How to clean a house with scabies infection

Updated February 21, 2017

Scabies is a skin infection caused by tiny mites that burrow into your skin. The symptoms include red, itchy bumps and light red lines under the skin. When you get a scabies infection, your house gets one, too. This is because while scabies mites cannot live more than about 3 days without a human host, they are very easy to "pass around" because they can travel on hand towels, sheets, toys and just about anything else that has been handled by a person with a scabies infection.

Treat everybody. Doctors generally will prescribe a cream to wear overnight that will kill the mites. It is best for everyone in the house to use this cream (unless the doctor orders otherwise) in order to prevent the mites from migrating.

Isolate everything. This means that you need to gather up all toys, sheets, towels, pillows and stuffed animals in the house. Anything that comes into contact with family members on a daily basis must be in this isolation "target group." Otherwise, if the mites are living on something that is missed and you touch it, then you still will have the infection long after you have finished the treatments.

Place toys, pillows and stuffed animals in the airtight bags. They will need to remain in those bags for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, you can vacuum them thoroughly to remove any dead scabies mites and then return them to their owners.

Wash all linens and towels at least two times in hot water with detergent. You will have to do the same thing after each night of applying the cream to the linens that everyone slept on. This will wash the mites out of the linen and prevent them from lying in wait for you to get back in bed the first night your cream regimen is over. You also will need to wash all the regular laundry in the same way. If clothing cannot take hot water and high-heat drying, then you will need to place it in the airtight bags instead.

Dry all laundry on high heat. This is very important because it will finish off any mites that made it through the wash cycle.

Vacuum the house. Normally, this would just mean rugs and carpets. However, when you are fighting scabies, you also will need to vacuum the mattresses, curtains and upholstery. This must be done daily for the duration of the treatment.


Scabies can be difficult to diagnose. Try not to scratch the infected area so your doctor will be able to spot the mites more easily.

Things You'll Need

  • Gallon zip-lock freezer bags
  • Vacuum (large and hand-held)
  • Hot water
  • Washing powder
  • Scabies treatment cream
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