How Long Can Scabies Live In A Mattress

How Long Can Scabies Live In A Mattress

If you’re dealing with a scabies infestation, one of your biggest worries might be how long these bothersome mites can survive in your mattress. Scarily, experts estimate that they can live for 48-72 hours on various items including mattresses.

This blog is a comprehensive guide aimed at helping you understand the lifespan of these parasites in different environments and their control measures for complete eradication from your space.

Stick around, we have some useful insights that’ll clear many misconceptions regarding this often misunderstood topic.

Key Takeaways

  • Scabies mites can live on a mattress for up to 72 hours.
  • Scabies mites need human skin to eat and survive. So without a host, they cannot live for long.
  • It’s important to clean and treat your mattress promptly if you have a scabies infestation to prevent reinfestation and further spread of the mites.
  • Vacuuming, steam cleaning, using permethrin spray, and covering the mattress with plastic are effective methods for getting rid of scabies on mattresses.

What is Scabies?

Scabies is a highly contagious parasitic skin infestation caused by tiny mites known as Sarcoptes scabiei. These mites burrow into the skin and lay eggs, leading to intense itching and a bumpy rash.

Scabies on Mattress


Scabies is a skin problem. It happens when tiny bugs, called mites, dig into your skin. They lay eggs there. This causes an itchy rash. These mites are very small and hard to see. You can get scabies from touching someone who has it.

People also get scabies from things like clothes or bedding that have the mites on them.

How it is transmitted

Scabies move from one person to another. It needs close skin-to-skin touch. This often happens between people who live in the same house. It can also happen when someone wears the clothes of a person with scabies.

The mites move fast on objects like bedding and furniture too! They can jump from these things onto human skin. But, they need food from human skin to live and grow. So, they cannot stay alive for long if there is no contact with humans.

Can Scabies Live in a Mattress?

Scabies mites can indeed live in a mattress, as well as other objects, making it essential to understand their lifespan and potential risks.

Lifespan on mattresses and other objects

Scabies mites can stay alive on a mattress for two to three days. They need human skin to eat and live. Without it, they can’t live more than a few days. Not just mattresses, but these bugs also survive on other things like clothes and shoes for the same period.

It is key to clean all objects that had contact with an infested person. This stops the bugs from coming back onto the skin again.

How long mites can live without human contact

Scabies mites cannot survive for more than a few days without human contact. They rely on human skin as their food source, so without a host to feed on, they will eventually die. These mites can live for about 48-72 hours on surfaces like mattresses and other objects before they perish.

It’s important to treat scabies infestations promptly and avoid sleeping on an infested mattress to prevent reinfection.

Risks of Scabies in a Mattress

Scabies in a mattress can pose risks such as potential reinfestation and the difficulty of complete removal.

Potential for reinfestation

If you don’t get rid of scabies mites in your mattress, there’s a risk of getting infected again. These mites can survive on the mattress for up to 2 to 3 days. If you sleep on an infested mattress before treating it and yourself, you could be reinfected.

It’s important to take steps to clean and treat your mattress properly to avoid this potential for reinfestation.

Difficulty of Removal

Removing scabies from a mattress can be challenging. The mites and their eggs are tiny and may hide in the crevices of the mattress. Additionally, scabies mites can survive for up to three days on the surface of a mattress, making it harder to eliminate them.

Vacuuming and steam cleaning the mattress can help remove some of the mites, but it may not get rid of all of them. Using a permethrin spray specifically designed for killing scabies mites can also be effective.

Covering the mattress with plastic can prevent reinfestation while you treat yourself and your home. It’s important to follow proper treatment guidelines recommended by a doctor or healthcare professional to ensure complete eradication of scabies from your mattress.

How to get rid of scabies on mattress?

To get rid of scabies on a mattress, homeowners can vacuum the mattress regularly, steam clean it to kill any mites, use a permethrin spray specifically designed for treating scabies, and consider covering the mattress with plastic to prevent further infestation.

Vacuuming to get rid of scabies on mattress


To get rid of scabies on your mattress, vacuuming is an effective method. Use a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to ensure that the mites are trapped and not released back into the air.

Vacuum all sides of the mattress, including the top, bottom, and sides. Pay extra attention to seams and crevices where scabies mites may hide. After vacuuming, make sure to empty and clean the vacuum bag or canister to prevent reinfestation.

Remember that vacuuming alone may not eliminate all scabies mites, so it is important to combine this method with other treatments for optimal results.

Steam cleaning to get rid of scabies on mattress

Steam cleaning

Steam cleaning is an effective way to get rid of scabies mites on your mattress. The high temperature of the steam kills the mites and their eggs, helping to eliminate the infestation.

When using a steam cleaner, make sure to thoroughly cover all surfaces of the mattress, including seams and edges. Allow the mattress to dry completely before putting any bedding back on it.

Steam cleaning can be done in addition to other methods, such as vacuuming or using permethrin spray, for maximum effectiveness in removing scabies from your mattress.

Use permethrin spray to get rid of scabies on mattress

Use of permethrin spray

To get rid of scabies on your mattress, you can use permethrin spray. Permethrin is a common ingredient in insecticides that kill mites and other pests. Applying the spray to your mattress can help eliminate any scabies mites that may be hiding there.

Make sure to follow the instructions on the product label and thoroughly cover all parts of the mattress. Remember to also treat yourself and wash your bedding to prevent reinfestation.

