Last Modified on Jun 22, 2014
Nearly 99% of spider bites are harmless; however, some bites are toxic and can cause a variety of adverse effects on the body. In any case, appropriately treating a bite is crucial to eliminate any poison in the body and prevent further damage to the wound site. Individuals must also be careful when treating a suspected spider bite, as these wounds are often mistaken for MRSA-related boils.
What is a Spider Bite?
Generally, insect and spider bites cause limited inflammation, redness, pain and itching. Depending on the type of spider, a reaction may last a few hours to several days or even weeks. Toxic spider bites from that of a black widow or brown recluse involve a more threatening reaction that may include severe swelling, lightheadedness, fever and a necrotic sore.
Warning: If you believe that you have been bitten by a brown recluse spider, seek medical help immediately. Brown recluse spider bites 'eat away' at the skin, causing extremely high fevers and illness. These bites can kill you.
Home Remedies for Spider Bites
Neutralizing the bite and eliminating any toxins in the body is the first goal of treating spider bites. Many home remedies are effective for treating such wounds including baking soda, salt and activated charcoal. Other treatment options moisturize and replenish the skin to prevent damage at the site of the wound.
Baking soda is an effective treatment for several different kinds of insect bites. Mixed with water and made into a paste, baking soda can be applied to the site of a bite. The natural wicking ability of baking soda draws out the venom, reducing pain and inflammation.
Salt can also be used to effectively draw the venom out of a spider bite to treat such a wound. Salt also works to eliminate inflammation and redness at the site of the bite. This treatment also prevents infection.
Activated charcoal is another treatment option that can be used as a poultice for a spider bite or other insect bite. Activated charcoal has innate absorption characteristics that help it effectively draw out and remove toxic substances from the body. This treatment also helps eliminate inflammation and tenderness.
While the vast majority of spider bites are minimally harmful, some bites can cause substantial damage to the affected area and even the rest of the body. Treatments for such wounds focus on drawing the toxins out of the body and treating the site before it develops into a large wound.
|Baking Soda||7 YEAS|
Table of Contents
- QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
- POPULAR REMEDIES
- Activated Charcoal
- Apple Cider Vinegar, Cortisone
- Baking Soda
- Baking Soda and Charcoal
- Baking Soda or Butter
- Baking Soda, Garlic
- Castor Oil, Tea Tree Oil
- Charcoal and Baking Soda
- Dried Basil
- Essential Oil Blend
- General Feedback
- High Voltage, Low Amperage Dc Current
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Hydrogen Peroxide, Honey, Witch Hazel
- Multiple Remedies
- Oregano Oil
- Remedies Needed
- Snake Root
- Spoon Heated With Hot Water
- Sulfur Powder
- Tobacco Poultice
- Turmeric and Olive Oil
- Vitamin C
- Wild Hydrangea
[YEA] 09/29/2006: Elizabeth from Woodbury, TN: "We've used activated charcoal many times in our family and friends for the brown recluse spider bite. Even a couple of doctors here were amazed at what it did! We would make up a paste and change the first day about every 2 hours and then the next day just a few times and would keep watching it. Usually the bite was shrunk and just a little scab after a few days. Usually we would also drink some so that we would have any poison from the bite eliminated from our system."
EC: Read more charcoal cures here.
05/11/2010: Heather from Milton, Pa replies: "i would like to get the recipe for the charcoal paste if u wouldnt mind. thanks"
09/30/2011: David T from Greenville, Sc replies: "Charcoal is good to draw out poison but try Echinacea.
I found a book written by an MD published around 1920 on an Herbal web site: Case studies on snake bites, spiker and other insect bites. Echinacea was the cure. I've experiemented on useage and have found it to be the best thing I have ever come across for almost instant relief and CURE for insect bites. On a mosquito bite, for instance, apply topically with five drops. Apply again in five to ten minutes. Itch and irritation gone.
Another anacdotal: My wife and I had friends over to our house for supper and they brought their 12 year old son. He had a large red bite on his neck... Much larger than a mosquito bite. He kept scratching and rubbing it. His mother said she had thought it was just an insect bite but now was believing a spider was most probable.
