing in your ear. Over and over you attempt to swat it away. Sadly, your efforts are all in vain. Before you know it, you’re covered in pink, swollen, itchy bites.
Of all of the pests that arrive with the warmer weather of spring and summer, there are few as annoying and persistent as the infamous mosquito. Before you reach for that tube of hydrocortisone steroid cream to soothe your discomfort, try out one or two of the following fifteen all-natural home remedies to relieve the itch and inflammation of mosquito bites.
How To Keep Mosquitoes Away In The First Place
Before we dive in it is worth mentioning that prevention is always better than cure. For that reason, make sure you familiarize yourself with our articles that deal with preventing mosquito bites, including:
11 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes – Plant these around your yard or in pots on your porch or patio and keep mosquitoes away! Citronella is probably the most effective!
21 Natural Ways To Keep Mosquitoes Away – From rubbing lavender on your body to making your own citronella candles, try these methods and minimize your mosquito bites this summer.
How To Make The World’s Best Natural Mosquito Repellent Spray – This herbal mosquito spray is really powerful, 100% non-toxic and really helps to keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
How To Use Essential Oils To Keep Mosquitoes Away – Essential oils, while smelling fragrant to most humans, are despised by mosquitoes. Discover the best essential oils for keeping mosquitoes away in this article.
Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?
As you smack away that biting insect buzzing around, you’ve probably wondered, just like I did, why mosquito bites itch so much. While their bite can affect people differently, there’s a reason for that itch. When mosquitoes bite they draw out blood while injecting some of their saliva, which contains proteins and an anticoagulant. The protein in the saliva triggers the immune system to release histamine, a substance that helps white blood cells get to the affected area, and it’s also why you experience swelling, inflammation and the itch. Not all people respond by itching though, some don’t even notice the bite at all, which can be because they’ve built a tolerance, or on the opposite side of the spectrum, if they’re bitten for the first time, the body hasn’t yet formulated a response to that particular invader.
15 Home Remedies For Mosquito Bites
Of course, you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you were one of the lucky ones who isn’t bothered by mosquito bites. But the good news is that there are plenty of highly effective natural remedies out there to help those who are – in fact, so many that if you’re suffering now, chances are you’ve got at least of few of these options right in your kitchen cabinet.
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is famous for its ability to soothe a sunburn, but it can also help reduce inflammation, swelling and the itch of a mosquito bite. That’s because it’s a natural antiseptic agent, which simply means that it has the ability to relieve itchiness and swelling. It also helps reduce pain and speed healing too.
If you have your own plant at home, all you have to do is cut one of the leaves off and squeeze the gel onto any mosquito bites. You’ll need to reapply it every two to three hours until the itch subsides. If you don’t have a plant, you can usually find them for sale at most nurseries and home/garden stores or you could even buy already extracted Aloe vera gel.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is practically a cure-all, it’s good for so many things, including providing natural mosquito bite relief, thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to soothe and disinfect the area and may even help it to heal faster. You can spot treat a bite by dabbing a bit of undiluted apple cider vinegar on with a cotton ball. If you have a lot of bites across your body, a bath is the way to go. Add a few cups of apple cider vinegar to a tub filled with warm water. Soak for at least 15 minutes for the best results.
3. Baking Soda & Witch Hazel
Baking soda is a natural disinfectant which also helps to reduce inflammation, and as it contains mild alkaline compounds, it also helps to neutralize the pH balance of the skin, providing even more dramatic effects who it comes to natural mosquito bite relief. Witch hazel is a natural astringent, which means that it can draw out any excess fluid, further reducing any swelling. The combination of the two, made into a paste and applied to any bites, can bring fast relief. Allow the paste to sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing off.
4. Banana Peel
While it may sound strange, you might want to start saving those banana peels after you’re finished with the fruit inside, especially if you’re prone to mosquito bites. All you have to do is rub the soft inside of the peel over them. Thanks to minerals, vitamins, and acids in the peel, it will help take away the itch and soothe the pain.
Basil is a popular herb for cooking, especially in sauces and stews, but it can also help bring relief to that itch as it contains thymol and camphor, both of which have been found to get rid of the itch. You can use fresh basil leaves, pressing them over any bites, or basil essential oil. If you use the essential oil, dilute it with a carrier oil like almond or coconut oil first, and then apply for quick relief.
6. Raw Honey
Honey, if you get the right type, meaning not the stuff in the plastic-shaped bear bottle, but raw, organic honey, is an excellent natural remedy for mosquito bites. That’s because it offers both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory which makes it a popular choice for a wide range of natural home remedies. All you have to do it dab a little raw honey on your bites and before you know it, sweet relief.
