There are few things worse than the itch that comes from chigger (red bug) bites. Most people won’t notice the bites until a few hours after trekking through tall grass, but when they start itching, most people will do anything to figure out how to get rid of chiggers.
There are plenty of over the counter remedies for treating general itchiness, but we understand those who have actually been bitten by chiggers are in search of something more. We’ve researched and tested the best chigger remedies that will help relieve the incessant itch naturally. Check out our home remedies for chiggers below.
How to Get Rid of Chiggers Naturally
#1 - Take a Hot Shower
As soon as you realize you’ve been bitten (which is usually up to an hour after the bite) it’s best to take a very hot shower or bath. Use a mild soap, and try your best not to scratch while in the shower. The heat mixed with the scratching will only further the irritation.
- Start the shower at a mild temperature and increase temperature slowly until it’s as hot as you can stand.
- Work your soap into a lather and apply to the effected areas without scrubbing AT ALL.
- Once you’ve applied the lathery soap to the effected area leave it on, out of the water for at least 5 minutes.
- The soap is going to help dry out the bites.
#2 - Bleach Bath
If you have already tried taking a hot bath with mild soap, some users have reported adding bleach to the tub will help take the itch away almost instantly.
- Get In your bathtub before running water.
- Turn the heat to as hot as you can stand and fill up to over your legs (if your legs are the primarily effected areas).
- Once the water reaches above your legs add ½ – 1 Cup of Liquid bleach and sit in the water until it becomes room temperature, or your itching has subsided.
WARNING: Do not use this method if you’ve already scratched open the lesions from the chigger bites.
#3 - Oatmeal Bath
If you’re apprehensive on taking the bleach bath mentioned above, you can always take a soak in a tub of oats! But don’t go throwing the box of oatmeal in the pantry just yet.
- Measure out the packet of colloidal oatmeal.All that really means is “ground up” oatmeal, as to prevent clogs in your homes plumbing drain line. You can make your own easily if you have a high-powered blender or a good coffee grinder.
- If you don’t feel like going through the hassle, or you don’t have any oatmeal in your pantry, go ahead and buy the pre-ground colloidal oatmeal from Aveeno.
- Draw a bath with water as hot as you can stand and wait for the entire bottom of the tub to have at least 1” water covering it.
- Slowly pour the oatmeal mixture around the faucet area where the water is being mixed to avoid clumping of the oatmeal powder, and to prevent clogs when it comes time to drain.
- Soak in the tub until the itching subsides.
#4 - Baking Soda Paste/Bath
Baking soda seems to be a cure-all for all kinds of things from, whitening teeth to removing blackheads so naturally it can help deal with your itchy bug bites.
- Grab the baking soda out of the fridge or pantry pour a few tablespoons worth of it in a bowl.
- Slowly add water until the consistency becomes that of a paste.
- Scoop it out and drop it on each chigger bite.
- Be sure not to “rub it in” to the bite, but just coat the effected area with the baking soda paste.
- The baking soda acts as a natural itch reducer.
- If you have a very severe case you can always add the baking soda to a tub full of lukewarm water. We recommend only adding a cup of baking soda and adding more as necessary, as obviously you don’t want the same consistency of the paste, as it will clog your drain
#5 - Vicks Vapor Rub+Salt
The classic best selling vapor rub that is commonly used to alleviate your sinuses, its soothing properties make it an awesome remedy for chigger bites.
- Take a tablespoon-sized scoop of Vicks Vapor Rub and plop it into a small bowl.
- Then grab the salt from your kitchen and shake 3-4 good shakes of salt onto the Vicks Vapor Rub.
- Take the spoon you used to get the vapor rub out with, and stir the mixture thoroughly enough you don’t see any of the salt in the mixture and apply topically to your bites.
- The Vicks Vapor Rub acts as a soothing itch treatment, while the salt helps to kill the chigger itch on your skin.
#6 - Nail Polish
There is a common misconception that chiggers don’t actually bite, they bury themselves into your skin and that’s what causes such intense itching. (YUK!) So for the longest time people applied nail polish to their infected chigger bites thinking that they were suffocating the critters inside their skin. We now know that this is not the case, but the remedy of using nail polish to relieve itch still stands.
- The acetone in the nail polish will not only help dry out the bite, it will also create a protective barrier to prevent users from scratching.
- Try and apply after a bath or hot shower while your skin is still soft and pores are open.
- This topical remedy for chiggers will help you get through the night without scratching incessantly.
#7 - Calamine Lotion
Calamine lotion is one the most sought after over the counter remedies for treating anything from sunburns, to poison ivy, to treating itchy bug bites. While red bug / chigger bites are arguably one of the most itchy of bites known to man, calamine lotion is an awesome treatment.
