Debra Lynn Dadd

help! we have ringworm!



I have 4 cats and 3 dogs and one new baby. I also work for a cat rescue organization and unfortunately came into contact with a kitten who had ringworm.

Despite my precautions, I must have brought it home because now two of my cats have come down with it. I do not want the rest of my pets and especially my new baby to get it.

Everyone has told me the only thing that really kills ringworm spores is bleach. Although I try very hard to make my home as toxin-free as possible, a few days ago I scrubbed down the whole house with bleach and water solution (1 oz bleach to 25 oz water). Now I remember why I have always hated bleach!

Despite diluting it, my whole house reeks of it (even after 3 days!)! And the horrible thing is that even though I have the cats quarantined, I feel like I need to keep using it to clean my shoes, hands, and other such objects after I go in to care for them everyday. Even though I wear a change of clothes and latex gloves, their hair gets on me and I feel like I am just covered in ringworm spores and since my baby is home with me, I feel I need to be extra clean before I even touch her!

After doing some research, I read that grapefruit seed extract is supposed to be good at killing ringworm, but then I read somewhere else that it actually didn't do anything.

Do you know of anything nontoxic or at least less toxic that will actually kill the ringworm fungus and spores? I could potentially have to be scrubbing down my house every week for months and I do not want to have to keep using bleach.

I have also been told that Chlorhexidine scrub will kill it. I have used that to scrub surgery instruments before and it definitely has a much less offensive odor but I don't know if it is really any less toxic or perhaps even more so. Do you know?

Finally, I have been washing my hands in a diluted bleach mixture. But I breastfeed my baby and I am worried about whether my skin could absorb this and I could be harming my baby by passing these toxins on to her

Please tell me what you think!! Thank you for your help!!

POSTED BY JEN :: COLORADO USA :: 11/27/2007 11:07 AM



Debra :-)


GSE Grapefruit Seed Extract will kill the Ringworm on the skin and you can take internally. Only use the product GSE by Nutribiotic. Can be found in health food stores. Remember ringworm is a misnomer,it is not a worm, it is a fungus so it takes time to rid. A product called Kleen-Free Enzymes might help. You can find it with a google search of the same name. Rids the body of lice and scabies, might help with this.

POSTED BY RANA :: CA USA :: 11/30/2007 7:15 AM

My son had ring worm and was prescribed an anti-fungal. I asked for a natural alternitive and was given Gentian violet. I didn't try it, so I can't say.

I do know about bleach. Chlorine bleach is stronger and faster acting than Hydrogen peroxide but they do the same thing. The other great fact is that they nutralize each other. Combined they produce pure oxygen, water and salt. don't pour one into the other because O2 is very flamable. I had an emergency water purification kit that used bleach first and then nuetralize with peroxide. In the commercial laundry business it is common practice to follow a bleach bath with a peroxide bath to be safe.

So, if you have to use bleach, follow with a rinse or mist of hydrogen peroxide and the chlorine gas will be gone.


POSTED BY PAMELA ALLEN :: MD USA :: 11/30/2007 7:17 AM

My one year old daughter got patch of ringworm on her arm. I went online and then checked at my local healthfood store. I came up with Thuja Oil (mixed with olive oil). The ring worm was gone and skin healed in about 2 weeks. Be sure to check online for precautions, my brother read that it could cause problems for pregnant women.


Are the cats under treatment?

I just looked to see what James Duke had to say and he says that ringworm is similar to Athletes foot and his favorite remedy is garlic for the latter.

If you were to visit a quarantined patient in the hospital you would cover yourself with a gown that opens down the back, wear something that looks like a shower cap over your head and over your shoes, and wear gloves. You'd need a place to hang those items after leaving the quarantine area and going into your house, or preferably, get paper ones that can be discarded. Or get some cheap shoes to wear only in the quarantine area and wear an old bathrobe backwards.

