There is a lot to know when it comes to treating scabies mites.
Not only is there a lot to know, there is also a lot of questionable advice given online about treating the dreaded mites. Just browse the Topix scabies forum for some examples of this.
There are a lot of people on these forums and online that bring misguided, highly emotional advice to the table.
While there is a good deal of helpful info available, there is also some BS you need to sift through. And if you are new to this whole thing it’s really hard to discern what is good or bad advice.
I know it took me forever to get a good grasp on understanding scabies, but by the end of it, I could see clearly what works and what doesn’t.
So without further adieu, here are 100 tips for dealing with scabies.
Table of Contents
- Tip #1) Be sure you actually have scabies.
- Tip #2) Avoid spreading Scabies from person to person (it’s easy to spread)
- Tip #3) On using bleach for Scabies (bleach baths)
- Tip #3) Natural Remedies will not cure you of scabies.
- Tip #4) Fact: You can have Scabies but not be very itchy.
- Tip #5) Embrace a minimalistic environment
- Tip #6) Use Ivermectin and Permethrin
- Tip #7) Ivermectin and Permethrin are safer than some people realize
- Tip #8) Use disinfectant sprays to keep all of your surfaces clean
- Tip #9) Avoid Scratching your itchy skin
- Tip #10) Keep your fingernails short
- Tip #11) Make sure friends and family are treated
- Tip #12) Keep your animals washed and cleaned.
- Tip #13) Deep clean your carpets.
- Tip #14) Use zippered mattress covers
- Tip #15) Be proactive about reducing itchy skin
- Tip #16) Bag up most of your clothes (to limit laundry usage)
- Tip #20) Use good detergents (and thorough wash cycles)
- Tip #17) Scabies can survive laundry cycles.
- Tip #18) If possible, take a mini-vacation from your house (if it is extremely infested)
- Tip #19) Drinking alcohol can make itching worse.
- Tip #21) Disposable gloves are extremely useful.
- Tip #22) Saran wrap electronics
- Tip #23) Use your freezer for small items
- Tip #24) Wear easy to clean indoor shoes
- Tip #25) Keep easy access disinfectants around
- Tip #26) Take long sulfur soaks every few days.
- Tip #27) Don’t spend too much time reading forums on scabies.
- Tip #29) Avoid sugar and wheat
- Tip #30) Never use towels twice
- Tip #31) Be sure to do your follow up treatments
- Tip #32) Avoid the temptation to try to cure with home remedies.
- Tip #33) Buy multiple pairs of cheap shoes and lots of socks.
- Tip #34) If you have lots of carpeting roll up what you can
- Tip #35) Be mindful of over treating yourself
- Tip #36) On “Curing scabies from the inside out”
- Tip #38) Utilize forums on the web that talk about scabies.
- Tip #39) Become very familiar with what scabies burrows look like.
- Tip #40) Never underestimate a “mild” case of scabies.
- Tip #41) Tread lightly when it comes to scabies and pregnancy.
- Tip #42) Never settle for leaving scabies untreated
- Tip #43) can scabies kill you?
- Tip #44) Are scabies really that contagious?
- Tip #45) Scabies in your scalp
- Tip 46#) Can you see scabies mites?
- Tip #28) Believe deeply that you will get better.
Tip #1) Be sure you actually have scabies.
Before freaking out too much you should check out the Google Image search for Scabies.
It’s not pretty, but really take a look and discern whether those physical signs match up with yours.
There are other potential problems you are having such as eczema, ringworm, bird mites, Morgellons, impetigo, drug reactions, contact dermatitis… etc.
The most telltale sign is the track marks (repeated dotted lines). If you have those then you know you’re in for it.
Tip #2) Avoid spreading Scabies from person to person (it’s easy to spread)
Some doctors will tell you that Scabies can only be contracted from close and continuous physical contact.
This is definitely not true.
Every time an infested person touches something – anything – there is a chance they are leaving behind mites that someone else could pick up.
