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Head Lice Treatment


Updated June 27, 2014

5 of 5

Prevent Reinfestation
Clean tools after use

Soak combs and brushes in hot water (more 130 degrees) for at least 5 minutes

Image © Melanie Martinez
After head lice treatment, soak all combs and brushes used on the infested hair in hot water (over 130 degrees) for at least 5 minutes.

Prevent Reinfestation

Head lice don't live long away from the heat of the scalp. Carefully cleaning the areas where an infested person may have sat or slept is probably good enough. Indeed, the CDC's recommendations on the subject are a little confusing.

For instance, you only have to worry about bedding or clothing used by the infested person in the last 48 hours, but then you must bag it for 2 weeks. So is it safe to use bedding and clothing 2 weeks or 2 days after an infested person? I don't really have an answer for you. I suggest doing your best to clean bedding, clothing and carpeting used by infested folks, but don't worry too much about it.

To be safe:

  • Wash any bedding or clothing used by an infested person within the last 2 days in hot water (130 degrees or more). If it can't be washed, then dry clean it.

  • Soak combs and brushes in hot water (130 degrees), if you haven't already done that.

  • Vacuum carpets and furniture as well as you can.

  • Stay away from spray fumigation products; they can be toxic, and they aren't necessary.

Again, don't worry too much. Live head lice can't live more than a day or two away from the warmth of the scalp, and nits will die within a week. Stuffed animals or other items that can't be washed can be put in a plastic bag for 2 weeks to make sure all head lice and nits are dead.


"Head Lice." 16 May 2008. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC. 22 Jun 2008

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