How To Get Rid of Canker Sores: Home Remedy

Get rid of canker sores quickly!

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Do you have a canker and want it gone stat? Before you glance at this post and go light a match, PLEASE read this post. You don’t actually light the match.

I like to think about  cankers like an actual wound. You would not leave an infected scraped knee to sit and fester, you would take charge of the situation. Like a scraped knee, cankers need some care to heal quickly. To speed up the healing time for a canker, try this home remedy using a match. Beware, it does sting.

Daytime Canker Treatments

canker sore home remedy match

Take out a match. Any ol’ match will do, but I like the white tipped ones. DO NOT LIGHT IT. Hold it by the end and place the tip directly onto the surface of the sore. Press it into the sore as much as the sting tolerance will allow. The deeper the better.  It will sting and bubble and you will likely drool, so head over the sink. Then, say “ow…ow…ouch” for a few seconds and check the canker. The white infection should be gone.  It should be red, the color of the flesh in the mouth. If not, repeat with a new match. Sometimes, when I am feeling tough, I will hold the match with my lips and let it sit there like an old western cowboy for a few minutes, replacing the match when I can’t feel sting. For big cankers I have had to use up to 8 matches. For small cankers I have had them go away the next day. For larger, its a bit longer but it definitely takes a lot of time off of the healing process.

When its done, it should look like a hole or a cut. The white should be gone. It is as if the sulfur on the tip of the match has cauterized the white infection off of the sore.

Once the wound is all cleaned with the matchtip, but a bandaid on it. Hah.. Not a real bandaid, this kind. Tincture Of Benzoin. This stuff is a must-have for your first aid kit. It has multiple uses. (For example, I used it combined with Steri-strips when I was 3 days from civilization on a river trip and had a massive puncture wound on my leg from an oar.. eek.) Tincture Of Benzoinc an work also as a simple coating or barrier to save you through the day from your tongue, salty or sharp foods that would hurt without the coating on it.

how to get rid of cankers fast

My husbands family always put alum on it, and they swear by that. Now we combine methods at nighttime. Did you know that on Amazon you could buy 2lbs alum for the same price as 2 oz at a store? Thats reason enough to make some pickles with the rest.

Everyone seems to have a canker trick up their sleeve, what is yours?


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  1. Debra says

    We always used a hot sauce that’s high in vinegar. Like Louisiana Hot Sauce. My grandma always used straight up white vinegar. Both methods work. I’ve never tried the match stick before. My brother (who used to get lots of canker sores all the time) wash uses hydrogen peroxide as a mouth wash to help prevent canker sores. The idea is that it’s a sore, just like a paper cut. But you wash your hands all the time. Your mouth, however, that’s a really germy place (good and bad germs). The vinegar and the hydrogen peroxide both kill germs and allow the sore to heal. My guess is that the sulfur in a match head also kills the germs. However, with all of the other chemicals in a match head, I don’t know if I would try this….especially since strike anywhere matches have powdered glass in them.

    • Ali says

      Wow! Hot sauce? A tough family you come from. and Vinegar? I bet that stings too. Any way you try it will hurt I guess. Thanks for the other ideas

    • amy says

      My son’s orthodontist used a medication called Debacterol. It stings for a second or two but then the pain is immediately gone, heals within a few days, but no pain! The only bummer is you have to get a prescription for it.

    • Diana says

      My family also used both vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Both more natural. I’d be afraid of leaving yourself wide open for sores. I have had to use silver nitrate sticks from the Dr for a diff wound. Dang that hurt. Can’t imagine in your mouth. Use Vinegar compresses.on cold sore

  2. AlI says

    Oh my goodness! I don’t know why people think pain is so necessary! I used to suffer through canker sores and all the horrible tricks to get rid of them but now I use Orajel mouth wash for mouth sores. It numbs it a little to take away pain and also gets rid of bacteria to help it heal so they’re gone quickly and best of all pain free!

      • Julianna says

        I used regular mouth wash. It doesn’t hurt a bit! It actually numbs it a little and just takes the pain and germs away. I wouldnt say it makes it heal any faster, it just takes the pain away.

