10 Quick Tips on How to Clean for Scabies

how to clean for scabies

Updated 3/10/2018

Keeping a clean environment is an essential component of your scabies cure.

While getting rid of the mites in your skin is challenging enough, it can be even more challenging trying to avoid re-infestation.

If you’ve read around a bit on the Topix Scabies forum or elsewhere online then you have undoubtedly read complaints from people along the lines of “Scabies cannot be cured” or “Permethrin and Ivermectin won’t work, nothing works!”

But that is far from the truth.

People have been cured, some very quickly, with these medications for decades.

Why these poor people can’t seem to shake their infestation comes down to two simple factors:

1) They aren’t using the medications correctly. (I’ve already covered that in this post.)


2) They aren’t doing a good enough job of keeping their environment clean.

An unclean environment = a constant risk for re-infestation.

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

You don’t want to fall into the same miserable trap as the hopeless people I mentioned before. So let’s go over some tips that will help you to out in your quest for cleanliness.

simplify declutter your stuff

1.) Remove Unnecessary Stuff from Your Environment

Consider it an opportunity to practice simplicity.

Anything you don’t think is necessary to keep in your life during this process – stow it away.

Household items like excess furniture, clothes, bedding, towels, rugs, blankets, couches. Store them in a spare room if you can, or if you have no spare room just wrap fabrics up in plastic so they are as easy to disinfect. 

Remember, it’s a good idea to disinfect everything you’ve come in contact with. All it takes is a squirt bottle that you can carry around.

The more clutter there is the more you have to clean and the more risk that mites will be hiding away.

I mention more about this in the post 100 Practical Tips for Scabies.

deep clean everything

2.) Deep Clean Everything

Surfaces – Use disinfectant sprays. Spray down anything you or other infested people come in contact with.

This Permethrin spray is very effective for this. So is Eco Living Scabies & Bed Bug Spray. Make sure to reapply after every use of an item.

Pets – We love our pets and we love to pet our pets. But for our sake all this petting is going to do the opposite of helping us contain the mites – your pet will spread them to whomever they come in contact with.

Though scabies mites are unlikely to actually live off of your pets’ bodies it is highly likely that they can carry the mites on their fur for a long time if left there. You don’t want that. 

As a solution, you can either get your friends or relatives to pet sit, wear gloves when you pet your animals or give your animals a good washing. Ideally wash with a strong solution, like this Sulfur concentrate pet dip for baths.

Carpets – With counter tops, a quick swipe of a disinfectant will do the trick. Especially if you have thick carpets like shag. It’s a good idea to borrow or buy a steam cleaner.

The heated water and soap will kill off any mites that are currently calling your carpet home, not giving any mites a chance to burrow and wait.

does lysol kill scabies

3.) Does Lysol Kill Scabies?

This is a common question I get.

Lysol is a powerful disinfectant and will kill scabies on surfaces.

Ultimately permethrin spray is my top recommendation for cleaning surfaces. But I recommend Lysol as well.

Use Lysol or Lysol wipes to clean tables, handrails, car surfaces. Any surface you’ve touched while infected.

what is the best scabies spray

4.) What is the Best Scabies Spray?

If you’re going to be cleaning your environment with a disinfectant spray you want to use the best ones.

The most important thing, of course, is to use a spray that kills the mites on contact.

Below are the top recommended sprays for scabies:

how to get rid of scabies on mattresses

5.) How to Get Rid of Scabies on Mattresses

The first thing you’ll want to do is cover your mattress.

Give your mattress a quick spray with some Lysol/permethrin cream/alcohol

Place a mite-proof zippered mattress encasement keeps over your mattress to completely keep the mites away from it.

You can purchase protective mattress covers for all bed sizes here.

Alternatively, you can purchase an air mattress with a plastic cover built in. These are easy to sanitize on a daily basis with Lysol, disinfectant wipes etc.

Now that your mattress is covered you can sleep on it.

Your daily ritual while infested should be to put on fresh sheets every morning. Don’t sleep on the same sheets twice.

Use some bleach or tea tree oil in the wash cycle. Dry all of your sheets on HIGH heat and for a long cycle before using them again.

how long can scabies live in a mattress

6.) How long Can Scabies Live in a Mattress?

