Mosquito Bite Remedies

| Modified on Jul 04, 2024
Dishsoap for Mosquito Bites.

Treating and preventing mosquito bites necessitates a balanced approach that incorporates natural repellants and natural care. Avoiding mosquito bites is the best line of defense using deterrents such as apple cider vinegar. Nonetheless, natural treatments including lavender oil relieve the symptoms of a mosquito bite.

What are Mosquito Bites?

Itchy bumps that appear following a mosquito bite, insect bite or bee sting, mosquito bites are generally harmless. Nonetheless, bites often cause a large area or multiple locations of swelling, soreness and redness. Some insects pose an additional threat as they can carry viruses and parasites including West Nile, yellow fever, malaria and others.

Natural Mosquito Remedies

Preventing mosquito bites by using natural repellants is the best way to avoid insect bites. Some insect bites or stings are impossible to avoid, however, requiring effective treatment options. Apple cider vinegar and garlic are effective mosquito repellants while lavender oil is a functional remedy for itching associated with bites.

Apple Cider Vinegar

A natural, nontoxic compound, apple cider vinegar repels insects due to its acidic smell and taste. Vinegar applied to a bite also helps heal it and prevent infection.


Garlic is a pungent herb with a biting taste. As such, garlic is an effective repellant. For the best results, garlic must mature and be mixed with mineral oil and water to be used as a spray or detergent.

Lavender Oil

The pleasant aroma is not the only positive to treating ailments with lavender oil. This compound also offers specific anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties. When applied directly to a mosquito bite, lavender oil offers relief almost instantly.

More common during the spring and summer, mosquito bites are often hard to avoid. Nonetheless, using natural repellants and treatment options is an effective way to prevent and treat most insect bites.

Ammonia or Meat Tenderizer

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Michael Wilson (NC) on 07/24/2019

Household ammonia is a popular and effective anti-itch remedy. It is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter mosquito bite remedies. The ammonia changes the skin's acidity (pH), countering some of the chemical reactions that make you itch.

What To Do

Dampen a cotton ball with ammonia and wet the area affected by the bite.

This treatment works best on fresh bites. Only use household ammonia, which is diluted, not ammonia from a science lab, which is too concentrated. If you have sensitive skin, you'll probably want to skip this treatment and opt for one that is gentle for your skin.

Also, Meat tenderizer contains enzymes, such as papain, that tenderize meat by breaking the chemical bonds that hold the muscle fibers together. Meat tenderizer is effective against insect stings and other types of venom because it breaks the proteins that cause a reaction. Although it's unlikely meat tenderizer can do much good once a bite has had a chance to swell up, if you apply it immediately after you are bitten or shortly afterward, it may deactivate the chemicals in the mosquito saliva that will make you itchy and red.

What To Do

Either apply meat tenderizing powder directly to the bite area or mix it with a small amount of water. Leave it on for a couple of minutes, but not too long or you're likely to tenderize yourself! This is a safe remedy, but since many products contain herbs and spices, it might cause itchiness of its own if you have sensitive skin.

Antipruritic Device

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Alex (Thessaloniki) on 09/01/2018

High temperature (about 50C) with an Antipruritic Device for a minute. They really decreasing swelling and itching if applied soon enough. I am very sensitive to mosquito's bite and swell a lot. With this devise I saw a huge difference. Search amazon and ebay for cheap devices.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Epsom Salts for Mosquito Bites

Posted by Christina (Ma, Usa) on 09/14/2013

Applying ACV and rubbbing in Epsom Salts intermittently has been super helpful in the healing process for my mosquito bites. I tend to have an allergic reaction and mosquitos will often bite me, but no one else, when I am outside somewhere in the summer.

I will soak the ACV in a cotton ball or on a cotton circle pad and hold on my bites for a few minutes. After, I rub in a small portion of Epsom salts (about a dime size) and let them dissolve in the skin, in and around the bites. I do this a few times across the day. I've found this to both speed the healing as well as reduce the redness and itch.

Bat Boxes

Posted by John (Benmore Sandton, Gauteng South Africa)

Mosquito control. Whilst I burn incense coils or sticks, a good neighborly trick that SHOULD be practiced internationally is to install Bat Boxes at regular intervals in the area. Bats consume 10,000 to 15000 insects a day (per bat). Do the community a turn!