I asked permission to use echinacea to treat the wound. I held a poultice of twenty drops on the bite for five minutes and then the boy held it for another ten minutes. I gave him a fresh poultice with another twenty drops when they left and watched him with poultice on his neck as they drove away. That was on a Thursday night as I recall. Sunday at Church, I saw him and the bite redness was gone. You could barely tell anything had been wrong with his neck.'
For snake bites the book I mentioned above discussed the method that the author asserts is good for even the most dangerous North American snakes. He kept repeating that he could only comment on the case studies out of North America because that was the only case studies he had access to. He did not know if echinacea would work on bites of snakes outside America. He had a lot of examples from Texas because that is where he practiced. (The writer was an MD.)
For snake bites, apply an echinacea poultice of forty drops directly to bite, replacing every hour. Also once an hour put five drops of echinacea in water and have victim drink. Have victim drink five drops evey hour for ten hours. Apparently too much echinacea over time consumed internally might create problems and that MD was aware of that but in none of his examples did any side effect come about from the echinacea taken in those quanties for a ten hour period. (He is giving case studies of poisionous snakes and poisionous spiders.)
Now obviously I am not recommending treatment of a snake bite in lieu of seeking immediate medical treatment at an emergency room. But I'd sure take echinacea with me on a wilderness trip. Or I'd use it on my way to an emergency room."
08/31/2012: Jeanne from Portland, Or replies: "I found this website and remedy treatments after I was bit on my thigh by a hobo last month. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the people who posted! We made a paste from activated charcoal, echinacea drops and plantain. I applied that every 4 hours for the first two days and then twice a day for a couple of weeks after. I had 3 boils from the bite and only one popped (naturally) which has left a small hole. Otherwise the other 2 boils healed naturally. I used ice packs (not heat, as advised), kept my leg elevated and avoided strenuous activity for the first week. I feel fortunate because I noticed the bite within a few hours after it happened so caught it early. We have since, caught multiple hobos in our yard using glue traps. Thanks again, everyone, for sharing!"
[YEA] 02/18/2013: Julie from Lakeland, Florida replies: "Thank you for the advice about the activated charcoal! I got bit by a brown recluse and started using it at about 30 hrs in. My bite was starting to turn black and was almost the size of a baseball. After just one patch, it was smaller and turning pink again. A couple days of that and it is almost flesh tone with no wound! It was the only thing that seemed to work and I think it saved me from what would have been a horrible situation!"
02/19/2013: Louwrence from Rustenburg, North West, South Africa replies: "Hi Julie, Did you use it internally or externally as a poultice? Thanks."
[YEA] 08/28/2013: Bridget from Oklahoma: "We had been home treating 2 Brown Recluse bites my husband got on his shins for 10 days or so. One had become very purple/red and his leg/foot was swelling and about a 2 inch square of flesh around the 'crater' of the bite looked like raw hamburger/open wound that continued to leak clear/yellow fluid. I found a website about spider bites that mentioned a man's story who had been bitten numerous times over the years by recluses, he had finally ran into a vet that gave him 3 small injections with a tiny needle around the 'crater' of the bite with cortisone. He said it started healing immediately. I printed this out and took it with us to the hospital. The ER doc said there was not much he could do for it, that it would get worse looking before it got better, that the swelling/inflammation was not allowing the blood to flow to the wound, so the flesh was dying. He prescribed antibiotics. After he had finished with his diagnosis, I pulled out the pages I printed and asked him about giving my husband the cortisone (Dexamethasone) shots that the article spoke of, since there was nothing else he knew to do. He flatly refused and wouldn't even look over the article. VERY frustrating! We left and came home to sleep til the pharmacy opened next am. Before bed as I was dressing the wound again, my husband recalled that our Dr. had a while back prescribed some cortisone cream for a rash he had on his hand. Figuring