What To Put On A Burn (Salve Recipes Using Kitchen Ingredients)

Heather Dessinger

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What To Put On A Burn

Mama, remember that time you accidentally burned a smiley face onto your belly?” <– This is a thing my kids like to ask me, because apparently it’s fun to remind me that being one hundred months pregnant and leaning over a cast iron skillet full of homestyle gluten-free stuffing is not a good idea.

Fortunately, I was already in my kitchen, which happens to double as my natural apothecary for making cough syrup, soothing muscle rubs, vapor rub and of course burn remedies. Because I already knew what to put on a burn after researching sunburn remedies, mixing up a quick remedy took just a few minutes using common kitchen and bathroom ingredients.

Do home remedies for burns really work?

There are a lot of weird home remedy recommendations for burns floating around – cobwebs, mustard and toothpaste to name a few – but there’s little evidence to show they actually work. Even worse, some folk remedies may actually irritates skin.

Fortunately, there is research to support the use of certain natural remedies for common kitchen burns, sunburns and more.

What To Put On A Burn

First and foremost, though the Mayo Clinic says most first and second degree burns can be cared for at home, serious burns should be treated professionally. Please do not use any home remedies on serious burns. Also, this post is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please talk to your trusted healthcare professional for advice regarding personal health conditions and situations. See my full disclaimer here.

Now that we’ve got that covered, here are several kitchen/bathroom ingredients that – according to research – can help soothe and support burn healing. I’ve also included recipes for making them into salves below.

what to put on a burn honey

Honey For Burns

According to this PubMed review, “As a dressing on wounds, honey provides a moist healing environment, rapidly clears infection, deodorizes, and reduces inflammation, edema, and exudation. Also, it increases the rate of healing by stimulation of angiogenesis, granulation [tissue growth], and epithelialization, making skin grafting unnecessary and giving excellent cosmetic results.”

Additional studies confirm these findings and add that honey can reduce scarring, rapidly reduce pain and swelling, and stimulate positive immune responses within a wound. (source 1, source 2,)

The best part? A 2006 study found that “small, nonserious burns healed faster when treated with gauze and a dash of honey, on average, than those treated with antibiotic creams and other dressings.” (source) A Cochrane Review of 19 trials with over 2,500 participants supports their analysis.

Seriously awesome stuff, huh?

what to put on a burn apple cider vinegar

Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar For Burns

Though there is not a consensus on why this works, one study suggests that diluted apple cider vinegar can rapidly accelerate the healing process while reducing scar tissue. Some say it is because the apple cider vinegar restores the damaged skin’s pH, while other’s say it’s due to the high percentage of “pectin, succared, vitamins (B1, B2, B6) (A, E, C), salt, mineral[s such as] as (sodium, calcium, magnesium, aluminum, phosphor, cobber, [and] silicon).” (source)

Lavender Essential Oil For Burns

Technically, this is a kitchen remedy for me because I store my essential oils in the fridge, but this may be more of a bathroom ingredient in most homes. Lavender essential oil – diluted in aloe vera gel, lotion, or a carrier oil like coconut oil – can help soothe discomfort. “Lavender contains Linalyl Acetate (24-45%) and Linalol (25-38%) which have local analgesic and anesthetic effects.” (source)

For burns, I use a 1-2% dilution, which is 3-6 drops per tablespoon aloe vera or lotion.

what to put on a burn turmeric

Turmeric For Burns

This study found that turmeric paste supports wound healing. According to Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, “Many South Asian countries use it as an antiseptic for cuts, burns, and bruises, and as an antibacterial agent.” (source)

what to put on a burn aloe vera

Aloe Vera For Burns

This is another kitchen remedy for me because I have an aloe plant next to my sink. However, even though that’s not necessarily common, a lot of people do keep aloe on hand. Aloe has traditionally been used to soothe burns, and this study found that burns dressed with aloe healed about six days faster than burns dressed with vaseline.

Note: Most of the aloe gel you find in stores has lots of questionable additional ingredients. I avoid those and buy this one instead.