    • Layton says

      Orajel does absolutely nothing for my canker sores. Try putting an aspirin directly on the canker sore and hold it there for about 30 minutes.

  3. says

    I have found that if I eat some kiwi, the juice (which also stings) somehow magically helps my canker sores and usually cuts the healing time significantly. I don’t know why this is (acidity?), but it seems more natural and healthy than some other suggestions. But, maybe this only works for me, I don’t know! 🙂

  4. S. says

    I take lysine capsules. No pain, works quickly! You have to keep taking them a few days after the sore is gone, though, or a new one is likely to appear.

  5. Lea says

    My mom always told me to put salt on my cankers and it burns! but it does help them heal faster. Sometimes if I can’t bear the salt directly on the sore I will swish with warm salt water several times a day. I will try a match next time. although I hope there won’t be a next time 🙂

  6. Cori says

    I take an asprin and mix it with a little water. Then I use a q-tip to put the mixture right on the sore. It does taste a little bad at first, but the medicine actually deadens the sore which allows me to eat. The medicine also burns out the sore like sulpher, but without the other chemicals of the match. Plus, the healing time is usually over night.

  7. Carol says

    I had canker sores for years, one right after another. I finally read that 80% of the people can be helped by changing toothpaste, make sure the tooth paste doesn’t have sodium lauryl sulfate in it, that causes irritation. Check the label, it can be hard to find. Once I changed toothpastes it cut back on canker sores and when I do get one it isn’t very painful

    • Katy says

      I agree about switching toothpastes! My canker sores decreased SIGNIFICANTLY when I switched to a toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate. And now when I do get them, they are much smaller and go away more easily. Also, when I slip up and use a “regular” toothpaste now (like on vacation when I forget to bring mine), I almost always get a canker sore the next day.

    • Pam says

      I read about the toothpaste too and after switching, have significantly decreased my canker sore recurrences! I notice that I usually get them now after a few days of eating crappy food (fast food) and drinking lots of soda.

    • Jen says

      Yes!! I have had sores for 30 years! I switched toothpaste and they are much more infrequent. I use trader joes toothpaste now. But when I do get them I use salt directly on it, it’s the quickest healing time. Hurts a lot though.

  8. says

    I use sublingual vitamin B12. At the first sign of a canker sore, I melt one under my tongue (they actually taste good) and it either prevents it entirely or reduces the severity significantly. You can take one a day. My dentist told me about this and it has been a godsend. I also use Peroxyl to wash out my mouth.

  9. Jan says

    I love natural products, but Abreva (the medicine) works quickly and does not sting. I even used the cheaper CVS brand, and it worked quickly. I don’t think I would use the match trick. Who’s been touching those matches!!

    • Tracy says

      I think you are confusing a canker sore with a cold sore. Abreva treats cold sores, usually on the lips. Canker sores are tiny ulcers inside your mouth, usually on the gums or tongue.

  10. Sandy says

    Having been in the natural health field for many years and a colon therapist may I share the idea that cankers are related to stress and an imbalance in the colon. This can be due to a lack of or the prevention in absorption of B vitamins in the transverse colon . Acidophilus and a good B Complex will get to the root of the problem. (Not all Vits. are created equal. I like Twin Labs Brand B 100 comp. and I get a good price when I order from Swanson’s on line) The digestive track is a tube that runs from the mouth to the rear exit. Whatever is going on in the mouth may also be going on in the colon. Keeping things in balance is even more important than a quick fix.

    • tINA says

      I had canker sores throughout most of my childhood. They were very painful, and NO-ONE knew what to do to for them. Even the emergency room was no help when I was about 16, and could not eat even Jello. At the age of about 40, I was diagnosed with Crohns disease, and my doctor told me this was often a side effect of crohns. I don’t have them as often now, likely due to diet changes and prescriptions. Trying to work out a more natural diet to lessen drugs! I just can’t see putting a match on a sore due to the chemicals I would have to ingest. The other suggestions sound safer and possible better options.

