How to Completely Get Rid of a Head-Lice Infestation


Parents and caregivers hear that a child has head lice and immediately wonder if the entire house and everyone in it shares the infestation. Both adult lice and eggs must be treated as part of an effective treatment program, and lice eggs can live up to one week to 10 days after treatment kills adult eggs. Treating the entire house along with pillowcases, stuffed animals, carpet, mattresses, clothing and car upholstery is necessary to prevent a recurring problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Garbage bags
  • Head lice removal remedy
  • Small-toothed comb
  • Lice control home spray
  • Hair dryer
  • Washing machine
  • Vacuum
  • Place all stuffed animals, clothing that cannot be washed in hot water and any non-washable pillows in garbage bags. Tightly close the garbage bags and put them in a non-carpeted area, such as laundry room with tiled flooring. Leave the garbage bags in that area for 10 to 14 days to ensure the lice die. Lice cannot live without a host, so leaving the items in garbage bags kills the adult lice and any lice that hatch within 10 days.

  • Launder all clothing, washable pillows, bedding and sheets that have come in contact with head lice in hot water with detergent. It is not necessary to take clothes out of drawers and wash all clothes in the house.

  • Wash and treat the hair with a lice shampoo or other approved topical treatment For a mild infestation, non-pesticide products kills most lice. Pesticide treatments also are available for more stubborn infestations. Consult a pediatrician, primary care physician or pharmacist for help in choosing an appropriate product.

  • Comb through the hair after treatment to remove eggs, which are called nits. Using a fine-toothed comb or a comb included with the head lice treatment effectively removes nits. Most treatments do not kill the nits, so it is critical that the eggs be removed. Comb through the hair on a daily basis until certain that all nits have been removed.

  • Dry hair daily with a hair dryer. Lice do not like heat, and the heat from a hair dryer can deter adult lice from using that person as a host.

  • Vacuum all of the furniture, carpet, mattresses and car upholstery. For mild infestations, this removes all adult lice from these items. Empty the vacuum bag once vacuuming is finished, and immediately throw the bag away or immediately empty the collection cup into an outside container.

  • Use a commercial lice treatment for heavy infestations for carpets, car upholstery, mattresses and furniture. These sprays often contain chemicals, so doctors do not recommend these unless absolutely necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Doctors recommend that pesticide-laden treatments be used as a last resort after non-pesticide treatments have been attempted twice. Do not expose infants and toddlers under 2 or pregnant women to pesticide treatments unless advised by a physician.


  • Photo Credit hair rollers image by Bube from
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