Do Scabies Stay In Your Mattress?

Have you ever wondered if scabies stay in your mattress? Scabies is a contagious skin condition caused by tiny mites burrowing into the skin and laying eggs. While the mites themselves do not live in mattresses, they can survive for a short period outside the body, including on bedding. In this article, we will explore the lifespan of scabies mites and discuss the steps you can take to prevent the spread of scabies in your home. So, let’s dive into the world of scabies and find out if your mattress is a potential hiding place for these tiny pests.

Can Scabies Infest Your Mattress?

Scabies is a contagious skin infestation caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. While scabies is commonly associated with direct skin-to-skin contact, many people wonder if these mites can infest their mattresses. In this article, we will explore the possibility of scabies infestation in mattresses and provide comprehensive information on how to prevent and treat it.

Understanding Scabies

Scabies is a parasitic skin condition that occurs when the Sarcoptes scabiei mite burrows into the skin and lays its eggs. The most common symptoms include intense itching, especially at night, along with red rashes and tiny blisters on the skin. Scabies can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender, and it is highly contagious.

Transmission of Scabies

Scabies is primarily transmitted through prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual. This can occur during activities such as hugging, holding hands, or sexual contact. It is important to note that scabies mites cannot jump or fly, so they rely on close contact to spread from one person to another.

Survival of Scabies Mites

Scabies mites have a relatively short lifespan of about 30 days. However, they are capable of surviving off the human body for a limited period. This raises the question of whether scabies mites can infest and survive in mattresses.

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Scabies Infestation on Mattresses

While scabies mites can survive off the human body, infesting mattresses is not their preferred environment. The mites are well-adapted to living on human skin and thrive in warm, moist conditions. Mattresses, on the other hand, are typically dry and lack the necessary environment for scabies mites to survive long-term.

How Long Can Scabies Mites Survive in a Mattress?

To understand how long scabies mites can survive in a mattress, it is important to explore their life cycle and the conditions needed for their survival.

Life Cycle of Scabies Mites

The life cycle of scabies mites consists of four stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. After a female mite burrows into the skin and lays eggs, it takes approximately 2-3 days for the eggs to hatch into larvae. These larvae then mature into nymphs and eventually become adults. The entire life cycle from egg to adult takes around 10-17 days.

Conditions for Scabies Survival

Scabies mites require certain conditions to survive. They thrive in warm environments with temperatures between 68-77°F (20-25°C) and relative humidity levels above 70%. These optimal conditions are rarely found in most mattresses, making them a less favorable habitat for scabies mites.

Scabies Mite Infestation Duration on Mattresses

While scabies mites may be able to survive temporarily on mattresses, their chances of infesting a mattress for an extended period are low. Without a suitable environment, such as human skin, they are unlikely to thrive or reproduce. Therefore, the duration of scabies mite infestation on mattresses is typically limited.

Can Scabies Mites Infest New Mattresses?

New mattresses, straight from the factory, are generally free of scabies mites. However, there are scenarios where scabies mites can infest even the newest of mattresses.

Contamination from Infected Individuals

If an individual with an active scabies infestation comes into contact with a new mattress, it is possible for some mites to transfer and infest the mattress. This can occur through direct contact with uncovered lesions or infested bedding.

Transmission through Shared Bedding

Another way scabies mites can infest new mattresses is through shared bedding. If an infected individual shares their bedding, such as blankets or pillowcases, with someone who does not have scabies, the mites can potentially infest the new mattress.

Potential for Infestation in New Mattresses

While the risk is relatively low, scabies mites can potentially infest new mattresses under certain circumstances. It is important to maintain good hygiene practices and take preventive measures to minimize the chances of scabies mite infestation in any mattress, regardless of its age.

Preventing Scabies Infestation in Mattresses

Prevention plays a crucial role in avoiding scabies infestation in mattresses. By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of scabies mites infesting your mattress.

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Maintaining Personal Hygiene

Practicing good personal hygiene is essential in preventing scabies infestation. Regular bathing, using clean towels, and washing your hands frequently can help minimize the risk of transmitting scabies mites to your mattress.

Regularly Laundering Bedding

Washing your bedding regularly, including sheets, pillowcases, and blankets, can help eliminate any scabies mites that may be present. Use hot water and a high-temperature dryer setting to effectively kill the mites. It is also advisable to avoid sharing bedding with others, especially if they have an active scabies infestation.

Using Mattress Protectors

Using mattress protectors can create a barrier between your body and the mattress, reducing the chances of scabies mites infesting it. Waterproof and allergen-proof mattress covers are widely available and can be easily cleaned to maintain hygiene.

Avoiding Direct Contact

To minimize the risk of scabies mites infesting your mattress, it is important to avoid direct contact with individuals who have an active scabies infestation. If you suspect someone close to you has scabies, it is advisable to limit physical contact until they have been properly treated and cleared by a healthcare professional.