it couldn't hurt, I cleaned the wound as usual with apple cider vinegar (it helps keep the skin alkaline, preventing the acidic environment needed for infection to proliferate) then applied the cortisone cream around the open wound, but NOT on it, and bandaged lightly as the wound was still oozing. We woke up several hours later to find most all the swelling was gone from his lower leg/ankle and the surrounding area that had been so purple/red had faded considerably. The Dr. told us the flesh around the wound was dying, and would fall off, due to the inflammation not allowing the blood to flow and regenerate the wound to heal. BUT, after applying the cream for the last 4 days, the swelling has gone down, and the wound formed a scab that fell off naturally to reveal new, pink skin underneath. The original "crater" of the bite is filling in and closing up quickly. I thought that perhaps if someone else runs into a stubborn Dr that refuses to give the cortisone shots, our experience might help them as well. The name of the cream we used was Betamethasone Dipropionate 0.05%. It was prescription, but I would think that any cortisone cream would have some healing effects to allow the swelling to go down and the blood to flow to the would to facilitate healing. This is the 4th time he has been bitten here in Oklahoma, if there is a next time we will be sure to take a Benadryl and apply cortisone cream ASAP! We never did get the antibiotics Rx filled (he gave us 2 kinds- one was Clindamycin, no way was he taking that! ), I applied iodine to the open part of the wound twice a day, I read on Earthclinic that it was used for infections before antibiotics were discovered, and it has healed much quicker than before I was applying it. I hope perhaps this will help someone else who has a bad spider bite."
[YEA] 10/21/2006: Everett from Kitts Hill, OH: "I HAVE USED AN ASPIRIN SOAKED IN A LITTLE WATER TO MAKE A PASTE AND PUT IT ON A SPIDER BITE. YOU KNOW THEY ITCH PRETTY BAD, AND THE ITCHING STOPPED ALMOST IMMEDIATELY. HALF AN HOUR OR SO. I HAVE NOT TRIED IT ON BROWN RECLUSE AS I HAVE NOT BEEN BITTEN BY ONE OF THEM."Replies
[YEA] 06/16/2009: Grace from Fairview, North Carolina replies: "Yes, we have used aspirin and it really helps with the itching. It also seems to speed up healing, maybe due to its vascodilatory and antiinflamotory effect."
Baking Soda Treatment for Spider Bites
Folk Medicine Ingredients:
- Baking Soda
Make a thick paste out of baking soda and water. Apply this to the spider bite and allow to dry. Once it has brushed off, reapply more of the paste several times throughout the day to reduce the swelling and pain.
Warning! People (and doctors) often mistake MRSA-related boils for spider bites. If you are not 100% sure that you were bitten by a spider, please make sure to take a look at our entry on Boils.
[YEA] 09/14/2013: Christina from Boston: "Baking soda healed my spider bites beautifully and quickly!
I always read the remedies on this site but never took a moment to post my success. I've had such amazing results this past week with baking soda for my spider bites I wanted to share.
We must have spiders in the apartment- they might be hiding in the exposed brick. It's an older building in Boston.
I had tried "popping" spider bites a few times, not knowing what they were. (The tellltale red, raised bump with the white pinhead can resemble a pimple. ) I tried popping one on my leg above the knee and it swelled up to about 10x the size and looked more like a giant welt. This bite is still healing, from about 3 weeks ago.
Once I came on this website and saw the recommendation for baking soda, I resisted the urge to pop the unsightly pinhead, and applied a baking soda paste (baking soda mixed with water with the consistency of a toothpaste). I did this on a bite I got on my upper arm about a week ago. I applied the paste and covered the area with a bandaid (under my clothing for work). When I got home from work on Day 1, the bite swelling and redness had reduced significantly -and the white pinhead (that looks like puss) had raised on the surface of the skin and enlarged. I had an event that night and was discouraged because I wanted to wear a dress which would expose that area of the arm, and it looked like I had a giant zit on my arm.
I once again resisted the urge to pop (reminded by the slow healing of the bite on my leg) and instead applied more paste and covered with a bandaid. In the next few hours I lifted the bandaid and saw that the white stuff had popped on its own and begun to ooze out a bit, but had been absorbed by the dry paste. All on Day 1 of applying!
