Home Remedies for Bug Bites That Actually Work, Reader — s Digest

12 Home Remedies for Bug Bites That Actually Work


If you’re looking to relieve the sting and itch of bug bites without the use of harsh chemicals, give these expert-approved home remedies a try.

Peppermint essential oil

This delectable essential oil doubles as a bug bite soother and prevention spray. Arwen Bardsley, a wellbeing practitioner and founder of Evenstar Wellbeing in Victoria, Australia, suggests using it whenever you think you might be exposed to bugs, or in areas of your home where you think there might be an infestation. «Place a few drops where you see critters coming in and it will stop them in their tracks,» she says. «When you’re out and about, apply the oil topically on any exposed skin, diluting with a carrier oil such as coconut or sweet almond, or just the good old moisturizer sorbolene.»

Lavender essential oil

If you’ve ever smelt lavender before in a hand cream or a fragrance, you know how soothing it can be. That’s why lavender essential oil makes a great bug-bite remedy. «Renowned for its relaxing fragrance and ability to soothe inflammatory skin conditions including minor burns, wounds, and acne, lavender essential oil can help reduce itching and inflammation within minutes of application,» says Melanie St. Ours, clinical herbalist and author of The Simple Guide to Natural Health. She suggests choosing a brand that’s made of 100 percent French lavender grown at high altitudes. Apply one to two drops directly to the affected area, and re-apply as needed.

Baking soda mixed with lavender paste

This one is a great remedy for both adults and children since the baking soda relieves irritation and the lavender helps soothe the affected skin, explains St. Ours. «It also helps children release some of the emotional upset that comes with a bad bug bite or bee sting.» Just mix 2 tablespoons baking soda and 25 drops lavender essential oil in a clean dish and apply to the affected site. «Leave on for 20-30 minutes and remove with a cool, damp cloth,» instructs St. Ours. «If you notice lots of heat or swelling or an unusual rash appearing around the site, consult a medical professional.» Here are more ways to treat every type of bug bite.

Echinacea tincture

This homemade medicinal remedy has been a staple in people’s medicine cabinets for centuries—and for good reason. Echinacea is a liquid extract from the echinacea plant, which is part of the daisy family. It’s been used for everything from treating colds and soothing sore throats to stopping infections in their tracks. «If you notice that the area around your bite is becoming red, hard, and swollen, apply echinacea tincture to the entire affected area every hour until the swelling is gone,» says St. Ours. «Apply the tincture liberally by patting it into your skin with your fingertips, using at least ¼ teaspoons per application. If the swelling does not decrease significantly after 24 hours of consistent use of this remedy, or if you start to run a fever at any time, she recommends calling your doctor immediately.

Ice cubes

You probably remember mom or dad icing a burn; using care, you can try ice for relief from itching, swelling, and overall discomfort. St. Ours explains that this simple remedy works for two reasons. «First, your sensory nerves can only communicate a certain amount of information to your brain at one time, so, when you apply the ice cube, the nerves that were telling your brain ‘this is itchy!’ change their tune and start telling your brain ‘this is cold!'» she says. «Second, the coldness reduces local swelling and inflammation.» Only apply the ice for a few minutes at a time. Try these home remedies to ward off mosquitoes, too.

Plantain leaves

Even though it shares the same name with the starchy fruit similar to a banana, the plantain that can help with bug bites is an entirely different plant, explains St. Ours. «It’s a common weed that grows well in packed soil, which means it’s often easy to find at playgrounds, hiking trails, and even growing alongside the sidewalk in cities!» she says. «You can recognize plantain species by the vertical veins that run along the leaves, which are organized like a circle of ‘rays’ emanating from a central point. This plant has impressive wound-healing abilities, which is why it’s an ingredient used in many healing salves and ointments. St. Ours recommends picking a few (clean) leaves of plantain and either mashing them with your fingers or chewing them a bit until they’re soft before applying to the affected area.


