Does Bleach-bath Really Helps in Scabies Treatment?

Presence of Scabies mites dates back to the time of Aristotle, who had identified Sarcoptes scabiei mites first. Scabies is an itchy and highly contagious skin condition that can worsen and long for years if not treated properly. People often search web to find home-made remedies that mostly includes bathing in some water containing some salts, lotions, herbs like Neem leaves. While proper diagnose and prescribed medical treatment is essential to completely treat scabies, some of these remedies could provide relief from intense itching. Scabies treatment may take many weeks as it’s an infestation.

Bleach-bath is one the most common suggestion found in scabies related forums or health blogs. People look for the validity of the method in reducing or treating scabies. Before moving on the topic, it’s very important that the person must be aware about the nature, causes, and treatment process involved in the cure of scabies.

Scabies, causes, and symptoms

As mentioned above, scabies is caused by the itch mite Sarcoptes scabiei, as small as 1.3 millimeter long, eight-legged parasites. The parasites burrow into the skin and lays eggs. As an allergic reaction to the mites, eggs and feces, itchy pimple-like bumps and rashes appear on a particular or multiple parts of the body. Scabies mites are visible only under a magnifying glass or microscope. The mites crawl under the skin, but below a temperature of 20 degree Celsius, they are immobile. But the mites can survive at this temperature for a prolonged period to become active when conditions are favorable. That is the reason why itching gets worse during night.

Prevalence of scabies

On an average, over 300 million cases are reported throughout the world. The infestation mostly find favorable environment in nursing homes, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and in poverty stricken third world nations where people live crowded spaces with poor hygiene.

The disease is highly contagious and can transmit from infected person to other members of the family or people who use cloths, bedding, towel etc. that are also used by the infection person.

Norwegian scabies is the sever form the disease that result in horrible thick crusts on the skin that crumble easily and may appear grayish.


A proper treatment for scabies require visit to doctor so that itching could be confirmed it and prescribe medication with directions, which the patient must follow in order to completely get rid of the disease. The doctor will observe the tiny raised pimple-like bumps that appear on the skin like a rash, mostly on area around wrist, armpit, and elbow, between fingers, beltline, waist and even genital areas. Doctors commonly prescribe mite-killing lotion or cream that contains at least 5 percent Permethrin, which the patient will be required to apply once in 8-14 hours. Doctors will also recommend repeating the course for another week to kill newly hatched mites from eggs. The entire house and every family member require treatment even if they don’t show signs of scabies.

Does bleach work for scabies?

Bleach is commonly used disinfect house to ensure infestation could be eradicated completely. Although, it’s not a proved method, some people do believe that bleach works on scabies and helps in killing the mites. Scabies mites are hard to kill because they are under the skin and bleach is believed to destroy mite’s hard shield and kill the eggs preventing reproduction. The belief is based on the results shown by bleach on other itchy skin infections such as ringworm, warts, impetigo etc. Also, bleach works in lice treatment and that has led people to the same conclusion in case of scabies too.

While it’s not entirely true and a proven fact, bathing in bleach-water also involve side-effects. The skin’s allergic reaction to bleach may intensify the itching and stinging sensation in the skin. Moreover, one should consult a doctor before using bleach as a domestic treatment.

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