I have good news for you.
Yes, scabies can be killed by heat.
However, the question isn’t can heat kill scabies?, but how much heat is needed to kill scabies?
That’s where the bad news comes in. They need a lot of heat. Probably more than you can handle.
The CDC states that scabies die after being exposed to temperatures of 50°C (122°F) for more than ten minutes.
That is very hot. Meaning killing scabies with heat is going to be tough if your body isn’t fireproof!
For some perspective, when I had scabies I took a bath in a sulfur pool – and the temperature was regulated to 40°C (104°F). I was told the maximum allowed time was 15 minutes, but I could barely last 7 or 8 minutes before I started to feel dizzy and had to get out. It was hot.
I am quite certain that 50°C (122°F) would be extremely difficult to sit in for more than 10 minutes. This is probably why heat treatment is not recommended for scabies treatment. It would be the most affordable and natural treatment possible, but it’s just not bearable for most people. Most doctors will either prescribe permethrin or ivermectin instead.
There are however, ways you can use this to your advantage during your scabies treatment.
How to use heat to treat scabies:
Even if you can’t treat your body itself, you can treat other things to help recover from scabies faster.
Leave clothes and bedding in the sun
This is one of the best methods of scabies heat treatment in my opinion.
In my ultimate guide to getting rid of scabies, I recommend quarantining your clothes in garbage bags for at least 72 hours.
This is because scabies mites cannot survive without a human host for more than 72 hours in a hot environment.
If there are any scabies mites on your clothes or bedding, stash them in a garbage bag, leave it in the sun wherever possible, and all mites should be dead within 3 days.
If you aren’t able to leave your clothes in the sun, leave them in a hot water cupboard or heated room. You should also leave them quarantined for a little longer, up to a week.
Wash your clothes in very hot water
Another thing you can do after quarantining your clothes is to set your washing machine to the hottest setting and give them a good tumble. Depending on how hot your washing machine goes, this could be a great way to heat treat your clothes and kill any lingering scabies mites.
Boil your clothes
If you have a feeling your clothes or bedding is very stubbornly infested with scabies, you can put them in a large pot and boil them for ten minutes. This is 100% certain to kill any scabies mites you may have. I sometimes do this with my old dish rags and sponges when they’re starting to smell a bit – it kills absolutely all bacteria and they come out smelling brand new. No scabies mite, no matter how stubborn, will be able to survive a pot of boiling water.
Dry your clothes in the dryer
If you don’t live in very warm weather, hopefully you have a dryer with quite a high heat setting. After you’ve given your clothes a hot water wash, give them a cycle in the dryer to get a bit more heat into them. If your dryer gets hot enough, you should knock out any remaining scabies eggs and mites.
Sit in the sauna
While saunas cannot be used as a sole remedy for scabies, they can be helpful. Because some saunas can get up to 120 degrees this will actually kill scabies mites on the surface of your skin. The downside is, scabies under the skins surface will most likely survive. This is because your body regulates your temperature, so even if the sauna is 120 degrees it doesn’t mean your body temperature will rise to that level too. However, for surface treatment scabies can be helpful and therapeutic. I’ve written more about sauna treatment for scabies in this article here.
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