Replied by John
(Midrand Gauteng, South Africa)

I agree most wholeheartedly, but where to get a bat box. I am past my sell by date so find it difficult to manufacture and install, but yes, it is a public service and if we had a gov't for the people they would be supplied, installed and a mandatory part of Africa. John


Posted by Staff (Earth Clinic)

Citronella has long been a favorite natural insect repellent, particularly mentioned as a mosquito repellent. The question is, does it work? Citronella coils and candles have become a substantial little industry, but their effectiveness has definitely been called into question. Like other natural insect repellents, citronella oil is the essential oil extract of a certain genus of plants in the lemon grass family. Consensus on lemon grass is that it can be effective as a component of a multi-pronged defense against mosquito attacks. Think about combining citronella candles with a lavender and eucalyptus lotion or mix citronella in with several other herbs and essential oils for an effective mosquito repellent spray.

Coconut Oil and Lavender Oil

4 User Reviews
5 star (4) 

Posted by T (Maryland, USA) on 08/24/2012

Beautyberry, coconut oil and lavender to repel mosquitos...

We have a huge mosquito problem here, and thanks to the invasion of aggressive Asian Tiger mosquitoes here about 10 years ago, we get attacked all day as well as night. I don't want to be slathering on chemicals but protection is a necessity to enjoy any time in the yard. I've read of various concoctions using a variety essential oils, but didn't have any of the listed ones on hand. In desperation I added about 10 drops of lavender essential oil to a small jar filled with VCO. We dip our fingers in the jar and rub the oil on any exposed skin and around the back of the neck to help keep them away from the face. So far it seems to be doing the trick, and of course the VCO is also a nice skin treatment :)

I'm looking to get some beautyberry bushes to plant as I've just read that they are a great repellent - you can crush the leaves and rub them on and it's apparently as effective as DEET. It also is 100% effective against ticks. In the meantime, my lavender/VCO mixture is definitely helping. I've also seen the info in spraying Listerine around the yard and that does seem to help as well.

Replied by Jennifer
(St Paul, Mn)

I have been using virgin coconut oil on my skin this summer simply because it makes my skin feel great. Recently I watched mosquitos hover around my arms and legs and then fly away. Everyone sitting on the patio with me was complaining about the mosquitos and they were not bothering me at all. I used to be mosquito repellent for everyone else!

Replied by Phil
(Sydney, Australia)

I have found that a dab of Lavender Oil on a mossie bite removes the itch within about 2 - 5 minutes. I used it on my children to prevent them from scratching until they break the skin then leaving marks.

The downside is the smell. I noticed that mossies tend to stay away after application as well.

I have told many people of this who were using creams. Many disbelieved until they tried it. Now they don't use anything else.

Replied by Zark
(Emerald City, The Land of Oz)

Lavender oil worked great for treating itchy mosquito bites. Thanks! Worked very fast and more effective than Calamine lotion :) Wife, son and myself were all bitten by the blighters.


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Trista (Sydney, Australia ) on 03/15/2022

My daughter recently got feasted on overnight by a mosquito in her room.

She had started eagerly scratching at one of her bites so I came to this site and decided to try Cucumber.

It worked immediately... no more scratching and applied it to all 9 bites and she didn't scratch at the others at all. I applied it the day of and yesterday and haven't applied it today seeing if the itch has been kept at bay.

Cucumber... thumbs up!!


1 User Review
1 star (1) 

Posted by Staff (Earth Clinic) on 08/24/2012

DEET really is a toxic substance, and if it weren't that our tolerance for mosquitoes is so low, we probably would have banned its use long ago. DEET was developed by the US military in 1946, if that is any indication of the low level of safety concern in the chemical's development. There are certainly more toxic insect repellents out there, and DEET is much less detrimental to birds and other forms of life than many insect-targeting chemicals, but it still is a chemical that can burn through plastics and synthetics. DEET products strongly discourage its use around the eyes and mouth or simple cuts and scrapes, and users are encouraged to wash the product off as soon as it is no longer needed. Ingestion can be fatal and use on children is discouraged. Fortunately, natural alternatives can be just as effective, and the primary advantage in DEET is simply that it is longer lasting. Multiple applications of natural repellents can overcome this advantage entirely.

Devices and Decorations

Posted by Staff (Earth Clinic) on 08/24/2012

Bamboo sticks have become a popular bathroom decorative item for use with pleasantly scented essential oils. It's a great alternative to chemical air fresheners, but you could also use this system as an alternative to citronella candles and mosquito coils. Instead of sweet-scented bathroom essential oil mixes, you could pour mosquito repelling mixtures into the container for the bamboo sticks, place one or two of these around your deck or patio, and let the bamboo sticks slowly release the insect repellent. Lavender oil is evidently effective against mosquitoes and much more attractive than most alternative pest repellents, but the garlic solution listed elsewhere on this page would also work very well.

