How to Clean House for Lice: A Complete Guide

To clean house for lice, vacuum floors, furniture, and upholstery, wash bedding and clothing on hot, and seal non-washable items in airtight bags for two weeks. Lice infestations are a common problem that affect people of all ages and can be difficult to get rid of.

These tiny insects are highly contagious and can quickly spread through personal belongings, clothing, and furniture. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to effectively clean your home and get rid of lice. In this article, we will explore some of the best methods for cleaning your home and eliminating lice, including vacuuming, laundering, and sealing items in airtight bags.

By following these simple steps, you can help eliminate lice from your home and prevent future infestations.

Step 1: Identify The Source Of The Infestation

How To Check For Lice On People And Pets

The first step in cleaning your house for lice is to identify the source of the infestation. This means checking yourself, family members, and even pets for lice.

  • Check hair thoroughly for lice eggs or “nits. ” nits look like tiny, teardrop-shaped eggs that are typically located close to the scalp.
  • Look for moving lice on the scalp or in the hair shafts. Adult lice are tan or grayish-white and about the size of a sesame seed.
  • Use a magnifying glass or a bright light to help spot lice and nits.
  • When checking pets, look for any scratching or itching, as well as small black or brown specks on their fur or skin. These specks may be lice or lice feces.

What To Do If Lice Are Found

If you do find lice or nits on yourself, family members, or pets, there are some steps you can take to start treating the infestation:

  • Use an over-the-counter lice treatment that contains specifically labeled active ingredients such as pyrethrin or permethrin.
  • Follow the instructions on the bottle carefully.
  • After treatment, use a nit comb to remove any remaining nits or lice from the hair or fur.
  • Wash all bedding, clothing, and any other fabric that may have come into contact with the infested person or pet in hot water and dry on the hottest setting.
  • Vacuum all carpets, furniture, and any other surfaces that could be affected.

Identifying Areas Of The Home That May Be Affected

Lice can live up to two days without a host, so it’s important to thoroughly clean your home to prevent re-infestation.

  • Bedding: Wash all bedding in hot water and dry it on the hottest setting. Consider using a plastic mattress cover to protect your mattress.
  • Clothing: Wash all clothing that may have come into contact with the infested person or pet in hot water and dry on the hottest setting.
  • Furniture: Vacuum all carpets, couches, chairs, and any other furniture, paying close attention to seams and crevices. Consider using a steam cleaner to kill any remaining eggs or lice.
  • Toys: Wash or vacuum any toys or stuffed animals that may have come into contact with the infested person or pet.
  • Car: If anyone with lice has been in your car, vacuum the seats, floor mats, and any other surfaces.

By thoroughly checking people and pets, treating any infestations, and cleaning your home, you can eliminate lice and keep your family and home lice-free.

Step 2: Gather Necessary Cleaning Supplies

Effective lice removal requires the use of the right cleaning supplies and tools.

Recommended Cleaning Products For Lice Removal

  • Lice treatment shampoo: Use a shampoo specifically designed for lice treatment to kill any live lice on the scalp and hair.
  • Laundry detergent: Use a high-quality laundry detergent that is preferably fragrance-free. Wash all clothing, bedding, and stuffed animals that may have come into contact with lice in hot water (at least 130°f) and then dry them on high heat to kill any remaining lice.
  • Vacuum cleaner: You need a powerful vacuum cleaner that has a hepa filter to remove lice and their eggs from carpets, upholstered furniture, and rugs.
  • Plastic bags: Store the infested items in tightly sealed plastic bags for at least 2 weeks to kill any remaining lice.

Essential Cleaning Tools Needed For Effective Cleaning

  • Nit comb: A nit comb is specially designed to remove lice eggs from the hair. Use it regularly in combination with a lice treatment shampoo to eliminate the infestation.
  • Microfiber cloths: Microfiber cloths are efficient at trapping lice and their eggs. Use them to wipe down surfaces around your home.
  • Disinfectant spray: A disinfectant spray is an excellent way to ensure that surfaces are clear of lice.
  • Rubber gloves: Rubber gloves protect your hands from the lice treatment products, detergents, and disinfectants that can be harmful to the skin.
  • Trash bags: Use large trash bags to dispose of any infested items that cannot be saved.

Precautions To Take During The Cleaning Process

  • Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation during the cleaning process to avoid inhaling chemicals, lice, or eggs.
  • Safety gear: Always wear gloves to prevent skin irritation and protect yourself from exposure to cleaning sprays.
  • Take breaks: This process can be time-consuming, make sure to take short breaks to rest, rehydrate and recharge.
  • Focus on high-risk areas: Place extra focus on your bedroom, couches, and chairs since these are places where people spend the most time.

Step 3: Begin The Cleaning Process

Starting With The Areas Where The Infestation Is Most Severe

The first step in cleaning your house for lice is to identify the areas where the infestation is most severe. Once you’ve located those areas, you should begin the cleaning process.