It may be simple, but it’s highly effective and you probably have some in your freezer right now. Apply ice or a frozen bag of veggies, for example, can halt itching in its tracks, numb the pain and reduce swelling. It works because the ice is actually able to numb the nerves that cause the itch as well as the pain. The chilly temperature also helps to slow the inflammatory response to further lessen pain and provide quick relief. Don’t apply ice directly, however, as it can seriously damage your skin. Instead, wrap ice in a dish towel, use an ice pack or a bag of frozen veggies and hold onto the affected areas for 10 to 15 minutes.
8. Lemon Juice
This happy yellow citrus fruit is sure to bring joy back in your life with its ability to provide instant relief for the pain and itch of a mosquito bite. The juice of a lemon offers natural anaesthetic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it an excellent natural remedy. As it also contains alpha-hydroxy acids and antioxidants it can cleanse and speed healing too. Simply cut a fresh lemon in half and then rub the inside of one half over your bites – if you have a lot, you may need to use the other half too. Not only will the itch stop, but the lemon juice will help prevent an infection from developing too.
Just keep in mind that this one is best done when you don’t plan to go back outdoors in the sun anytime soon as your skin will be more susceptible to a sunburn, something lemons aren’t going to help with.
9. Milk & Water
Milk naturally contains proteins that have anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties, and, like lemon, natural alpha-hydroxy acids are present too, which helps to enhance skin health. If you have a lot of bites, similar to apple cider vinegar, you can soak in a warm milk bath. Otherwise, simply mix up a bit of milk and water together and dab it onto your bites using a cotton ball. Ideally, skim milk is best as it’s the protein rather than the fat that helps, but you can use any type of milk you happen to have on hand.
Peppermint contains menthol and other cooling properties that can impact the nerves to stop the itch and the pain. You can use the fresh leaves by crushing them up and applying them on your mosquito bites, or use peppermint essential oil – beware, it’s rather potent so it must be diluted in a carrier oil first to prevent a reaction.
11. Tea Bags
Tea leaves contain tannins, natural compounds that help to draw out excess fluid from a bite, helping to reduce the swelling and relieve the pain. Simply make a cup of tea, black tea is ideal, and then place the used bag in the refrigerator to cool. Once it’s cooked, place it onto the mosquito bite for about 5 minutes.
12. Tea Tree Oil
Another very powerful treatment, tea tree oil offers strong antimicrobial action along with anti-inflammatory properties that not only help to ease the pain and swelling but lessen the chance of infection and help the skin heal faster too.
Add a couple of drops to a teaspoon of carrier oil and apply directly to the bite.
Garlic has been used for all sorts of natural remedies for centuries, and it’s great for mosquito bites too. It not only helps to soothe the itch and decrease swelling but if you eat a lot of garlic just before you go outside, the bugs will probably stay away from you in the first place as they hate the odor. To use it after you’ve been bit, mince up a clove of garlic and allow it to sit for a few minutes to release its active properties, then apply it directly onto any bites. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing off.
Onions work similar to garlic when it comes to taking the itch and sting out of the bite. All you have to do is slice up a fresh onion and apply a slice to each bite. It will also help to pull any liquid out, in addition to stopping the itch and swelling.
15. Plantain Poultice
Plantains have been used as a medicinal cure in some Native American cultures, in fact, many used their leaves to relieve the pain and itch of an insect bite, as well as to halt the itching that occurs with rashes or poison ivy. It’s highly effective thanks to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, as well as being antitoxic and anti-inflammatory. Chewed or shredded, the leaves help to prevent infection with their antibacterial action, as well as relieve the itch and pain due to its anti-inflammatory abilities.
To make a plantain poultice, it’s best to use organic plantain leaves, or if you want to harvest it outdoors, look for signs that wildlife has been munching on it as that’s a good indicator that chemicals like pesticides haven’t been sprayed. You’ll need the larger, older leaves that are found at the base of the plant as they contain the most nutrients. You don’t have to have a lot of leaves, a poultice generally only requires four or five of them, and the plant will recover quickly, even if you pick all of its leaves.
Once you have the leaves:
- Wash the plantain leaves thoroughly to get rid of dirt, contaminants, bugs and so on and then mash them up. The easiest way to do it is to chew them if you’re the person who needs the poultice as you probably don’t want to be putting someone else’s saliva on your skin.
- Once you’ve chewed up the leaves into what looks similar to wet grass clippings, you can apply them.
- Apply the plantain leaves to any bites that you have, making sure to cover up any skin that looks red, swollen or irritated around it as they’ll help to reduce all inflammation and itching in the affected area as it dries.
- Cover up the plantain poultice using anything you might have lying around, like tape, a bandage, and so on. Don’t put it on so tight that it can’t breathe, as it needs to breathe and be allowed to gradually dry out for it to be effective. You’ll need to replace each one after a couple of hours or so when it starts to dry up. It won’t be long before your bites will have faded noticeably, and the itch is gone.