  11. says

    The only thing that helped my canker sores (I get them often and they are massive) is dechlorinated licorice tablets. I tried EVERYTHING and this seems the only solution to help.

  12. Julie says

    I have been using Peroxyl for years and it gets rid of my canker sores in a day! I rinse a twice a day until they are gone, and it really works! I get it at any drug store like Walgreens, or Rite Aid or I also have found it at Walmart!

  13. Cathleen says

    I dry out the canker sore with some Toilet paper or the air and apply Neosporin to it befor bed. It has worked better for me than anything else.

  14. AlYssa says

    Try taking B12 and magnesium. Whenever I have canker sores and take B12, they resolve almost overnight. You can’t overdose on B12 and the excess is excreted in your urine- so I usually take about 5-6 pills. TRY IT. This has truly been my holy grail to curing canker sores- and it doesn’t hurt at all!

  15. Candie says

    I use ground cloves applied with a q-tip. Stings for a second then numbs it. For a smaller canker, it’s usually gone the next day. Works like a charm.

  16. teresa says

    I rinse my mouth twice a day with any flcor Listerine…stings like hell but gets rid of the cancker sore in 1 to 3 days depending on how big it is…and I get to get all the other germs that are in my mouth making it feel bad out at the same time, also speeding the healing process. Sometimes I dip a q-tip in it and place it directly on the sore and press and scrape to get a really good clean.

  17. Liz says

    I have always used baking soda works like a charm you do it like you would with the match until the white is gone! ! I may try the match next time rather than my baking soda 🙂

  18. pam says

    Alum or table salt. burns the sore away. gone in a day. but will try B vitamins now and good suggestion about the toothpaste. love the comments

    • Ali says

      Alum is my husbands preferred method. I just can’t handle the way it makes my mouth feel! This is really a great feed! I love it. Thanks for contributing!

  19. Catherine says

    This is grea info. I use Dequadin Paint which is sometimes hard t find, but it doesn’t hurt and it numbs and heals the canker.

  20. Chantal says

    You can also use Lysine oil, it comes in a small squeeze tube, I get it at Vitamin world for about $5 and it lasts for years. I put a dab on my finger at first tingle and rub it on it is usually gone in a day or two. No PAIN!

  21. Michele says

    I suffered from canker sores most of my life. Giving up cokes helped tremendously – as a matter of fact, I usually only get them after I have drank cokes for several days in a row.

    My son had a very large ulcer and our dentist cauterized it with a silver nitrate stick. He sent the sticks home with him and the next time I had an ulcer I used it. The results were almost immediate! It stops the ulcer from getting bigger and starts the healing process. I recommend them for anyone that gets ulcers. Yes, it stings initially but is worth it to know the ulcer will start healing immediately.

  22. Jennifer says

    Another good canker sore remedy is beer salt pour it directly on the ulcer it will burn badly but it will be gone the next day!!

  23. Ty HUnter says

    I’ve become a recent and very unfortunate candidate of the CanKer sore and with all due respect sucks! lol I’m a professional radio-dj and it has made my on-air life miserable. It’s now 3:00am and not only can I not eat but this recent episode has kept me from sleeping! Ughh Although I have not tried any of the above mentioned tricks I sure will asap! I have in the meantime been using 2 produces from Wal-Mart. 1) a Mouth rinse by OraJel speciafically for cankers and mouth sores as well as a medicated-stick pen called “Kanka” …It’s a soft-brush gel that is dispensed by twisting the butt-end of the pen….the medication is simply painted on the sore. Note that neither of these products have been quick to heal the sore by any means…just simply an immediate “lessening” of the symptom.

  24. Jenny says

    Hi, I noticed this is titled cold sore remedy but continues to describe a remedy for canker sores. You may want to fix it. Canker sores are the sores inside the mouth that are on the soft tissue of the mouth like the tongue or cheek whereas cold sores are found on the hard tissue of the mouth like the roof of your mouth the gums and the outside on or around the lip area. What you are describing is a remedy for canker sores (as you said) but not for cold sores (as its titled). Canker sores appear usually from stress or diet and some people are just more susceptible to them whereas cold sores is the herpes virus and can also appear from stress or an weaken immune system, however it is viral and was contracted at some point in your life.

