What Are the Treatments for Demodex Mites?

Updated February 21, 2017

Demodex mites are a group of microscopic pests that live in mammalian hair and fur and are commonly found on both dogs and humans. While all demodex are parasitic, many demodex mite infestations are benign in nature and only a few cause problems. Still, there are some skin diseases (most commonly mange and rosacea) which can be caused by demodex mites. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to eliminate these pests.

Controlling Sebum in Humans and Pets

Sebum (an oil created by all mammals) is one of the primary factors in attracting demodex mites. Controlling production and washing off excess sebum is essentially in preventing or treating demodex infestation. Many shampoos have harsh chemicals which can disrupt the pH balance of hair and skin, leading to an overproduction of sebum. Using an inoffensive all-natural hair care product can preserve your pH balance and help prevent demodex infestations. Also, using an all-natural antibacterial soap can help loosen the hold of demodex mites in the initial stages of infestation and stop them from gaining a foothold. These methods are effective on both humans and dogs when practised regularly.

Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)

The essential oil of this plant has been tested by dermatological researchers at the University of California San Diego as a treatment for demodex mite infestation in human hair. According to Jash sea buckthorn oil is "touted as having anti-inflammatory attributes as well general nourishing, revitalising, and restorative actions, in addition to being able to effectively wipe out the Demodex folliculorum mite." This oil is distributed as an oil tincture and is used by applying the oil directly to your scalp along with cold water. A pill is also available for purchase, and either product can be purchased online or in health stores.


For serious localised infestation of dogs, rubbing Goodwinol ointment may prove the most effective treatment. Goodwinol ointment is a powerful parasiticide that should only be used after consulting a veterinary professional. Use Goodwinol by rubbing it on small areas where the Demodex mites are most concentrated (usually where mange is most prevalent.) This treatment is not approved for use on cats.

Rotenone Shampoo

This treatment, for use on dogs and cats, will relieve skin irritation as well as kill the mites infesting the pet's coat. To use rotenone shampoo, apply 28.4 to 56.7gr while bathing the pet, leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. This method should be repeated weekly until the infestation dissipates.

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About the Author

Sean Russell has been writing since 1999 and has contributed to several magazines, including "Spin" and "Art Nouveau." When not writing, Sean helps maintain community gardens in Silver Lake and Echo Park, California. Russell also worked extensively on the restoration and rejuvenation of public parks in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after damage from 2004-2005 hurricanes.