Peppermint Bug Bite Salve (Bentonite Poultice)

(This post contains affiliate links)

(This post contains affiliate links)

First of all a poultice is, “a soft, moist mass of material, typically of plant material or flour, applied to the body to relieve soreness and inflammation and kept in place with a cloth.” And they are really, really good for inflammation. With all the time I’ve spent gardening this summer, I’ve really needed some natural bug bite salve. I personally haven’t don’t this, but this video from Redmond Clay says you can even use it for burns and road rash, but you’ll have to use a very thick layer. For bug bites, bee stings, and rashes (like from poison oak or ivy) you can use a thinner layer. Bentonite clay draws out toxins both internally and externally. If you’re interested in the internal benefits make sure you’re getting a food safe clay. I really love this one from Great Plains, because it’s already in liquid form and you don’t have to worry about mixing it up in the morning. I even use a tablespoon in my dog’s water bowl too. It binds to excess fluoride and toxins found in water. Finding bentonite clay for external use is a lot simpler. They have clay masks in most drug stores, health food stores, and probably most vitamin and supplement stores. You can also use any type of clay you want, red, pink, green or this traditional bentonite clay. All clays draw out toxins from your skin and can help you to detox your bug bites and reduce redness and inflammation around the affected area.

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“When combined with water and left to dry on the skin as a clay mask, the clay is able to bind to bacteria and toxins living on the surface of the skin and within pores to extract these from the pores. This helps to reduce the outbreak of blemishes, alleviate redness, and also to fight allergic reactions from irritating lotions or face washes, and even helps heal poison ivy.

Thanks to the clay’s special ability to act as an antibiotic treatment when applied topically to the skin, the clay can help to calm skin infections, like contact dermatitis, and speed up healing time of wounds, even when prescription antibiotics were not able to help solve the problem.” - Dr. Axe


Bentonite clay takes several years to expire. So you probably won’t have to worry about a shelf-life. Although, I might argue that it doesn’t expire at all, since it is essential mineral rich dirt that’s been harvested and filtered. I’ve found this mix will most likely dry out if it sits long enough. This is easily fixed by just adding a little more water. Something to keep in mind. I actually store mine in a dish like the one above and rehydrate as necessary. The peppermint oil is optional, but it does feel really amazing on swollen or irritated skin. Strong smells like peppermint can also serve to repel mosquitos too. So, it’s basically a two for one here, repel the bugs and treat the bites. Note: If you’re going to use it on your face, leave out the peppermint oil, or keep at least 4 inches from under the eyes — over the eyes or on your brow is fine.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Peppermint Bug Bite Salve (Bentonite Poultice)


  • Mix in water and bentonite clay until smooth, depending on your climate, humidity, altitude, you may need a little more water.

  • Add in essential oils if desired

  • Apply a thin layer to bug bites

  • Leave on 30 minutes or until inflammation has reduced

  • Rinse with warm water and a wash cloth