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How to Get Rid of Scabies in 24 Hours, How Long they Last, Treatment Over the Counter, Home Remedies


What are scabies? Are scabies a life threatening medical condition? Get to know more about scabies, how long they last, over the counter medication and home remedies.

How Long Does Scabies Last?

scabies on hands

scabies on hands picture

What are scabies?

Scabies is a skin condition caused by mites (little bugs) that burrow under the skin and produce small red bumps and severe itching. The mites easily spread from person to person, especially among people who share close living spaces. If one family member has scabies, other family members and close contacts must be checked and treated at the same time.

The scabies itch mites are tiny eight-legged female parasites that are just 1/3 millimeter long. They burrow into the skin and cause severe itching, worsening over night. When beneath the surface of the skin, they produce a tunnel and begin to deposit eggs. Then the eggs hatch, and the mite larvae work their way to the surface of the skin. This can be dangerous because the larvae begin to mature and spread to other areas of your body.

Scabies Mites can only live about 72 hours, without human contact, but once on a person, the mites can live up to two months. Mites survive longer in colder conditions with higher humidity. Once on a person, mite can burrow into the skin, and symptoms usually begin three to six weeks after infestation.

How to Get Rid of Scabies in 24 Hours

The following are ways to treat scabies in 24 hours without visiting a doctor:

  1. Bleach

Bleach is the most recommended effective remedy to get rid of scabies in 24 hours. You only need to fill up a bottle with equal parts of bleach and water.

  • Spray it on your entire body from top to bottom and let it dry by itself.
  • Spray the solution on all the surfaces you have touched and wipe them down and then wash all
  • your bedclothes, linen, pillow covers and sheets in hot water mixed with bleach solution.
  1. Use hydrogen Peroxide

Mix a little water with hydrogen peroxide. Then, using a spray bottle spray down the whole body and scalp and also using hydrogen peroxide wipe down all surfaces in your home. This will surely get rid of scabies at your home within 24 hours.

  1. Borax

Borax like bleach is very effective in getting rid of scabies in 24 hours.

  • For internal use, dissolve half teaspoon in one liter of water. Stir the mixture very thoroughly. Allow it to settle then, drink the mixture, small sips every one hour. This will surely get rid of itching caused by scabies.
  • Topically- Mix equal quantities of hydrogen peroxide with Borax and spray it over your body.
  • Household-Spray diluted borax solution all over surfaces and linen.
  1. Turmeric

Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the level of immunity in your body. Take turmeric capsules daily to strengthen your immunity. You can also take a teaspoon of organic turmeric powder with a glass of warm milk and some honey at night to sleep better and let the body heal. You can also apply turmeric in coconut or neem oil to scabies rash to counter itch and kill mites.

  1. Sulfur soap

Bathing with sulfur soap is among the effective ways of getting rid of scabies without going to the doctor. Bathe three times and a day. And at the same time continue using hydrogen peroxide at home in treatment of furniture and linen.

  1. Unpack your clothing and place it in the sun

You need to unpack every little item of clothing and linen, you and your family members own and place them outside in the sun. Also seal all your mattresses in encasements. Wipe down the headboards with bleach and spray box springs with a solution of bleach or borax in hydrogen peroxide.

  1. Steam washing of linen and carpets

It is prudent after treating your body with bleach or hydrogen peroxide, you will need to strip down entire home and steam clean all the linen, carpets and beddings. This is the surest way to help get rid of scabies and mites completely. You can also use some carpet shampoo to clean carpets or make a solution of vinegar and castile soap, then spray it over before steaming and vacuuming the beds, linen and carpets.

  1. Coconut oil

Coconut oil has antibacterial and microbial properties that makes it kill bacterial and soothes the affected skin by suffocating the scabies mites. To make most out of coconut, apply coconut oil all over your scalp and bathe after 30 minutes. Repeat this remedy daily. Also take coconut oil orally to boost your immunity and kill mites from inside.

  1. Use essential oils

The most powerful essential oil for scabies is tea tree oil and neem oil. These essential oils have powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and healing properties that suffocate scabies mites.  Apply either of them undiluted to the scabies rash 2-3 times a day to see results.

