Head Lice Housecleaning Tips

:A common misconception about treating people and homes that have had contact with lice is that the only way to get them out of the house is to put everything in the home that is made of any type of fabric in plastic bags for two weeks and have the furniture and carpets cleaned. Not necessary!Here is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about home cleaning when lice are found: “Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money on housecleaning activities.”

-Live lice do not hop, jump, or fly. They only crawl and can survive less than 48 hours if they fall off the scalp and cannot feed. Typically they will die within 15 hours or less

-Lice eggs (nits) cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they do not remain under ideal conditions of heat and humidity similar to those found close to the human scalp. Therefore, because a nit must incubate under conditions equivalent to those found near the human scalp, it is very unlikely to hatch away from the head. In addition, if the egg were to hatch, the newly emerged nymph would die within several hours if it did not feed on human blood.

-By getting your treatment and killing both the lice and eggs off the host human scalp, you will have taken the biggest step to being lice-free.

-Routine house cleaning, including vacuuming of carpeting, rugs, furniture, car seats, and other fabric covered items, as well as laundering of linens and clothing worn or used by the infested person is sufficient. Only items that have been in contact with the head of the infested person in the 48 hours before treatment need be considered for cleaning.

Head lice do not survive off the human host for more than 48 hours!

So remember the 48 hour rule in all of your cleaning!

Here are some preventative housecleaning measures you can take after you have completed your treatment:

1) All bed and bath linens that have come in contact with an infected individual can be dried in the dryer on high heat for 30-40 minutes before being washed and dried again. Use hot water laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. For further peace of mind, you can isolate these items in a plastic bag for 48 hours. Be sure to include any quilts, comforters, blankets, and pillows. Items that cannot be washed and dried can be placed in plastic bags and isolated for 48 hours. There is no need to throw away any items.

2) Similar to all linens, all clothing that has been worn or in contact with an infected individual may be dried in the dryer on high heat for 30-40 minutes before being washed and dried again. If an item cannot be machine dried, place it in a bag and isolate the bag for 48 hours. Dry cleaning is not necessary or guaranteed to get rid of lice, so take special care to isolate special clothing items. This includes outerwear, hats, scarves, jackets, coats, and sweaters.

3) Stuffed animals. We recommend drying in the dryer on high for 30-40 and and washing and drying afterword. Set in a plastic bag and isolate the bag for 48 hours

4) Vacuum the floor and all furniture including all sofas, chairs, car seats, large pillows, carpets, and area rugs where the infested person sat or lay. Items such as counter tops, carpets, and floors DO NOT need to be deep cleaned. The risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a rug or carpet or furniture is very small as they cannot survive off the host human head and they do not hop, jump or fly.

5) Brushes, Combs, and Hair Accessories. Take all hair brushes, combs, and accessories, label appropriately to avoid sharing, place in plastic bags, and set in freezer for 48 hours. After that, wash thoroughly with hot, soapy water and allow to air dry. Clean any containers, holders, and drawers before putting items back to get a fresh, clean start!

6) Other items to clean or set in 48 hour isolation include: Helmets, headphones, baseball caps, graduation caps, and anything else that came in contact with the individual’s head or hair.

There are a lot of things to consider when cleaning after a head lice infestation, but it is well worth the time and peace of mind. Our treatment success rate is 99%+ so getting treated at our clinic will solve your problem. However, after our comprehensive treatment at our clinic, we know that you want to have a clean, lice-free home.