Cleaning lice from combs, brushes, clothing, and other objects

Removing lice from personal items, clothing, and furniture can help prevent lice from spreading to other household members and can help prevent a person who has been treated for lice from becoming reinfested.

  • To rid hair brushes, combs, barrettes, and other hair ornaments of lice, soak them in hot water [greater than 130°F (54.44°C)] for 10 minutes or wash them with a shampoo that is used to treat head lice.
  • Wash clothes, bedding, and cloth toys in hot water [greater than 130°F (54.44°C)] in an automatic washing machine or place them in a hot dryer for 30 minutes. Dry-cleaning or storing clothing in a plastic bag for 10 days will also destroy head and pubic lice. Woolen items may be ironed to kill lice and eggs. (Storage of clothing is recommended for body lice, although storage is needed for up to 30 days because body lice can survive that long.)
  • Vacuum carpets, upholstery, and mattresses.
  • You do not need to fumigate the house with insecticide sprays. This will not help treat or control a lice problem and may unnecessarily expose family members to toxic fumes.

Last Updated: November 24, 2008

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