Introduction: Itch-B-Gone

About: I like to tinker. I'm a co-founder and active participant of my local hackerspace: Hack42 in Arnhem, the Netherlands. You can also find me on under the name Moem.

Those mosquitos, right? The buzzing is annoying enough... but the itching after they get you is just the worst. And there are other nasty bitey beasties too. Some people say itching is harder to deal with than pain!

That's why we're making some high-quality Itch-B-Gone. It works as well as the commercial stuff at a fraction of the price! Curious? Then read on...

Step 1: What We Need

First of all, this is what we need:

  • A small bottle of hand sanitizer, with aloe vera if you can get it. Check your local sources of cheap crap. Dollar tree, Poundland, Euroland, T€dy, Action, what have you. My bottle is 60 ml. I got two for € 0,79.
  • A bottle of ammonia.
  • Some mint oil. And/or, but both is best:
  • Some tea tree oil.
  • Optionally: a label.

Now these are the active ingredients in the mixture we'll be making:

  • Ammonia: Has long been known to eliminate itchiness from bug bites. Ask any grandmother.
  • Alcohol, from the hand sanitizer. Desinfects the bite, has a pleasant cooling effect, makes the liquid dry fast.
  • Aloe vera, from the same source. Soothes, and leaves your skin soft.
  • Tea tree oil: all by itself, this already reduces itching. And it desinfects and smells nice.
  • Mint oil: lingering cooling effect, nice scent.

Oh, and we'll also need:

  • At least one angry, red, itchy bug bite. Does not need to be fresh, but needs to itch like a very very itchy thing.

Safety precautions:

  • Do not sniff the bottle of ammonia. The vapours can be harmful.
  • Make sure not to get undiluted ammonia on your skin. If you do, wash immediately with water.
  • If you find it difficult to pour the ammonia without spilling it, use a funnel.

Step 2: What We Do

Here comes the only part of this recipe that hurts:
Squeeze out 1/5 of the hand sanitizer. Because we need room for the other ingredients. Maybe you can clean something with it?

Now add ammonia. 1 part of ammonia for every 4 parts of hand sanitizer. I did not measure, I eyeballed it. And so can you, because you're smart like that.

Now add 10 drops of mint oil.

Finally, add 5 drops of tea tree oil, close the bottle and shake well, untill the gel is fully dissolved. The liquid will get cloudy and lose most of its viscosity.

Step 3: What We Have

Well well well! What do we have here? It's a very effective itch-eliminating concoction to help you deal with bug bites. Just apply with your finger and allow to dry (which will happen real fast).

If you have the option to reduce the amount of poison inside the bite, do that first.

Of course, it's a good idea to remove the label and add one of your own, to avoid confusion and show off your cleverness.

Enjoy the outdoors, try to avoid getting bitten... but if it happens anyway, no worries! You have Itch-B-Gone!



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    27 Discussions

    Hihi, ammonia eye-balling. ;)
    Nice and cheap instructable.

    Oma weet raad.


    1 year ago

    I just use the hot-teaspoon method. Totally natural and works

    4 replies

    @ Chaela, can you expand on the "hot-teaspoon method" please.

    That method follows from the theory (or fact, I don't know) that the poison in a mosquito bite is very sensitive to temperature - the theory is that the poison is neutralized if heated to some point higher than normal body temperature, but thankfully before the point of damaging your skin & muscle. I bought a product called "Therapik" that uses this idea ... I was never really sure whether it had worked or not, because it usually took a while for me to find the thing, and by that point I wasn't sure whether the product had worked, or the bite was just subsiding on its own. From the Gizmodo review of the product: "It works on the principle that most insect venom is thermolabile (sensitive to heat)." So, there you go ... a hot spoon, or a $20 gizmo, either way you're heating the venom as much as you can stand, and hoping the heat 'kills' it.

    Chaela, I use the hot teaspoon on fire ant bites. It works, but not so well on mosquito bites. Using very hot water, heat a spoon and then gently tap the bite for as long as you can stand it without burning yourself. Do this for several minutes. The fire ant bite will still form a head, but it won't hurt or itch again.

    The hot metal method works great for me on mosquito bites, but I have to repeat a few times. I use a butter knife, handle end. More metal mass and more heat retention, longer application. After doing this 3 or 4 times in the first day or so and the itch is gone and just a tiny red bump remains.

    This worked really well.

    I suggest that as a final step, you should try on yourself, just in case.

    1 reply

    Glad to hear it worked for you, too.

    Vielen Dank für den Tipp ... das braucht man jedes Jahr wieder!

    1 reply

    Gerne gemacht!

    I just bought a house that turned out to be a breeding ground for Asian Tiger mosquitoes. I was less than 5 minutes in the yard, with short pants, when my wife remarked that it looked like I was wearing wool socks. Those things are aggressive!! I'm going to mix up several batches of this concoction. Thanks!

    1 reply

    Ouch! Congrats on the house though.

    Don't throw out the 1/5 sanitizer... just put it into another bottle. You can make more of this formula scaled down by 1/4. With a 60ml bottle of sanitizer, separating 1/5 produces 12ml and leaves 48ml in the original bottle. The volume of 12ml is exactly 1/4 of the liquid in the original bottle. Scaling all the ingredients produces the following measurements:

    ammonia - 3 ml. (1 part to 4 part ratio... 12 ml./4)

    mint oil - 2.5 drops (10 drops/4)

    tea tree oil - 1.25 drops (5 drops/4)

    With a duplication of the formula in the larger bottle, you can replace used itch remedy as it is used.

    2 replies

    Now to find a dropper that produces 0.5 and 0.25 drops. They must be easy to locate.

    I like your math!

    To the board, and this thread:

    Apologies for the mini-novel, I got a tad carried away, LOL.


    Add a little meat tenderizer to this and shake it well to dissolve and you will have a great product! I have been a master diver for almost 30 years now and we used to use the meat tenderizer for when we bumped into fire coral and it works great by its self.

    1 reply

    That sounds like it's worth a try. Let me know how it goes!