Treating your environment for scabies
It is incredibly important to treat your home environment while you are trying to get rid of scabies. Normal cleaning products won’t necessarily be enough to kill scabies mites, and you run the risk of not doing enough to kill any lingering mites on your clothes or furniture. It’s true that you get scabies from skin-to-skin contact from somebody, but you could also pick it up just from sitting on a couch! Gross, but true.
A note on my treatment choice
You may notice that my treatment recommendations don’t include liquid permethrin concentrate. I chose to treat myself and my environment with natural treatments because I didn’t want to inhale chemicals or put my cat in danger.Your doctor may recommend using liquid permethrin as a home treatment in addition to your permethrin cream. It is up to you what to choose what is right for yourself and your family.
How to treat your home for scabies
Just like your treatments for your body, it is important to maintain a consistent cleaning schedule of your environment. Here’s what I did:
- Clean mattress and ALL furniture with a handheld steam cleaner to kill scabies mites. I love this steam cleaner because all it takes is water to effectively and naturally get rid of scabies mites! The heat kills adult mites and eggs on contact. My suggestion is to thoroughly steam the mattress, cover it in a dusting of diatomaceous earth, and seal it up with a mattress cover. You can read more about my mattress care using diatomaceous earth here. Then, proceed to steam all over your home as much as possible. I kept mine plugged in for easy access. It’s fast, easy, and you can use the steamer for regular household cleaning as well!
- Only wear an item of clothing once before washing it and drying it. This might be overkill, but I put my dirty clothes in garbage bags and kept them tied up until it was time to do laundry, then I would throw the bag away. This may feel wasteful, especially if you’re like me and re-wear some items of clothing like bras or jeans. However, it’s important to only wear clean clothes to help prevent re-infestation! I used Borax in my wash because it supposedly kills the mites as well. I can’t attest to whether this is true or not, but it’s cheap, and like many of my suggestions it can be used for many purposes.
- All-purpose cleaner mixed with essential oils, diatomaceous earth, or both! A simple plastic spray bottle can be used to mix an all-purpose cleaner with a few drops each of neem oil and clove oil, and you can add diatomaceous earth as well. I use natural, homemade cleaner that’s scent-free. You should exercise caution when adding essential oils to a store-bought cleaner! Please read ingredients and make sure you’re not going to cause a reaction (or a terrible smell.) Use this cleaner daily on all surfaces, especially chairs and tables you use daily. You can use it to wipe down furniture that isn’t covered in fabric.
- Dust your mattress, pillows, and sheets in diatomaceous earth. I did this by hand, but it was very messy and uneven. I recommend using a duster for an even and thorough application that won’t make a huge mess. Tip: If you drive a car, don’t forget to dust your seat as well! This goes for your entire car if you have a partner, kids, or anybody else who routinely shares space and your car with you.
How do you know when to stop?
It’s hard to tell when your scabies is gone because the allergic reactions caused by their bites last for weeks. Your best bet is to continue treatment of your home and body for as long as you possibly can before you are 100% sure you are no longer itching! I know having scabies is stressful, expensive, and time-consuming. If you follow this guide for treating your home, you’ll hopefully be a little closer to relief.