Scabies can live for two weeks or more without a human host.

It does depend on the surface though.

A countertop, for example, isn’t a great host place for scabies. They’ll likely die before two weeks there.

But a mattress provides a nice temporary home for the mites. It provides safety and often provides food. All of the dead skin cells that slough off onto our mattresses provide sustenance for the mites while they are waiting for the next human host.

Gross huh?

All the more reason to put a zippered mattress encasement over your bed like mentioned previously.

If your mattress is likely to already be infested I recommend not using it. If it’s your only mattress then put a zippered case over it and don’t take it off until at least a month after you’re cured.

how long does scabies last on furniture

7.) How long Does Scabies Last on Furniture?

Scabies can live on furniture for two weeks or more.

Scabies mites prefer to have a human host but without one they can still hang out and live for quite awhile.

If you think you have scabies mites on any your furniture you should either store it away until the infestation is over with (at least 3 weeks after) or you should clean your furniture regularly after each use.

how to get rid of scabies on furniture

8.) How to Get Rid of Scabies on Furniture

In an ideal world, you could easily wash and sanitize your furniture with scabies compatible surface cleaner spray.

Unfortunately, many people have upholstered furniture. This type of furniture is much harder and more time-consuming to clean.

If you have upholstered furniture I recommend covering them with a vinyl cover or covering them with sheets. You must clean these surfaces after every use. Vinyl cover with surface cleaner and sheets in the wash with high heat.

If you have plastic furniture stored away this is a great time to bring it out and put your fancier, harder to clean furniture in storage for a little while.

Just be sure whenever you use your furniture that you clean it after. Either wash your protective coverings or clean the surface directly.

does rubbing alcohol kill scabies?

9.) Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Scabies?

Yes, rubbing alcohol can kill scabies on direct contact.

You can use rubbing alcohol when cleaning your environment.

Rubbing alcohol is not recommended for treating your skin, though.

For that permethrin cream and internal ivermectin are recommended.

how long can scabies live on clothes

10.) How Long can Scabies Live on Clothes?

Scabies can live on clothes for two weeks or longer.

If you have clothes that might be infested with scabies you should either:

A.) Put them in a trash bag and store them away for at least a month. Ideally a month and a half. You should only bring them out after you’ve been cured.

B.) If you don’t want to put them in temporary storage you should clean your infested clothes regularly. Never wear the same clothes twice in a row. Wear them once and clean them before wearing again.

Make sure when washing contaminated clothes to dry with HIGH heat on a long cycle.

10 Quick Tips on How to Clean for Scabies by


  1. I’ve been trying to treat it for half year with no success. I used permethrin, ivermectin and it seemed to work only for a moment. Fortunately after applying a treatment, which is described in a linked ebook it looks like scabies finally disappeared. I applied it 4 weeks ago, cleaned all my clothes and daily-use items and so far nor scratches on my skin or any itching. I’d like to share with you a book about how to win with those annoying parasites. I hope, it will help you to get rid of scabies.
    PS: Do NOT give up!

    • Jon Kellam says:

      Whats the name of the book?

    • the best way and the cheapest way to get rid of bed bugs scabies and things that nature infested in your home is a spray bottle and regular rubbing alcohol you must saturate the areas that you think they are red and contain it to a room repeat this 4 to 5 times because I have been given mattresses infested with both

    • What’s the name of the ebook?

    • I got scabies from a bunk on a commercial fishing boat. For 6 months I used doctor prescribed or over the counter pharmaceuticals to no avail. Went online and found Kleen Free, an enzyme solution that causes their bodies to break up. I ordered it and when it came, 5 days, GONE! They never came back. I didn’t have to worry about the environment, just put the solution on my skin. They can’t live in the environment without feeding on someone.

      http://naturalginesis.com/ is the company that makes this product Kleen Free.