  1. Aloe Vera

Although aloe Vera may not fight to kill the scabies mites, it has anti-inflammatory properties that help to get rid of itchiness. Apply small amounts of aloe Vera lotion or gel all over the affected part of the skin for quick relieve.

  1. Apple cider vinegar

Drink organic cider vinegar on an empty stomach. Apple cider vinegar detoxifies the body and help to fight microbes from inside.

 Scabies Treatment Over the Counter

scabies on face picture

scabies on face picture

The initial symptoms of scabies are itching at armpits, finger fold, neck which is usually worse at night and itching at private parts. Intense itching followed by scratching, redness and bumps all over the body are clear signs of presence of scabies mites over the body.

The mites live in the folds and narrow cracks of the skin. Common mite sites include:

  • Folds in between the fingers and toes
  • Bends at the wrists
  • Around the belt line
  • Bends at the knees
  • Folds in thighs
  • Under fingernails
  • Under rings, watch bands, and bracelets
  • Folds in genitals
  • Area around the nipple in women

There are many medicinal ways that can provide you with relief from scabies infestation. Generally scabies medications are in the form of lotion which has to be applied over the affected body parts. Because scabies spread so easily your doctor will likely recommend treatment for all house hold members, even if they don’t show signs of infestation. Medications often prescribed for scabies include:

Crotamiton (Eurax)

Crotamiton is a safe over-the-counter cream for treatment of scabies in children and even adults with low immune systems. This medication is available in form of lotion or cream. This medication is not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers.

Apply this medicinal lotion all over the body twice a day. For quick results leave the lotion for 48 hours on your body without a bath or shower. For children less than 4 years this medicine should be applied once in a day.

Lindane lotion

Lindane is a chemical in its component form that can be used both as an agricultural insecticide and as a pharmaceutical treatment for lice and scabies. This medication has many side effects but it’s only recommended only to people who can’t tolerate other approved treatments. Lindane lotion is not safe to use for children under the age of 3 years and pregnant women.

Apply the lotion one per day or as instructed by your doctor.

Permethrin 5% (Elimite)

Permethrin is a popular insecticide and insects repellent which can effectively kill scabies mites. This medicine is safe for children and for pregnant and breastfeeding women and even for infants as young as two months old.

Apply the medicated cream over the whole body from neck downwards once a day or use it as may be recommended by your doctor.

Ivermectin (Stromectol)


Your pharmacist may prescribe to you this oral medication if your immune system for one reason or the other is found to have been altered or if you have crusted scabies. Although this medication kills the mites promptly, you may find that the itching doesn’t stop for several days.


Your pharmacist may prescribe the usage of medication such as sulfur compounded in petrolatum. This topical medication is for people who have fail to respond to or can’t use other medications.

Dr Scabies lotion

Dr Scabies lotion is an over the counter drug and also popularly recommended by doctors for treatment of scabies. The main ingredient of Dr Scabies lotion are soy and jojoba oils, chamomile extracts which make it a safe and chemical free treatment method of scabies.

To get the most out of Dr Scabies simply massage the cream over the affected areas. Leave it for a day and then wash off the lotion.


Antihistamine medicines may be taken orally or in cream. It helps to relieve itching and inflammation.


 Scabies Treatment of Close Contacts

Wash bedding and clothing

If you are affected by scabies, wash the bedding and clothes that you used or wore since the time of contracting scabies. If you aren’t sure of the exact time, it will be prudent to wash all the bedding and clothing. The laundry cycle alone may not kill mites, so make sure your drier is on the hottest setting possible.

Vacuum furniture and carpet

After vacuuming the furniture and carpet at home, make sure you throw away the vacuum bag because it might contain mites. Using a steam cleaner with borax powder can be even more effective.

Stay in one small room

The less you touch, the less you will have to disinfect after the scabies have been treated. Do your best to keep your home and environment scabies free by limiting your exposure to furniture, materials and people. If you can’t wash your clothing or towel right away, put them in a tight plastic bag. Scabies may not be able to survive off for more than three days.

Treat everyone in your vicinity

Most scabies recurrences are due to re-infection from untreated contacts.  So it’s important once you have received treatment, your loved ones receive scabies treatment too, and your pets too should be treated too. Although cats and pets have their own species of mites but they can still contract human scabies, which cause a temporal skin reaction and keeps the mites in your home.