Coconut Oil For Burns

Some folk remedies  – like rubbing butter on a fresh burn – may actually trap heat in and cause burns to reach deeper layers of tissue. However, once the layers have cooled completely, coconut oil was shown in this study to support healing.

Now, on to the recipes!

If you have some of the above ingredients on hand, you might be wondering how to use them. Here are some ideas:

Soothing Honey Burn Salve Recipe

This recipe can be easily doubled or cut in half, depending on how much is needed.

To Make: Add lavender (if using) to the honey and mix well.

To Use. Apply as needed.

Apple Cider Vinegar Burn Spritz

To Make: Mix apple cider vinegar and water together.

To Use: Apply to skin with a cloth or cotton ball.

Aloe Vera Burn Gel

To Make: Add lavender (if using) to the aloe gel and mix well.

To Use. Apply as needed.

Turmeric Paste Or Salve

Enough water, milk or aloe vera gel to create a paste (or coconut oil to make a salve)

To Make: Add a few drops of liquid to the turmeric powder until it forms an easily spreadable paste.

To Use: Gently apply to skin and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. The skin may be slightly stained from the turmeric.

Coconut Oil Burn Salve

To Make: Add lavender (if using) to the coconut oil and mix well.

To Use. Apply as needed.

Tip For Soothing Minor Burns

Before applying any remedy, immediately run cold water over the area to bring the temperature down and prevent heat from penetrating deeper into the tissue.

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. Please talk to your trusted healthcare professional for advice regarding personal health conditions and situations. See my full disclaimer here.

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what to put on burn

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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding Mommypotamus.com in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

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72 thoughts on “What To Put On A Burn (Salve Recipes Using Kitchen Ingredients)”

  1. This looks great, I’m definitely going to try it! Something that worked wonders the last time I got burned was having a ziploc bag of Redmond clay already mixed up in the fridge and immediately plunging my burned thumb into it. I couldn’t believe how it relieved the pain and how quickly the burn healed (and it was a bad one, too); this could be something to use before the honey salve.

  2. Do you think this would be appropriate for burns caused by radiation treatment? I have a dear friend who is suffering from burns on his neck from radiation treatment. Any other ideas? Thanks!!

    • Be sure to check on any oil or do NOT use! I used Emu oil for radiation burns due to breast cancer. Emu oil healed the burns but it also made the breast tissues denser. Next radiation burned me worse than ever in my life. For the healing I think the tea(tanic acid), is safer even if not as fast.

  3. Manuka honey is fascinating stuff. We always keep this in the house, partly because my bee keeper hubby just loves all honey and partly because of how it can be used like medicine for so many things. I would just be careful with how/where you buy it. There are two different rating systems (UMF and MGO) and they measure different things. There are also companies that claim that their Manuka honey is a higher rating than it actually might be. So I just caution you do your research, like we do with all things, before purchasing!

    • I am curious, which brand do you trust? I tried so many, but besides that some are very expensive, I can’t make up my mind…

  4. I’m intrigued by your methods. I had heard a couple of times that egg whites, whipped slightly if possible, are also good for burns. Did you come across this in your research?

    Also, a very quick initial thing to do if you burn a finger tip in a minor way, say, in the kitchen or on a hot light bulb, is to immediately rub it vigorously on your scalp. The natural oils on your scalp calm the burn immediately. This is commonly known by anyone who works on a film set and deals with hot lights.

    I will definitely file your remedies for future reference, and hope that I don’t need them! 🙂

    • Hi Beth, yes I did come across the egg white remedy. Most medical institutions don’t recommend it because it can introduce bacterial to the wound, leading to possible infection.

      • I tried the whipped egg whites on a very painful second degree sunburn years ago. I was covered in blisters. The next day, they were gone!

        • Please tell me more about the egg white method. My back is covered in blisteres. I used and normally use the honey method with GREAT results.I did get relief for hours but two days later I still have over 50 % of the original blisters. I’ll try anything logical.

          • I have blisters that from on my lower legs after catching covid for 2.5 years. The doctors was using me as a lab sample with me paying all the bills, over $60,000. I want something will put a scab on the wounds! I am leaking 2 to 4 cups of fluids a day, no blood! For month I being taking turmeric internally to reduce the swelling of my lower legs, but I think that it is virus that makes my under the skin weak!

