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How to Get Rid of Head Lice

How to Get Rid of Head Lice in the Household

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, such as household sprays, or even having a pest control company spray the house. Follow these steps to help avoid reinfestation by lice that have recently fallen off the hair or crawled onto clothing or furniture:
 
  • To kill lice and nits (the eggs), machine-wash all washable clothing and bed linens that the infested person wore or used during the two days before treatment. Use the hot water (130°F) cycle. Dry laundry using high heat for at least 20 minutes.
     
  • Dry-clean clothing that is not washable, (coats, hats, scarves, etc.).
     
  • Store all clothing, stuffed animals, comforters, etc. that cannot be washed or dry-cleaned into a plastic bag; seal for two weeks.
     
  • Soak combs and brushes for one hour in rubbing alcohol, Lysol®, or wash with soap and hot water (130°F).
     
  • Vacuum the floor and furniture, including car seats. The risk of getting reinfested from a louse that has fallen onto a carpet or sofa is small. Don't spend a lot of time on this. Just vacuum the places where the infested person usually sits or lies. Do not use fumigant sprays; they can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
     

Final Thoughts on How to Get Rid of Head Lice

If their child has head lice, parents often wonder if they should treat themselves to prevent being infested. The answer is no. Although anyone living with an infested person can get head lice, it does not mean that everyone should be treated, regardless if they have head lice or not. Check household contacts for lice and nits every two to three days. Treat only if crawling lice or nits are found within a ¼ inch of the scalp.
 
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