To stop a mosquito bite from itching like crazy, simply apply a little toothpaste to it! «When a mosquito bites you, it releases an anticoagulant that lets them feed without being detected, but your body’s natural reaction to that anticoagulant is to create histamines and send them to the bitten area, which is why you itch and the bite mark swells,» explains Bernard Buttone, manager and associate certified entomologist at Triangle Pest Control. He recommends applying a minty toothpaste that contains menthol to the bite so you can benefit from its soothing and cooling properties. «Toothpaste is also naturally astringent, so it can prevent further swelling,» he adds. Find out the dos and don’ts of treating mosquito bites.

Vinegar soak

You may catch more flies with honey, but vinegar can also do the trick! «Vinegar can reduce stinging or burning sensations and is a natural disinfectant, especially if you’ve been scratching a bite,» says Buttone. He recommends soaking a washcloth or absorbent paper towel in cold water and vinegar and applying it to the bite for a few minutes. «If you’ve been a mosquito feast and you have multiple bites, dilute 2 cups of vinegar in a lukewarm bath and soak for 15-20 minutes,» he adds.

See also:  8 benefits of chamomile tea

Banana peel

«This ancient Chinese remedy involves rubbing the inside of a banana peel directly on the affected bite area,» says Amy Lawhorne, Vice President for the pest control company Mosquito Squad. «This is known to moisturize and neutralize the itching, and the sugars in the banana will assist in soothing the redness.» Simply apply the inside of the peel onto the affected area and leave on for several minutes. Learn which bug bites need medical attention ASAP.


You probably have this ingredient somewhere in your pantry, but may never have thought to use it on your skin. As it turns out, oatmeal provides healing, moisturizing, and antioxidant properties for the skin. «Oatmeal can relieve itching and reduce swelling, which is exactly when you need after getting bit or stung by something,» says Lawhorne . «Simply mix oatmeal with water to create a paste and apply directly to the bite,» she says. «Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then wipe off.»


Home Remedies for Bed Bugs

When it comes to home remedies for bed bugs, there are many: some that legitimately work and others that are merely old wives’ tales. First let’s address those that simply do not work and then move on to the best home remedies for bed bugs that, for our purposes here, are defined as solutions that can be employed without seeking the advice or assistance of a professional service.

Home Remedies to Try

Try to focus on using these and other effective home remedies, but remember that you may need to use a combination of them in order to truly rid yourself of bed bugs:

Hot washer and hot dryer

Wash your bedding and clothing in very hot water in the washing machine and also use the hottest possible setting for the clothes dryer. This should be done regularly as it has been proven that bed bugs and their eggs can be killed by temperatures that are 120 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter. If you can afford it, you can also send your clothing and bedding to the dry cleaner on a regular basis. However, other treatments must also be used rather than to solely rely on this remedy.

Bed bugs can be brought into your home on clothes, and they can live in items like stuffed animals, so using hot water to wash everything you can put into your washing machine is one of the home remedies for bed bugs that always makes sense.

Unfortunately, bed bugs rapidly spread, so washing clothes is more of a preventative step than a way to get rid of a bed bug infestation.

Dry steamers

Steam creates the high temperature necessary to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs. The steam can get in more of the cracks and crevices for a longer and deeper reach into a structure or piece of furniture. Moreover, steam is a desirable natural method. However, the equipment is not necessarily cheap and must be used very carefully.

Mattress covers and encasement

Consider this both a treatment and preventative measure for bed bugs as these can keep on working for up to two years if you’ve purchased a quality cover. This is also a very reasonably priced solution. However, this product only covers mattresses and box springs so it is still important to use another remedy for other areas in the home or facility.


Bed Bugs hiding in a wall crack

Caulking all holes and cracks in your floors and walls is not only one of the best bed bug home remedies—potentially trapping some of the bed bugs—it also will help keep out other pests and probably improve your energy efficiency.

Bed Bug Traps

For the best bed bug solutions, there are two types of bed bug traps to choose from: passive and active.

Passive traps consist of two bowls, one smaller than the other. Each of the small bowls will go into one of the larger ones. Then, you place each one of these pairs under one leg of your bed.

When the bed bugs come out at night, they will need to climb up the legs to reach you. If they are not caught inside the larger bowl when they climb up, they will likely be caught in the smaller bowl on their way back down.

