Lice and Heat

by Tracey on October 15, 2013

A few years ago, The Chicago Tribune featured an article on eradicating lice on household objects. Heat kills lice, which is why it is so important to wash and dry bedding, clothing, and other objects that cold be infested with lice and lice eggs when an outbreak occurs. Heat can’t do much for the lice living in your hair, but it can mean the difference between one outbreak and recurrent outbreaks.

The article is linked here, so feel free to check it out. The important tips it shares include:

  • A reminder to wash and dry all items affected by a lice outbreak. Washing items in hot water and drying on a higher temperature increases the odds the lice will all die. Exposure to heat for at least 10 minutes is necessary to kill the bugs and the eggs.
  • Tips for using the dryer and washer to get rid of lice. Use the dryer for items that are not machine washable. You still need to check the instructions to make sure a short period of exposure to dryer heat is OK, but in most cases, it will not be a problem.
  • How to use hot water to kill lice. Items that cannot be put in the washing machine or dryer, but that can get wet, can be soaked in a pot of hot water. The water should be at least 150 degrees. If you think hot water might melt some items, you can use lice shampoo to wash the items. Hot water allows you to save shampoo, though, so opt for the cheaper solution and save the shampoo for your hair.
  • A reminder to vacuum. Make sure your lice eradication plan also includes a thorough vacuuming of your home and vehicle. Don’t forget to vacuum mattresses, car seats, and furniture.
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