Over the next 2-3 days I continued to apply the baking soda paste and each day the appearance improved dramatically. I believe right now I am on Day 4 and the bite is non-existant in appearance and completely healed!! Amazing!
Meanwhile, the bite on my knee from 3 weeks ago is scabbed and healing slowly. Thanks so much earth clinic! I will use baking soda from now on!"
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 05/06/2013: Jamie from Largo, Fl: "Two days with what I think is a spider bite. I had a dark crater the size of a penny and the swelling the size of a half dollar. Made a thick paste and had it cover the crater and red area. I then used a big adhesive band aid to cover it. After four hours, I looked at it and the selling went down to a quarter. But the crater is no longer a dark color, it's white. Also, it is no longer a crater. Meaning, it filled up no longer be crater. Reapplied baking soda. Waiting to see results later."Replies
09/19/2013: Missharvey73 from Seattle, Wa replies: "sounds like a recluse bite. I lost 65% of my thumb... Go to the DR!!"
[YEA] 07/30/2010: Greg from Leslie, Michigan: "I got bit three nights ago on the inside of my elbow by what appeared to be a spider. At first I thought it was a mosquito bite but it was uglier with a white spot on top. I squeezed it and tried hydrogen peroxide and witch hazel but they did nothing. Then I put anti-bacterial ointment on it but by the evening of the first day my arm ached and the welt had turned into a blister. The next day the blister was the size of a jelly bean and the redness and soreness was the size of two half-dollars. My understanding is that spider bites contain a virus. I called Urgent Care and they said to see a doctor the next day and put hot compresses on it until then. I asked if it was okay to put baking soda on it to draw out any toxins. She said Yes but only for 20 minutes. Instead, I made up a paste of plain baking soda and water to the consistency of toothpaste and put it on the bite until it dried. Then I brushed it off. I did this every two hours until I went to sleep: a total of four times. The next morning I woke up and the blister was half the size and the redness was almost gone. It's still a little sore but I will continue for another day. I expect it will be gone tomorrow."Replies
10/24/2011: Lisa from Phoenix, Az replies: "Hi, I was wondering if the baking soda healed your spider bite. Thanks!
11/20/2011: Jessica from Oakland, Ca replies: "I used the baking soda paste method on my spider bite and it helped to ease the swelling and it helped cool it down a little. I also iced it in between using the baking soda, which eased the discomfort. An over the counter pain killer also helped ease the pain."
[YEA] 10/26/2008: WT from Spartanburg, SC: "Vitamin C is truly a medicine to take everywhere you go. I've used it for a spider bite I got while canoeing down a creek. My arm swelled and hurt and I didn't realize why at first. It finally dawned on me that I had brushed a limb at the start of the trip and spiders galore fell in the boat with me. Evidently one bit me!
I took 3-4G every 1.5 hours or so after getting home and continued the next day. Never got any signs of overdosing ie gas or diarrhea. I estimate I took 40G over 24 hours! It killed most of the swelling by nightfall the day of the trip!
Also had an employee get stung by a wasp. He told me the last time he got bit he had to go to the hospital. I gave him 5G and sent let him leave. He told me in an hour or so the pain and swelling had diminished greatly. He didn't have anymore vitamin C but he didn't need to visit the hospital!"
[YEA] 10/15/2008: Jon from Lakeland, Florida: "I used a paste of baking soda on a spider bite on my leg and in two days the bite turned from black to red and faded away in little more than a week. It works!"
[YEA] 02/21/2008: Mare from Auckland, New Zealand: "My daughters were playing outside in the garden and one after the other, they both started screaming, crying and running toward the house. I couldn't understand what had happened but they both had similar red marks on their skin. I assumed they had been bitten by spiders as there was no obvious sting. I quickly applied a thick paste of Baking Soda and water and within minutes both girls were calm and happy. Praise God for Baking Soda!"