I would think a good 20-30 second hand washing with soap followed by a thorough rinse would be adequate rather than bleach. I'd use paper towels. Use the paper towels to turn the faucet off, if you think you touched it with dirty hands.

I would think a good vacuuming of carpets and upholstery with a vacuum that has a true hepa filter would be advisable. I wonder about some of the top of the line steam cleaners. I've read that the cheaper ones leave moisture. Allergy Buyers Club might be able to advise you about air filters and steam cleaners.

I wonder about using essential oils, such as teatree oil for cleaning solutions. Borax is anti-mold and boric acid is anti-fungal so a borax solution might be worth considering. Seems like by scrubbing you are only going to remove spores that land on surfaces. I'd consider air filters. I saw an interesting device that treats the air with UV light on

Souonds like an anti-fungal diet would be wise, in other words, no sugar, not drinking a lot of fruit juice or eating white bread, that sort of thing, etc.

This is all off the top of my head as a retired R.N. but I don't have any direct experience with this. If I were you I would go to or call Tahoma Clinic 425-264-0059. The number is for appts but maybe they could refer you to someone. I would think Dr. Wright would have some ideas, if you could get ahold of him or his nurse. Good luck!

POSTED BY MARY :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 12/03/2007 8:51 PM

As stated above, ringworm is a fungal infection. Occasionally, they will pop up from time to time due to exposure to an infected source. I'm listing tips that help our family.

Washing the affected area with Selsun Blue shampoo. My boyfriend occasionally gets fungal infections around his groin area and washing with the shampoo will often clear it up right away. Rinsing the area with highly-salted water (trying to replicate the ocean) also helps a great deal. Keeping the area dry is also paramount. Finally, good ole Listerine is an anti-fungal, so feel free to apply liberally with a cotton ball. I agree that tea tree oil, etc., are all also helpful, but sometimes you need a quickie solution that doesn't require a trip to the health-food store.

One last comment: I used to get ringworm on my legs and, for the life of me, couldn't figure out where on earth I could be picking it up. Then, a friend clued me in and, boy, did I feel stupid. Don't keep your razor in the shower! The bacteria just grow on the blade in that environment that is warm and moist. Since keeping the razor outside the shower, I've not had a problem.

Love you, Debra! You do an awesome job and have probably lengthened all of our lives -- you certainly have made them better and healthier!

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: Thank you! Just want to note that Selsun Blue and Listerine are not natural or eco-friendly, however, sometimes it is necessary and desirable to use such a product to halt a condition that is worse for health and needs to be stopped, such as ringworm. I'd try the salt water first, though.

POSTED BY DEBORAH :: TEXAS USA :: 12/11/2007 2:04 PM

I would also be VERY CAREFUL about using essential oils around cats. Many cheaper oils contain phenols, which cats are unable to metabolize, causing liver toxicity and/or failure. This is especially true of Tea Tree and Lavender oils - 2 of my favorites, and I have cats! :-(

NEVER put straight ("neat") essential oils on or near a cat. Educate your self thoroughly and dilute properly when using these around your feline babies. They can be safe when used properly, just be aware and very careful!


This comment has to do with using chlorine bleach to kill fungal infections. I can tell you from 30+ years of experience that it is more effective at getting rid of localized lesions than anything else and works much more quickly. If you have a cat with a few patches of ringworm, forget about scrubbing down the house with bleach solutions. The spores are on the cat, carried in the hair follicles, particularly in long haired breeds. Take a Q-tip and dunk it in straight chlorine bleach and swab the lesions once a day for three or four days. That's all it takes. The lesions will dry up quickly and begin growing hair in a couple weeks. No veterinarian will tell you this, but I found out firsthand years ago after becoming completely frustrated with the slow, ineffective oral treatment (fulvicin) and topical creams. I've used it on kittens, cats, dogs and myself to get rid of ringworm and foot fungus. At the risk of grossing people out, I'll relate my most recent experience with foot fungus and the less than subtle way I got rid of it. I had been jogging off and on and wasn't always quick about removing my sweaty socks after running. One day at work I noticed my right foot felt like it had been set aflame, so when I got home from work I peeled off the sock and saw where the sensation was coming from. The underside of my three smallest toes was obviously harboring a nasty infection. I had a gallon of bleach in the bathroom. I opened the toilet, poured about half a gallon into the bowl, and stuck my foot, right up to the ankle, in the toilet and left it there for aboout five minutes. That was the entirety of my treatment regimen and it was all that it took. A week later there wasn't so much as a trace of the infection. It works and it's safe (and cheap), if you limit the duration of direct contact with the bleach.