    I just wanted to clarify that for your literature purposes.

    Thank you!

    • Ali says

      I can’t seem to find where it says “cold sore” anywhere in the post. Can you be more specific where it says that? Thanks for your concern.

  25. keepitsimple says

    I use cigarette ashes on canker sores. Just dab a lil on and they’re basically gone the next day, no matter how big. *CAUTION: STINGS!!**

  26. says

    I usually just wait them out.. I usually have 3 in my mouth at any given time so I think I am just used to the pain… (interestingly enough, I don’t get them while pregnant!!)

  27. says

    I’ve used the wax made for braces patients (or, when super desperate, the wax that surrounds those liquid candy coke bottles or tubes) to fit around my teeth that lay against the canker sore. I usually do this right before bed, so I’m not tempted to play with it. When I wake up in the morning, it’s virtually gone! I’ve always figured, it’s because there’s no friction or germs to feed against it from my teeth, which lets the body heal it like it’s supposed to.

  28. Jeanie says

    I use hydrogen peroxide as a rinse before I brush, then listerine after, then I dab/dry the sore and put straight rubbing alcohol on it with a q-tip (it does burn like hell at first – but then it kinda numbs it). I just hold it there as long as I can stand it, then I dab pepto bismol on it with the other side of the q-tip. I take L-lysine everyday too & that seems to lessen their occurrences. I’m going to try the match though!

  29. Lori says

    Wow I just used the match and within 5 seconds the white painful part was gone. It hardly hurts now. Super curious to see what it feels like in the morning! Great tip!!

  30. jami says

    I just wanted to share my story, and hopefully will help someone. I religiously drank Bigelow Earl Grey tea from the age of 15. I suffered from canker sores from childhood, but around the same age, my canker sores increased. Doctors attributed the increased sores to puberty. They would last for 2 weeks+ and be so large or so many that I would fake “no voice” so I wouldn’t have to speak, because it would be so painful. Finally at age 34, I decided to eliminate sugar from my diet and my tea drinking ceased, as did my canker sores. Eventually I returned to sugar and drinking tea and the sores returned. It took several times back and forth before I realized that it might be the bergamont oil in the tea that might be an irritant. I can drink other Bigelow black teas without issue. I can still get a canker sore from trauma, if I bite my lip, but it only lasts a few days and does not cause as much pain.

  31. Renae says

    Place a Tums or other antiacid against cheek or other part of your mouth as soon as you feel an ulcer start. It will take the pain away & stop the development if it’s small. Bigger ones need several.

  32. Natalie says

    My doctor prescribed me with some silver nitrate sticks for my canker sores. They come in packs of 2 or 3 and have the same effects as using a match stick but contain much less harmful ingredients. The double ended stick has the dark fluid in the middle, and you snap one side of the stick (it looks like a q tip) and it runs into the other side of it. Leave the dark fluid filled q tip side on for about a minute, scream like hell, and then you’re done! It cauterizes it instantly, leaving it white throughout. Usually fully heals within a day or two, depending on the size. It’s a life savor honestly – numbs it enough where it heals quickly and allows you to eat pain free! Hope this helps! I know someone said something like this in the comments above, but I just wanted to add that it is available by prescription and really do work!

  33. ana says

    I always just put straight up salt on it. I would make my finger wet, dab it in salt, and press the salt into the sore. It hurts BAD for a minute or so, but it makes it red instead of white, and it won’t burn after that anymore. It feels almost like its numb after that.

  34. Robin Barr says

    It’s one thing if you choose to use something very painful and possibly toxic on an open ulceration in your mouth, but what about your children who get canker sores? It’s so not necessary to heal a canker without pain and using something that is not toxic on an open ulceration in your mouth. I realize this may not fit in your home remedy theme but so what? I’ve been using Canker Sores Begone Stick for years, there’s zero pain, the pain starts to dissipate almost immediately and for me, the sore is gone overnight. My mom was undergoing chemo and would get horrendous huge cankers on her tongue. Thisproduct worked the same way for her, overnight gone. It’s all natural and organic. I purchase it at Sprouts Farmers Market and online. Do a search.

