45 ways to stop Mosquito and Sand Fly bites from itching

Mosquitoes and sand flies, the one thing that can put a dampener on any camping trip. We once stayed at a camp ground where the moment you stopped moving, swarms of mosquitoes descended on you. While the camp ground was lovely, the experience left much to be desired.

Mosquitoes on Al's arm

We’ve all experienced that intense itching that doesn’t go away. You rarely see them coming but you sure know when they have been. If you are anything like me, the warmer months can be torture when outdoors. How some people seem to be immune to these blighters remains one of life’s mysteries. Theories abound – some people say that it is dependent on your blood type, the vitamin levels in your blood, the chemicals in your skin, the amount of alcohol you have in the blood stream, your genetics…the list goes on.  Who knows what it is. But one thing is for sure, when they start to itch, you need a remedy fast.

Well you need not look any further.  We have done the hard yards for you and compiled a list of different methods for easing the itch resulting from mosquito and sand fly bites. While we haven’t tried all of these remedies, we have certainly tried a good many of them and can attest that they work. I’m sure that you are bound to find one that will work for you.


Essential oils

There are hundreds of different essential oils available, and a multitude of ways to mix them. But which ones are more effective at stopping the itch? Essential oils can be applied directly to the skin – one to two drops, or dilute with a carrier oil such as coconut oil to minimise any skin sensitivity.

Household products

You may have these products for a killer itch-topper in your home. Try one of these out!

  • Equal quantities of Dettol, baby oil and methylated spirits (or even just Dettol and baby oil): Mix ingredients together and put into a spray bottle or dab onto the bite directly. Beware however if you have scratched the bite – it will sting!
  • Cloudy ammonia: Dab ammonia onto some cotton wool then dab onto the bite. Works best on a fresh bite.
  • Toothpaste: A small amount of toothpaste dabbed on the bite can relieve itching.
  • Mouth wash, such as Listerine
  • Antiperspirant deodorants, spray and roll-on
  • Vinegar: This works best just after being stung. Beware however if you have scratched the bite – it will sting! Vinegar neutralises the chemical in the bite.
  • Cornflour and apple cider vinegar paste
  • Honey: Can relieve itching and also help prevent infection.
  • Lime slices or lemon slices: Help calm the itch from a bite.
  • Bicarbonate soda paste: Mix with warm water to form a paste and apply topically to the bite.
  • Bicarbonate soda and apple cider vinegar paste: Rub inside of a banana skin on the bite.
  • Ice: This can be an ice cube, ice pack or a frozen bag of peas. Can temporarily relieve the itch.
  • Aloe Vera: This remedy isn’t just for sunburn, it is also effective for relieving the itch and swelling from bites.
  • Rub dry soap bar on the bite
  • Isocol Rubbing Alcohol
  • Nail polish: Apply nail polish directly to the area of the bite.
  • Methylated spirits
  • Alcohol based hand sanitiser
  • Aftershave lotion
  • Perfume

Commercially available creams and lotions

You may find that a commercially available product is the way the most effective. CAUTION: before trying these read the product labels thoroughly or chat to your pharmacist to ensure that it is safe for you to use.

  • Eurax Cream: Provides relief from itching due to hives, insect bites, sunburn, allergies and prickly heat.
  • Bonjela Teething: Fast acting soothing relief from pain and discomfort associated with teething, mouth ulcers and sores.
  • Medi Quattro First Aid Cream: Common cream for minor cuts, insect bites, stings, minor sunburn and itches.
  • Ego Soov Cream: Anaesthetic antibacterial for insect bites and stings.
  • Stingose: Minimises pain, inflammation and itching associated with stings and bites of most insects and plants.
  • McGloins Body Plus Animine Anti Itch Lotion: Soothing lotion to relieve stings, bites and itchy rashes.
  • Animine liquid: Temporary relief from itchiness of minor skin irritations due to sunburn, mosquito and insect bites.
  • Stop Itch: Relief from pain and itching caused by mosquitoes, bees, sand flies, blue bottles, minor burns and rashes.
  • Savlon Antispecti Cream: Antiseptic cream used for cuts, scratches, blisters, grazes, sunburn, nappy rash, insect bites, cracked skin and itchy skin.
  • Lucas’ PawPaw Ointement: Topical application for burns, rash, cuts, chaffing, dermatitis, splinters and bites.
  • Calamine Lotion: Useful for soothing and protecting damaged or tender skin, and relief from itching.
  • Vicks VapoRub: With menthol, camphor and eucalyptus oil, this can help cool the itch when dabbed on.
  • Antihistamine cream or tablets
  • Vaseline Aloe Vera Moisturiser 

Other remedies

  • Saliva
  • Back of a hot spoon: Put a spoon in a cup of boiled water and then check temperature on back of your hand. Then put the back of the spoon on the bite as hot as you can stand it for about 20 seconds.

And if all else fails, insect bite zappers are available from Tentworld. While I haven’t tried these myself, I have heard that they actually do work.


What else have you found that stops the itch? Comment below so that we can try it out.

4 replies
  1. Colin
    Colin says:

    Have been using a zapper or igniter from BBQ for years. It takes sand fly itch away provided its done within 4 hours. Bonus is no scratching.


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