POSTED BY MARK :: MARYLAND USA :: 02/18/2008 8:34 PM

I read with great interest the comment about putting her foot into the toilet....

I adopted a kitten and found out it had ringworm only after I came down with ringworm...and now my dog has it.

I like the idea of Clorox dip but not sure I want to dip my cat into the toilet bowl and my Rottweiler won't fit.

Great tip, though. Thanks.


My daughter brought home an infested kitten unknowingly in December and practically the whole household quickly became infected, four of the five kids under 10 and the dog and other cats. She first did the clorox surface treatment in the garage and house and then realized that was probably futile. Through some research she heard of tea tree oil treatment to the affected sites on the children and that worked over the course of 2-3 weeks. I think she followed the Veterinarian's advise for the animals, some kind of oral medication.

POSTED BY SANDRA :: OREGON USA :: 04/10/2008 1:31 PM

Yikes, I would not put bleach on my skin! It is horrible to even breathe it in, let alone intensionally put it on your skin!

I was recently had a bit of ringworm on my skin (still don't know how I got it!). Used anti-fungal cream & anti-itch cream, recommended by my MD. Worked to an extent, then just stopped working. Emailed my Naturopath for her advice--she said it had to be cleared out internally, and recommended Candida homeopathic remedy, Lact-Enz (probiatic) by Standard Process, and also Antronex by Standard Process. After a couple days I saw a significant difference. Now it is about 10 days into treatment and it is almost completely clear of any marks at all, and all itch is gone. Worked like a charm! :)

POSTED BY DEBBIE T. :: OHIO USA :: 05/15/2008 12:49 PM


I have been battling ringworm in my home (and personally, especially since I have NO IMMUNE SYSTEM due to a rare disease) for 3 months now. My entire handicap acc. apt has been under quarantine for almost as long - we have contacted everyone from the CDC, State Health Dept, Dept of Infectious Disease, Local hospital Infectious Control Dept., and several professional remediation companies (most all do not clean up ringworm)!

We have had the apt vacuumed/ cleaned professionally, painted, sealed the floors & STILL IT IS THERE! I recently found a very lethal product, but which has been Gov. tested & approved to kill ringworm named TekTrol - but this is some nasty heavy duty stuff (need to suit up/ use ventilator, etc.) - but I too, am very desperate at this point.

Be advised that there are over 40 strains of ringworm & it is imperative that you GO TO THE DOCTOR & VET to confirm the strain and get treated properly. M. Canis (microsporum canis) is the particular strain we have, which flouresces under a Wood's Lamp/ Light as lime green - so at least we can see where the 'spores' are ALL OVER EVERYTHING - be aware that the VACUUM cleaner will also blow the spores onto walls, picture frames & into every nook & cranny you have - this stuff is NASTY!!! There is a new product for environmental cleanup we just found (but needs to be rinsed) at - last one on the bottom will help clean pourous surfaces like couches, rugs, etc. & another for non-pourous surfaces - though we have tried yet, I will be ordering today.

