With this guide, you will learn how to thoroughly clean your house after head lice infestations to eliminate all traces of the infestation and prevent re-infestation.
Head lice are tiny insects that live on a person’s scalp and feed on their blood. They are a common problem among school-aged children and easily spread from one person to another through close head-to-head contact or by sharing combs, brushes, hats, and other personal items.
The most common symptom of head lice is itching on the scalp. You may also see small, brown bugs that are about the size of a sesame seed and white nits (lice eggs) attached to the hair shafts.
The Importance of Cleaning
Cleaning your house after a head lice infestation is important to prevent re-infestation and to stop the spread of lice to others.
Here are some reasons why cleaning your house after a head lice infestation is important.
Stop Spread to Others
Lice can quickly spread to other people in your household or close contacts, so cleaning your house is important to prevent the spread of lice to others.
Get Rid of Nits
Nits, or lice eggs, can be found on bedding, clothing, and other items and are a sign of an active infestation. Cleaning your house will remove any remaining nits and prevent hatching
Avoid Health Issues
While lice do not carry or transmit diseases, scratching can cause skin irritation and open wounds, which increase the risk of infection. Cleaning your house will ensure that you remove any remaining lice or nits and prevent the risk of further irritation.
Create a Clean Environment
A clean and tidy home can prevent lice from taking hold and make it easier to spot any signs of a new infestation.
Overall, cleaning your house after a head lice infestation is an important step to prevent re-infestation and stop the spread of lice to others. It can also promote good personal hygiene and reduce the risk of skin irritation and infection.
Clean House After Head Lice
To keep your house safe after a head lice infestation, you can follow these steps!
Wash all beddings, clothing, and other fabric items that the infested person has used in hot water (at least 130°F) and dry on high heat for at least 20 minutes. Items that cannot be washed, such as stuffed animals and pillows, can be placed in a plastic bag and sealed for 2 weeks.
Vacuum carpets, upholstery, and any other surfaces that may have come into contact with the infested person’s hair or skin. Pay close attention to areas around the headrests of furniture, the edges of carpets, and the corners of the room. After vacuuming, dispose of the vacuum bag or empty the canister and wash it thoroughly.
Clean hair accessories, combs, and brushes in hot water and a lice-killing shampoo or with rubbing alcohol for at least 1 hour.
Use a lice-killing spray to treat any non-washable items, such as furniture or car seats. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label and test it on a small inconspicuous area first.
After you have completed these cleaning steps, the risk of spreading lice to others should be low.
Educate family members and close contacts about the head lice infestation, and encourage them to check their hair and scalp for any signs of lice or nits.
Confirm the Presence of Head Lice
If you suspect that you have head lice in-home material such as bedding, clothing, or furniture, there are a few signs you can look for to confirm your suspicions.
Here are some steps you can take to check for lice on your head or home materials.
Look for Live Lice or Nits
Adult lice are small, wingless insects that are grayish-white or tan in color. Nits are the eggs laid by the lice and are usually yellow or white in color. Both lice and nits can be found on hair, as well as on bedding, clothing, and other fabrics.
Check for Lice Bites
Lice bites can cause itching and irritation on the scalp, neck, and other areas of the body. Look for small red bumps or sores on your skin, particularly around the hairline and behind the ears.
Inspect Bedding and Clothing
Check bedding, clothing, and other fabrics for signs of lice or nits. Look for small brown or black specks, which may be lice droppings.
Use a Fine Toothed Comb
Use a fine-toothed comb to comb through the hair, particularly around the scalp and behind the ears. Look for lice or nits on the comb.
Head lice are highly contagious and easily spread from one person to another through head-to-head contact and sharing personal items such as brushes, combs, hats, and clothing. By cleaning, you can ensure the prevention of lice transmission from one person to the next.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Human Head Lice Infest My Pets?
No, human lice (Pediculus Humanus Capitis) cannot infest pets such as cats or dogs. They are specific to humans and cannot survive on other animals. Pets can have their own species-specific lice, but these are different from human lice and do not typically infest humans.
How Long Does It Take for Lice to Die Off Once They Are off the Human Head?
Lice can only survive for 24 hours once they are removed from a human head, so as long as you clean your home within this timeframe, you should effectively get rid of any lice that may have fallen off the affected person’s head.
Can I Get Head Lice From My Furniture or Carpet?
It’s unlikely to get head lice from furniture or carpet, as lice can only live for about 1-2 days without a host. However, it’s still important to clean these surfaces to remove any lice or nits that may have fallen off the scalp.
Do I Need to Use a Special Lice-Killing Product to Clean My House?
While there are products specifically marketed for cleaning after a head lice infestation, such as sprays and powders, they are not necessary.
Regular cleaning methods, such as washing bedding in hot water and vacuuming, are effective in removing lice and nits from the home. However, some people may prefer to use these products for extra peace of mind.
Can I Use Bleach to Clean My House After Head Lice?
While bleach can be effective in killing lice and their eggs, it is not good to use it as a cleaning solution in your home after a head lice infestation.
It is not safe for use on many household items, such as upholstered furniture and bedding, as it can discolor and weaken these materials.
Can I Prevent Head Lice in the First Place?
While it’s not always possible to prevent head lice, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of infestation. Encourage family members to avoid sharing personal items like combs, brushes, hats, and headphones. Keep long hair tied back, especially during activities like sports or playing with other children.
How Long Do I Need to Clean for After Head Lice?
It’s important to thoroughly clean your house after a head lice infestation to prevent re-infestation. The amount of time needed for cleaning can vary depending on the severity of the infestation and the size of your home. However, a thorough cleaning should take at least a few hours.