A glass, a remote, clothes, a computer, a cell phone, a water bottle, a doorknob… the list goes on.
You can get infested that easy.
Just touch one of those things and you could be picking up scabies.
So if you are now that infested person please be very cautious. You don’t want to spread this.
Tip #3) On using bleach for Scabies (bleach baths)
Bleach baths are often recommended online for scabies treatment.
Sometimes even healthcare professionals will recommend it.
Unfortunately, bleach baths will not cure you of scabies. In helping hundreds of people I’ve yet to hear it having enough positive effects to warrant it’s use.
In fact, if you use bleach you’re likely to cause yourself even further skin damage. If severely overused bleach can be absorbed in enough quantity to cause internal damage.?
I recommend that you entirely avoid using bleach for scabies.
Use effective treatments to cure your scabies (ivermectin & permethrin) and natural remedies to soothe your skin and reduce itchiness.
Tip #3) Natural Remedies will not cure you of scabies.
Not on their own at least.
Take a look below at this photo from the scabies photos page:
As you can see, scabies mites like to travel underneath the skin, often well below the surface layers. This where they make their nests and lay their eggs.
Because the mites are so protected they can nullify the potency of most recommended natural remedies (think clove oil, diatomaceous earth etc.)?Even if they are powerful enough to kill many mites it is highly unlikely that they will reach the very well protected eggs.
?I’ve made a video addressing this here.
Some natural treatments that are not likely to cure you are:
- Tea tree oil
- Naturasil soaps
- Neem oil
- oregano oil
- diatomaceous earth
- Clove oil
- Sulfur. While sulfur can kill off large swaths of your infestation I would NEVER rely exclusively on it for treatment. You really need to use ivermectin and permethrin.
Tip #4) Fact: You can have Scabies but not be very itchy.
This happened to me.
When I first got infested it was hell. I started getting really itchy between my thighs and eventually, it spread to my entire body. You know the drill.
After a while though (about 6 months worth of failed treatments) the visual signs of scabies, as well as the typical high rate of itchiness, subsided I thought that maybe one of the treatments finally worked. (I was using more natural remedy approaches like sulfur and neem at this point.)
But alas, I was wrong. Over the next couple months, I unknowingly continued to carry around mites which led to a couple of my good friends getting infected themselves. This was really devastating to me.
Some people are completely asymptomatic. They carry the mites but never have symptoms, or have them much later than what is typical.
Very unfortunate. So always be on your toes.
Tip #5) Embrace a minimalistic environment
Decluttering your living areas is essential. It will really help to keep the infestation under control.
The fewer things you have around you the easier it is to contain an infestation.?This is a very basic and straightforward tip that many people ignore.
The more things you touch, the more things you have to disinfect if you want to keep your environment Scabies free.
While you are dealing with this thing try to keep all you’re possessions that aren’t completely necessary stored away. Bag them up or just put them in a place where you won’t have to worry about them.
This means less washing, less spraying/disinfecting and less to think about.
You can bring them all back out later. Ideally 3+ weeks after you’ve been cured.
Tip #6) Use Ivermectin and Permethrin
Ivermectin and Permethrin are the best treatments options to kill mites on your body.
This is cut and dry. These medications do the job, everything else falls short (always open to hearing about successful alternatives, though).
If you don’t want to mess around with these mites, then go straight to your doctor and get prescribed or go online and buy these treatments over the counter.
I can tell you this after trying other methods of curing scabies and being disappointed each time. The closest I got to a natural cure was with sulfur, but it didn’t completely resolve the condition. You don’t want to go through what I went through!
You can buy permethrin cream online here.
Tip #7) Ivermectin and Permethrin are safer than some people realize
When I first got into treating myself for scabies I fell into the logic that Ivermectin and Permethrin where unnecessary toxins and that there were natural ways to cure scabies that would work “over time”.
Let me tell you, I would have saved a lot of grief if I had questioned this advice a bit more.
First of all, natural oils, homeopathy (i’m not knocking homeopathy in general, just for scabies), and immune system cures do not work as a complete cure. I can attest to this first hand.