      • After soaking a 2nd degree boiling water burn in cool water for 20+ minutes, I mixed egg whites with manuka honey (MGO 550). The egg whites dried quickly producing a thin skin, thus protecting the wound. The mixture was refrigerated for several days and redressed twice per day. Healing was very fast with no complications.

  5. I burnt my hand pretty badly while cooking when we lived in the Philippines. A Philipina friend who was with me at the time had me put my hand in a bowl of plain-old white vinegar. The pain instantly went away! I was so surprised as I had never hear of that before! Apparently it is a common remedy there.

    • I know this is years later – but to add to above comment – we grew up in the outdoors and despite mom’s best efforts, suffered THE WORST FULL BODY (except swim suits) 1st degree burns at least once a year from preteens to early 20’s, (as she loosened controls/restrictions ?)some Mixed with areas of 2nd degree burns – nose, tips of shoulders.
      Don’t know what nationally she learned it from – diverse friend/acquaintance group plus she grew up very poor, but she and then we grew up in the mountains of far Northern California – my mom would always stand us out front and pour the vinegar over us.
      Sting all gone. Depending on severity of burn – peel less and faster or not all. Only side effect is smelling faintly like a salad for a few days. Not a bad deal for the price of a jug of vinegar!
      CAUTION: as an ex-RN with her background spent partly at a Major Trauma/Burn Center in ED/ICU I have to caution – if 2nd burn and the total amount of blistered area is over twice the size of the patients palm, or if any one blister is half the size of the patients palm YOU MUST SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT. Vinegar is fine if blisters are still intact and treatment is delayed for any reason, but treatment is still needed due to increased chance of 3rd degree burn.

  6. I prefer to grab some fresh aloe and slather it on. It stops the pain immediately and, a lot of the time, doesn’t even leave a burn.

      • What about storage on these methods? Refrigeration, shelf life etc. I’d like to have some of these on hand because I have children and you never know when you may need them.

        • The apple cider vinegar spritz and turmeric paste will have a relatively short shelf life while the honey + essential oil recipe and coconut oil + essential oil recipe would last quite awhile longer. However, if mixed up too far in advance the lavender essential oil used in the coconut oil could oxidize and irritate skin rather than soothe it, so I recommend mixing these up on an as-needed basis.

  7. Vinegar is a old-fashion remedy with many uses. When we were children if we played outside too long my mother or grandmother always used vinegar on us…just plain white vinegar. Took the pain out of the sunburn right away and prevented blistering.

    • Colloidal Silver gel or liquid. I have second and third degree burns on my right leg (top to bottom) from two days ago. I’m in a lot of pain especially when I have to clean it with dial soap. It feels like I’m being burned all over again. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I have colloidal Silver gel and started taking the liquid one orally three times a day.

  8. Thanks for posting this now, my Mom just contacted me yesterday about giving her a burn cream/jell I advised aloe and lavender but never thought of honey 🙂

  9. Funny tidbit: my daughter had a third degree burn on her foot awhile back, everything I read online said it can’t be treated at home, go to the Er, etc. so we took her there. They did NOTHING for her. Cleaned it with sterile water and put gauze on it. They told me to follow up with plastic surgery to make sure it’s not getting infected….wow. What a money pit!! I’m pretty sure I can assess infection (former rn) it cost us $1000. Next time we’ll be using some honey 🙂

  10. I had a burn and I used coconut oil. Worked great and it’s barely noticeable now. Also trying the tallow lotion and that seems to help as well

    • Thank you so much tried the coconut oil and it stinged at first but took care of the job thank you so much I was dumb and used my boiling water to try my noodles to make sure they were done but burnt me and now doesn’t hurt as much again thanks I’ll remember this for my son:)

  11. Alison Westermann – I am currently reading a book by an immunologist who did her postdoctoral work at Harvard. She says that becoming a mother caused her to rethink all her training – interesting read!