Treating Scabies-Infested Mattresses

If your mattress has been infested with scabies mites, it is crucial to take prompt action to eliminate them effectively.

Consulting a Healthcare Professional

Before attempting to treat a scabies-infested mattress, it is important to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance on the appropriate treatment options and help ensure that the infestation is properly addressed.

Isolating Infected Mattresses

To prevent the spread of scabies mites, it is advisable to isolate the infected mattress from other bedding and furniture. This can help contain the infestation and minimize the risk of transmission to other household members.

Deep Cleaning and Disinfecting

Deep cleaning the infected mattress is essential to eliminate scabies mites effectively. Vacuuming the mattress thoroughly, paying close attention to seams and crevices, can help remove any mites or eggs present. After vacuuming, it is recommended to disinfect the mattress using a suitable disinfectant spray or solution.

Eliminating Scabies Mites

In addition to cleaning and disinfecting, treating the mattress with appropriate scabicidal products is crucial to eliminate scabies mites. Follow the instructions provided by the healthcare professional and choose products that are safe and effective for use on mattresses.

Managing Scabies Infestation in the Household

When dealing with a scabies infestation, it is important to take measures to manage the infestation within the entire household.

Treating All Affected Individuals

To prevent reinfestation and ensure effective treatment, it is essential to treat all individuals within the household who have symptoms of scabies. This includes not only those with visible signs but also those who may be asymptomatic.

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Cleaning and Disinfecting Household Items

Apart from mattresses, it is important to thoroughly clean and disinfect other household items that may have come into contact with scabies mites. This includes clothing, towels, soft toys, and any shared bedding. Washing these items in hot water and drying them on high heat can help kill the mites.

Vacuuming and Steam Cleaning

Regularly vacuuming and steam cleaning carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture can help remove any scabies mites or eggs that may have been deposited. Pay particular attention to areas where infested individuals spend a significant amount of time, such as beds, couches, and chairs.

Avoiding Reinfestation

To prevent reinfestation and minimize the risk of scabies mites surviving in the household, it is important to maintain good personal hygiene practices, regularly wash bedding, and avoid sharing personal items. Additionally, it is advisable to treat any pets in the household that may have come into contact with scabies mites.

Common Myths About Scabies and Mattresses

There are several common myths surrounding scabies and mattresses. Let’s debunk them to provide accurate information.

Scabies Only Infest Dirty Mattresses

Contrary to popular belief, scabies mites do not infest mattresses due to cleanliness. Scabies infestation is primarily caused by close contact with an infected individual, and the cleanliness of the mattress does not play a significant role in their survival or transmission.

Scabies Mites Cannot Survive Outside the Human Body

While scabies mites prefer to live on human skin, they are capable of surviving off the body for a short period. However, their chances of infesting mattresses or other non-human environments for an extended period are minimal.

Scabies Mites Die Instantly on Dry Surfaces

While scabies mites do not thrive well in dry environments, they are capable of surviving on dry surfaces for a limited time. However, their ability to reproduce and infest dry surfaces, such as mattresses, is significantly diminished.

Scabies Mites Can Penetrate Through Mattress Fabric

Scabies mites are unable to penetrate through mattress fabric to infest and survive within the mattress. The lack of suitable conditions, such as warmth and moisture, prevents them from establishing a long-term presence in mattresses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Scabies Mites Live on Mattress Covers?

Scabies mites can survive temporarily on mattress covers, especially if they come into contact with an infested individual. However, regular laundering of mattress covers in hot water and high-temperature drying can effectively eliminate the mites.

Should I Replace My Mattress If I Had Scabies?

In most cases, replacing your mattress is not necessary if you have had a scabies infestation. With proper cleaning, disinfecting, and treatment, including vacuuming, steam cleaning, and using scabicidal products, you can effectively eliminate scabies mites from your mattress.

Can I Use Insecticides on My Mattress to Kill Scabies Mites?

Using insecticides on your mattress to kill scabies mites is not recommended. Insecticides may contain harmful chemicals that can pose a risk to your health. It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for appropriate treatment options and follow their guidance.

How Long Should I Isolate My Mattress After Scabies Infection?

The duration of isolating your mattress after a scabies infection can vary. Consult a healthcare professional for guidance on the appropriate isolation period based on the severity of the infestation and the effectiveness of the treatment.


Scabies mites can survive for a limited time on mattresses, but their chances of establishing a long-term infestation are low. Proper hygiene practices, regular laundering of bedding, and the use of mattress protectors can significantly reduce the risk of scabies mites infesting your mattress. In case of a scabies infestation, prompt treatment, deep cleaning, and disinfecting are essential to eliminate the mites effectively. Remember to treat all affected individuals in the household and maintain good hygiene practices to manage and prevent scabies infestations. By debunking common myths and providing accurate information, we can better understand and address scabies infestations in relation to mattresses.