    • Veronica says

      I find it very interesting that Robin Barr is the creator of the “cankers sore away” treatment. Why would you comment as if you are offering helpful advice, when in reality you are advertising your own product.

  35. Susan says

    Responding to the above comment made by Robin Barr: It’s one thing to have a nasty, arrogant thought and quite another to post it someone’s website. Even if you wanted to state your concern about children using some of the suggested solutions, you could have done it without being so ugly.

    • Ali says

      There is a point to be made there I guess though. I didn’t think to say it but even though I may choose to endure a quick sting for quick results, like an alcohol wipe to clean a scrape, I am not sure I would ever do it on my toddler. I would probably just use Orajel to numb it until the mouth healed itself. Thanks Susan.

  36. Cecilia says

    I usually just put salt directly onto my canker sore, then rinse my mouth or drink some water. Rinsing with warm water and salt works too, but slower. I find this works especially well when you feel a canker sore coming on.

  37. Ava says

    Wow!! The pain is gone immediately (for the small one, at least). I have two canker sores right now, one small, one a bit bigger, and this worked great! The bigger one is still a little sensitive but not even close to as sensitive as it just was. I love this trick! Thank you, Mamas Girls!! (:

    • Jessie says

      Your a lifesaver! I was in tears suffering from 2 huge canker sores by biting my lip twice and the matches completely numbed the pain! Thank you thank you!

  38. Courtney says

    This is a helpful post! I currently have a slightly smaller than pea sized canker just barely on the inside of my lip (but of COURSE it’s still very visible whenever I eat , talk, or basically move my lips in any way). I just used alum powder a few minutes ago and I can feel it drying up, although it doesn’t look much different yet. To the Mamas or anyone else- if I were to try the match method, do you apply anything to the area once the white has burned off? Or just let it be?

  39. Rikki W says

    Oh my goodness! Hard to believe so many people go through the pain of canker sores and then give themselves more pain to heal them. I use the same solution that a Dr prescribed (we were military back then so EVERYTHING was a prescription lol) for my oldest child 15+ years ago…..Purple Butter is what the base called it.

    Basically it is equal parts milk of magnesia and Benedryl. I buy both at the Dollar Tree and I asked the pharmacist for an empty liquid medicine bottle and he gladly obliged. Mix both into the bottle and then you swish and spit, as needed for the pain. Benedryl numbs the sore and the milk of magnesia coats it. Heals in a few days.

    • Jacki says

      My daughter gets them bad, her doctor gives her what they call Magic Swizzle. It’s a combo of things. Magic Mouthwash
      80 ml viscous lidocaine 2%
      80 ml Mylanta
      80 ml diphenhydramine 12.5 mg per 5 ml elixir
      80 ml nystatin 100,000U suspension
      80 ml prednisolone 15mg per 5ml solution
      80 ml distilled water
      Sig: Swish, gargle, and spit one to two teaspoonfuls every six hours as needed. May be swallowed if esophageal involvement. It seems to help with the pain so she can at least eat something without it irritating it.

  40. Hannah says

    My grandmother likes to take a cup of water and add about .5 to maybe 1.5 tbs of salt to it. Swoosh it around in you mouth for about a minute, and repeat multiple times a day and at least every other day. It doesn’t hurt but it doesn’t taste very good.

  41. Terry Flue says

    HemoForm Serum is the best medication for a canker sores I have used for years and it works like gang busters.

  42. Jennifer says

    I have suffered with canker sores for years and have three things I do regularly to prevent and treat canker sores. I eat raw cabbage on a daily basis and oil pull everyday to prevent bacteria in the mouth. Additionally when I have a canker sore I eat a kiwi everyday. I find that when I stop eating cabbage or oil pulling that I am much more likely to end up with a canker sores, and have seen a very significant decrease in the number of canker sores I get when I follow this regimen. I also have noticed that these three things really help to cut down the time it takes for current sores to heal.

