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Activated Charcoal Drawing Salve Recipe for Bug Bites, Blisters, Splinters

Drawing salve is useful for easing the pain of insect bites and stings, blisters, splinters, and more! This DIY drawing salve is made with charcoal, along with a mixture of herbal ingredients to help draw toxins away from your skin. 

activated charcoal drawing salve recipe


What the heck is activated charcoal and why would you purposely make a black drawing out salve to rub on your skin? Before I answer that, I’ll share an even crazier story with you.

If you’ve been following along on Garden Therapy you’ll see that I have a number of different recipes and garden ideas to keep away mosquitoes. I really hate mosquitoes. I’m one of those sensitive people who have a strong histamine reaction to the bites. I don’t just get an itchy little raised bump. I get a big red swollen blotch that takes every ounce of my willpower not to scratch like I’m going bananas.

So here’s the crazy part.

To test out this recipe for activated charcoal drawing salve, I actually invited mosquitoes into my house and allowed them to bite me! Even crazier? I am glad that I did!

drawing salve in small glass container

What is Drawing Salve?

A drawing salve is a mixture of oils and herbal ingredients that work to draw toxins from your skin and can be used on mosquito bites, wasp or bee stings, blisters, boils, slivers, and minor infections.

Activated charcoal and bentonite clay are very effective at sucking up toxins but, not surprisingly, they will leave your skin dried out after use.

container of activated charcoal next to a small glass container of diy drawing salve

Ingredients for the Charcoal Drawing Salve

As activated charcoal is a big part of this draw out salve, I wanted to make sure to use the highest quality one I could find. I opted to go with Nature’s Way Coconut Charcoal on iHerb. iHerb was even kind enough to supply me with the ingredients I needed to create this charcoal drawing salve recipe!  I enjoy shopping with them and am also a participant in the iHerb affiliate program designed to provide a means for me to earn a small commission on sales.

As I was scrolling through iHerb to order Nature’s Way Coconut Charcoal, I noticed a few ingredients I had saved on my Account List: rosehip seed oil, jojoba oil, and bergamot essential oil. Then a light bulb came on. I should add some skin-healing ingredients to test in my drawing salve! I quickly updated my order to include both drawing and healing ingredients to test a new salve recipe. The key was not to choose ingredients that will absorb deeply into skin, but instead those that help to repair the surface of the skin.

charcoal draw out salve ingredients from iHerb

My order arrived after just a few days and I made up my usual drawing salve recipe with the new additions.

Skin-Healing Salve Ingredients

Here are the ingredients that I picked for the healing salve and the reasons why I chose each one of them.

  • Bentonite Clay Powder – draws out toxins from skin
  • Activated Coconut Charcoal – detoxifying and skin balancing
  • Certified Organic Jojoba Oil – actually a wax (not an oil); the closest to our own skin’s sebum so it is gentle and won’t clog pores.
  • Organic Cold Pressed Rosehip Seed Oil – full of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids that help repair skin
  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Organic) – carrier oil, has antimicrobial properties
  • Bergamot Essential Oils – relieves stress on skin
  • Lavender Essential Oil –soothing on nerves and skin

charcoal salve ingredients

That’s when I invited the mosquito to the party.

Does the Draw Out Salve Work for Bug Bites?

I got a nice big bite on my arm and watched it swell up. I scratched it a few times (which is totally against my number one rule for keeping mosquito bites under control: do. not. scratch.)

As you can imagine, it was quite swollen and itchy. I applied my new and improved activated charcoal salve and covered it with a bandage. It was moderately itchy for the next 30 minutes while I went to sleep but it didn’t keep me awake. When I woke up the next morning I took off the bandage and washed off the drawing salve. The bite was completely gone. Not even a tiny bump was left.

I’ve made a few other variations of drawing salve using activated coconut charcoal and bentonite clay and I found that they definitely take away bites and infection, but they leave a little bump behind for a few days. And while the bite is no longer itchy, my skin feels dry. But my new recipe took the bite inflammation away completely and made my skin feel fantastic.

activated charcoal drawing salve to heal bug bites

Besides mosquito bites, I’ve been using this drawing salve on minor scrapes and cuts that have become inflamed to reduce infection. (Un) fortunately, I haven’t gotten a bee or wasp sting, so I haven’t been able to test the effectiveness of that. However, I’m sure I will eventually and I’ll let you know if it works.

How to Make the Charcoal Drawing Salve Recipe

Now that you know why you need this salve in your herb cabinet, let’s chat about how to make it.


Make it!

Weigh the ingredients on a small kitchen scale. In a double boiler, slowly heat up the coconut oil, jojoba oil, and beeswax until just melted.

melting the ingredients

Remove from the stove and add the bentonite clay, coconut charcoal, and essential oils.

Pour the activated charcoal drawing salve into a glass jar or tin and let cool before using.

homemade charcoal drawing salve

How to Use Drawing Salve

Use a small spatula or spoon to remove the salve from the jar to avoid adding in contaminants from your fingers. The tiny spoons you get from tasting gelato work perfectly! Apply a small amount to the skin and cover with a bandage. Leave on for up to 12 hours. I also use this recipe as a face mask and it makes my skin feel lovely afterward!

charcoal salve and applicator spoon


More Natural Remedies to Try

This charcoal salve is one of my favorite natural remedies to keep stocked in my herbal first aid kit. Here are some other favorites:

Print Pin

DIY Drawing Salve with Activated Charcoal

Use this easy-to-make drawing salve to treat a variety of skin ailments including bug bites, splinters, and blisters.
Cost $3


  • Use your kitchen scale to weigh all ingredients.
  • Slowly melt the coconut oil, jojoba oil, and beeswax in the double boiler.
  • Take the boiler off the stove, then add in coconut charcoal, bentonite clay, and the essential oils.
  • Pour the mixture into a glass jar or tin, then allow to cool fully before using.


To use the drawing salve, take a bit out with a small spoon or spatula to avoid introducing bacteria from your hands. Apply a bit to the area, then cover with a bandaid. Leave on for up to 12 hours.


  1. I made this and am very happy with the results … and I wanted to share that I liked the texture so much I made another batch, eliminating the charcoal, and it makes a fantastic shaving cream … I’ve tried other home shaving cream recipes but the addition of the beeswax and clay keeps the texture solid and manageable even in hot weather.

    • Hi Christina, What a great modification. I will be trying that out for myself. Thank you!

    • Thank you very much for the recipe.. I am excited to try it..
      FYI I sell purified bees wax.. I get it from a local bee keeper & purify it myself…
      I came here looking for recipes to use it in …

  2. Hey there, In your list of ingredients, there is no mention of beeswax but in your directions of preparing it, there is….

  3. Hi there I would love to make this but don’t know where to get the charcoal or the bentonite clay powder. Do you only get these online? I am in Victoria.

  4. So my daughter in law just found the coconut charcoal at Thrifty Foods. I guess I will just have to look for the clay as I will certainly find it too. Thanks!
    I NEED to make this!


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