Spider Bite Remedies

Dec 26, 2016

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

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

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.

Activated Charcoal  

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Posted by Cg (Texas, US) on 03/24/2015
5 out of 5 stars

I had a brown recluse spider bite last year, called the closest dermatologist office who never returned my calls, so, so I did some research and ended up making a paste of activated charcoal, applied it to the wound (after popping and draining the blister and removing the loose skin) for about 3 hours to neutralize the toxin; I also swallowed some of the activated charcoal (use capsules) to neutralize the toxins internally. Afterward, I used bentonite clay powder to make a paste and applied it to the wound to draw out the toxins, etc., changing it out 3-4 times daily until healed, which it did in about a week with only a light brown scar about the size of a nickel. I'm glad the dermatologist office didn't return my call and I'm glad I researched natural remedies.

Replied by Debbie
St. Louis, Mo

Hi, so glad I found this site. I notice a red itchy bite on my left arm this morning. The area developed a small pinhead size pustule. I first applied, coconut oil mixed with turmeric. To reduce the itching. Did not seem to be helping, then I tried raw honey. Still not better.

Getting more concerned. I had bought a while back a brown recluse spider bite kit. It has the charcoal powder and liquid echinacea, lobelia & plantain mixture. I have been placing the poultices throughout the day.

After reading the reviews of others. Thank you so much. You have put my mind a peace with what I'm doing. I see I am doing the right thing.

I just drank a glass of the activated charcoal as well. For internal detox of the venom.

It seems from what I have read, if I would have went to the ER, they really don't know what to do. Right? They seem surprised at how a simple poultice of activated charcoal and the liquid drop mixture draws out the venom from the bite. So much that the bite heals fine.

So I just keep applying the mixture till it bite is totally gone?

Replied by Mama To Many

Yes, that is what we would do in our family. Continue with what you are doing until it is healed. Good job on dealing with it yourself, and thanks for sharing!

Posted by Elizabeth (Woodbury, TN) on 09/29/2006
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Replied by Heather
Milton, Pa

i would like to get the recipe for the charcoal paste if u wouldnt mind. thanks

Replied by Dave
Fountain Inn, Sc

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.

Replied by Jeanne
Portland, Or

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!

Replied by Julie
Lakeland, Florida
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Replied by Louwrence
Rustenburg, North West, South Africa

Hi Julie, Did you use it internally or externally as a poultice? Thanks.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Cortisone  

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Posted by Bridget (Oklahoma) on 08/28/2013
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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.


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Posted by Everett (Kitts Hill, OH) on 10/21/2006
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Replied by Grace
Fairview, North Carolina
5 out of 5 stars

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  

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Posted by Peter ( Kelowna Bc) on 05/06/2015
5 out of 5 stars

The baking soda poultice worked very well on a spider bite on my wife's neck. Just overnight did the trick.

Replied by Kissa

How do I make baking soda poultice?

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Kissa,

I just mix the baking soda with water until it is paste like and apply it to the bite. I cover that with some plastic wrap and then the top of a sock or cohesive tape. (Masking tape in a pinch! )

It is best to cover any part of the sting that is red and even beyond that area. I do a poultice overnight. During the day I change it once or twice.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Ben

Spider bite can quickly become a life threatening emergency. Brown recluse and hobo spiders inject a necrotizing poison into their victims. The toxins cause massive tissue destruction that becomes necrotic, the flesh literally rots. Once the poisons get real active it continues to rot out even more flesh. Gangarene is a very real possibility. If that happens consider your self lucky if you only lose an arm or a leg to amputation. A friend of mine got bit 13 times by a hobo spider. Since he was a tough guy and no little spider was gonna worry him he let it go for a few days. 3 days later he had an emergency trip to the hospital. Doctors put a pic line directly into his heart. He was pumped full of antibiotics at more than 1500 dollars per dose. After several days in intensive care the doctor came in and said well dude we have bad news for you. Looks like we cannot get the infection under control, we are going to have to amputate your leg above the knee. Your wound is filled with gangrene. Finally after a long sleepless night and a lot of prayer the infection broke. 9 days and 43,000 dollars later. His leg was saved but just barely. Moral of the story seek professional care after spider bite.