- Make sure the lid is closed tightly to the calamine lotion bottle, and shake vigorously.
- This not only helps make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed, it makes the consistency thicker and less likely to be too runny on the cotton balls.
- Apply the calamine lotion liberally to a cotton ball and rub lightly directly onto the chigger bites.
- Calamine lotion can stain certain clothing items, and furniture so it’s best to place a towel underneath just in case.
#8 - Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may be able to help with the inflammation of the chigger bites, as well as the itching. We can’t tell you exactly the chemical reaction that takes place for it to work, but it’s just one of those things that works topically.
- This is very similar to the application of calamine lotion above.
- Apply the ACV to cotton balls and rub on the effected area liberally.
- Make sure to have a towel between your skin and other furniture or clothing, as the vinegar goes on clear and is hard to see once applied.
#9 - Ice, Ice Baby!
Natures ultimate remedy for most any kind of inflammation, either naturally, or reactionary like from a chigger bite. If your bites are confined to a relatively small location on your body, putting a big bag of ice on the effected areas will help not only reduce the swelling of the bites, but numb the pain for a long period of time.
- Fill the plastic bag with ice cubes and close tight to prevent any leaks.
- If you have bites on separate parts of your body go ahead and make 2 separate bags so you don’t have to constantly switch the ice from one side or the other.
- Keep the ice on there until the sting from the bites goes numb.
#10 - Cucumbers
Typically not as effective in my experience but some people rave about the effects of cucumbers on severe itching from chiggers. Cucumbers are naturally anti-inflammatory because of the natural flavonal fistein and when applied topically in slices users have experienced great prolonged relief.
- This may seem silly, but once you have sliced the cucumbers into ¼” thick slices press them firmly against the chigger bites.
- If the chigger bites are in a difficult area on your body to keep a slice of cucumber pressed against it, we recommend taking an ace bandage over the top of it and adhering it to your skin.
#11 - Peppermint Tooth Paste
This is not typically something that people would have in their medicince cabinet, but this is something to use if you really don’t have access to any of the other topical treatments above, and great to pack if you’re hiking as it doubles not only as tooth paste, but also an excellent topical treatment for getting rid of chigger bites.
- This is very straightforward in that you simply apply the peppermint toothpaste to the effected areas.
- We recommend squeezing the paste and water into a bowl and stirring the mixture either with your hand or a spoon until the consistency is easy to spread on the effected chigger bite area with a cotton swab.
What Are Chiggers?
Chiggers, also sometimes referred to as berry bugs, harvest mites, red bugs all fall into the family of mites. Chiggers live primarily in forest and grasslands where vegetation is low, and can sometimes be spotted in low cut grassy areas such as residential lawns, ad golf courses.
While chiggers are simplistic animals, their bites can be extremely complex in soothing. The chiggers’ digestive enzymes in the saliva cause the insanely itchy welts.
What do Chigger Bugs Look Like?
One of the biggest reason it’s so hard to prevent chiggers from getting to your skin, is because of their microscopic size.
What do Chigger Bites Look Like?
Once you’ve experienced chigger bites you’ll know when they bite you again just from the type of itch they make your body produce, but if you may need some help identifying. The lesions that chigger bites produce look like raised welts typically centralized around areas where tight clothes touch your skin (socks, shoes, waistband, hat, armpits).
How To Prevent Chiggers
While it’s almost impossible to prevent chiggers if you spend a large amount of time in the tall grass in the spring and summer, we still recommend taking preventative action as best you can by:
- Wearing Long Pants that go over the top of your shoes and boots
- Applying a natural bug repellent to your skin areas as well as DEET to your shoes, as that is the normal route the bugs take.
Common Chigger Questions and Answers
Can Chiggers Spread?
No – The rash and bumps that chigger bites cause are not able to be spread from your skin to others skin, or other areas of your body.
Do Chiggers Burrow Yourself Under Your Skin?
No – The raised welts that appear on your skin are not caused by a burrowing chigger bug. The welts are simply caused by your body’s reaction to the enzymes in the chigger bugs saliva.
Can Chiggers Live Indoors?
Yes – Chiggers are opportunists and can live on clothes and carpet after being brought in on your shoes/clothing. We recommend washing the clothes you were wearing when you were getting bit, immediately and not letting them sit in the laundry with the other clothes.
Thank you for turning to us for learning how to treat chigger bites. We know first hand that the itch from these pesky bugs can be almost unbearable. But have patience. Treating these naturally with the remedies outlined above will really take the itch out of the chigger bites and before you now it you’ll have forgotten all about them.
We Want to Hear From You!
Let us know which of the remedies above helped the most!