  2. Sheryl Mitchell says:

    Very interesting post! I needed some good advises about cleaning my home. Especially about carpet, because so far I just vacuum it, but it needs more attention. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. The first time we picked up scabies at a summer cottage rental and knew nothing about how to clean our home environment to prevent reinfestation. The doctor was difficult to deal with and offered no extra help. It took us several months before it dawned on us that we needed to place vinyl mattress covers on our beds. That was the place we were reinfesting ourselves even though we sprayed and vacuumed the mattresses each day. Once our skin healed, and the scabies were truly gone, we left the vinyl covers on for a few more weeks to be certain. I wanted to share this tip as it seems to be one detail I have not read on many websites. Thank you- Charlene

    • margaret lee says:


    • Where can I buy a vynle mattress cover?
      I am currently powdering all of my carpet, bedding and furniture with
      “fossil shell flour” which tares the mites to pieces, making my home a deadly environment to them but harmless to us!
      I hope that it works!

      • Did it work?

      • Betty Thompson says:

        Did the Fossil Shell Flour work for you? Have been to many Drs over the last year and no one said I had scabies till 10 days ago. I now have to debug my home. Please let me know if this has worked for you and if not, what did.

    • The vinyl matters covers are useless if you do not clean your bed linens frequently. Vinyl covers only protect the mattress itself, but the upper layer of sheets and comforters are exposed to your skin with the mites. You’d be best buying a disinfectant called ‘BenzaRid’ or anything that contains Benzyl Benzoate (an active chemical that is scientifically proven to kill the mites). SPRAY the hell out of everything that you actively touch; bed, rugs, carpets, sofas, chairs, car, etc.

      Reinfestation is a common reason scabies symptoms linger onward for months. A clean environment is THE second most important part of getting rid of them, secondary to actually taking either permethrin or ivermectin to rid the mites on your skin.

  4. I rented a steam cleaner and LITERALY washed n dried every article of fabric in my home. I sprayed with the permethrin spray. But it can be privy to do this continually so I made a spray bottle of tea tree oil n water. And I spray everything down daily with it. I scrubbed my home down with bleach n a steam mop. Here’s hoping they’re gone.

    • i was wondering when someone was going to say tea tree oil…they make it in many ways, in creams, oils to mix with water, in a spray bottle to spray ddirectly onto your skin,, i used this oil as aromatherapy in my closets, and it took 2 weeks and with the help f benaryl pills at night and both benadryl cream and cortizone 10, it was out of my house and body in 2 weeks, rash and all. no dr visits, just webMDs home remedies.

  5. i heard scabies dies in the closet in several days. but i have leather jacket in the closet, will it live off my leather jacket and survive to re-infect me?

    • Scabie King says:

      The scabies will feed on the leather and become stronger. I once had a leather jacket during a scabie infestation, and the mites became so strong, that they started bullying my son. They would not let him go outside for any reason, and requested that he bring them food for their transformation. What was the transformation you ask? They molted and grew to be the size of my 6 year old son and started mimicking his traits. I would suggest you throw out your stupid leather jacket, because this is not 1950, and they are not cool. This is just my experience, but you can do whatever you want. Good luck fucker!!!

      • jesseca says:

        Leather will never be out dated for true riders, if you can’t say it nice then don’t say it scabies king,

        My doc said four hrs in the sun sealed in two garbage bags will kill them,

        • Would someone please post name of that book that someone mentioned? Thanks ml

          • that person hasnt came back to tell us the ebook. webMD has home remedies that helped me without the 150 dollar permethrin cream, but i use a ot of tea tree oil and benadryl. see my earlier comment just a few comments above.

    • RoN Leckfor says:

      I would say no, as the leather is not living tissue, is highly treated, and will not offer nutrients to the scabies

  6. Help me! says:

    How soon can you start cleaning once you’ve been treated!? Doing oral medicine and starting to deep clean, but should I continue to deep clean…and how long?!

    • if your not in contact with th room for a few days, they need host, a human host, to feed on… i cleaned with gloves while i was being treate, i slept on a cot for a few nghts, sprayed tea tree oil everywhere and waited 3 nights. the best anti itch is either cortizone 10 or benedryl, also with the pill at night time cuz you will itch like crazy after a few hours of sleep and will not get any more sleep without it, even dollar general has their version with same drug. apply the cream, and DO NOT SCRATCH no matter how badly it itches for about 3 to 5 minutes. then you will be feeling relieved enough and asleep again

  7. Melanie Raphael says:

    Thank you for these practical tips and ideas. I just wondered about pillows? Washing the pillowcase daily but what about the pillow itself and blankets? In South Africa where I live our only medication for scabies is Benzyl Benzoare and a sulphar soap caked Temosol. Have started the treatment last night but am a bit overwhelmed by the process of all of this.