Avoid scratching itchy skin

Scratching your itchy skin does not provide relief, it makes the situation worse because it can spread mites across your body and increase risk of a secondary skin infection.

Keep your surrounding clean

Disinfect the whole house using vacuum cleaner and dispose of the waste in a plastic sealed bag.

Avoid contact with other people

This can prevent the infection from being transferred to others. Avoid any sort of physical or sexual contact.

Scabies Home Treatment

aloe vera is good for scabies

how to get rid of scabies naturally – aloe vera

  Tiger balm

Tiger balm is a topical cream used to reduce inflammation and provide muscles relieve from aches and pain. It works as an analgesic agent because it contains camphor and clove oil. Tiger balm won’t kill the itch mites or cure the scabies, but it will provide some relief during the waiting period after convention treatment.

Anise Seed Oil

According to a scientific review published in “Herbal Medicine: Bimolecular and clinical Aspects. 2nd Edition” oil extracts from anise seeds display insecticidal activity. It can be used topically to treat scabies as well as head lice. It is not recommended that women who are pregnant use anise oil.

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a chemical that reduces pain sensations when applied to the skin. Capsaicin can also relieve itching by desensitizing neurons in the skin.

There are claims by different pharmacist that applying cayenne pepper to the skin can kill scabies mites, though there are no studies to back up these claims but many people dealing with scabies have attested to cayenne’s ability to kill parasites when applied topically.

One way to use cayenne is to add one cup to hot water bath and then sit in the bath until the water gets cold and then rinse your body. Make sure that the cayenne does not get into your eyes, as it may burn or sting. You can also create a paste with cayenne and one to two drops of water. Apply the paste to visible burrows beneath the surface of the skin.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree Oil fights scabies mites and parasites when applied topically. It contains terpenoids, which are antibacterial and antimicrobial constituents that are able to heal scabies on top of and beneath the skin.

A study published in archives of dermatology found that tea tree oil, with main active components being oxygenated terpenoids has a potential role as new topical treatment for scabies. The tea tree oil treatment was highly effective in reducing mite survival times when tested on 20-year old woman with crusted scabies. Within a few hours of collection the scabies were placed in continuous direct contact with tea tree oil product, and they began to suffocate within five minutes.

An article published in future microbiology even suggest that tea tree oil may serve as a therapeutic alternative, which is now needed more than ever because of the emerging drug and resistance to oral permethrin and ivermectin, and the rise of concern regarding the future control of scabies, especially in severe cases and endemic areas where repeated community treatment programs are in place.

Clove oil

Clove oil has analgesic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also be used to dry up scabies blisters and rashes. A 2013 research study conducted by America institute of dermatological studies found that clove oil is effective in killing the scabies mites. In the study scabies mites were harvested from pigs and rabbits.  The results from the bioassays showed that clove was highly toxic against scabies mites, killing mites within an hour of contact. A major component of clove oil, called eugenol, demonstrated levels of toxicity comparable to benzyl benzoate.

To get most out of clove oil, combine a few drops of clove oil with one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of coconut oil for skin relief. Rub the mixture onto the affected areas twice daily.

 Rosemary oil

Rosemary oil has very many uses and benefits including the potential capability to stop the infestation of scabies. Rosemary oil also decreases pain and prevents occurrence of a secondary infections. A study conducted at Northeast Forestry University in China found that when rosemary is combined with clove it possesses significant antimicrobial properties.

Neem oil

Neem oil is known to kill scabies mites, and it hinders their ability to grow and breed. Neem also numbs pain and relieves itching, making it perfect to treat scabies symptoms as well.

A study conducted in India evaluated 964 patients with scabies who used a paste made from neem oil and turmeric for treatment. A cure was obtained within three to 15 days in 97 percent of the cases-plus; no toxic or adverse reactions were observed. Researchers claim that this is a safe and effective alternative that is also cheap and easily available, which can be especially important when treating villagers or communities in developing countries.

Further references

  1. How to get rid of scabies
  2. Scabies Rash and treatment
  3. Treating laundry, furniture, rugs and car for scabies mites

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