Clove oil and Sulphur are recommended for keeping the mites at bay. They do a decent job of killing the mites, but again, you are unlikely to accomplish a complete cure solely with them.
As far as safety goes, after looking up a ton of peer-reviewed articles by scientific investigators I am convinced that the toxicity of ivermectin and permethrin is very low for humans. Of course, this is if you take only the recommended dosages.
If you are doubtful I recommend doing some research for yourself.?
Tip #8) Use disinfectant sprays to keep all of your surfaces clean
Like I said in the first tip, scabies can spread easily and they can spread fast.?
You owe it to yourself, your family, your friends and the rest of the world to minimize the potential for spreading the mites. ?
It can be easy to get the mites on surfaces for others to pick up.To stop the spread get a disinfectant spray and use it on all surfaces that you’ve touched.
- Permethrin Clothing Spray (spray it anywhere, not just on clothes.)
- Natural Chemistry De Flea Spray
- Spray Nine Multi-purpose disinfectant-cleaner
Tip #9) Avoid Scratching your itchy skin
Scratching your skin will not give you much relief.
At the moment it feels good, but it only makes the itch worse in the long run.
It also increases the likelihood that you will spread mites across your body.
Read more here:?
Tip #10) Keep your fingernails short
And keep them short. At least while you have scabies.
This is the first thing you should do when you know you have scabies.
When your nails are long they act as perfect transportation for the mites as they get stuck under your nails with your dead skin cells.
I’ve written more about this in this post.
Tip #11) Make sure friends and family are treated
If you do everything right in your treatment and got rid of the mites, wouldn’t it suck so badly to get them right back from another person you come in contact with?
This happens a lot since the mites are so pervasive and easily spreadable.
When treating yourself make sure that anyone who could have potentially caught your buggies has taken preventative measures.
For everyone’s sake.
Tip #12) Keep your animals washed and cleaned.
In addition to your human friends, you could also pick up the friendly mites from your pets.
It is a really good idea to treat your animals at the same time as your treatments.
Your dogs and cats won’t be true hosts of scabies. Just like we aren’t hosts of mange. But scabies can still live on their fur for days at a time.
Tip #13) Deep clean your carpets.
Some surfaces can house mites easier than others.
With a tile floor or counter, all that’s needed is a quick swipe with a disinfectant. It’s a different story with carpets and rugs, and heaven forbid if you have an old shag carpet.
A good idea is to rent or buy a steam cleaner. These will thoroughly disinfect your carpet and leave them clean as the first time you bought them. You’ll likely be able to rent a steam cleaner from a store near you, or you can buy one online.
I was already thinking about a good carpet cleaner so I sprung for buying one. I definitely don’t regret it. I ended up purchasing this one.
Tip #14) Use zippered mattress covers
Speaking of surfaces that can become mite strongholds, let’s talk about mattresses.
While keeping your sheets clean is extremely important (wash them after each night in them), it is also good to be aware of the potential for mites being deposited inside your mattress itself.
Bugs love mattresses because of all the dead skin cells that they can feed off. A small population of scabies mites could easily live off of the dead skin deposited in your mattress for weeks at a time.
Now before you toss your (potentially) infested mattress, consider getting a mattress cover. These plastic covers will keep the bugs out and are super easy to clean.
Tip #15) Be proactive about reducing itchy skin
The itch from scabies might be one of the most uncomfortable experiences you’ll have.
It’s a really good idea to do what you can to lessen it and make it more manageable. It sucks to lose sleep over a terribly itchy night. You’ll appreciate any sleep you can get during this ordeal.
I have a post that discusses 10 ways to reduce the itching. Go check it out.
Tip #16) Bag up most of your clothes (to limit laundry usage)
One of the biggest time consumers for scabies is the regular laundering.
You can only wear/use clothes and sheets once if you want to avoid re-introducing mites to your skin.
To make things easier just bag up the majority of your clothes and only keep an essential wardrobe. Ideally, it can be widdled down to one load that you wash regularly.
