Household Products For Bug Bites

Mosquitoes are a common source of bug bites

Bug bites generally result in redness, swelling and itching in a localized place on the skin. Although you can decrease the likeliness of getting bitten with bug spray and candles that repel insects, you can’t totally avoid getting bitten, particularly during the summer months when insects are out in force. Before you purchase one of the numerous pharmaceutical remedies for bug bites, try some simple household products to treat the basic symptoms of bug bites.

Cleaning the Bug Bite

The first step to reduce the potential effects of a bug bite is a thorough cleaning. Use a mild soap and hot water — rub the soap directly on the bite. Mosquito bites itch because the insect’s saliva is injected into the wound; washing it out immediately may help flush out some of the saliva. Washing out fresh bug bites also helps get rid of bacteria and germs, which in turn will help reduce future redness and swelling.

Ice and Cold Water

After washing out the bug bite, apply a cold compress directly to the bite to reduce redness and swelling. Wrap ice cubes in a washcloth or towel to create a quick cold compress at home if you don’t have one handy. If you’re dealing with numerous bug bites, consider soaking in a cold bath or taking a cool shower. Add a few drops of an essential oil like lavender to a bath to help reduce symptoms.

Quick Topical Remedies

Most remedies for bug bites are topical, meaning they are applied directly to the skin. A number of household products can be placed directly on the bug bite without any sort of preparation, including toothpaste, strong tea (liquid or tea bags), rubbing alcohol, vinegar, mouthwash, soap, honey, underarm deodorant, bleach, ammonia and bar soap. Essential oils can also help combat the symptoms of bug bites. The best ones for this purpose are tea tree oil, lavender oil, witch hazel and cedar oil. Certain fruit peels and juices — including banana skins, plantain skins, lemon skin or juice, and lime skin or juice — also help soothe bug bites.

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Paste Applications

Some topical household remedies require some preparation before they can be applied. Add water to one of the following: baking soda, crushed aspirin, meat tenderizer, salt, Epsom salt or Tums tablets — or rubbing alcohol to aspirin — to create a paste. Apply the paste to the bug bite, and let it dry completely on your skin. Avoid washing or scraping it off for as long as possible.