    • Put your pillows in the dryer…must be at least 122 degrees and for minumum of 10 minutes

      • Marianne Wilson says:

        True about the 122 degrees according to online advice I came across to treat my own scabies. But most advice say dry 20-30 minutes highest heat level possible. Remember, the last ten minutes of a dryer cycle is the process of cooling clothes down. So consider drying 30 total minutes. That translates into twenty minutes of drying highest heat possible and verify how hot your dryer gets by running it about 15 minutes, then hold a metal probe meat therminitor​ inside the dryer to verify the heat level

    • Sheryle Lakey says:

      Take your pillow to the laundromat and put them in the dryer for an hour before washing them on high heat that should kill The Scabies mites but they have to be completely dry before you put them in the dryer so don’t wash before doing this

  8. Hi.. can anyone tell me what I can use to clean my sofa I vacuum every day,but I don’t steam clean it! Help I don’t want to be reinfested!! Thanks

  9. you can get rid of scabies and bed bugs by using regular rubbing alcohol with a heavy saturation of the materials you must repeat it 3 to 5 times based on the infestation

  10. we used a spray bottle like you’re going to do windows and did a heavy concentration you can start treating it as soon as you start treating yourself and beat them both at the same timesome people and doctors and different things that nature will try to sell you on expensive stuff that don’t work rubbing alcohol is well-known and can be checked to get rid of bed bugs online

    • Marianne Wilson says:

      Good way to santize, but rubbing alcohal is flammable. Just don’t smoke in the house and take care not to infuse fumes. It can be poisionous to a human and could make you sick. Good to sanitize razors and stuff though

  11. I wonder how many people who get reinfested do so because if their cell phones? I sipped mine down with alcohol then when dry put mine in a ziplock bag with a little D.E. And will leave it there until this is over.

  12. This is a wonderful website. I’m so grateful to have found it. I thought I had had an allergic reaction to something, but after 3 weeks, finally found out that it was scabies (the Dr. initially said it was bacteria in my shower loofah).I started permethrin treatment today and want to eradicate every trace of this thing.

    I’ve been putting everything in the dryer (blankets, pillows, sheets, etc.), but I was wondering if spraying Lysol was enough to cover my mattress with. I’ve also vacuumed my mattress and have disnifected everything I have come in contact with with Clorox wipes and Lysol. I don’t want to buy permethrin spray since I read it’s highly toxic to cats and I have a cat who is very curious.

    Should I turn my mattress over? I’m afraid doing so will bring any mites back. Help!

  13. So my son was just diagnosed and the doctor of course recommended the whole family be treated. My question is the furniture and how to clean that? Also I have a bag-less vacuum…how do I clean that after we vacuum the house?

  14. does the Lysol kill the scabies too?

  15. My son had it really bad both me and my husband and his girlfriend and kids had a mild case of scabies. My sonnwentbto a dermatologist gave him a tube of stuff to treat all three of us, then instead that you can soak in Epsom salt, by scrubbing yourself till the salt burns a little thennsoray yourself with white vinegar, both kills the mites and eggs but man does the vinegar burn but it’s virtually it. I also sprayed all the bedding, couch and chair in vinegar. I also neither my clothes inside out with it, it’s working.

  16. Natalie says:

    I’ve read everything.I feel so hopefully.I’m going back to my Alcohol.But my body need immediate Permethrine.Thanks

  17. Angeline says:

    My grandson was diagnosed with scabies, before I took him to the Dr. I started itching and developed pimples on my upper back, only. I then visited my Dr. and we both started the Permethrin cream. Before yhis I attended water arobics regularly and believe the bleach from the pool kept the scabies from infecting the other parts of my body. My upper back did not get exposed to the water. I’m presently washing and disinfecting everthing. I was told that scabbies can’t live in bleach is this so?