You can bring all of your other clothes back once you’re cured.
Tip #20) Use good detergents (and thorough wash cycles)
If you don’t have a good washer/dryer be sure to at least use effective detergents.
A good rule of thumb is to use 1 cup of ammonia in your laundry, 3/4 cup of borax, 1/2 cup of washing soda and regular detergent.
That should ensure that your laundry cycle will be enough to kill the mites.
Tip #17) Scabies can survive laundry cycles.
Unless you do them right.
When you wash your clothes double check that your dryer is on the highest setting possible.
Dry your laundry HOT and for an extended cycle.
You might even want to run your clothes twice in the dryer. Just to be safe.
Tip #18) If possible, take a mini-vacation from your house (if it is extremely infested)
If your house is big and you worry about re-infestation then I recommend leaving your house behind for at least a week.
Take your dose of Stromectol/Ivermectin/permethrin and head somewhere downsized.
I don’t recommend going to a hotel. You don’t want to spread the mites.
But perhaps you know someone with a small guest house. You can stay there and treat yourself without the stress of managing your home’s potential for infestation.
Tip #19) Drinking alcohol can make itching worse.
A lot of people online have said this and I can confirm it first hand.
If you decide to drink take notice of the degree of your itching.
If you itch more, then stop. And if you find you can’t stop drinking, maybe that’s something you should look into. 😉
Tip #21) Disposable gloves are extremely useful.
Buy a ton of them and use them often.
Your hands are a very easy way to spread mites and a frequent change of disposable gloves can make a huge difference in your cure.
Use them whenever cleaning or touching surfaces.
Tip #22) Saran wrap electronics
You’re going to want to keep your surfaces clean, so you’ll need to be constantly disinfecting.
This is challenging with electronics because you don’t want to ruin them with all that cleaner
Try saran wrapping them. You can wrap your remotes, keyboards, computer mouse etc..
Ideal for electronics you’re fine to not use for a while.
Tip #23) Use your freezer for small items
Utilize your freezer to disinfect your shoes and small things overnight.
I kept my rings and necklace in the freezer overnight, then wiped them clean.
Tip #24) Wear easy to clean indoor shoes
Flip-flops or Crocs plastic or rubberized are easy to sanitize.
Just spray them with Lysol or soak in soapy water with bleach or borax.
Tip #25) Keep easy access disinfectants around
It’s a good idea to have disinfectant sprays and wipes all around the house and in the car.
The more easily accessible your cleaning supplies are the better you’re able to limit opportunities for the bugs to spread.
Tip #26) Take long sulfur soaks every few days.
In addition to your ivermectin and permethrin treatments, it is probably a good idea to soak in a sulfur bath every few days.
I did this near the end of my infestation as an extra added measure.
Tip #27) Don’t spend too much time reading forums on scabies.
Having scabies is stressful Over-researching scabies can make things far more stressful.
The whole situation sucks and if you dwell on it by doing too much reading on the Topix forum you will stress yourself and itch more and more.
Just make sure your treatment is done right, follow through on it every day, and let the rest run its course.
Don’t overthink it.
Tip #29) Avoid sugar and wheat
As well as other potential dietary choices that can increase itchy skin.
Scabies mites become far more active when sugar has been consumed in your diet. From what I understand it is because they feed off of it and become invigorated when it is in their system. Yeah, gross.
I’ve also found that eating wheat, which in so many people causes the immune system to react, will make the itching way worse too.
Tip #30) Never use towels twice
And be sure no one else uses your towels.
There’s no better way to spread scabies throughout a household than to share towels.
So after you’re done using a towel make sure it gets isolated and not touched again until it is washed.
If you share a house with uninfested people this is an extremely important step.
Tip #31) Be sure to do your follow up treatments
After your first dose of Stromectol/ivermectin and/or permethrin you will indefinitely feel some relief from the condition.
It might be tempting to avoid doing a second or third round of treatments. But this is a huge mistake!
