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Cleaning Myths Debunked: Lice in the Home

Category: Cleaning Tips

It’s true, head lice are very annoying to deal with. Not only can they be bothersome to the person who has them, but they can surely wreak havoc on your entire household. However, there are a few simple steps to remove lice from your home without tearing it apart.

Myth #1 You need to toss all your child’s clothes and stuffed animals.
FALSE While lighting your house on fire might be the first impulse when you learn your child has lice, no dire measures are needed! Unlike bed bugs or other infestations, lice don’t leave peoples’ heads on purpose. In fact, lice need living heads from which to constantly eat and drink. They have specialized legs designed to grip super tightly to hair because falling or being itched off is an immediate death sentence. And lice eggs need warmth to hatch, so lice moms literally glue their eggs to the hair. Even better news, lice die in the wash. Just take your child’s bedding, stuffed animals, clothing, towels, coats, hats and anything else that might have come into direct contact with their head, wash the items in hot water, and dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes.

Myth #2 Any items you cannot wash must be thrown out.
FALSE Put down the blow torch and step away from Mr. Picklepants! Your child can keep all his or her beloved possessions, even those that won’t tolerate high-heat laundering. Just take any dry-clean-only garments and brightly colored stuffed animals, tie them tightly in a trash bag, and put them away for a week. Lice unattached to human heads die of dehydration in less than 48 hours — the extra five days are just to make you feel better! Don’t want to wait a whole week? Place small items such as hair brushes into a zip-able bags and chuck them in the freezer for a day. Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, kill both lice and their eggs.

Myth #3 You need to fumigate or deep scrub your entire house to remove lice and their eggs.
FALSE Nope. While we sympathize with your panic and the challenge of persuading a child to sit still for the lice comb, blasting your whole house with pesticides and scrubbing from top to bottom is overkill. Thoroughly vacuuming any furniture or carpets your child’s head might have rubbed against is always a good precaution, but lice cling tightly to hair — a big reason kids hate the lice comb so much! — so it’s highly unlikely that any have been rubbed or itched off. Even if a rare louse does fall, they die quickly and fallen eggs never hatch.

Myth #4 My child and I keep getting re-infected from lice in our home.
FALSE While we at MaidPro certainly love a clean home and could drum up lots of business by telling you otherwise, your home is virtually never the culprit with lice re-infection. Rather, you and your child are likely re-infecting each other when you hug. Smelly lice treatments and combs are no fun, but if you rush through the process or neglect to comb every two days for two weeks (as advised by most docs), re-infection remains a risk. Just take your time with the lice comb and keep constant vigilance for the full two weeks until life returns to normal. When your finish with all that cajoling and combing, pamper yourself with one of our amazing cleans as you’ll have earned it!