Once you have treated head lice, it’s important to give your house a thorough cleaning. After falling off the scalp, most lice die in two days, because they can survive only by feeding off a source. While you get the assurance that all lice die, you have to be aware of this two-day frame in which lice are still alive. If they find favorable conditions, including food, some lice can survive up to one week. It’s enough a member of the family to use a brush with lice and here comes a new infestation. That being said, cleaning the house after lice is of utmost importance for your family health. Find below a guideline on how to clean house after lice.
1. Machine-wash lice-prone items
First of all, focus on items that have the highest chance of getting into contact with lice. Put all machine washable items into the washing machine and give them a heated cleaning. They include pillows, bedding, clothing, towels and headwear. Select the hot water cycle, then dry them under heated air. Heat is sure to destroy all lice left in fabrics. If the item can’t be washed in hot water, place it in a sealed bag for 48 hours. In this way you prevent lice from spreading and causing a new infestation.
2. Vacuum the carpeting and furniture
While the washing machine is doing its job, vacuum the mattresses in detail. Keep in mind that lice are extremely small, so they can hide in any crevice. That’s why, make sure to address all seams and crannies of the mattress. The same counts for carpeting and furniture. Take your time to vacuum the carpets, sofas and chairs meticulously. It would be great if you had a steam cleaner, as it uses heat that kills all lice to the last.
3. Mop the floor
Mopping should be an indispensable part of the “how to clean house after lice” checklist. Make a solution of floor cleaner and warm water and treat every inch of floor in your house with it. Lice Busters USA recommend to apply some disinfectant after mopping to guarantee all lurking lice get exterminated. If you have a large area covered with flooring, you are better off using a pleasantly-smelling disinfectant. Sharp odor can cause discomfort to your family members, especially if it lingers in the whole house.
4. Wash the combs and hair accessories
Hair brushes and combs are the items in your house most familiar with lice. They interact with the pests on daily basis when someone is infested and no doubt have lice hidden in between their bristles. The same counts for headbands, hair clips, claw clips and other hair accessories used frequently.
To prevent these items become a source of a new infestation, you must wash them the very day you get treated of head lice. The procedure is simple. Just fill a bowl with boiling water and soak the items in it for 15 minutes. This time should be enough for the high temperature to compromise the vital processes in lice and call their death.
Alternatively, you can go to the opposite extreme and freeze the hair accesories. While lice are more afraid of heat than cold, the latter can also kill them. You can put the items in a cold, dry and dark place for one week, or in the freezer for 72 hours. The lower the temperature, the faster the pests will perish.
5. Dry clean the non-washable items
Items that cannot be washed can be dry cleaned. The heat generated during the dry cleaning will leave lice no chance. If you don’t have the opportunity to dry clean the items, Remedy Lice recommends to put them in air-tight bags that cause lice’s suffocation. Some pests will die from hunger earlier than they get suffocated. No matter what they die of, by putting the items in air-tight bags you can rest assured that lice are isolated and have no chance to trigger a new infestation.
6. Use the air dryer
Air dryer can be a trustworthy replacement for air-tight bags and washing machine. You can put any items that may be potentially infested with lice in the air dryer. Let them sit for 40 minutes on high heat to ensure even the most powerful pests get killed. The advantage of air dryer to washing machine is that you don’t have to dry the items afterwards, so you save time.
What products are ineffective?
When it comes to killing lice, the first product that comes to the mind of many people is lice spray. However, according to numerous studies, most lice hold up to sprays and pest bombs. My Lice Advice recommends you to stay far from all kind of pesticides as they will not help you to exterminate the lice.
Moreover, pesticides contain toxins that can harm your health more than a lice infestation would. The particles of spray soar in the air and can be easily inhaled by family members, causing breathing problems. Not to mention the sharp and unpleasant odor that lingers in the house for hours after the spray application.
In addition, pest spray odor can absorb into the fabric of sofas, mattresses and chairs. Your family members and guests would feel uncomfortable sitting on the sofa in spite of its softness. Aside from wasting money on pesticides, you will have to pay for furniture deep cleaning and deodorization.
Knowing how to clean house after lice is essential to preventing a new infestation. Though lice fallen off the scalp are destined to die, they die only after 2-7 days. So during the time they are alive they can transfer from a surface or item back to a human scalp. To not allow it happen, machine-wash or place in air dryer on high heat items that are most likely to have lice on them. Put brushes and hair accessories in sealed bags to keep pests isolated until they die. Also, make sure you vacuum the sitting and sleeping furniture and mop the floor.