[YEA] 09/17/2007: MISTI from Killeen, TX: "My boyfriend recently got bitten by a spider which caused his hand to swell approx. 3 inches where the bite was at. After almost a week we decided to look into home remedies to heal it. One of his co-workers suggested using a baking soda paste: 3 parts baking soda 1 part water. A little while after he applied it the sore opened up and started oozing. I had read about the salt and garlic cure on this website so as soon as he came home we poured the salt on the wound, left it for about 20 minutes, rinsed and applied a fresh garlic clove overnight; kept this up for about a week and the bite has almost completely healed. All that is left is a small scab where the bite had once been an open wound about the size of a dime. Thanks for the home remedies!"
[YEA] 09/21/2006: Cheryl from Okla: "For fiddle back spider bites, mix 1 egg white with 1 tbls iodine and some baking soda to make a paste. Rub onto spider bite and let dry. Do this several times a day."
03/14/2014: Islandmeg from Modesto, Ca : "Aloha everyone,
I recently was bitten was a Black Widow spider and was lucky enough to find this site. What a mess they make.
I had cellulitus and the poison was spreading up my foot, heading toward my ankle. It was skin splitting sore and swollen. Also very itchy. I decided to try the baking soda and charcoal. Wow.
I was bitten on Saturday night. By Sunday night, I was a bit worried, watching the toxin spreading. I drew on my foot with a marker pen, so I could chart it's progress - just in case.
On Monday, it wasn't settling down. I found this site and made up a batch of baking soda and water. Just mixing it in with a little water to make a toothpaste like consistency. I smoothed it all over my foot and left it on there until it had dried up and was caking off. That took a lot of the itch out straight away.
When it would play up again, I'd then put some anti-histamine cream on and an ice pack. About every two hours on the Monday, I did the baking soda routine again. Each time it took out a bit more itch, a bit more pain.
I also tried one batch with some charcoal mixed in but this was stingy and I my foot stung afterwards. I had to wash it, so I just kept to the baking soda. And took the activated Charcoal (2 capsules) a couple of times a day, around food.
When I woke up on Tues, my foot had improved by about 30 to 40%. The toxin had also stopped spreading.
On Tues I did the same routine but wasn't having to do it as often. I was going about 3 to 4 hours between baking soda poultices. My friend rushed around here on Tues night, prepared to bodily take me to hospital if necessary. (She's an allopathic trauma nurse) And was floored when she saw how much it had gone down. She'd seen it on the Sunday night. (Now a keen Earthclinic phone. I put it on her phone for her. :-) ) Although, I did take some Bactrim antibiotics she had (Sulfurmeth) as well.
When I woke up Wed, my foot was probably about 100% improved. I had lost all the itchiness and most of the soreness. Slightly tight and tender to the touch, but nothing like it was. I thought my skin was going to pop. The toxin line was receding too. I only did 3 baking soda poultices.
Today is Thur and I've only done one baking soda poultice today, no ice or anti-histamine cream. I woke up and you can see the original toxin line but otherwise, barely any discoloration in the foot. I will continue to poultice it, internal charcoal and the antibiotics, which are probably only kicking in tonight anyway. :-)
In short - wow. I'm sold. Thank you all so much."