  12. What’s the name of it? That sounds interesting. I agree, my daughter changed my life completely….I also worked in pediatrics for a few years after nursing school and turned out to be the kind of parent I never in a million years expected to be, but I love it and wouldn’t change it for anything!

  13. I burned myself on some hot glue a while ago. I ran my finger under cold water, then soaked it in ACV (undiluted) for several minutes. I put honey and a bandage on it. It did still hurt a bit for the rest of the day, but the next day there wasn’t even a mark!

  14. We swear by apple cider vinegar for burns, but I a glad to hear about the honey and lavender. You are so helpful. Thanks

  15. I like the idea of mixing the honey and lavender.
    Could you steep lavender in honey for this, or is an EO the best option?

    • Hi Effy,the lavender infused recipe I know of calls for heating the honey, which I prefer not to do. For that reason I use the EO, but you could do it either way.

  16. Hospitals are really getting in on the Manuka honey bandwagon. Makes me happy. Good for more than just burns too! My husband had a huge flesh would on his foot (deployment injury) and the first thing my RN mom said was to get him some honey, stat! lol

    • My Grandmother kept vinegar in the fridge for this purpose. She would pour it in a dish and use a washcloth and apply it to sunburns. Her reasoning was vinegar would take the heat out of a burn. It worked quite well I can say

  17. we use mustard… but… its probably the vinegar in it that works, like said above. will definately try ACV and or honey next time its needed

  18. Also for burns something that is proven to works wonders! Any chef will tell u or anyone who is professional kitchen personal dealing with extreme heats and ways to burn themselfs all live by it….FRESH CUT VEGETABLES! I burned myself really good first with steaming hot water and then the metal base on a the older commercial coffee pot back to back one leading to the other it was a bad burn I was unable to drop the pot once I grasped it without sending boiling liquid all over others so I had to hold and endure for far too long but the moment I hit the privacy of the kitchen where I was able to vocally release effects of the pain out head cook (bless him) knew what I had done proceeded to stick my hand under cool running water go grab an ice bath and chop a tomato (I thought he was finishing a salad order and forgot he was holding the pieces) he dunked my hand in the ice bath for 3 mins dried the area and placed cut tomato pieces over the whole area so I could close my hand and the whole area be totally covered or place both hands palm to palm having the same results however he did improvise a bandage of sorts with our very thick paper towels putting some cool damp ones over the tomatoes then dry ones on top to just hold them inplace with paper tape as I still needed use of my other hand. But the tomato did draw out an amazing amount of heat! It was a burn guaranteed to be one huge blister! He said by cooling it as fast as possible to get the tomato on that quickly it would prevent any blistering (i could see the swelling the first sign of blister directly after) but truthfully I had burn myself horribly many times on all types of things I have used almost everything for burns, butter, lard, ice, vinegar, yogurt and concoctions by the smell I’m glad I never knew what was in them and basic first aid creams sprays slavs ect…some helped some didn’t this trully helped immediately! No blister the longer I kept the tomatoes on I even changed them the swelling webt down the redness was gone it worked wonderfully! ! He said it was fresh vegetables that did it I don’t know if that means any vegetables but the tomatoes worked for sure! I have heard cucumbers work also! For a better functioning treatment (obviously if burn is bad enough to wonder about medicalattention its better to not take a chance) but mustard on a burn works great and can be loosely wraped with breathable materials. Burns are supposed to be able to breath that’s how heat escapes, and is said that’s why butter, lard, ect are not good as they trap heat.
    Love the honey idea I will be trying this also! Just found this page and love it I plan to trytry many of these recipes and incorporate a lot of what I have read into my current recipes!
    Thanks so much

  19. Will store bought honey worked…
    My 2 1/2 yr old daughter got her leg burned by the 4 wheeler … The amazing part was that she did not let mommy or big brother know she had the burn…hours must of gone by till I found out she had a burn because the wound blistered up to a quarter size… The only thing I had in hand was aloe Vera…what’s the next best thing to do, and how do I avoid the wound getting a scar or the skin getting discolored? Thank you…..

