These Scabies Home Remedies May Speed Up Treatment

Scabies natural treatments can also alleviate symptoms like itching.

Scabies is a skin condition that happens when microscopic mites burrow into the outer layer of the skin and lay eggs. Scabies is caused by a mite called Sarcoptes scabiei and is characterized by an itchy, pimply-looking rash.

Scabies is contagious and spreads through close contact. It can affect anyone but is most common among people who live in close quarters, like those in dorms, nursing homes, or prisons. 

The first-line treatment for scabies is a prescription skin cream that is applied at night and rinsed off in the morning. While this treatment is necessary to kill scabies, home remedies can help control and prevent its spread. 

This article explains home remedies for scabies that can help you feel better soon. 

A person with scabies on their hands. Sick hands

1142890683/Getty Images

What’s Better, Home Remedies or Medication for Scabies?

The only way to get rid of scabies in 24 hours is to use a prescription cream. These creams are called scabicides because they kill scabies, and they contain permethrin 5% cream, ivermectin, and sulfur ointment. When a person is diagnosed with scabies, all of their household members and sexual partners need to be treated. 

In addition to prescription creams, you can use home remedies to help control the symptoms of scabies and keep an outbreak from spreading. This is important for comfort since the itching from scabies can continue for two to four weeks, even after treatment has killed the mites.

Scabies Home Remedies

When you see a healthcare provider for scabies, talk to them about home remedies that might help you control symptoms and contain the outbreak. Home remedies for scabies include over-the-counter medications, essential oils, oatmeal baths, Vaseline, and more.

Over-The-Counter Medications

In addition to prescription scabicides, you can use over-the-counter medications to help with symptoms like itchiness. These might include:

  • Antihistamines to help control itching
  • Pramoxine lotion to relieve itching
  • Steroid creams to relieve swelling and itching

Tea Tree Oil

Laboratory research shows that tea tree oil can, in theory, help treat scabies, but its effectiveness in people still needs further study. To use tea tree oil to treat scabies, apply an ointment containing less than 5% tea tree oil to your skin. You can make this by mixing a few drops of tea tree oil into a lotion or coconut oil. Apply this daily while you’re experiencing symptoms. 

Oatmeal Bath

An oatmeal bath is a great way to soothe itchy skin by reducing inflammation. Because of that, it may help control itchiness associated with scabies. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that it will cure scabies, but it can help you feel more comfortable until your symptoms subside. 

Baking Soda Bath

As an alternative to an oatmeal bath, try a cool bath with 2 ounces of baking soda. This can help soothe skin and alleviate itching.

Cold Compress

Putting a cool compress on your skin can reduce itchiness. Try sitting in a cool bath, or putting a cool, damp washcloth on areas of your body that are particularly itchy.

Even when scabies treatment works the first time, you can still experience itching for two to four weeks after the mites have died.

Vinegar

You may have heard that you can control scabies by applying vinegar to your skin and rinsing it off a few minutes later, but there's no proof it works, and it could be irritating to your skin.

Skipping Soap

Soap can further irritate your skin when you have scabies. Wash with water, and avoid soap or scented lotions while your skin is inflamed.

Other Ways to Reduce Spread 

In addition to treating yourself and your loved ones, it’s important to clean your home or living area to reduce the transmission of scabies.

  • Wash bedding and clothes you’ve worn within the past seven days on the day you begin treatment. Use the hottest setting on both the washer and dryer. 
  • Bag things that can’t be washed, like pillows, in a plastic bag for at least one week. This will kill the mites. 
  • Vacuum your whole house, including furniture, on the day that you begin treatment. 
  • Treat the whole family since scabies can be asymptomatic. It’s important to treat all household members as equal partners, even if they don’t have symptoms. 

Summary

It’s normal to look for natural home remedies for scabies. Unfortunately, the only proven way to kill scabies and treat symptoms is with prescription ointment. However, natural scabies treatments can help control your symptoms and reduce the risk of transmission. 

A Word From Verywell

Scabies is a common condition that can affect anyone. You might feel embarrassed about having scabies, but the condition is no reflection on your cleanliness—it’s just something that can happen. If you have symptoms, be proactive about talking to your healthcare provider and any close contacts who need to be treated. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kills scabies the quickest?

    The front-line treatment for scabies is permethrin 5% cream, which is applied all over the body below the neck and left on overnight. This treatment usually works in one application, but you can still experience itchiness for up to four weeks after treatment. 

  • Can you do natural scabies treatment with prescribed topicals?

    Most natural scabies treatments can be used alongside prescriptions. Talk to your healthcare provider about your specific treatment plan. 

  • How do scabies feel and look?

    Scabies presents with a red, pimply rash. The pimples are often in a row, connected by a thin line, which is the burrow of the mite. It’s most common to see the rash on the wrists, fingers, armpits, waist, and genitals. The rash can become red and blistered, and often feels intensely itchy. 

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scabies treatment.

  2. American Academy of Dermatology. Scabies: diagnosis and treatment.

  3. Thomas J, Carson CF, Peterson GM, et al. Therapeutic potential of tea tree oil for scabies. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2016;94(2):258. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.14-0515

  4. American Academy of Dermatology. Home remedies: what can relieve itchy eczema?

  5. Seattle Children’s Hospital. Scabies-itch mite rash.

  6. Luu LA, Flowers RH, Kellams AL, et al. Apple cider vinegar soaks [0.5%] as a treatment for atopic dermatitis do not improve skin barrier integrityPediatr Dermatol. 2019;36(5):634-639

By Kelly Burch
Kelly Burch is has written about health topics for more than a decade. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and more.