EC: Dear IslandMeg,
Thank you for the great feedback! We also got a post recently from a man who healed his cellulitis with wheatgrass and supplements. You can check out his post here: http://www.earthclinic.com/cures/cellulitis.html#WS
[YEA] 01/29/2008: Wooly from Joshua Tree, CA: "Use Baking Soda/butter as a Poultice/remedy for Brown Spider Bite. I was a teenager riding my horse and a spider got in my long hair, when i went to take a shower, I was bit by a brown recluse spider. For two weeks my father put this poultice (size of a large patch) on me and it was the only relief I had. Who knows what would have happened without the baking soda. I hope this saves someone else's life. God Bless"
EC: We emailed Wooly for more details
01/31/2008: Wooly from Joshua Tree, CA replies: "I BELIEVE MY DAD USED HALF BAKING SODA AND HALF BUTTER 50/50. SO IT WAS A THIN LAYER IS WHAT I REMEMBER AND YES IT WAS MIXED TO COVER THE ENTIRE AREA OF THE BITE ABOUT 3 INCHES BY 3 INCHES, DEPENDS ON PERSONS SIZE OF WOUND AND HOW IT AFFECTS THERE BODY. THE MIXTURE WAS THE SIZE OF A PATCH THAT THEY USE FOR BACK PAIN FOR EXAMPLE. HOPE THIS HELPS. WOOLY"
[YEA] 10/19/2008: Nosakhere from Chicago, IL: "I really hate getting sick which goes without saying. However my agonizing desire to beat the bite fueled me to seek out advice for a spider bite.One night when I was sleeping a nocturnal hunting brown recluse spider must have decided to crawl under my neck for warmth. In that moment I was sleeping on the floor mattress to escape the snoring from a dear friend of mine. Anyway I must have rolled over & crushed it unknowingly in my sleep and caused the little fellow to release a nasty amount of venom with his bite. I felt very itchy and felt what only seemed like a pin prick the very next morning in the back of my neck. After placing black soap on the skin, (not the commercial kind but the real kind) this usually comes in plastic or a ball of thick paste to stop the itchy break outs on my arm. The slight rashes on my arm went away with the soap. However I noticed that the bite on my neck was in fact more affected as the source. I began poking at them to release the fluid & swelling. This was very painful, So I took an alieve gelcap prior to this procedure as it would slightly ease the process. However I wanted to find natural ways to make it go away. I am a musician & voice over artist/T.V. host. I'm no doctor, but I appreciate the gifts of nature for cooking & all it's healing properties as well. So I found this website. (Earth Clinic). After reading some of the articles, I began trying the garlic clove taped directly to the back of my neck. There was a strong tingle that gave me much satisfaction knowing that it was working to cure the problem. I later tried the baking soda and it reduced the swelling greatly & the puss from the damaged tissue began to run out from the lava lesion caused by the bite. I had to repeat these once or twice a day often throwing in a peroxide rinse occasionally while squeezing out the remaining puss. Right before my eyes I could see the wound quickly healing. My glands had become swollen from the bite & about 2 or 3 days later they returned to normal as well. I threw back a couple of doses of a prescription antibiotic just for good measure. And all I had left was a scab which I applied Hibiclens which was terrific causing rapid skin reformation.
All that was left was to exfoliate the damaged skin with black soap & a gentle scrubber and then apply coca butter after drying. These natural cures are wonderful. God really knew what He was doing when He placed them here for us. If it had not been for these cures. This accident would have gotten much worse & would have been dragged out to at least 8 to 10 weeks instead of the 2 weeks I endured.
My thanks goes out to Earth Clinic (folk remedies) for this wonderful & valuable information.
the Artist "Nosakhere" (Papa Soul)
10/23/2010: Scott from Spokane, Washington replies: "Don't ever "take prescription antibiotics for good measure"! People who do stuff like that are the cause of resistant bacteria like MRSA."
07/03/2012: Rylee from Asheville, North Carolina replies: "Scott from Spokane; Amen to that!!!"
[YEA] 10/11/2008: Kevin Coombs from Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin: "Bread cured my daughters spider bite. Went to doctor who put her on anti-biotics. It did nothing for her. My wifes grandma told her to put a piece of bread on it. She did and it drew all of the puss out and cured it in one night."Replies
09/07/2010: Scott from Hanston, Kansas replies: "Look for Bread Poultice on the following link for directions. Works best with warm water.
[YEA] 10/17/2011: Thankful Mom! from Atlanta, Ga replies: "I tried this for my daughter who was bitten and I found out about it a day later when the site was swollen, huge and warm to the touch. I applied the bread, wrapped to her in an ace bandage and this morning when I removed the bandage/bread all had come to the head and drained out. She said it no longer hurt or irratated her."
01/17/2012: Scott from Hanton, Ks replies: "It really works, glad it helped your daughter. I would like to see earth clinic give it its own page as it's useful in so many things."