Now in spite of better judgement, the only known way to deactivate necrotizing poisons like from spider bite is with immediate full strength dmso applied frequently to the wound area. For covering a larger area use dmso plus water at a 50/50 dilution. Dmso is really hot and stinging to skin unless it is diluted. Dmso chemically deactivates spider venom such as from brown recluse and hobo spiders. Now this is information only.

If you get bitten, seek a doctor's care immediately without delay.

Replied by Timh

Lipospheric Vit-C + MSM may be more effective by itself or taken after DMSO. All these work very well together and maybe enough to safe off the worst in poisoning situations.

Many outdoor enthusiast carry along the MMS precursors in case of spider or snake bite. MMS is effective against most or all poisonous snakes & spiders if given immediately and on ever hrs until no more symptoms.

Posted by Wanita (Las Cruces, New Mexico) on 12/09/2014
5 out of 5 stars

Thank You, I say hooray for baking soda!!!

I'm not sure about the kind of spider, I think I was bit in my storage unit moving things around. It first looked like a pimple and was very tender. I used "Prid" drawing ointment, but it got larger and so sore it woke me up . Then I used a green clay and Yerba Mansa poultice, it got bigger and still sore ... but began to swell into a boil. I took Ibuprofen and used some Benadryl gel on it ... no change. The center opened, but no distinct drainage noted and was the size of a quarter, so sore! And I had a low grade fever.

That's when I looked online, it had been 4 days of no improvement with my tried and true remedies for such things AND I had to go to work today (3 massage therapy clients) and had to get this under control ... too much to do, this is my right arm we're talking about .... eeeeeks!!!! ).

So I used the baking soda and oh how gorgeously effective it was. After three poultice applications and a good sleep, I awoke and have found the quarter sized boil to be painless, the redness smaller and no swelling. The inflammation is gathered centrally and the hole closed instead of open like an ulcer. When I had the 2nd poultice on it, it began to itch like crazy. I knew that was a good thing ... neuro-vascular activity no doubt!

I love you all! Thanks again, Earth Clinic is bookmarked in capital letters!


Replied by Manda

What do u mix with baking soda? Water?

Posted by Babsinbloom63 (Louisiana, US) on 11/18/2014
5 out of 5 stars

Two weeks ago I got bit on my upper back 3-4 times at my daughter's house in Texas by what we now know was a Wolf Spider. I had killed one earlier that morning in my daughter's kitchen as my daughter has a 3 month old baby and she was afraid the spider would get on the baby. That night I went to bed and woke up with a tingling, burning pain on my back which later started itching also. Then hard, swollen welts developed which quickly formed pimple like heads. I had a total of 4 of these all confined to a small area of my back. I put some neosporin and benadryl spray on them but that didn't seem to do much more than ease the itching for a short time. So I started researching what could have bitten me and came to the conclusion that it had to be the Wolf spider as my daughter and her husband just moved into their new home in Texas a few months ago and their home was built on a half acre lot that was a field and they have been having problems with spiders ever since they moved in. Anyway, I was already on antibiotics for a tooth infection and the one I was on was one they give for spider bites (clindamyacin). I wasn't really getting any relief or healing from any of the things I tried so I did more research and found this site. I read about the baking soda poultice and remembered that my mom used to make a poultice from tobacco and baking soda when we were young and would get stung by wasps and bees and I know that worked. So for the past few days I have been making a baking soda poultice and having my husband apply it to the bites which I then leave on for at least an hour to an hour and a half. I could feel the very first poultice drawing pain out and that night I slept with no pain and no itching and in the morning the swelling, etc had gone down a great deal. And this morning after applying a poultice again yesterday, there is no swelling and the bites are healing. I wish I could put the before and after pictures I had my husband take. There is tremendous difference using the baking soda poultice. I am making me a first aide kit with cigarette tobacco, baking soda, and benadryl tablets along with the gauze pads and tape I used to hold the poultice in place. If I get bit again I will use this from the start along with ice packs off and on. To think I might not have had to struggle with the pain and itching for two weeks if I would have tried this from the beginning, I would definitely recommend this to everyone.

