While treating scabies on your body is hard enough, there’s also another side to scabies treatment that many forget about.
This ends up leaving people frustrated with their treatments.
“I’ve used permethrin 3 times! Why isn’t it working!”
The chances are, they’ve only been treating one part of the problem.
The truth is, scabies under your skin is only half the battle.
The other half?
Scabies can live in many places, not just under your skin and nails.
They can live in your clothing, your mattress, your bedding and sheets, your car, your furniture, your carpet and so on.
That’s why when you treat yourself for scabies, it’s also important to treat your living environment too.
If that sounds cumbersome, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here’s a list of 12 tips to help you scabies-proof your home with confidence.
1. Hot and dry is the key!
This is your number one rule when it comes to killing scabies.
In a recent blog post I read through various studies on how long scabies can survive without a human host. In cold and humid environments, scabies can survive for up to 20 days, but in hot and dry environments (25 °C / 77 °F and humidity under 30%) no mite was able to survive more than 3 days. You can read the full blog post here.
That means your can reduce scabies survivability in your home by ~80%, just by making it hotter and dryer?
How do you do this?
If you already live in a hot and dry area, then you probably don’t need to do anything. However, if you live in a very cool and rainy area, you should probably make an effort to change your home environment. Keep the heat on day and night, and make sure your home is above 25°C / 77°F at all times during your treatment.
Secondly, get a dehumidifier. This study showed that reducing humidity from 90% to 30% shortened the scabies off-host life span from 4-5 days to 2-3 days. That means you can reduce the amount of time they’ll be alive in your house by almost half, just be decreasing the humidity!
Dehumidifiers are not expensive and are an excellent investment in your home anyway – giving you several litres of fresh water each day, and also reducing moss, mold and deterioration in the home itself, especially if it’s wooden. Scabies killing is almost just a bonus!
This is the best dehumidifier I could find under $100, and is actually the exact one that I’m currently using in my house.
So remember – hot and dry is the first step!
2. Wash your bedding every day
How long do scabies mites survive in bedding?
Probably only a few days in a hot, dry environment.
To be honest, sleeping in the same bed sheets every day only poses a small risk for re-catching scabies.
Take a look at this extract from an extensive study:
“Only 4 individuals of 272 tested became infected with scabies after sleeping in beds used by heavily infected patients.” (source).
So, the chance of infection after sleeping in the same bed sheets is around 1.5%.
But is that a risk you want to take?
1.5% is not the same as impossible, and if you’ve been dealing with scabies, you probably agree with me that you want to take every 1.5% chance of getting rid of these suckers you can get!
Therefore, wash your bedding every day. Make sure you wash it on a high heat. It’s also a good idea to add 10-12 drops of tea tree oil to your wash cycle, as this is one of the best natural killers of scabies.
3. Wash your clothes every day
The same goes for your clothes.
Try not to wear the same clothes every day.
Scabies can survive in your clothes for several days, but it’s very unlikely that scabies survive a wash cycle, and almost impossible for them to survive a hot wash cycle.
After you wash them, it’s also a good idea to quarantine your clothes in the sun.
Put them in a big garbage bag, and leave them in the midday sun as long as possible. Scabies hate heat, remember? You’re likely to kill many leftover mites with just one day in heavy sun.
If you don’t live somewhere sunny, throw them in a hot dryer cycle for 30-40 minutes.
Again, tea tree oil is a great addition to your laundry during scabies treatment.
4. Make a permethrin spray to clean your furniture
To make sure you kill all scabies mites in your environment, it’s a good idea to use permethrin.
Permethrin is the standard prescription treatment for scabies and one of the core treatments in my ultimate treatment plan.
But not only can we use it on your skin, we can use it on our surroundings too.
The easiest way to do this is to make a permethrin spray. This is very simple.
Now it’s time to mix. Simply fill the bottle with one half of Martin’s 10% Permethrin, and one half of water, and you have a 5% permethrin spray. This is the ideal percentage for killing scabies mites and eggs.
Use this to clean all hard surfaces in your home – door handles, chairs and desks, hard floors, your car, even surfaces in your workplaces if you wish. Permethrin is not expensive, so keep this bottle handy and clean and wipe whenever you feel the need throughout your treatment!
Bonus tip: Scabies and shoes can be a problem too. Permethrin spray is perfect for treating shoes. Simply give them a spray, leave them to dry. Give them a rinse after if you wish.
5. Alternatively, make a bleach spray
You can do exactly the same thing as you do with permethrin, with bleach.
You might have seen my blog post on bleach and using bleach baths as a scabies treatment.
Bleach has not actually been studied as a scabies killer, which means we are relying on anecdotal evidence only when it comes to its effectiveness.
However, many reports around the web have people saying that bleach really did work for them.
If you are unable to get your hands on permethrin, or don’t like the idea of spraying insecticide all over your home, bleach is the next best thing.
6. Or you can use Lysol?
Some reports from netizens show that Lysol is also a potential scabies killer.
I have looked into this and am not 100% convinced, however, if it’s the best you have then it’s better than nothing.
Scabies mites have a very fragile outer shell and they are not going to like most chemicals anyway. Lysol has not been studied as a scabies killer, but it’s likely that it is harmful to them in the same way as bleach.
7. Clean your carpets
Cleaning your carpets is essential.
Because carpets are usually damp, and we know that scabies like cool, damp places.
Remember, hot and dry is what we’re aiming for!