  43. BriaN says

    I literally have a hole in the side of my tongue! I get the sites after eating pineapple or honeydew! I usually put salt on the sore then press it in! I did that, then came across this post for using a match. I pressed 4 matches into it for about 1 minute each (hurt like… Well you know) much more of a sting than salt! But within a couple minutes the pain was substantially decreased! I am going to do it again before bed! Thanks for the tips!

  44. dell says

    Thank you so much for the match stick suggestion! It was the closet thing to me & I thought, why not try it? I didn’t hurt as bad as I thought maybe because the painful sores were a 17 on a scale of 1-20. My tongue is doing the happy dance. I didn’t leave it in very long so it’s still a little tender & I probably should have used more than 1. I ate match tips when I was little & I’m just fine, well sometimes I breath out fire but it comes in handy when lighting a candle! Ha! Thanks again & y’all have a happy holiday season.

  45. Linda Seltzer says

    HemoForm Serum is the best medication for a cold sore. I have used for years and it works like gang busters.

  46. Pat Butler says

    I used to get a lot of bouts of mouth ulcers. Til an acupuncturist told me drink a 1/4 glass of water wit 1/2 teaspoon of bread soda in it before bed. Her theory was that it would neutralise the stomach acids coming up into my mouth at night. 6 months on and the ulcers only arrive if i haven’t taken the dose the previous night.

  47. Nicki says

    I have horrible canker sores and no matter what I do they never heal up any sooner than 2 weeks. I have them so deep that they actually cause me to have nerve pain in my jaw and ear! I will definitely try some of the recommendations that I have read here! Thanks for all the info!

  48. charity says

    I have always just used salt. Put in on for as long as I could stand the stinging. Occasionally, it may need one or two times to get rid of it.

  49. Amy says

    I am tempted to get some of the tincture to seal the sore on my tongue. It hurts like and burns so badly.

  50. Shelley Keller says

    Put baking soda on it when it first starts then once or twice a day till it is better. After a couple of times of doing this I no longer get any! MIRACLE!!!!

  51. Kelly says

    I had five canker sores. Two on the side of my tongue and three on the tip. I suffered for 4 days. Did the whole mouthwash and salt thing which only alleviated the pain for a few minutes. Also tried Kanka numbing liquid. My mouth hurt so bad I couldn’t talk or eat solid food. I would wake up in the middle night in pain. I finally decided to try alum. I was skeptical but desperate. It stung like hell. I sat there in tears. Never felt such pain. I applied it and waited for a minute which was all I could handle. Then rinsed. It still stung! I was convinced I made a mistake. Then 10 minutes later the pain was gone! Pain was reduced by half. Then the next day I applied alum again. When I woke up the following morning the canker sores were gone. Try alum!

  52. cait says

    I have had them so badly I couldn’t eat for several days, which was getting to be a problem for obvious reasons. I now use peroxyl mouthwash the second I feel one coming on, and I keep using it throughout the day and night with brushing or sometimes just on its own to keep battling the sore. A monster started to form a few weeks ago that I knew by feel would’ve kept me from eating for days-but I started with the peroxyl immediately and it killed it before it caused life-disrupting pain and problems. I found peroxyl after using canker cover, a gel-like band-aid that has mixed reviews in the canker community, did more harm than good and caused a deep sore to bleed. I didn’t think a mouthwash would be a powerful as this one is. But it’s more affordable than many gels and creams that have always ended up sliding off the sore for me anyway.

  53. says

    Fascinating. (Could it be the sulfur in the match head?) If I were somewhere traveling without baking soda, I guess I’d try this. However, I suggest using a teaspoon of baking soda in a half a glass of warm water and use it to swish in the mouth and spit it out, several times. (It won’t hurt you if you swallow a little.) Repeat up to 2 x daily for a couple of days until the sore is gone. This is what we’ve always done. It doesn’t hurt and the canker quits hurting and begins clearing up immediately. 🙂

  54. LEONARD says


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