  20. When my son worked at a fast food restaurant he said they would grab pickles and put them on a burn. I realized it was the vinegar brine that the pickles soak in that was providing relief.

  21. Could I assume that these same things would be good for healing more than burns (i.e. open scratches)?
    [Potential TMI…] my baby girl scratched me pretty badly while nursing, and I’m looking for the best alternative to a neosporen-type ointment, since it looks like it could become a minor scar as is (I’ve never had an injury on this part of me before!).
    Additionally, what would be a natural healing ointment option that would also be safe for skin she will nurse on? (I’m not sure if EOs are safe on skin that would go in baby’s mouth, and I assume honey won’t be til afte she’s one.)
    Thank much for any help!

  22. The most amazing natural cure I have ever experienced is the Hippophae rhamnoides (common sea-buckthorn) oil for burns. It acts instantly and the pain is gone in a few minutes and reapplied a few times a day it promotes a fast healing of the wound. It works better than honey and raw egg (the traditional burn remedies in my country).

  23. I have heard from many people that running cold water or ice on your burn is the worst thing to do. My personal experience is that cold water makes it hurt work and room temp water works best. Also fun fact is that recently someone told me that taking the oil that forms on your nose (it is similar to whale oil?? idk) and putting it on your burn is supposed to be the best thing for it to not scar and to relieve pain. I havent tried this yet, but it is supposedly a kitchen tip!

  24. I use raw New Zealand Manuka honey for everything. I recently even made eye drops with equal amounts of the manuka honey and distilled water for a nasty case of blepheritis and was absolutely amazed at how much better my eye felt after the first day, and it looked better too. I’m still having to put the drops in, but it’s only been 4 days. I haven’t had to go to the doctor though, and before realizing I could put my go to honey in my eye, I was to the point of having to go to the doctor. I’m so glad that I thought of it and checked.
    Anyway, like I said, I use manuka for everything, but when it warms up on my skin, it gets thin and runs, getting very messy. Even under gauze, it finds its way out, So, I’m trying to figure out how to safely thicken it up and make it into a salve without taking away any of the healing properties. I thought about mixing it with petroleum jelly, but can’t find anything about whether that would be safe. I did find that melted bees wax and olive oil could be mixed in to thicken into a salve. Do you have any input or ideas on this?

  25. Wow, mommypotamus, thank you for this post! im 41 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I got a burn from a rice cooker. I iced it for 30 minutes and finished making dinner for a while before I sat down and found your website. I made a quick salve of apple cider vinegar, non raw honey (we don’t have raw) and coconut oil, and i feel so much better. the pain started at a 6/10 and now is about a 1.5/10.
    thank you so much!

  26. Camille, of July 17, 2015: you CAN make honey into a salve by adding wax to it. Just warm the wax to melting point in a double boiler then add to an equal amt of honey (1/4 cup wax to 1/4 cup honey). I make my balms and salves this way and they work really well. By not warming the honey I also don’t remove its healing qualities. Cool on the counter. You can add any essential oils to the salve before it cools according to Mommypotamous’ great recipes!

    • How do you mix the two without the wax solidifying again? I know you shouldn’t heat the honey because then the therapeutic benefits are gone but shouldn’t you at least bring it to the same temperature?

  27. Totally wanted to post before and after pics but not sure I can on here. After absentmindedly touching a hot burner with three fingertips and simultaneously having a sick toddler and crying newborn , I rushed to this remedy. Yesterday I had blistered red, wrinkly finger tips. Today, calm, small blister, and the tips of my fingers that had started to sort of crack, are smooth, numbness is gone, on the way to healing. Thank you for something so natural and so effective!

  28. Thank you so much for this recipe, I will have to try it. By the way where did you get the bottle with the small spoon ? (in the photo) I love the bottle !

  29. I am comparing this recipe with your “after sun spray” and am wondering if they can be used interchangeably. The description for their uses is very similar but the ingredients vary slightly. I like to have as few things as possible in my medicine cabinet :). Please advise-thanks!!