Using a plastic covering to get rid of scabies on mattress

Plastic covering

To protect your mattress from scabies infestation, using a plastic covering is a good idea. It creates a barrier between the mites and your skin, preventing them from burrowing into the fabric.

Plastic coverings are easy to clean and disinfect, reducing the risk of reinfestation. By keeping scabies mites out of your mattress, you can sleep comfortably knowing that you’ve taken steps to prevent an infestation.

Other Objects That May Be Contaminated

Furniture and upholstery, as well as pillows, are other objects that may be contaminated with scabies mites. If you want to know how long scabies can live on a mattress and learn about effective ways to get rid of them, continue reading.

Furniture and upholstery

Scabies mites can also infest furniture and upholstery, not just mattresses. They can survive on these surfaces for a few days if they provide a suitable environment. This means that if you have scabies and come into contact with furniture or upholstery, the mites may transfer to these items.

So it’s important to take steps to treat and clean these surfaces as well, along with your mattress, to prevent reinfection.


Pillows can also be a potential hiding place for scabies mites. If an infested person comes into contact with pillows, the mites can transfer onto the fabric and survive there for up to three days.

This means that if you have scabies and use a contaminated pillow, you could potentially reinfest yourself even after treatment. It is important to wash your pillows in hot water or replace them altogether to ensure that any lingering mites are eliminated.

Additionally, using plastic covers on your pillows can help create a barrier between the mites and your skin, reducing the risk of further infestation.

How Long Can Scabies Live on a Mattress?

Scabies mites can survive on a mattress for up to 72 hours, making it crucial to take proper measures for cleaning and prevention. Read on to discover effective ways to eliminate scabies infestation from your mattress and ensure the safety of your home.

Survival time without a human host

Scabies mites depend on human contact to survive and reproduce. Without a human host, they can’t last very long. Scabies mites can only survive off the human body for up to 48 hours, or two days at most.

After that, they will die without a source of food and warmth from our skin. This means that if scabies mites are on your mattress or other objects in your home, they won’t be able to live there for more than a couple of days without you being present.

So it’s important to treat both yourself and your surroundings if you have a scabies infestation to prevent reinfestation.

When to See a Doctor

If the infestation of scabies on the mattress is severe or if there are ongoing symptoms despite treatment, it is important to seek medical attention.

Severe infestations

Severe infestations of scabies can be challenging to deal with. When the infestation is severe, it means that there are a large number of mites on your skin and in your environment.

This can lead to intense itching, rashes, and discomfort. It’s important to see a doctor if you have a severe infestation as they may prescribe stronger medications to help eliminate the mites more effectively.

Remember, treating the infested person and their living environment is crucial to prevent further spread and reinfestation.

Ongoing symptoms

If you have scabies, you may experience ongoing symptoms even after treatment. These include intense itching, especially at night, and a rash that looks like small red bumps or blisters.

The itching can be so severe that it disturbs your sleep and affects your daily activities. It’s important to keep in mind that the itching may continue for a few weeks after treatment as your body heals from the infestation.

If you’re still experiencing symptoms or if they worsen, it’s recommended to see a doctor for further evaluation and treatment options.

Treatment for Scabies

Treatment for scabies typically involves prescription medications and topical creams.

Prescription medication

Prescription medication is usually necessary to treat a scabies infestation. Your doctor may prescribe oral medications or topical creams that contain ingredients like permethrin or ivermectin.

These medications work to kill the scabies mites and their eggs, helping to eliminate the infestation more quickly. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and complete the full course of treatment for best results.

Keep in mind that treating your body alone may not be enough – it’s also crucial to treat any bedding, clothing, or furniture that may have come into contact with the mites.

Topical creams

Topical creams are a common treatment option for scabies. These creams contain medication that helps kill the scabies mites and their eggs. When applying the cream, it is important to cover your entire body from the neck down and leave it on for the recommended amount of time before washing it off.

It’s also important to apply the cream to clean, dry skin to ensure maximum effectiveness. Topical creams can be an effective way to treat scabies and relieve symptoms such as itching and rashes.


Scabies mites can survive on a mattress for up to three days. Therefore, it is important to treat both yourself and the mattress to prevent reinfection. Vacuuming, steam cleaning, using permethrin spray, and covering the mattress in plastic are effective methods for getting rid of scabies.

Remember that scabies cannot live off the human body for more than 48 hours, so regular cleaning and treatment will help eliminate these pests.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can scabies live in a mattress?

Scabies mites can survive for up to 72 hours on a mattress without a host.

Can I get scabies from sleeping on an infested mattress?

Yes, it is possible to get scabies from sleeping on an infested mattress, especially if you come into direct skin-to-skin contact with the mites.

How do I clean my mattress to get rid of scabies?

To clean your mattress and eliminate scabies mites, vacuum it thoroughly and then use a disinfectant spray or wipe the surface with diluted bleach solution.

Do I need to throw away my mattress if it has been infested with scabies?

In most cases, throwing away the mattress is not necessary. Proper cleaning and treatment can effectively eliminate the infestation.

Can scabies survive on other surfaces besides mattresses?

Yes, scabies mites can survive on various surfaces such as clothing, towels, furniture, or carpeted floors for a short period but they usually cannot live long without a human host.

William Smith

William brings over three years of experience to his role as the Lead Reviewer at, specializing in mattresses, bedding, and sleep accessories...Read more

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