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
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