How to Kill Lice With Extreme Cold

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Lice are bloodsucking parasites that can infest humans and animals. Humans are susceptible to infestations involving several different types of lice, including head lice, body lice and pubic lice. In addition to killing the lice and nits (louse eggs) that are present on the human body, you must also kill the lice and nits that are present on bedding, clothing, hats, and carpeting. Heat can be used to kill lice and nits in the laundry, but some items like hair brushes and helmets cannot be placed in the washer and dryer. For these items, you can use extreme cold in the freezer or outdoors to kill lice and nits.

Things You'll Need

  • Ziploc bag
  • Trash bags
  • Tape
  • Freezer
  • Weather forecast

Place small items (objects that will fit inside the freezer) inside Ziploc bags.

Place the bags inside your freezer for a period of 24 hours. The freezing temperatures will kill the lice and nits.

Place larger items like stuffed animals inside a trash bag. Twist the top of the bag closed and wrap tape around the twisted plastic.

Watch/listen to the weather forecast to find a 24-hour period of time when the temperatures will be at or below the freezing mark. Ideally, this period should be precipitation-free.

Place the plastic bags outdoors in freezing temperatures for a period of 24 hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you live in a more temperate location or if you're dealing with a lice infestation during the summer months, you can use an alternative method to kill lice and nits on large objects that cannot be placed inside the freezer. Leave the infested items inside a sealed plastic bag for a period of two weeks. The lice and nits will die since they cannot access a host.
  • If your home freezer is packed full of perishable food, you can rent a freezer at a home rental shop like Rent-A-Center or Rainbow Rentals. They'll deliver the freezer (usually free of charge). These rental companies typically rent by the week.
  • You can also take advantage of freezing temperatures outdoors to kill lice and nits on items like car seats, area rugs and car upholstery. These items do not need to be bagged if you can place them in an outdoor location that's protected from the elements (i.e., a porch or shed).
  • Anti-parasite sprays can be used to kill lice on upholstery and carpeting.

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