How to clean after head lice
Here is a check list and some trips and tricks for cleaning after a head lice infestation. We also have a printer-friendly version (pdf).
Head Lice Check-list
1.___ All combs/brushes, hair pretties, headbands, barrettes should be bagged tightly and placed in the freezer for 12 hours, put in a mesh bag and placed in the dishwasher on the sanitize cycle or set aside (in the tightly closed bag) for a week.
2.___ All glasses, goggles, earrings, hearing aids, phones and head phones should be wiped down gently with soap and water.
3.___ All hats, jackets, sweaters, sporting gear should be washed (only if dirty). It is not the washing that kills the lice it is the high heat produced in the dryer. Place all things in the dryer on high heat for 40 min. If the fabric won’t tolerate the high heat then place in the freezer for 12 hours or bag for 5 days.
4.___ Cleaning bedrooms: strip all the sheets and mattress pads off and place in the dryer on high heat for 40 min. Vacuum the mattress and all areas surrounding the mattress. You will need to repeat this step daily for 5 days. Pillows can be placed in the dryer for the 40 min, placed in the freezer for 12 hours or bagged for 5 days.
5.___ Car seats: Vacuum the car seats/headrests thoroughly. If you have leather seats wipe them off with a damp rag. If your child sits in a car seat/booster remove the seat cover and dry on high heat for 40 min, place in freezer for 12 hours or bag for 5 days.
6.___ All dolls, blankets, stuffed animals and rugs should be put in the dryer on high heat for 40 min, placed in the freezer for 12 hours or bagged for 5 days.
Tips and Tricks
1. If it is not dirty, don’t wash it! It is not the water that will kill the lice it is the high heat in the dryer. When using the dryer use the highest heat setting for 40 minutes.
2. After you have vacuumed and/or wiped down the couch, chairs in your living area, place a flat sheet over them. At the end of each day you can remove the sheet and put in the dryer for 40 min.
3. If your child plays in their closet or drawers and you feel that all the clothes could be contaminated you can take out outfits for the next 5 days put them through the dryer on high heat for 40 min and tape off the closet and/or drawers for 5 days. ( Lice die after 48 hours without a host)
4. If there are areas in your home that are rarely used, vacuum them and tape them off as an off-limits area for 5 days.
5. If you have little girls try to keep their hair back in pony tails or braids.
6. Inform the parents of the children that your child plays with frequently. Also inform your children’s teacher so that they can make arrangements to get your child a single locker while going through the treatment process.
7. Use Ladibugs all natural Lice Prevention products that will repel head lice for 8 hours with each application.
8. Encourage your child not to share sporting gear, hats, coats, combs, wigs, dress up clothes etc.