Your At Home Lice Clean Up  Guide

(Cleaning Your Home During and After an Active Head Lice Infestation)

When an active case of head lice has been confirmed in your family, your first step should be to check all members of your household for lice and find an effective treatment to eradicate the lice and keep them from spreading.

Once treatments have been started, your second step should be to clean your home. It’s important to note that lice live on a person’s head, not in your home — generally speaking, lice can only live off of a human head for 24-48 hours — so there isn’t typically a need to conduct a full deep cleaning. Also, you should note that chemical sprays are not effective in killing lice and can be harmful to you and your family. Below, we’ve provided you with a few simple guidelines to help you clean your home in the event of a head lice infestation.


In the event of a lice infestation, you don’t actually need to wash clothing and linens. You should, however, put the following items into a dryer for 30-40 minutes on high to kill any living lice.
  • Stuffed animals, blankets, or other cloth items that have been slept with.
  • Comforters, blankets, bed linens, pillows, and pillow shams from the infected person’s bed.
  • Any clothes, scarves, jackets, backpacks, or towels that have been worn or used in the last 48 hours.

Anything in this list that can not be sanitized using the high dryer cycle or vacuuming should be bagged in an airtight bag for 48 hours to prevent any live lice from spreading.


​You should vacuum all of the common areas of your home where the infected person has been within 48 hours of lice detection. A vacuum should be used on:
  • Rugs, carpets, and cloth sofas and chairs. Leather furniture should be wiped down with a damp cloth.
  • Cloth car seats, safety seats, and seat covers. A lint roller may also be used to clean these items.
  • Any large pillows that cannot be put into the dryer.

Lice have claws instead of sticky feet, so they don’t typically get around easily. Also, they may crawl quickly, but they can not travel long distance.


​​Hot water will not generally kill head lice, so there is no need to put things in the dishwasher, boil them, or wash them with hot, soapy water. Instead, it is far more effective to freeze items that may have lice or eggs on them. Place these items in a sealed baggie or other airtight container and then put them in the freezer for 48 hours. These items include:
  • Hair brushes, hair ties, scrunchies, and other hair accessories.
  • Helmets, hats, or anything else worn on the head, especially if it was used within during the last 48 hours.

Remember, lice are generally resistant to toxins and the use of pesticides in your home can be harmful to you or your family.