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5 Natural Ways to Ease Bug Bite Itching

5 Natural Ways to Ease Bug Bite Itching

In case you haven’t gotten around to whipping up a batch of DIY: Bug Repellent Balm—and we suggest you do—we present you with a list of natural remedies for mosquito bites that might have you putting away that chalky pink Calamine lotion forever.

Photographs by Erin Boyle.

1. Ice cubes: Using an ice cube or cold pack can be a surprisingly effective remedy for mosquito bites. The ice temporarily numbs the area and helps control swelling. Wrap cubes in a towel and press against bites for 10 minutes (or for as long as you can tolerate).

2. Tea bags: Natural tannins in tea act as an astringent, drawing toxins out of the skin and helping to lessen your discomfort. Press a used tea bag against your bites until the itching has subsided.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar: In the same way that baking soda can help neutralize a bug bite, a swab of apple cider vinegar (or a few cupfuls diluted in a bath) can help balance the pH of an infected area. Apple cider vinegar is somewhat less acidic than other vinegars and a good choice for restoring natural pH.

4. Aloe Vera: Often associated with relieving painful sunburns, aloe vera is as helpful for mosquito bites. You can check the produce aisle for fresh aloe vera or buy gel at the pharmacy. If you decide to go the fresh route, gently peel away the tough outer skin from the inner gel with a sharp knife. You can then pulverize the interior gel or rub the intact interior on any offending bites.

5. Peppermint Poultice: The cooling sensation from peppermint leaves that have been mashed into a paste can offer a quick remedy for especially bothersome bites. If you’re an adept forager, you can also try making a poultice from jewelweed, plantain, or chickweed. And if you find yourself out and about without your mortar and pestle, all of these herbs can be chewed and spit onto bites for relief.

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Gardenista is a one-stop sourcebook for cultivated living, a guide to outdoor design and gardening. Helmed by former New York Times columnist Michelle Slatalla, Gardenista features inspiration, garden visits, and advice for all things outdoor living, from patios and peonies, to tables and terraces. Gardens matter, and Gardenista celebrates tomatoes on the fire escape as much as rolling acres of green.


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5:47AM PST on Jan 17, 2015

Thank you

12:51PM PST on Jan 10, 2015


4:22AM PST on Jan 10, 2015

never tried it myself - and it's not exactly "natural" - but cover the bite with nail polish.....and no itch!

5:48AM PDT on Sep 1, 2013

Thank you Gardenista, for Sharing this!

1:13PM PDT on Aug 27, 2013

my bf's grandmother suggested vinegar, as well as a dab of bleach. glad one was on here

8:06PM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

awesome ideas

5:28AM PDT on Aug 12, 2013

Thanks, great article.

5:26AM PDT on Aug 4, 2013

Banana peel...try gently rubbing the inside of a banana peel against the itchy area. The tannins work well to relieve symptoms

7:44AM PDT on Aug 3, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:51AM PDT on Aug 3, 2013

Thank you for the reminder.

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