Lice: How to Clean Your Child's Room

Mascot on pillows
A child's bedroom. (Image: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images)

After discovering lice in your home, you need to clean every room to prevent further infestation. Lice may live as long as three days off of the body, while nits can live for as long as three weeks, according to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Clean after all family members have been treated with a topical lice medication and nits have been removed with a fine-tooth comb. Although it is important to clean your child’s room, the University of California does not recommend applying an insecticide to objects.

Step 1

Wash all bedding, including sheets, blankets, pillows and pillowcases. The University of California recommends using water over 140 degrees F to effectively kill lice and their eggs. Dry all bedding in a dryer on the hottest setting.

Step 2

Vacuum all flooring and upholstery in the child's room to remove lice and eggs.

Step 3

Put all stuffed animals in a large plastic garbage bag. Seal the plastic bag tightly. The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta states that it is safe to open the bag after three weeks and return the toys to the child.

Step 4

Put any type of headgear, like headphones, into a plastic bag. Leave the bag in a freezer for a minimum of 10 hours to sanitize the objects.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic bags

  • Garbage bags

Tip

Remember to wash all of your child’s clothing. This includes any hats, jackets and shirts he may have worn recently. If they are not machine-washable, send them to the dry cleaners. Any hair tools and accessories that your child may own, such as bows, ponytail holders, brushes and combs need to be soaked in water containing lice medication. If the lice returns and is found in a family member’s head, you should clean the child’s room again as an extra precaution.

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