Posted by Christina (Boston) on 09/14/2013
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Replied by Traci
Galveston, Texas

I have a spider bite on my arm but it never looked like a pimple at all. Looks like a small bite and was itching and now looks like a big red ring with white center that itches like crazy at times. Nothing is working will baking soda paste help? Need to get this itch gone.can't sleep for the past few days.

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Traci, Are you sure it is a spider bite? What you are describing sounds more like a bulls eye rash that sometimes accompanies a tick bite. Baking soda paste might be helpful. Apple Cider Vinegar diluted 1/2 with water applied to the bite is also helpful. But if this is a bulls eye rash from a tick bite, you will want to treat also with some things internally because of the risk of Lyme Disease. (Turmeric, Colloidal Silver, Vitamin C.) ~Mama to Many~

Posted by Jamie (Largo, Fl) on 05/06/2013
4 out of 5 stars

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.

Replied by Missharvey73
Seattle, Wa

This sounds like a recluse bite. I lost 65% of my thumb... Go to the DR!!

Posted by Jessica (Oakland, Ca) on 11/20/2011
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Replied by Shawna
San Diego

What was the over the counter medicine used other than hydrocortizone? The antihistamin pill, icing, paste from baking soda or aspirin helps ease pain, itch, swelling, & redness. I have used it in 48 hrs so far, little pink is left, n still using daily cause still itchy.

Replied by Deb
Anderson, Tx

OMG my husband has a spider bite under left arm. I've been trying baking soda paste for a couple of days. Woke up this morning still real red swollen and getting bigger. Put ice pack with baking soda mixture under bandade OMG just now going down. He want let me take him to doc. How long for head to get there? Do I need to lance? Thanks Deb

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Deb,

I would be treating this bite 24/7. Is it maybe a brown recluse bite?

You might try some lavender essential oil on it a few times a day (before applying/changing poultices), and continue with baking soda. You could also try bentonite clay or charcoal poultices. I wouldn't lance it if I didn't see a head.

Turmeric may help fight infection and Vitamin C would also be helpful.

I hope he feels better soon. Keep us posted!

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Greg (Leslie, Michigan) on 07/30/2010
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Jon (Lakeland, Florida) on 10/15/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Posted by Mare (Auckland, New Zealand) on 02/21/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Posted by MISTI (Killeen, TX) on 09/17/2007
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Baking Soda and Charcoal  

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Posted by Aga (Chicago) on 09/22/2014
5 out of 5 stars

Got a brown recluse bite on my eyebrow after sleeping in a rarely used top bunk bed at my friends apartment. By the second day my eye was swollen shut and that side of my face was swollen as well. I was nauseated, sweating and had chills. Red bulls eye rash developed and area had strange grayish color. I did not want to go to a hospital because I did not have insurance and was worried that they would try to cut out the area surrounding the bite and it was right above my eye. I hit the internet and decided to try charcoal and baking soda as a last resort before finally going to the ER. It worked beautifully. I took activated charcoal solid tablets and crushed them into powder and added baking soda about 1:1 (slightly more baking soda) I added enough water to make a paste and placed it on a sterile gauze. The first day I would change the dressing about every two hours making sure it remained moist. Changed it couple of times at night. Also took charcoal by mouth to alleviate systemic reaction to the bite. Noticed improvement within a couple hours. Within 2 days the swelling was gone, the rash disappeared no more nausea or chills. Continued for one more day just in case. Did not have any scarring. Since then I always make sure to have activated charcoal around.