Active traps don’t wait for the bed bugs to start heading for your bed. Instead, they include chemicals that attract bed bugs.

Once a few have been drawn toward the trap, more will quickly follow as they draw each other to areas where they believe sustenance, aka your blood, is located.

Bed Bug Remedies Available In Stores

There are numerous bed bug remedies on the market that you can use to try to get rid of a bed bug infestation. But before you spend money and time on store-bought bed bug remedies, consider the following six limitations of DIY treatment of bed bugs.

  1. If the label doesn’t specifically mention that the product kills bed bugs, then it won’t.
  2. Bed bugs are developing a resistance to the pesticides that have long been used to kill them, particularly pyrethrins, which are the active ingredient of most store-bought pesticides.
    If you treat bed bugs with a pesticide to which they’re resistant, you could actually make the problem worse because only the most-susceptible to the pesticide will die, leaving the “stronger” bed bugs to continue to reproduce.
  3. Incorrect use of pesticides—too much or too little—can cause health problems for humans and pets or render the treatment ineffective. Directions must be followed to the letter.
  4. Pesticide treatment for bed bugs requires tremendous thoroughness that most amateurs won’t bring to the job. Bed bugs can hide in cracks the width of a credit card, and most people don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to locate all bed bugs in a residence. Therefore DIY treatment usually misses some of the bed bug hiding places. Adequate bed bug remedies must treat all places where bed bugs are living. Otherwise, you might make a temporary dent in the population, but they’ll be back in big numbers again soon.
  5. Improper preparation can give bed bugs places to hide. If you don’t clean up clutter and seal off cracks and crevices, bed bugs will move to a new hiding place to escape pesticides that are bothering them.
  6. Adequate treatment often involves follow-up treatment in a certain time-frame because many store-bought pesticides don’t kill bed bug eggs.

Home Remedies for Bed Bugs that Don’t Work so Well

Here are some home remedies for bed bugs that will not get rid of the infestation:

Vacuum Treatment For Bed Bugs

Vacuuming can spread the problem

While it may seem effective to suck up as many of the bed bugs as possible by trying to cover every crack and crevice in your home, in actuality this strategy will not cover all hiding spots, is difficult to get bed bug eggs, and may actually spread the problem if you don’t seal the vacuum bag that you throw away. It could be a supplemental treatment with other more effective methods but is not ideal.

Rubbing alcohol is cheap but cannot do much

Because it is a liquid and does dry up, it does not do much over the long term to eradicate bed bugs and their eggs. It would also have to be used on identifiable bed bugs, which are often hard to detect. And, pouring liquids of any sort into the walls or foundation of a structure is never advisable.

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Throwing out your belongings is a bad idea

This can be costly and certainly not effective as many people take what others throw out in terms of mattresses, clothing, bedding and furniture, which means that they inherit bed bugs as well. Meanwhile, you have to pay out for new stuff and you likely will still have bed bugs lurking in soft-side décor items or behind outlets, smoke alarms, furniture, and baseboards just waiting to lodge themselves in your newly purchased products.

When Nothing Seems to Work

While all these home remedies have some impact on bed bugs, they do not always do the trick if the infestation has become too extensive or not all the bed bug hiding places have been treated. Instead of waving your hands in frustration and saying, “Bed bugs what to do?”, consider this:

  • Hire a bed bug dog inspection company to determine all locations where bed bugs might be hiding. These pet detectives are the best way to uncover the insects anywhere and everywhere they might be hiding.
  • Hire a bed bug exterminator to take a more comprehensive, expert-based approach.


6 Ways to Kill Bed Bugs That Really Work

The bed bug epidemic seems to get worse by the day. More people are waking up to discover bed bug bites on their children. More people are spending thousands of dollars on exterminators to have them check their homes for pests and then exterminate them, only to discover that the extermination methods used were not effective.

The entire process can create chaos in a person’s life, and often leaves a person feeling embarrassed to have company over—fearful of going to sleep and doing so with an empty bank account. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. If you’ve got a minor infestation, here are several ways to eradicate them once and for all.

