Natural Ways To Treat Chiggers Bites That Really Work

  • Written By: Phil Hawes
  • Time to read: 9 min.

As the weather warms up, it’s time to get out and explore your local area. But remember, summertime is also chigger time in the US!

As you might know, chiggers are tiny little red bugs that bite and cause intense itching. If you’re one of the unlucky people who gets bitten, you’ll want to soothe that bite quickly!

Now, you can reach for over-the-counter chemical cures, or you can try a remedy that is just as effective but much more natural.

In this article, I’ll discuss some natural ways to treat the bites, ones that really work. Also keep reading for tips on how to get rid of chiggers and prevent them from biting in the first place.

Why do chigger bites itch so much?

What is a Chigger

It’s interesting to note that chiggers, the larvae of a mite, are extremely small bugs that you can hardly see with the naked eye. But they pack a huge punch in the itchy bite area, why is that?

Chiggers cause an incredibly itchy bite due to two factors. Firstly, these bugs feed in groups which leads to a concentrated mass of bites in one area (usually below the knees). Secondly, chiggers inject an enzyme into their host’s skin which causes localized necrosis, which they then feed on.

It is the introduction of the enzyme and the concentrated nature of chigger bites that makes them much itchier than other bug bites.

So, now that we know why these chigger bites hurt so much, let’s discuss home remedies you can use that are effective at soothing them.

Vinegar for chigger bites: myth or medicinal?

Although there is no scientific evidence (that I could find) to support the claim that vinegar is effective in treating chigger bites, the anecdotal evidence is astounding.

What is known is that vinegar can be used as it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce swelling and relieve itching. This is due to the acidity found in vinegar which acts on the bite.

Many people have found great relief from the itching and irritation caused by chiggers by applying a vinegar-soaked cloth to the affected area. What seems to work even better is using a combination of white wine or apple cider vinegar and Epsom salts. Soaking the bite in this solution can give you relief for several hours.

So, why not stock your medicine cabinet with some Epsom salts for this summer? You can even get it delivered to your door by buying it on Amazon.com today.

Why toothpaste can help relieve chigger bites

Why toothpaste can help relieve chigger bites

Another anecdotal remedy, that actually has a basis in chemistry, is using your toothpaste to soothe chigger bites.

There are two components of toothpaste that seem to help with many types of bug bites, the healing properties of mint (as an extract) and what are known as abrasives.

Mint and other herbs have been used for millennia to treat ailments, and their chemical form used in toothpaste can be just as effective. If you put a bit of mint toothpaste on your skin, you feel a pleasant cooling effect. Imagine that on a throbbing itchy bite. Heaven!

Abrasives, according to Colgate, are what help reduce plaque on your teeth. However, these elements (calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, and hydrated aluminum oxides) can also help draw out toxins from a chigger bite.

Simply apply a small amount of toothpaste to the bitten area and allow it to dry. You may need to reapply every few hours as needed.

Stop the spread of chigger bites with a hot shower

Stop the spread of chigger bites with a hot shower

While not a direct way to stop the itch of all-ready inflicted chigger bites, a shower can certainly stop them from spreading. To understand why you need to understand how chiggers behave.

Chiggers, as I mentioned before, are actually the ‘baby’ form of a particular mite. As young, they have one mission: to grow into adult mites”. For that, they need to find a host and feed so that they can enter a transformative period to become full-grown mites

This means that chiggers do not just bite you and run away. When they find a suitable host, they can feed until they are full. This can take a few hours up to several days.

So, showering as soon as possible after being outdoors in an area where chiggers are present is a good way to remove the pests from your skin. This might even prevent them from having a chance to bite.

Contrary to popular myths, chiggers don’t burrow into your skin and so they are quite easy to remove with a simple wash.

Be sure to use soap and water, and scrub the areas of your body that may have come into contact with vegetation thoroughly. You may also want to consider using lice or flea shampoo to help kill any chiggers that are still on your skin.

Unfortunately, the shower in itself won’t help with itchy chigger bites. For that, you might want to take a bath, with some interesting additions.

Oatmeal Baths: An effective remedy for chigger bites

Oatmeal Baths An effective remedy for chigger bites

Believe it or not, an oatmeal bath can help to relieve the itching and irritation caused by chigger bites. Oats have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help to soothe the skin and promote healing.

In order to get the full benefit of oatmeal, I would recommend you add 1-2 cups to a standard size bath. Start with quite hot water as this will help activate and release the enzymes present in the oatmeal. However, make sure that you allow the bath to cool before you jump in. Hot water might make your bites more painful. When it’s pleasant to dip your a toe, climb in and soak for as long as you want (but at least 15 minutes).

A good oatmeal bath will give you relief for at least several hours.

Saltwater bath: stop your itchy chigger bites quick

In addition to taking an oatmeal bath, many people have reported that taking a salt water bath is equally effective. Studies have also shown that magnesium-rich salt has anti-inflammatory properties.

