What to put on bed bug bites is a question asked by everyone experiencing the often unbearable itching caused by bed bug bites. These notorious little bugs are everywhere and unfortunately, you may find your home infested with them whether you clean your home regularly or not.
They can easily go from room to room, so the bugs may not originate from your mattress. People who come into your home can bring them in or you may even unwittingly bring them home if you have been traveling.
Bed Bug Facts
They are quite small, no bigger than 5 mm, but you can still spot them. They are usually slightly round and flat with brown or red-brown bodies. Their favorite places to hide are mattresses, carpets, rugs, clothing, luggage, furniture, and in cracks and crevices. The more cluttered your home, the more places they have to hide in.
Bed bugs feed on blood. Despite this, they are generally harmless, but the bites can become infected and some people are allergic to them. Most people, however, don’t react to the bites, so it’s best to keep an eye out for signs of bed bugs.
Signs of bed bugs are:
- Black dots or specks in your mattress, bedding, or carpets. This is their excrement.
- A smell that can be described as musty, or musty and sweet.
How Do You Know if You Have Bed Bug Bites
Because the bites look similar to other insect bites, people think they may have mosquito bites or even spider bites. Here are some things to look out for that may distinguish them:
- Little clusters of pink marks or welts usually in a zigzag pattern.
- They can be very itchy.
- The bites can become dry as they start to heal causing little dry patches.
- The bites can also ooze pus when they start to heal.
They usually take around a week or two to heal. If it takes longer than this or they become very painful, swollen, or infected, you should see a dermatologist or a doctor. You may be allergic to them or they may have become infected.
How to Make Bed Bug Bites Go Away
Here’s home remedies on how to soothe bed bug bites and help them to heal:
1. Wash the Bites With Soap and Water
The most important thing is to keep the bites clean. As soon as you notice them, wash the bites with soap and water.
Tip: A cold compress (ice wrapped in a kitchen towel) can help to ease the pain and itching.
2. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural astringent which helps to soothe the bites as they heal. Just apply some to a cotton ball and dab your bites. You can apply this as often as you need to soothe the bites.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera works well for bed bug bites. While it soothes the bites it helps your skin to heal as well. If you have an aloe plant, you can simply cut off a leaf and then squeeze the gel out and apply it, if not, it’s easy to buy. Aloe also works very well in conjunction with witch hazel.
4. Essential Oils
The following essential oils can be applied to soothe the bites and disinfect them:
Thyme essential oil is also very helpful in repelling the bed bugs from your skin.
Simply combine the essential oil with a carrier oil in a ratio of 10 drops of essential for every 4 tablespoons then apply. Try using coconut oil as a carrier oil as it also has antibacterial properties. If you don’t like coconut oil, you can use jojoba oil or grapeseed oil.
Tip: Neem oil repels insects and interrupts their reproductive cycles. Add 10 to 20 drops of neem oil to water and spray their hiding places.
5. Baking Soda
Though there is a lot of contradictory information on whether you should be using baking soda for bed bugs as an insecticide, one thing that is certain is that baking soda works for their bites. This is because baking soda neutralizes the acidity in the bites and reduces the inflammation.
Simply make a paste by mixing 2 teaspoons of baking soda with 4 teaspoons of water. Apply the paste and leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing. You may need to reapply it every hour or so to get proper relief.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice
Both the apple cider vinegar (ACV) and lemon juice will do the same job. To soothe the itch and keep germs at bay, apply the ACV or lemon juice to a cotton ball and dab your bites. Leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing it off.
Don’t put it on broken skin as it can just inflame the injured skin more.
Lotion for Bed Bug Bites
You can get calamine lotion or a corticosteroid cream to use, but using these products can lead to side effects if used incorrectly and some people have a sensitivity to the ingredients in the calamine lotion. The home remedies above are safe to use and do the same thing. Keep this in mind when deciding what to put on your bed bug bites.
The corticosteroid cream may be necessary if you have a severe reaction, however. If you have an allergic reaction you will be given antihistamines tablets or an antihistamine cream, in very severe cases, epinephrine might be given to you too.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
- Clear the clutter in your home, don’t just move it, but get rid of it.
- Sprinkle Diatomaceous earth (DE) around your furniture and the legs of your bed. Rub some into the carpet as well. Vacuum after 3 days. Then repeat until they are gone.
- Wash all your linen and clothing in hot water.
- Vacuum your home, furniture, mattress, and if you have been traveling, your luggage too.
- Buy allergen covers for your mattress and pillows and make sure the zips are sealed.
Bed bugs can be extremely hard to get rid of so if you are struggling to get rid of them, you may need to call an exterminator. Many exterminators are able to use natural methods to get rid of them too, so first check with them before letting harmful chemicals into your home.
We would love to hear from you if you have questions.
Jane Scott grew up on a farm in California and is a crossover between a country girl and an evangelist for healthier living. She’s a nutritionist who preaches that healthy living need not be complicated.
She believes that by exercising regularly, eating mostly non-processed foods (with plenty of vegetables), and using home remedies for the small things and doctor’s advice for the big things, almost anybody can feel great and live a happier and healthier life. She’s excited to share her knowledge of natural remedies and healthier living on HRFL.
In her spare time, Jane enjoys cooking and watching bad rom-coms. She also loves nuts, and is a bit of a nut herself when it comes to Yoga, which she’s a little too obsessed with in the opinion of her friends and family.