6 Common Household Products That Will Kill All Bed Bugs

  1. Acetone (Nail Polish Remover)
  2. Rubbing Alcohol
  3. Diatomaceous Earth
  4. Vacuum
  5. Dryer
  6. Steam Mop

Method #1: Acetone (Nail Polish Remover)

That’s right, the same kind of acetone that you use to take off that amazing gel nail polish that doesn’t chip for two weeks. Acetone fingernail polish remover—it has to be 100% acetone—kills bed bugs on contact. As soon as you see a bed bug, pour some of this on them and watch them dry up. You will still have to vacuum up the dead bed bug, but at least it will be dead.

You can find this online, at most dollar stores, and at any other store that sells fingernail polish remover. Unfortunately, however, this does not kill bed bug eggs.

Method #2: Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol works just like acetone fingernail polish remover does. It dries up the bed bug and kills it on contact. All it takes is pouring some on live bed bugs and relaxing while they shrivel up. Then, clean up the mess and go on with your day.

This is also widely available in almost any store. They sell larger quantities of rubbing alcohol online, too. Keep in mind that this does not kill the bed bug eggs either.

Method #3: Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth can kill any insect with an exoskeleton, like bed bugs. This works by dissolving the skeleton and the bug. The nice thing about this method is that there is no mess to clean up. The bad thing is that it can take a day or two to kill the bug.

When applying diatomaceous earth to kill bed bugs, it is important to remember that bed bugs have eyes. If they see a pile of white powder, they will not crawl through it. Instead, they will simply crawl around it, rendering this method completely ineffective. To make sure this does not happen, sprinkle a fine layer of diatomaceous earth where bed bugs are seen to make sure they crawl through it. Once again, keep in mind that this also does not kill bed bug eggs.

Method #4: Vacuum

A vacuum is not going to kill bed bugs, but it will still help get rid of them. Vacuums are a great tool in the battle against bed bugs simply because the baby bed bugs can be clear, making it hard to see them and even harder to kill them.

With a vacuum, you don’t have to be able to see them. Simply vacuum everything, and then make sure to empty the vacuum or change the bag. When emptying or changing the bag, make sure that everything that comes out of the vacuum is in a tightly sealed bag until it goes out for the trash to guarantee that bed bugs don’t come crawling back inside.

Method #5: Dryer

Bed bugs cannot withstand heat up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Most dryers reach this temperature during a normal cycle, effectively killing bed bugs. Throw curtains, clothes, and anything else that can be dried in the dryer.

Make sure that loads are small- or medium-sized so that the heat can reach every area. For example, when you throw a larger comforter in the dryer, the heat doesn’t always reach the middle because it is so big. Large loads of clothes may work the same way. This is why it is important to make sure that loads are small. For comforters and blankets, dry them once. Then, rearrange them in the dryer and dry them again to be safe.

Heat can effectively kill both bed bugs and their eggs.

Method #6: Steam Mop

A steam mop is more expensive, but it is well worth it. The steam on most steam mops gets hot enough to kill both bed bugs and their eggs, and you can use it on anything. Only certain things can fit inside of a dryer, but a steam mop with a portable steamer doesn’t have those limitations.

The portable steamer can be used to treat bed frames, couches, baseboards, cars, and so on. Heat is one of the only ways to kill bed bug eggs, aside from finding them and scraping them off to throw them away.

As a bonus, after the bed bug situation is over with, steam mops get a floor amazingly clean. So you will still get some additional use out of it. Just make sure to get one with a steamer that is detachable.

Try Using All of the Above Methods

One single method is usually not enough to get rid of bed bugs in one treatment or to kill them all, unless you heat the entire house up to kill all of the bed bugs and eggs inside of it.

This is why so many people think that they get bed bugs over and over again. The fact is, most people never get rid of them in the first place. The bed bugs get scared because of the treatments, go into hiding, and then resurface to feed a few months later.

