RECIPE WEDNESDAY: Have you ever had chigger bites? Here’s some old time cures – Do you have more?

itchAnyone who has lived in the south knows about chigger bites.  Here are some home remedies from a 1930’s cookbook.

  • Rub chigger bites with an aspirin tablet, slightly dampened.
  • At the first attack of a chigger, let a drop of ammonia touch the affected spot and cure is immediate.
  • For Chigger of Mosquito Bites: Use an application of calamine lotion, which can be secured at any drug store.
  • A simple remedy which usually kills the chigger after the first application is kerosene oil and table salt, equal parts. 

Vinegar of the Four Thieves was a recipe that was known for its antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal properties for years. It was even used to cure the Bubonic Plague. See Thomas Jefferson’s recipe in the book – VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past Now in paperback, makes a great gift!


About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. John Cockrell

    The best thing to do is bath in Octagon Soap and put clear finger nail polish on them.

  2. Ron Griffin

    tutpentine ditrctly on the bites for two days in a row.

  3. William Russ

    Vinegar works wipes them off.

  4. T.l. Dennis

    Yes,the colorless nail polish remedy seems to work the best ,as these Chiggers,aka “Red Bugs” have to be able to breathe,once they drill into one’s skin.The colorless nail polish serves to smother these parasites,once the nail polish drys and hardens.Octagon soap,aka “laundry soap” is highly irritaing to these Chiggers and as well serves as an excellent way to remove the oil from Poison Ivy from one’s skin and clothing .

    1. Rita Hutchens Gilbert

      Tried on myself, did not work. Ammonia did.

  5. Ken Stephens

    My mother would pour Clorox in the bath water and it seemed to work.

  6. Annette Haven

    Ammonia is the best remedy to use!!!

  7. Delores Smith

    Witch hazel,rub on spots .

  8. Matthew Doggett

    Clorox in bath water is by far the best. I’m a red bug magnet and have tried all the above remedies. It also works for seed ticks.

  9. Lisa Dunn Rehl

    Eric Fults Sr. Just in case lol

  10. Jo Stillwell

    a nice bath in bleach water works also

  11. Robin Spires Hobbs

    The only thing that I have found that worked is keeping cooking oil applied to the area. It works best!

  12. William Russ

    Vinegar on a rag will wipe them off.

  13. My grandmother applied bacon grease to mine.
    Yucky, but eased the itch.

  14. Ranae Brown Coheley

    Putting fingernail polish on them kills the chigger/red bug and prevents them from spreading.

  15. Cynthia Stack Harmon

    my mother always dabbed the spot with ammonia and it stopped itching.

  16. Nancy Gay Morse

    Clear fingernail polish

  17. Myra Bowman Carlisle

    Vick’s salve is the best remedy. It relieves the itch and clears up the bites fast.

  18. Cathy Holcombe

    I knew them as “red bugs”. My Grandmother would pick them off of me with tweezers and alcohol.

  19. Linda McClantoc

    Amonia works for all bites like this even Wasp. It neutralized the stuff the bug injects in the skin and most times you can’t even tell you were bit 15 minutes or so later. (Unless you are most difinitely ‘allergic’)

  20. Charles Moore

    My mother used clear fingernail polish. It cut off the oxygen to the chigger and killed it. It worked. We picked a lot of blackberries.

  21. Cathy Holcombe

    We called them Redbugs.

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