Take off when Lice Move In

Family at a carnival, in a ride that spins around. The background is blurred.

Photo by peasap


Want to avoid washing every sheet, towel and pillow that you own when the school nurse calls to tell you that your child has lice? The easiest way to rid your home of lice is…

Lice Don’t Fly, Jump, or Burrow

I once drove to a client’s home to treat the family and found all the mattresses outside on the front lawn. While impressive, this kind of drastic action is not even slightly necessary to combat a lice infestation in the home. Lice don’t fly. Lice don’t jump. Lice don’t burrow. They are not like bedbugs, which can live off of the human head for a year or more.

Once a louse is off of a human head, it dies quickly. Lice feed on human blood, and need frequent meals. A louse without a food supply won’t last 48 hours. Nits (lice eggs) are even more defenseless: once off the human head, nits won’t survive even if they were able to hatch. Essentially, once they are off the hair shaft, they cease to be a threat.

Forget about the bags

You don’t need to bag everything in your home. Focus only on the items in your home that have touched a human head in the previous 2-3 days. Jackets, hoodies, helmets, hats, brushes, pillows, bedding, and couches should all be treated. Anything that can’t be washed should be thrown in the dryer on high head for 30 minutes. Anything that can’t be thrown in the dryer should just be kept away from human heads for 2-3 days. Put the helmet in the closet, tuck the bike away and walk or drive.

The likelihood of a louse that has fallen off a human head surviving and being in exactly the right place to crawl back on is extremely low. If you spend the time you spend cleaning your home on combing your child, you would clear lice infestations in half the time with a tenth of the effort. Anything that possibly would crawl back on your child you will catch with careful combing of the child’s head the next time you comb.

The easiest solution

Honestly, the most hassle-free solution to cleaning your home is simply to leave. Whether you pack your bags and head to a local motel, or you dream big and take off on a weekend getaway, all of the lice will perish after 48 hours. You don’t have to vacuum or wash a thing.


Photo credit: peasap

Melissa Black

Melissa Allen Black is the Founder and CEO of Honeycombers Lice Advice & Treatment Salon where she provides an incredibly clean, bright, warm location for lice treatment. She is also a resource to schools, camps, daycares and other organizations managing lice infestations.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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