According to DermNet NZ, scabies is an infectious skin disease acquired most often through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. A small insect called a mite burrows under the skin, creating small, gray worm-like tracks. Other symptoms of scabies include itching that is worse at night, scaly red skin, especially between the fingers and toes, and small itchy lumps in the armpits or groin. Examining skin scrapings under a microscope confirms the diagnosis of scabies. The article "Acaricidal Activity of Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil" published in 2004 in "Archives of Dermatology" reported that a solution of tea tree oil was effective at killing scabies mites. The authors note scabies infections are increasingly resistant to prescription medications, and confirm that an ingredient in tea tree oil called terpinen-4-ol kills the scabies mite.
Shower with a 4 percent tea tree oil body wash as recommended by "Essentials of Dermatology for Chiropractors." Add 2 tsp. of tea tree oil to 8.4 oz. of body wash and mix well. Bathe with this body wash once a day.
Apply a tea tree oil-based body oil. "The Herbal Drugstore" recommends mixing 1 tsp. of tea tree oil with 5 tsp. of olive or sesame oil. Rub the oil mixture liberally on the entire body from neck to toes. Use the oil after bathing in the morning and again before bedtime. Store any leftover oil in a dark brown or green glass bottle since light can destroy tea tree oil.
Wash all bed sheets, towels and clothes worn in the past week in hot water and dry in a hot dryer. Seal other items, such as stuffed toys, in a plastic bag for seven days to kill any remaining mites.
Vacuum carpeted floors and furniture and discard the vacuum bag. Cover furniture with plastic or a sheet during treatment and for seven days after to allow remaining mites to die.
Treat family members and loved ones following steps 1 through 4. Scabies is highly infectious and symptoms may take four to six weeks to appear. During this time an infected person can infect others.
Tea tree oil is toxic if swallowed and will irritate mucus membranes. Keep the oil away from the eyes and genitals. If improvement is not seen after two weeks, consult a doctor.
Stacey Anderson began writing in 1989. She published articles in “Teratology,” “Canadian Journal of Public Health” and the "Canadian Medical Association Journal” during her time in medical genetics studying birth defects. She has an interest in psychology, senior health and maternal and child health. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in biology from the University of Calgary.