Instead of dealing with that, use a combination of these treatments to make sure that everyone in the home can sleep through the night without waking up covered in bed bug bites.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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Bed Bug Home Remedies: Those That Do and Do Not Work

Today, there are literally hundreds of products available on the market that claim to rid your home of bed bugs to help you regain control over your sleep and your life. The fact is: there is no silver bullet when it comes to ridding your home of bed bugs. A product might advertise itself as being the best one on the market in treating bed bug infestations at fraction of the cost charged by professional exterminators. However; one must think, if that were the case, why do these professionals have such expensive equipment, or undergo hours of training for combating such household pests? The answer is that: bed bug remedies that work most effectively include an integrated pest control approach. In fact; fighting bed bugs is just like trying to lose weight and maintaining it. You cannot slip off the bandwagon as that would simply bring all the weight back. The same is true in case of ridding a home off bed bugs: you need constant vigilance and monitoring along with regular cleaning, de-cluttering and vacuuming to ensure that your home remains safe from bed bugs for good. So which are the effective and the not-so-effective home remedies for combating bed bugs?

First let us discuss bed bug remedies that do not work!

Bed bugs home remedies that do not work

When you are trying to lose weight, you could buy hundreds of over-the-counter miraculous pills, teas or herbal supplements. But all your efforts would be lost if you also do not exercise and eat healthy simultaneously. The same is the case with bed bug home remedies. You might buy the most expensive product on the market but if you do not use them right, you could end up wasting money or even setting your home on fire! What’s more, some products may be downright toxic to children and pets. Many bed bug products and home remedies have been banned by the EPA.

Certain OTC bed bug Sprays-The right way of using EPA approved bed bug sprays, for example, is to spray the bug directly. Now, this is hard to do when you are sleepy at 3 am when a bug has bitten you and you are all groggy and upset. Many people actually end up spraying themselves or their loved ones. This has been known to give rise to acute toxicity. Some sprays are also inflammable and many a victim of bed bug has reportedly set a home or a car on fire when using them.

Some people also like to fog their rooms every night to kill bed bugs. Bed bug foggers are now proven to be rather ineffective as they simply push the bugs deeper inside their hiding places where they lay waiting until it is time to feed.

Then there are people who go to extents like wearing garlic necklaces thinking it will repel bugs. This is so not true.

Some homeowners also pour buckets of kerosene around their mattresses in order to repel the bugs. This is a terrible thing to do and the smell itself is enough to drive one crazy.

Use of geckos to get rid of bed bugs! Yes, this has been done- a woman actually believed that a bunch of lizards would help kill all the bugs and that it would be a greener solution for her bug problem.

So which home remedies for bed bugs do work?

Cleaning– The cleaner your home is, the lesser the number of hiding places for bugs. This means you should vacuum all rooms regularly and also caulk and seal cracks and crevices in walls, headboards, loose footboards etc. This should be done regularly.

Washing– You must regularly wash all infested clothing in hot water and bleach where applicable.

Isolating– Isolating infested items by sealing them in plastic bags can help restrict the bugs to one area. Next, you could spray these bed bug infested items as long as they can withstand the chemical sprays. Place the bags outside in a garage, or the yard or simply discard them by marking them as infested. Some people have seen good results by freezing items like books, jewelry etc.

Steaming– This is not a home remedy to get rid of bed bugs and is best left to professionals. Steamers help blast the eggs and larvae and can get the bugs hiding inside hard-to-access areas.

Diatomaceous earth powder– This organic food grade powder can be sprinkled all over the rugs, carpets, window sills, bed corners, mattresses, box springs etc. The powder is made of very sharp molecular structures that can literally tear the innards of the bugs. However; it needs to come in close contact with the bugs’ bodies.

Encasements– Mattress encasements are really useful in restricting the movement of bugs. They help trap the bugs inside and the ones on the outside cannot go in. This can help you curb the bed bug populations.

Interceptors and pit fall traps– You can isolate the beds in all rooms and place DIY bed bug traps made using dry ice. Alternatively, many commercially available traps are also available and they are quite effective in protecting your beds from bed bugs.

Certain Sprays– Barring the alcohol and soap based sprays, some commercially available sprays are quite effective in stopping bed bugs but they need to come in contact with the bed bugs bodies. Some examples include Pyrethrin based sprays. Note that sprays need to be continually used since once they dry up, they become ineffective.

These are some of the effective and non effective bed bug home remedies and you must continually monitor your premises to ensure that the chosen treatment is working as expected.


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