I spent the past week in a cabin in the woods of northern Michigan, and I feel comfortable claiming that I have more insect bites and bumps and plant-caused rashes and welts now than I did after 17 days in the jungle of Guyana. Granted, I was afraid of stepping on the wrong thing every second of every day when I was in South America, and I bathed in DEET without the slightest care that what hair I have left would turn orange or fall out altogether.

But here in Michigan, I have the miracle cure that’s been in our family medicine chests for generations: Fels-Naptha laundry soap. It says it’s “Ideal For Pre-Treating Stains” but I’ve never seen anyone in my family actually use it on laundry. We wet the end of the bar and rub it on insect bites to take away the itch. Now, by way of disclaimer, the label cautions that Fels-Naptha is an eye and skin irritant. I guess if your skin is already irritated, that doesn’t matter. At least it didn’t matter to my Grandma. And Grandma was always right about everything.

How many of you use Fels-Naptha? Does anyone actually use it on clothing? Do you have any other home-spun tricks and remedies?