Dill Pickle

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Sunrose (Los Angeles, CA) on 07/21/2015

Last year I visited our property in Northern California for 2 weeks. Despite using natural bug sprays, I left with 150 mosquito bites. I went back 2 weeks later to live there 6 months. I was only bit twice from yellow jackets, tho they took a chunk. Was thankful to run into a neighbor who gave me an old farmers trick. Eat 1 dill pickle/day.

Difficult to find without yellow #5 and other harmful ingredients. Unless you wanna buy a gallon of Vlassic for $3.99. I opted for Trader Joe's pure ingredients and small jar, smaller pickles for the same price. They were a godsend!

Tip for relieving is applying a warm-hot spoon against bites. It puts the fire out.

I'm tempted to try for fleas. In visiting a friend, her neighbors dog's fleas are attacking only me.

Being a vegetarian 40+ years has its rewards, bites/stings aren't one of them.

Replied by 2Q&Learn
(Southern California)
139 posts

We've found that a mix of 1/2 ACV (5%) & 1/2 water, sprayed on our dogs coats, kept fleas from bothering them for about 12 hours at a time.

Dishwashing Liquid

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Timta (Thailand) on 09/12/2020

If you have pots and pans or small ponds of rainwater in your yard squirt a very small amount of any hand dishwashing liquid on them. This breaks the surface's attention of the water and mosquitos cannot land on the water to lay eggs. This trick really works and reduces mosquitos if you collect rainwater or have small ponds of water in your yard.

Replied by Cjuan

Yes, I read about that from someone who likes sitting on the veranda with her friends. She would fill a plastic basin with water and put a few drops of dish-washing liquid in it and the leave the basin on the deck. She said that she would see mossies dive into the basin and die.

Dryer Sheet Tied to Waist

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Karen (Florida, US) on 09/04/2015

My friend, who's 5 year old was getting eaten alive at his soccer games, just told me a remedy she heard about from another soccer mom. You tie a dryer sheet (she used bounty but any brand will probably work) on one of the belt loops like flag football. The mosquitoes don't like the smell of the dryer sheets. She said it's amazing how well it works. Thought I'd pass it on...

Dryer Sheets

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mattc (Boston, Ma USA) on 09/08/2012

not a spray, but I tried this and it seemed to work. just take bounce drier sheets (1- 3) and put in your back pockets. I also took one and gently rubbed on my head and neck before going out, but I will not recommend this, it is just a consideration.

Replied by Jg
(Austin, TX)

Which scent (kind) of the dry sheet?


It doesn't matter, the sheet scent hides our breath which is what attracts them.


Posted by Staff (Earth Clinic) on 08/24/2012

A scientific study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a 30% concentration of oil of eucalyptus was the most effective natural mosquito repellent. Lemon eucalyptus seems the most effective, more effective even than low-concentration DEET sprays and lotions and far less toxic.


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Staff (Earth Clinic) on 08/24/2012

Garlic naturally repels a number of biting insects, including mosquitoes. Some people recommend eating garlic to prevent mosquito bites, but you can get the same effect with a garlic oil spray.

  • Take 10 or 12 finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • Mix them in 4 oz mineral oil
  • Set aside for a couple of days to mature
  • Strain the mixture through a sieve or coffee filter into a spray bottle filled with a half cup of water and a few drops of dish detergent.

This mixture should repel mosquitoes anywhere, whether you spray it on your skin or just on objects around your outdoors gathering spot. (Caution: garlic can irritate skin, so test on a small area of your skin first.) You can also immerse strips of cloth in this mixture and hang them around your outdoor gathering to repel mosquitoes.

Replied by Rob

Mosquitoes don't like garlic. One study in India found that people who rubbed a garlicky concoction on their arms and legs weren't bothered by the pesky buggers. When you eat garlic, an invisible layer of garlic oil seeps from your pores and creates a mosquito barrier. If you don't like the thought of eating more garlic, you can also use garlic juice to make a natural repellent.‘Mix one part garlic minced with 5 parts water in a small spray bottle. Shake well before using. Spray lightly on exposed body parts for an effective repellent lasting up to 5 to 6 hours.

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