How to Deep Clean Your Home After Lice

When the headache of lice plagues your home and loved ones it can be hard to know exactly what to do. Some people feel overwhelmed or frustrated by all the ways of possible reinfection and treatment. Here is a simple guideline for the basics of cleaning up your home after a lice infection has been identified. Once head lice is removed from the victims these simple solutions can give you peace of mind that no one will be reinfected.


Laundering or Dry Cleaning Personal Items

Gather up any bedding, mattress covers, pillow, pillow cases, bed sheets, towels, or clothing that has been worn within the last 48 hours. It is important to soak, wash and dry items in hot temperatures of at least 130 degrees to make sure no nits or lice survive the process. Dry cleaning is also an effective solution. If you prefer, bag up the necessary items and take them to your nearest dry cleaner for treating. Even items children may have come into contact with such as stuffed animals or throw pillows and blankets need to be deep cleaned.


Disinfect Hair Combs and Accessories

All brushes, combs, and hair accessories that are not treated will possibly reinfect a head. There is no need to throw away items and buy new. You can disinfect them.  Before using, gather all items and remove any hair strands from them. You can choose to soak the items in alcohol overnight. Or if you prefer, boil a pot of hot water. Immersing items for five minutes or longer in the boiling hot water will kill any lice eggs.   


Is Bagging Items for Two Weeks Effective?

When items are thoroughly washed in hot water or dry cleaned they do not pose a risk for reinfection. Lice that are removed from the human head will not have heat or food to live on. They will not survive after a day or two. Nits, or eggs, are able to live only a few days outside of a scalp and will not hatch without the optimal conditions needed on a host head. In other words, bagging up belongings for two weeks is one method, but maybe only for severe cases. Thorough cleaning is the most recommended option. Vacuum up any lice or nits that may have fallen off the head of infected people. Remove the vacuum bag or empty the vacuum into an outside trash immediately. Carpet cleaning is also an option that can help ensure all remaining traces are extinguished.


Should We Call the Exterminator?

In removing lice and nits from your home, using fumigation and toxins is not a recommended solution. Pest control methods can be harmful to pets or children as harsh chemicals are possibly absorbed into the skin or can be inhaled. Thorough deep cleaning is the recommended solution for removing unwanted lice or nits from any area they may be lurking. Vacuuming carpets, couches, chairs or anything fabric lined where they can burrow is important. Washing all blankets, bedding, stuffed animals, towels or linens is essential to prevent reinfection.


Do Pets Need to Be Treated for Lice?

Pets do not transfer or carry head lice. There are many other types of parasites or pests that can be spread among dogs or cats. However, head lice in not among them.


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