As far as people go, I got rid of it relatively quickly in approx 3 wks compared to months - going to the dr. and getting a Rx for Sporanox, using topical anti-fungal creams (ONLY TURBINAFINE will work w/ m.canis)believe it is in Lamisil AT - THEN make sure to shower every day & use Nizoral shampoo as a hair & body wash/ let it sit for 5-10 min before rinsing - active ingredient = ketaconazole (NOT SELSON BLUE which only contains selenium sulfide/ stinky sulfur - groin ringworm is completely different from that on your body, vs. your hands, scalp, feet - Tinea Corporis (on your body/ trunk & legs is what I had) Chlorahexadine will do absolutely NOTHING - it is for cleaning infections - much in the same way as peroxide for a cut - that's it. Have a SEPERATE TOWEL JUST FOR THE RINGWORM AREA & wash seperately as well - this will spread in the same manner as poison ivy to other areas, people & OBJECTS!
Rule of thumb for everything -- if you can't wash it 2x in a row w/ a full cup of bleach in HOT WATER- throw it out! This stuff does NOT rinse/ wash out of clothes as easily as you will read everywhere!

B/c of my lack of immune system, I have LOST EVERYTHING I OWN - new furniture, clothes, everything to this NASTY NIGHTMARE!

The animals will need to be bathed 1-2x a week w/ Malaseb Shampoo = contains miconazole. That is the only ingredient that will work - other than a lime sulfur dip for cats (which will turn them yellow) - but I would check out & see what their shampoos contain. The will continue to re-infect you & the environment if not.

I WOULD HIGHLY SUGGEST (if you truly want to clean this up) to get yourself a little Wood's Lamp (look on eBay) or some other UV(b) light - but has to be long range (tube) with minimum 345nm (nanometers?) to be able to see the itty bitty tiny tiny spores - which will eventually come out of dormancy & start the infection all over again under the right - warm/ moist/ dark conditions. These suckers can be the size of the head of a pin, but the 50% that 'glow' will stand right out like a neon sign - make sure to turn the lights off before scanning anything to see better. When you do find them, use backward rolled masking/ duct tape to pick them up off of anything (including the animals), so they don't blow off onto something else on the way to the trash can.

TRUST ME - this is the ONLY THING that has come even close to getting rid of this stuff & still requires work every day. Get rid of non-bagless vacuum cleaners too, or you'll just re-contaminate everything (or contaminate it outdoors). This stuff will stay viable for 5 YEARS OR MORE INDOORS and approx 3 YEARS OUTDOORS in the soil or wherever it lands - providing you don't live in a constantly warm/ humid climate = longer!!!

GOOD LUCK - I'm right in this hellish nightmare with ya!

POSTED BY GEM :: CONNECTICUT USA :: 10/20/2008 4:45 PM

I read that fungus (ringworm is a fungus) can't live in an acidic environment so I started putting straight white vinegar on a cotton ball and dabbing it on the ringworm spots on myself a few times a day. I continued this for a few weeks after I felt that I couldn't see it any longer just to be sure I got rid of it. This cleared them up. I've used it on my dogs with a spot here and there and the vinegar took care of it. We've never had a heavy infestation so go slowly to see if you or your dogs might have a reaction to the vinegar. The vinegar may burn some if there is an open wound from scratching. Keep it out of their eyes. Put 1/4 cup of vinegar in with each wash of clothing and to wash pet beds weekly. If the pet beds are unwashable I'd spray them with 50/50 vinegar/water solution at least once a week then let dry before they get back into the bed so that the smell goes away. If you can do this everyday it would probably be better. Vinegar makes one of my dogs sneeze. If you have ringworm don't wear a piece of clothing over again a second time without washing.

Steam cleaning and wiping things down with 50/50 vinegar/water solution may help with washing of walls, counters, etc and put some vinegar in a steam cleaner for the carpets. We've never had to go that far though.

I've tried the creams from the doctor to get rid of ringworm on myself. They didn't work. Hope this works for you as good as it did us!