The best way to clean your carpets against scabies is to steam clean them. This is heat-based cleaning so it is ideal for scabies. If you don’t have a steam cleaner, you can very easily rent one, or they are even cheap enough to buy these days. Amazon has many quality cleaners for under $100 that get delivered straight to your home.
Also giving your carpets a quick spray of permethrin won’t hurt – not necessarily every corner of your carpet, but the areas where you spend a lot of time.
8. Clean your mattress
Cleaning your mattress is a big one for scabies.
There are a few ways to do this.
One is to sun your mattress. If you live somewhere with very hot weather, get your mattress into the sun! As soon as you wake up, strip your bed sheets and put them in the wash (like we described in Tip #2), then lay your mattress under the sun for the day.
Not only does the heat kill the scabies, the sun will help dry your mattress too, making it doubly effective. As a bonus, it will kill a lot of other germs and bacteria that have been hiding in your mattress too.
I recommend doing this every day during your scabies treatment if possible.
If you want, you can also give it a spray and wipe with some permethrin spray also. Try to keep this light, as you don’t want to be sleeping on a mattress covered with insecticide. A few surface sprays and a quick wipe will suffice.
Lastly, you may want to consider a mattress cover. Nowadays many mattress covers are vinyl free, but for scabies a vinyl cover is still effective and may even be better than non-vinyl.
The advantage of a mattress cover is once you cleaned and sun-treated your mattress, you can simply encase it with a mattress cover and it should remain mite free. To clean, you can simply wipe down the cover with a bleach or permethrin spray each day – super easy. A worthwhile investment to make if you don’t have time to be hauling your mattress up and down the stairs each day! You can get a basic mattress cover for under $20 on Amazon.
9. Clean your car
Cleaning your car is one place people often overlook.
It’s also not as easy as cleaning your floor or your bedsheets.
To be honest, the chance of you catching scabies from your car is slim to none.
Remember the earlier study I cited where even sleeping in a scabies infested bed only led to infections in 4 out of 272 people. So sitting in your car for an hour, fully clothed, is a very small scabies risk.
However, if you really want to cover all your bases, you might consider cleaning your car as well.
How to do this?
Two ways. Firstly, give the seats a good spray and wipe down with permethrin spray. Remember to not be too generous with the permethrin, it is technically a poison, after all.
Secondly, park your car in the sun. Close all the doors and windows and let it sit as long as possible. Scabies do not survive long in hot temperatures, especially without a human host. Turn your car into a scabies sauna and it shouldn’t post a risk for re-infestation.
10. Quarantine as much of the house as possible
When it comes to scabies, trying to downsize your environment helps a lot.
For example, if there are certain rooms in the house that you don’t need to be in, don’t go in there!
If there are three bathrooms in the house, try and make one off limits during your treatment.
This is one less scabies area for you to worry about, and one less area for you to clean.
This is precisely what we did during my scabies treatment. Three rooms in the house were completely off limits, we shut the doors and didn’t step foot inside them for two weeks.
See if you can do this within your own household, to make your scabies treatment period that little bit easier.
11. Treat everyone!
Remember, everyone in the household needs to be treated.
If you’re a bachelor/bachelorette or a couple, things shouldn’t be too hard.
If you’re a family of six, well, things are going to be a little hectic (sorry!).
Either way, it needs to be done.
There’s only one thing worse than having scabies, and that’s having scabies again.
Unfortunately, this happens often, and most scabies re-infestations come from family members who weren’t treated properly or didn’t want to be treated for scabies the first time around.
When it comes to scabies, the whole household must be treated.
This means everyone’s clothes, everyone’s bedding, everyone’s living areas.
This also means pets! I have a detailed guide to treating pets for scabies here.
Remember – if you do your scabies treatment once, and you do it properly, there’s a 99% chance you won’t have to do it again. If you do it properly.
12. Make sure you’re using the best scabies treatment possible
Of course, we can’t forget that after cleaning your house, car, sheets, clothes and pets, you also need to treat…yourself!
Many people live with scabies for months, even years, because they do not know how to treat it properly.
Can you imagine that? Living with that itch for months or years?
The truth is, scabies is actually very easy to treat, if you have the right information.
With the right treatments most people should be scabies free within 1-2 weeks.
When I first got scabies, I spent many weeks reading all the studies, experimenting, researching, until I knew everything I could about these mites. That’s just my personality – when something affects my life so drastically, I go deep down the rabbit hole and don’t stop.
What I discovered was that one scabies treatment is usually not enough. There is no treatment that has a 100% cure rate.
Therefore, the most effective treatment plan is one that utilizes a combination of treatments. If you use one treatment that has a 90% cure rate, there’s a 1 in 10 chance you won’t be cured. But if you use four treatments with a 90% cure rate, your chances of being cured are almost guaranteed.
Makes sense, right?
That’s why I created this website. After all the information I’d learned, I knew I had to share it. I hated the thought of all these people suffering in silence because such simple information isn’t available!
Here on the blog, I have a treatment plan. It is a combination of both prescription and natural treatments, all backed by scientific studies, and when used together will absolutely blitz any scabies infestation. It is 100% free to access, and everything can be purchased from your local health store or ordered online from Amazon.
If you are suffering from scabies, please read it, and please apply it.
Remember, when left untreated, scabies not only affects you, but also our families and our communities. So please treat yourself as early and as completely as possible.
Wishing you back to full health soon!