  30. For anyone who is interested, I have a burn poultice and salve that I use that are nearly miraculous. I use nettle leaves (ground – you can buy them that way) with lavender oil and calendula. I have used it for major burns that were well into second degree. For example, my 2- year old granddaughter pulled the tablecloth and spilled boiling (literally) hot soup on her inner thigh – I used the poultice and salve and within a week and a half the entire thing was gone, no scar whatsoever.

    I’ve also used it on a neighbor who’s daughter got a very bad burn (oil) on 3/4 of her arm. The skin had already fallen off and they had used very expensive burn bandages ($250 each) with no luck. I used it myself (again!) just this week when I grabbed a pot handle that had been sitting over the flame. I know for a fact I would have had deep blisters, but I used the poultice and the salve and it was gone the next day.

    Here’s what you do:
    1) The poultice is used right away, when you get the burn. Just mix the ground nettle in water until you get a watery/muddy consistency and add about 10 drops of lavender oil. Smear it on the area liberally, cover with gauze, and then – very important – cover with plastic wrap.

    Change frequently, at least every two hours, or when the poultice dries out.
    2) You can start using the salve once most of the pain is gone. The salve is made like any other salve, except the calendula is calendula oil, not a water-based version. Just smear a lot of the salve on, and cover with gauze.

    If there is a high chance of scarring, use plastic wrap instead – if the area remains moist it will not scar.

    And that’s it – good luck!

    • Forgot to note that the poultice stops the pain almost immediately (within 1-3 minutes), even for bad burns. Also, although everyone says put water on a burn, I’ve noticed that it is the worst thing to do. Not only does it not stop the pain, but it swells up the tissues and adds liquid to blisters, which delay healing. Use the poultice recipe above and you won’t be stuck with a burned hand underwater :).

  31. Providing the skin is NOT broken, the best remedy is to immediately place the burnt area in milk (straight from the fridge) and keep it submerged for 15 – 20 minutes. It will instantaneously stop the pain, and also prevents a blister from forming.

  32. Hi, we always brought apple cider vinegar to the beach when I was young in case of a jelly fish sting…and someone way always getting stung…took the pain away!!!

  33. You can also use pure vanilla extract immediately on a burn and it will take the sting out. It may be the alcohol in it, I’m not sure. But my mother has been using this on me for years.

  34. A recent animal study published in July 2014 Advance Wound Skin Care Journal (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24932952) looked at the healing effects of sea buckthorn oil and olive oil on full-thickness burn wound. The researchers found that the synergistic effect of both sea buckthorn and olive oil improved wound healing with accelerated skin re-growth and wound contraction. Sea buckthorn oil has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat digestive and pain issues. It was also shown in studies to enhance wound healing on mucous membranes and can be effectively used to naturally treat canker and mouth sores.

  35. I love essential oils, and this always is my go to for burns in the kitchen.
    Tea tree oil will numb the area and it will not blister. I use for good old simple oven burns.
    One time I grabbed the turkey pan out of the oven. I burned my hand good using a mit and the juice spilled over. It literally took my skin off. It was then I found the instant miracle of peppermint oil! It almost instantly stopped the excrusiating burning pain. I followed with tea tree oil. The peppermint stopped the pain every time it started.
    Any chemical burns I use whole milk. Or heavy cream. Then follow up with peppermint.
    Last but not least I use the peppermint and tea tree with water on sunburns. I never tan… I just burn even 15 minutes in the sun. When I get a burn I fill my 4oz glass bottle with water, and add two drops of tea tree oil, and six of peppermint. Shake it good and spray on areas.

  36. The very best remedy is a raw potato, cut it in half then scrape out the white part of the potato and put it on the burn when it turns pink remove it and repeat if you want to wrap it with anything make sure it is white cloth. When I was 13 yrs old I burned both the back of my calf’s on a truck side pipes and it was very bad, when I told my mom and dad the immediately grabbed potato’s and began to scrape the inside of the potato’s and put it on the burns. Well I am much older now and I can’t even see a scar. So I have used this with every burn that I or anyone I know that has been burned. I swear by it.

  37. Was wondering why you keep your essential oils in fridge? Just trying figure out best way to keep my oils. Thanks bunches. MDG