I would be very careful about putting bleach or even a diluted solution of bleach on yourself or any animals. Bleach is POISON, and it can cause burns on your skin. I put it on a couple patches of ringworm I had and it did burn the skin and left scars. I wouldn't put it on your pet as they could lick it and die. I have my 2 cats on Sporanox (itraconazole) and a shampoo with Chlorhexadine and Ketonazole, and am also vacuuming the carpets like crazy and tossing the bag.

The ringworm came with a Persian cat I just adopted about 2 months ago. His owner didn't tell me of it and now this mess is everywhere!


HI All,

In regard to Bleach and ringworm. YES YES YES bleach DOES kill Spores!!!
I am a breeder, and i know from experience, that using bleach diluted with water 1;10 does kill ringworm spores.
I wash all clothing in HOT water and pop in the dryer, or out in the sunlight. Tea tree oil or Iodine is brilliant on humans to kill lesions, however, not good for animals. DO NOT USE TEA TREE OIL ON YOUR CAT!!!! This can kill a cat. DO NOT USE BLEACH ON YOUR PET OR YOUR SKIN. BLEACH IS VERY EFFECTIVE IN THE DISINFECTION OF YOUR ENVIRONMENT. FOr your pets use an Antifungal shampoo, such as Malaseb, and also oral therapy.
The environment is iimportant to stop reinfection. Animals must be placed in one easy clean room, whilst the rest of the environment are being cleaned. Also M CANIS the cat ringworm does not generally live in soil. Common sense, and good hygeine and it IS possible to eliminate ringworm forever even from a cattery. I know as i have done it.

Bleach bleach and bleach your environment, use a trigger spray bottle 1 to 9 dilution of bleach adn water, and spray everything that is possible in your home. This dilution does not bleach things white, and i have used on carpets, and rugs with success. After bleaching all surfaces, vaccumm ALOT.
Using antifungal shampoo on pets is essential as it kills spores on the fur. Even if the fur is dropped, teh spores are DEAD. If you continue bathing in antifungal shampoo, twice a week, you will eliminate the ringworm cycle.

And believe me it is a cycle, pet infected, thus infects environment, environment reinfects pet and so on.

The use of Bleach in the environment does help with spores, Antifungal shampoo kills spores on the pet and using a good vet quailty oral medication on your pet.

People safe topical treatments are tea tree oil, Iodine,

GOod Luck!!!!

POSTED BY LOLLY :: FLORIDA USA :: 06/09/2009 10:35 AM

All very good hits thank you so much. So much information. All very good.

POSTED BY LL :: WASHINGTON USA :: 06/10/2009 3:09 PM

A vet once advised my Pony Club group that the best way to kill ringworm on a horse is to use Crest toothpaste, just the regular original kind. Put it on the outer edges of the "ring", not the inside of the circle, as the outer edges are where the fungus is still alive and active. I don't know if this would work on cats or humans, to be honest, as it might be a different strain of the fungus, but I thought it was worth passing along.


Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, alternated with raw garlic, has killed ringworm for me in the past. I've tried other vinegars with some level of success, but Bragg's seems to knock fungal things out faster -- particularly athlete's foot.


Dear Jane et al,

Diluting three tea tree oil drops with two of lavender oil in a large spoon of olive oil worked for me. I applied it on the affected area and after it dried I went out and exposed it to the sun. The ringworm disappeared within a week.




Bleach may or may not kill ringworm but it does consume the top layer of skin, which is where the ringworm lives. With very limited exposure (wash away or neutralize with hydrogen peroxide solution as soon as it tingles) one can thin the top layer of skin in the affected area, and then other treatments like lamisil or tea tree oil can penetrate much better.


Does anyone know if Lamisil can be used on ringworm on a kitten? It worked great on clearing up what my daughter caught from the cat. The kitten is secluded & I feel sorry for him. I would use the Lamisil if safe. My vet is not recommending any topicals, just the chlorhexidine wash.

POSTED BY JB :: NEW YORK USA :: 10/26/2009 4:19 PM


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