Epsom salts can help to relieve the itching and irritation caused by chigger bites. The magnesium in Epsom salts has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help to reduce swelling and relieve pain. To use this remedy, simply add a cup of Epsom salts to a warm bath and soak for 15-20 minutes.

So, if you are feeling the itch you can use Epsom salts to help you relieve your chigger bites If you don’t have any to hand, you can order them directly from Amazon.com.

Use Plantain (Plantago sp.) to relieve chigger bites

Use Plantain (Plantago sp.) to relieve chigger bites

Most home remedies have their basis in the knowledge of herbs and other plants. The same can be said for Plantago sp.

The plantain plant is a common weed that is found in many yards and gardens. The leaves of this plant have been used for centuries to treat a variety of skin ailments, including insect bites. Now chiggers aren’t technically an insect, but it still works!

Plantain leaves contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help to soothe the skin and promote healing. So, if you can find a patch in your yard then give this a go. Just be sure to shower after hunting for this cure as you don’t want to get more chiggers on you.

To use plantain for chigger bites, simply crush a few leaves to extract the juice and apply it to the affected area. This will give you relief for several hours after the juice has had time to act on the bite

Salt and Vicks Vapor Rub: a potent remedy for chigger bites

Another great home remedy for chigger bites is a combination of salt and Vicks Vapor Rub. These two cures are often used together as a home remedy for all nature of bites.

As we’re seen before, salt has excellent anti-inflammatory and curative properties when applied to our skin.

When applied to a chigger bite, the salt helps to dry out the bites, while the Vicks vapor rub helps to relieve the itching and irritation. To use this remedy, simply mix equal parts salt and Vicks together and apply it to the affected area.

Does a hot spoon help chigger bites?

Does Hot Spoon help chigger bites

Applying a hot spoon to chigger bites is a popular home remedy for relieving itching and irritation. The heat from the spoon helps to break down the proteins in the chigger’s saliva, which can reduce the severity of the reaction. To use this remedy, simply heat a spoon under hot water and apply it to the affected area for a few minutes. Repeat as needed.

Does salt and baking soda help chigger bites?

Salt and baking soda can help to relieve the itching and irritation caused by chigger bites. The salt helps to dry out the bites, while the baking soda helps to neutralize the acid in the chigger’s saliva. To use this remedy, simply mix equal parts salt and baking soda together and apply it to the affected area.

Does peppermint essential oil help chigger bites?

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Peppermint essential oil can help to relieve the itching and irritation caused by chigger bites. The menthol in peppermint oil has anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to numb the pain and reduce swelling. To use this remedy, simply add a few drops of peppermint oil to a cotton ball and apply it to the affected area. Repeat as needed.

Does tea tree oil help chigger bites?

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Tea tree oil can help to relieve the itching and irritation caused by chigger bites. The terpinen-4-ol in tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to kill the chiggers and reduce swelling. To use this remedy, simply add a few drops of tea tree oil to a cotton ball and apply it to the affected area. Repeat as needed.

Does lavender oil help chigger bites?

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Lavender oil can help to relieve the itching and irritation caused by chigger bites. The linalool in lavender oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help to reduce swelling and numb the pain. To use this remedy, simply add a few drops of lavender oil to a cotton ball and apply it to the affected area. Repeat as needed.

Does raw honey help chigger bites?

Does Raw Honey help chigger bites

Raw honey can help to relieve the itching and irritation caused by chigger bites. Honey has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to kill the chiggers and reduce swelling. To use this remedy, simply apply a thin layer of raw honey to the affected area. Repeat as needed.

Does apple cider vinegar help chigger bites?

Does Apple Cider Vinegar help chigger bites

As I mentioned before, vinegar is a great cure for many itchy skin conditions, and the same goes for the apple cider variety.

Apple cider vinegar can help to relieve the itching and irritation caused by chigger bites. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to kill the chiggers and reduce swelling. To use this remedy, simply apply a thin layer of apple cider vinegar to the affected area. Repeat as needed.

Does witch hazel help chigger bites?

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Witch hazel can help to relieve the itching and irritation caused by chigger bites. The tannins in witch hazel have astringent and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to dry out the bites and reduce swelling. To use this remedy, simply apply a thin layer of witch hazel to the affected area. Repeat as needed.

Does aloe vera help chigger bites?

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Aloe vera can help to relieve the itching and irritation caused by chigger bites. The aloin in aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help to reduce swelling and numb the pain. To use this remedy, simply apply a thin layer of aloe vera to the affected area. Repeat as needed.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the best cure is prevention. Understanding chiggers and their behavior will give you the best chance of avoiding their bites. If you try one of these cures and it works, then you know for the future exactly what you can do to get relief from these horrible itchy little bites. To find out more about chiggers, feel free to read my other articles below.

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