Scabies mites can only live for about two to three days in a mattress. After three days, if they don’t find a human host, they die off. However, if you sleep on a contaminated mattress, the scabies mites will infest you and extend their lives up to 2 months.
Once you discover a case of scabies mites, everyone in the home has to be treated. Disinfect every object in the house and implement preventive measures like reduced skin-to-skin contact.
Read on to learn more about how long scabies mites live, how to eliminate them, and what symptoms to expect if you’re infested.
How Long Can Scabies Live In A Mattress?
Scabies mites can only live on a mattress for 2 to 3 days. They also live for two to three days in furniture like couches and chairs. Generally, scabies doesn’t live for long without a human host.
The lifespan of these mites changes drastically when a human comes into contact with the infested object. When they have a living host, they live for up to two months.
Here’s a table showing the lifespan of scabies mites in different host objects;
|Host object||Scabies lifespan|
|Mattress||2 to 3 days|
|Furniture||2 to 3 days|
|Clothing||2 to 3 days|
|Beddings||2 to 3 days|
|Humans||1 to 2 months|
|Pets||2 to 3 days|
Since contact with a human host extends scabies’ lives, it’s wise to avoid using any furniture or items an infected person uses. You also have to treat any infested objects before using them. This treatment will ensure no re-infection occurs.
What Are Scabies?
Scabies is a skin rash that’s caused by a small mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei. The infection is contagious, so anyone closely who interacts with the patient is in danger of getting infected. Aside from personal interaction, the infection can also spread through using the same furniture or beddings as the infected person.
According to CDC, the average size of a female scabies mite lies between 0.3mm and 0.45 mm. Males mites are typically half the size of their female counterparts. Their small size makes these mites incredibly difficult to detect in your furniture.
What Are The Symptoms Of Scabies?
Some of the most common symptoms of a scabies infestation include-
- Itching that is typically severe and worsens at night.
- Thicker skin around the affected areas. This thickness may look like regular pimples, bumps, or tiny blisters. They are caused by the tunnels burrowed under the skin by the mites.
If you have previously had scabies, symptoms of a new infection start showing just a few days after exposure. However, it may take weeks to show signs if you have never had the infection.
What Parts Of The Body Are Affected By Scabies?
Scabies love to infest the parts of the body where the skin folds. According to CDC, The most commonly affected parts of the body include-
- Waist area
- Inner elbow areas
- The areas in between toes or fingers
- Armpit area
- Along the wrists
- On the chest around the nipples
- The depression of the belly button
- Groin area, and genitalia
- Along the edges of the buttocks
How To Remove Scabies Mites From Your Mattress?
Removing scabies from objects typically involves washing them using hot water and drying them. However, while this approach may work with clothes and sheets, it doesn’t work on mattresses. With that in mind, here are a few ways to remove scabies mites from your mattress.
1. Using steam
Similar to hot water, steam can destroy scabies mites. Just set your steam cleaner to a temperature above 60 degrees celsius and clean the mattress. Cleaning for 10 minutes is enough to kill all the mites.
Another way to remove scabies mites from your mattress is by vacuum. The suction from a vacuum cleaner will suck the mites out of the mattress and into the collection bag. Ensure that you vacuum every inch of the mattress carefully so that none of the mites remain.
You must dispose of the vacuum cleaner’s collection carefully to avoid contaminating other objects with the mites. To be safe, throw it all into the garbage.
3. Chemical spray
The most common chemical spray used to remove scabies mites is permethrin. This spray is an insecticide used as a disinfectant for surfaces that are hard to clean.
Since permethrin is a powerful insecticide, exposure to it can harm you. Hence, when using it to clean your mattress, follow all the instructions carefully. Don’t use the mattress for at least a day after using permethrin to clean it.
4. Use Mattress cover
Covering the mattress using an impervious mattress cover is a great way to eliminate scabies mites. You only have to cover your mattress for a few days since the mites die after three days without human contact.
The most effective mattress covers for this task are plastic ones. Ensure that whichever cover you choose fits your mattress perfectly to reduce the chances of any mites surviving.
5. Mattress replacement
If you have tried all the solutions above without success, it’s time to consider replacing your mattress & buy a mattress that is comfortable for you. After swapping out your mattress, burn it or destroy it to eliminate the possibility of re-infestation.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Scabies?
Though individual mites can only live for up to two months on your skin, they can collectively live on you indefinitely.
Symptoms can take up to eight weeks to manifest if it’s your first time getting infected with scabies. However, the symptoms will appear within four days if you’ve previously had the infection. You should see the doctor immediately if you notice any symptoms to avoid unintentionally spreading it.
Usually, scabies clears out four weeks after receiving treatment. However, it can often stick around longer than that. In that case, you will need a second dose. While typical scabies is easy to treat, you may remain infested for a long time if you get crusted scabies.
How Can You Prevent Scabies?
The simplest way to prevent the spread of scabies is to avoid prolonged contact with infected people. You must also avoid touching or using any items like clothing or chairs used by the suffering person.
Also, keep everything like mattresses, clothes, chairs, tables, and other furniture clean.
Whenever someone is found to have scabies, the whole household should be treated as well. Wash and disinfect their clothing and bedding, take the prescribed medicine, and complete the doses.
Scabies can survive on a mattress for about three days at most. After that, if they don’t find a human host, they die. However, if they find a human host, they can live for up to two months and reproduce. The most common symptoms of a scabies infection are itching and rashes.
If you suspect your mattress has scabies, clean it thoroughly. You can use topical chemicals, steam, a vacuum, or even cover it with a plastic cover for more than three days.