  18. Hopeless says:

    I have been dealing with this for 3 years or more please help don’t know what to do I wish I were dead am desperate no one believes me feeling hopeless please please somebody help me… they have infested my house and everything help

    • Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle – Don’t dilute it !!! Spray literally “EVERYTHING” beds, clothing, furniture, “anything” you come in contact with in your house 😟 ALSO DON’T FORGET: Your vehicle also needs to be treated as well. It will smell of rubbing alcohol for lil while but opening your windows and doors will air smell out quickly👍 Putting your pillows in “hot” dryer for 20 min and washing entire bed in “hot” water and spray mattress. If you have pets give them bath as well ! Good luck 😀

    • Make sure it is laundry soap. I’m itch using tide, Pyrex, gain, etc andd only use baking soda and water but you can check out borax too…

    • Sheryle Lakey says:

      I had scabies for 4 years I know you’re feeling the Ivermectin worked for me but I had to treat myself 3 times so I treated myself wait a week treated myself again waited 2 weeks and treated myself again I made my own Permethrin cream with some good lotion and mixed 10% to make it a 5% solution with the lotion. I put it from head to toe even rub a little in my nostrils in my ears everywhere because I had had them for so long after you lotion yourself from head to toe under your fingernails and everything you can’t shower for 3 days and you got to leave that crap on you like that I stuck to three sets of clothing put everything else away from me for that time of treatment after my first treatment I waited a week treating myself again waited 2 weeks and treated myself again and I actually had to do it one more time after that about four weeks later

  19. SURRENDER, a product for fire ants brings instant relief (by MARTINS). Stinks to high heaven. We call it cabbage dust. Kills like crazy; roaches, ants. spiders & bedbugs & mites. Trying on my carpet tonight. Can find it at Walmart or your local feed & seed store. Cost more on line.

  20. My youngest daughter is seven .She and I both have developed scabies. Used the cream and sprayed mattresses washed all linens and sprayed and vaccumed couch..its been about five days and I have signs of them on my forehead and now under my chin. She also has new places on her hand and cheek..dr. hasn’t called back..what is the best thing to get and use..dr.just now called back saying it probably is the after affects of treatment..but does not make sense to hand new breakouts ..I will go get and do any cleaning.we can’t go to the beach and stay and infest others..if anyone has really good advice for me …please..I am willing to try anything..this has got me scared for my health and my seven yr old. And my mother is very I’ll and I don’t want to go to her home and infect her.thank you so much…

  21. Sending Love and Wishing Everyone Suffering Hope and Peace. I have been there. Yes, crazy bad, but this is to send free support.

    kp.org/listen over $400 of free guided imagery Podcasts sold elsewhere for about $20 each, well produced by a respected mind body psychotherapist. You can download or listen- download on iPhones as listen needs Flash and no Flash on iPhones. Recordings including for immune system, stress and relaxation, pain, sleep, forgiveness and anger- understandable toward non-believers and doctors who misdiagnosed us and these thing attacking us, etc. All valid and understandable, but makes our work harder. We need to give our minds and bodies a mini vacation from the endless cleaning, treatment and researching. I listened while in the bath and/ or falling asleep, and any time I had a break.

    Free excellent stress EFT tapping video by Julie Shiffman on Marcela’s site
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/15/eft-tapping-anxiety.aspx#! It really helps, I started crying the first time. We are carrying to much to persevere through this; we need a release- tap it out! Also lots on EFT on youtube.com and emofree.com

    And something that helped me- I sent loving thoughts to my skin… my skin that i was hating, p***ed off at and wish would fall off me. At one point when I couldn’t tell what was what with symptoms old and new, reactions to treatment, etc I t took a break from the effective but drying Kleen Free and straight tea tree oil. I hadn’t been using any lotion or moisturizing oil afraid that any moisture would support their life extension in some way. But one night I took a warm neem, borax, epsom salt bath as a break from usual scalding baths air dry and kleen free spray and air drying… after I put grapeseed oil and tea tree oil (ok not a complete break : ) As I rubbed it on I sent loving energy and said thank you to my skin for sending out all of toxins, for doing all of this work of swelling up and getting the debris and toxins out of my body, of growing new skin. My skin did feel a somewhat calmer and my mind somewhat more at peace… Yes, I would have rather had an instant cure, but as long as we are together (me, my mind, body and skin) I figure we can support each other and be on the same team…