  • Check your scalp and hair for lice, and use a comb to remove any lice or nits that you find.
  • Focus on cleaning the areas where you’ve found the most lice and nits.
  • Don’t forget to clean any clothing, towels, or bedding that the infested person has come into contact with.

How To Clean Bedding Properly

Cleaning bedding properly is crucial when it comes to getting rid of lice.

  • Remove all bedding from the bed and wash it in hot water (130°f or higher).
  • Dry the bedding on high heat for at least 30 minutes.
  • Vacuum the mattress and box spring thoroughly, and then encase them in a bug-proof cover.
  • Use a steam cleaner or iron to sanitize pillows and soft toys that cannot be washed.

Cleaning Furniture And Carpets

When cleaning furniture and carpets, it’s important to be thorough.

  • Vacuum all furniture and carpets thoroughly, paying special attention to any cracks or crevices.
  • Use an insecticide spray to kill any remaining lice and nits.
  • Steam clean furniture and carpets to sanitize them.
  • Wipe down hard surfaces with a disinfectant cleaner.

By following these steps, you can effectively clean your home and get rid of lice once and for all. However, it’s important to remember that prevention is key when it comes to lice infestations. Encourage your family members to avoid sharing hats, combs, and other personal items to prevent lice from spreading in the future.

Step 4: Completing The Cleaning Process

Now that you’ve spent time deep cleaning your home to get rid of lice, you’ll want to make sure the process is complete. Here are a few additional areas you may need to clean to ensure that any lice or eggs are gone for good.

Additional Areas That May Need Cleaning:

  • Vehicles: If you’ve recently travelled in a car or other vehicle, it’s possible that lice could be hiding out in the seats or carpeting. Thoroughly vacuum and clean any vehicle that you’ve been in to prevent re-infestation.
  • Furniture: Any upholstered furniture in your home could be harbouring lice and eggs. Use a vacuum with an upholstery attachment to clean these items, paying special attention to seams and crevices.
  • Pet bedding: If you have pets, their bedding could also be a potential hiding spot for lice. Be sure to wash any pet bedding on a hot cycle, or dispose of it entirely to ensure that any lice or eggs have been eliminated.

How To Properly Dispose Of Lice-Infested Items:

  • Clothing and bedding: Any clothing or bedding that has come into contact with lice should be washed in hot water and dried on a high heat cycle. If an item cannot be washed, it should be sealed in a plastic bag for a few weeks to ensure that any lice or eggs are killed off.
  • Brushes and combs: To clean hairbrushes and combs, soak them in hot water and shampoo for at least 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Alternatively, you can dispose of these items and replace them after the cleaning process is complete.
  • Vacuum cleaner contents: Once you’ve finished vacuuming all areas of your home, it’s important to dispose of the contents of your vacuum cleaner carefully. Seal the contents into a plastic bag and dispose of the bag in an outdoor bin to prevent re-infestation.

Tips For Preventing Future Lice Infestations:

  • Encourage good hygiene: Teach your family members to wash their hair regularly and avoid sharing hats, combs, and other hair accessories.
  • Regular house cleaning: Keeping a clean home can help prevent the spread of lice. Vacuum your carpets and furniture regularly and wash bedding on a weekly basis.
  • Check for lice regularly: Inspect your family members’ hair regularly for signs of lice, especially during times of year when outbreaks are more common.

By following these simple steps, you can successfully clean your home of lice and prevent future infestations. Remember to pay attention to all the areas where lice could be hiding, and dispose of infested items carefully to prevent re-infestation.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Clean House For Lice

How Do You Know If You Have Lice In Your House?

Lice infestations are common in the hair, but always check behind ears, nape of your neck, and scalp. Lice sightings, itching and redness can signal an infestation in your home.

How Often Should I Clean My House For Lice?

To eradicate lice, target infested areas, such as bedding, towels, and clothing. Daily cleaning until lice are gone.

How Do You Clean Your House After Lice?

Launder bedding, clothing, and towels at hot water or dry clean. Seal in plastic bags for two weeks. Thorough cleaning with vacuum cleaners, hot dryer and sanitizers are crucial.

Can Lice Live On Furniture And Carpet?

Lice can crawl but cannot jump. They can only live off the human scalp for up to two days. Deep cleaning of furniture and carpet is recommended.

What Are Some Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Lice In Your House?

Essential oils like tea tree and lavender are natural lice repellents. Vacuum couches and carpets to eliminate lice and nits (eggs). Wash and dry bedding, clothing, and toys in hot water and high-heat dryer.


Ultimately, cleaning your house for lice can seem like a daunting task, but it is important to take immediate action to prevent further infestation and protect your family’s health. By following the proper steps, such as vacuuming, washing linens, and using approved lice treatments, you can effectively eliminate lice from your home.

Remember to also communicate with your family and take preventative measures to avoid future outbreak, such as avoiding sharing personal items and regularly checking for lice. Stay vigilant and proactive, and you can quickly overcome a lice infestation and enjoy a clean, healthy home environment.

Leave a Comment