The reason we do multiple treatments is to address unhatched eggs or mites that we missed on the first round.
You will be mad at yourself if you stop treating yourself too soon. Because then it’s back to the drawing board.
Tip #32) Avoid the temptation to try to cure with home remedies.
If you don’t have much money to spend on this condition then just go straight for the permethrin and ivermectin cure.
Tip #33) Buy multiple pairs of cheap shoes and lots of socks.
Scabies frequently infests the feet, and your socks and shoes can be carrying live mites at any given time.
For this reason, you should never wear the same pair of socks twice, and also cycle different pairs of shoes.
When you are not wearing a pair of shoes keep them in the freezer and/or spray them with disinfectant.
Tip #34) If you have lots of carpeting roll up what you can
Scabies mites can?linger in carpet waiting to keep you infested.
If you can roll up whatever carpet in your house and keep it rolled up until well after the infestation is over with.
Tip #35) Be mindful of over treating yourself
While it’s important to be vigilant and treat yourself extensively, it is also important to keep aware that you could be ruining your skin with too many treatments.
Now I doubt you’ll actually “ruin” your skin. You might just damage it quite a bit, but still. If you are treating with permethrin just avoid other natural treatments to help ease your skin. Occasional sulfur baths are all that I’d recommend.
Tip #36) On “Curing scabies from the inside out”
You might run into advice online saying that scabies is a result of an internal imbalance in your body and if you resolve you’re diseased state internally that scabies will go away.
Use your common sense and avoid this types of advice. Scabies is going to infest even the healthiest of people, it doesn’t matter.
Tip #38) Utilize forums on the web that talk about scabies.
The Topix forum can be helpful on occasion. also Curezone and Patient.co.uk.
But be wary of a lot of the commenters. And don’t spend too much time on these sites.
Tip #39) Become very familiar with what scabies burrows look like.
When it comes to diagnosing scabies and figuring out whether you have them or are suffering from post scabies it is very important that you can distinguish what the burrows from active mites look like.
Tip #40) Never underestimate a “mild” case of scabies.
Scabies is scabies. Either you have it or you don’t, and no matter what if you have it you need to treat it seriously.
It doesn’t matter if you are not being bothered by it like some of the people you read online about, you NEED to treat it or it will never leave your life, and you will spread it to other people as well.
Tip #41) Tread lightly when it comes to scabies and pregnancy.
I have not had to be involved with scabies during a pregnancy, so I can not give adequate advice on the topic.
But I will say that you should be VERY careful when treating yourself if you are pregnant; especially if it is a new pregnancy.
No one wants to harm their babies. Please do your research!
Tip #42) Never settle for leaving scabies untreated
This is just a big no-no. Not necessarily because you are hurting yourself by doing this, but because you have the potential to pass this condition on to OTHER people. Which is a horrible thing to have to feel like you’ve done.
Tip #43) can scabies kill you?
Surprisingly this gets hundreds of google searches a month. No scabies cannot kill you. 🙂
Tip #44) Are scabies really that contagious?
The answer is a resounding yes. Scabies can be passed on to other people in extremely unsuspecting ways.
All it takes is to be in the same environment with someone who has the mites, maybe not even there at the same time as them, and you are at risk of picking up scabies.
You can get scabies even from just being downwind from someone who is scratching their itch!
Tip #45) Scabies in your scalp
Many people have reported that scabies can survive and thrive in the human scalp.
If you think your scabies condition has spread above your neckline it would be a VERY good idea to add shampoos to your treatment regimen.
A good product to use for this is Sulfur8 Shampoo.
Tip 46#) Can you see scabies mites?
The answer is no. Scabies mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye.
You need a microscope yourself or have a doctor analyze your skin for the mites.
Tip #28) Believe deeply that you will get better.
It’s so easy to think fatalistically when you have these mites.
They limit your life, they make you incredibly uncomfortable and they keep you fearful of spreading them.
It’s miserable. Don’t add to your struggles by feeling stuck and that you’re far from being healed.
See the light at the tunnel, because it’s there.