    People who don’t have it and don’t understand ask about stress and suggest if we just relaxed or didn’t think about it so much. That is both impossible and possible. Stress and our thoughts didn’t create it. It’s real. And it seriously needs to be dealt with. And we can support ourselves to do all of this by finding the openings, when it’s possible to consider letting in a resource that can help us feel relief, relaxation or distraction for however brief of a time. I think I read on Mercola.com or somewhere that stress turns off our immune system temporarily, and increases inflammation. Our already very inflamed skin doesn’t need that, and we Do very much need our immune system to fight this and the debris and the treatment reactions. We will be stressed, it is stressful, and we can accept that rather than judge it; and we can take some of those times when we are inclined to read more chats about treatments, symptoms, cleaning, eradication, etc as a reminder to cordon off some of our mind and time for something nurturing and restorative support.

    To All of Our Peace, Health and Healing
    Sending Love,

    • I totally agree with you, Christine. It is important to not ignore the emotional and/or spiritual parts of our being as those parts are not separate from the physical parts of our bodies. It’s easier said than done though, especially in such a toxic political economy where self-care, a necessary and crucial need to thrive, is a luxury for so many struggling just to make ends meet. It’s a damn shame we all have to be forced to deal with this issue individually when resources squandered on maintaining the pharmaceutical industry and medical industrial complex could be used for clinics specifically for people and animals dealing with things like this, skin mites. This is a public health crisis but it is not dealt with as such. Ok, rant over… but who’s with me?

  22. Can sulphur soap help to get rid of it ? Or Epsom salt.

  23. I will try to make this brief and to the point as I have spent a year trying to find a cure and read most of the forums from sufferers which is tiring, upsetting and frightening.
    This is my experience:
    1. Went undiagnosed by doctors and dermatologists for all this time.
    2. Spread to family.
    3. I prepared 7 days of clothes and bed sheets. Covering the mattress with plastic.
    4. Put the sheets and clothes in a plastic bag for 7 days. Label the bag on the day you put them in. They are ready for use again after this. Many websites say 48 hours but I wanted to be sure. If you want to wash everything, it must be at 60 degrees. Always wash after a treatment.
    5. I took Ivermectin orally and topically having tried numerous cures. This one worked but only if you clean the environment. You may feel itchy after treatment but this is the horrible things dying off you skin.
    6. I kept ALL my personal things to myself like towels, cloths, toilet paper etc. Used paper towels in kitchen etc.,
    7. If your family has it you ALL need to treat and do the same as above at the same time.
    8. They need skin to survive and eventually die off fabrics if you do the above.

    I really hope this helps. I know how debilitating it is and how upsetting when doctors and even dermatologists can’t diagnose it. It’s been a very tough year. Wishing you all the very best of luck. Just remember re-infestation is the problem. Thank you all for your comments too. It all helps

  24. Does permeyhian 5% cause any side affects?

  25. Mercedes Martinez says:

    I Boiled water held a hand towel i dipped in it on lesion for 20 minutes off and on as much as i could tolerate, followed by 50% alcohol, tea tree oil, oregano oil and topped it with a mixture of honey and curcumin. My itching subsided.
    I did take the prescribed cream and 4 tablets of oral medicine ivermeti and put premethrine cream on lesions.

  26. Mercedes Martinez says:

    If by really have to itch :
    I boiled water, let it cool then dipped a hand towel in it, held it against my lesion as much as i could tolerate 20 minutes off and on.
    Then I put 50% alcohol, tea tree oil, oregano oil and 1st put a mixture of honey and curcumin.
    On the second application of all of the above I topped it with Vaseline, itching ceased.

  27. Syeda Nusrat Muhith says:

    I have been infected with Scabies. Symptoms showed 2 weeks ago, I went to doctor, she prescribed me permethrin 5%, which I have used once(but was careless while applying and therefore forgot to put with enough care on some body parts). But still, it worked good, and itching has been lessened. Now, will meet doctor again. I am living in an apartment in a single room at present. Landlord has not taken initiative to replace my mattress or to clean the carpets. What should I do now?How may I completely get rid of the problem?


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