Iodine Painting for Strep Throat

| Modified on May 10, 2023
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Strep throat is a common bacterial infection that primarily affects the throat and tonsils. It is caused by the Streptococcus pyogenes bacterium and is characterized by symptoms such as sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

Along with prescribed medications, an additional technique known as iodine painting can alleviate symptoms and aid recovery.

Understanding Iodine Painting

Iodine painting involves the application of a diluted iodine solution to the external area of the throat to help combat the infection. The antiseptic properties of iodine help kill bacteria and reduce inflammation, relieving strep throat symptoms. It is important to note that iodine painting should not be used as a substitute for antibiotics but rather as a supplementary measure to ease discomfort and support recovery.

Procedure for Iodine Painting

1. Choose the Right Iodine Solution: Look for povidone-iodine (Betadine) in liquid or swab form. It is widely available at pharmacies and is suitable for iodine painting due to its antiseptic properties. Ensure that the solution is not expired before use.

2. Prepare the Iodine Solution: Dilute the povidone-iodine solution according to the instructions on the product packaging. Typically, mixing one part of the iodine solution with two or three parts of clean water is recommended. This dilution helps prevent skin irritation while maintaining the effectiveness of the iodine.

3. Cleanse and Dry the Affected Area: Gently clean the external throat area using a mild soap and warm water. Pat it dry with a clean towel or tissue.

4. Apply the Iodine Solution: Dip it into the diluted iodine solution using a cotton swab or a sterile applicator. Carefully apply the solution to the external surface of the throat, avoiding contact with the inside of the mouth. Ensure that the painted area covers the swollen glands and any visible signs of infection. It is normal for the iodine to stain the skin temporarily.

5. Allow the Solution to Dry: Let the iodine solution air dry naturally. Avoid eating, drinking, or rinsing the mouth for at least 30 minutes to ensure optimal contact between the iodine and the affected area.

6. Repeat as Directed: Follow the instructions provided by your healthcare professional regarding the frequency of iodine painting. Typically, it is recommended to repeat the process two to three times a day or as prescribed.

Precautions and Recommendations:

1. Consult a Healthcare Professional: Before using iodine painting or any other supplementary treatment for strep throat, consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate guidance.

2. Do Not Ingest Iodine: Iodine is for external use only and should not be ingested. Avoid swallowing or gargling with the iodine solution.

3. Check for Allergies: If you have a known iodine allergy, are pregnant, or have thyroid problems, consult a healthcare professional before using iodine painting.

4. Complete Antibiotic Course: Iodine painting should never replace a prescribed antibiotic treatment for strep throat. Make sure to complete the full course of antibiotics as instructed by your healthcare professional.


Iodine painting can be a supplementary measure to help alleviate the symptoms of strep throat. By following the recommended procedure and using the appropriate iodine solution, you can provide relief to the affected area and support the recovery process.

Continue reading below to learn how Earth Clinic readers rate iodine painting for strep throat, and let us know if this remedy helped you!

2 User Reviews

Posted by Frank (Palm Beach FL)
5 out of 5 stars

I have treated a number of sore and strep throats and loss of voice; painting iodine on the outside of the throat clears all within 24 hours. Iodine absorbs into the skin in about 6 hours. Also works for ear problems and swollen glands.

Replied by D
(Small Town, Ia, Usa)
1 out of 5 stars

Nope. Painting the throat with iodine has not ever helped my daughter who repeatedly gets strep throats. We tried it for awhile and soon enough had to go to a Doctor. Although I tried it with multiple other remedies at the same time, I would not waste valuable time on this remedy.