Stop the Lice Cleaning Madness!
Finding out you have head lice can be scary, frustrating, and unsettling, and adding house cleaning to the process makes it even more overwhelming. Well, it doesn’t need to be and here’s why:
The current lice cleanup recommendations for your home fall under the same category as those for other human parasites, like fleas and bedbugs. Fleas and bedbugs lay their eggs on our stuff and use the human host only for a blood meal. So vacuuming and bagging and repeating the process a few times are important because you need to make sure that you’re removing all the eggs, as well as any newly hatched bugs, to end the cycle. Head lice, however, lay their eggs (nits) only in the perfect spot to incubate and hatch: on the human host. They do not lay their eggs on our stuff. This means you do not need to clean every last stuffed animal, clear every drawer and closet of clothes to wash and dry on hot, or strip the bed completely and vacuum the mattress. When a member of your household receives the Lice diagnoses, you do not need to vacuum everything, spend the day at the Laundromat, or burn your house down. You may need to do all that cleaning for fleas or bed bugs, but none of that is necessary for head lice.
You’re contagious only with an adult female louse. She’s the egg layer and it’s her job to lay her nits on human hair (up to 10 new nits per day). Lice are spread when someone has direct head-to-head (or more specifically, hair-to-hair) contact with a person who has adult lice or uses that person’s hairbrush. That adult female louse is interested only in going where she can lay her nits—where there’s a blood meal, warmth, and moisture. She’s not leaving her delicious human host for a stuffed animal, a sofa, or a seat on an airplane. A hairbrush can drag out a louse that’s on a hair shaft or pull one off by accident or through static electricity. For this reason, your house cleanup should be much more focused on stuff that touches the head directly:
- Hairbrush that was used in the past 3 days
- Towel that was last used to dry your hair after a bath or shower
- Pillow case (not the pillow itself; lice do not burrow)
- Stuffed animal or lovie blanket used near the head
- Cloth seat back, like a car seat
House Cleaning Guide For Lice
Follow Our Easy instructions to clean your house of lice
While house cleaning for lice is important, keep your priorities straight. Lice is spread from head to head. Focus on the people and heads affected first. Be patient with the comb out before you even tackle house cleaning. Your house is not the source of the infestation and you only need to clean after the first treatment.
No, You Don't need to throw them away!
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Clean out hair from combs, brushes and hair accessories. Place into the hot water and let soak for 1 minute.
The Dryer Kills Surface Lice
Put cloth items that will fit into the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes.This includes bed linens, stuffed animals, coats/jackets, hats, scarves and throw pillows or blankets.There is no need to stuff everything you own into trash bags. If you can’t put it in the dryer or vacuum it — don’t use it for 3 days.
Vacuum Places that had contact
Other cloth surfaces that may have been in direct head contact, with someone with lice in the past 3 days, should be vacuumed, lint rolled or covered with a sheet for a few days.These include: cloth furniture, carpets where heads have been, large pillows and bean bag chairs.
Don't Forget Car Seats
Car seats and headrests should be vacuumed, lint rolled or covered with a pillowcase for 3 days.
Hats, helmets, wigs and costumes that have been worn within 3 days should be placed in a freezer overnight and then wiped clean with a damp cloth or lint-roller.