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How to Clean Up After Lice Infestations in the Home or School

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

How to Clean Up After Lice Infestations in the Home or School

Getting lice is frustrating and upsetting. But with some diligence and thoroughness, you can get rid of lice and nits from your home or school. Here’s how to clean up after a lice infestation.

Treating People for Lice

The first step is to treat any infected person. Here are some key steps:

  • Use an over-the-counter or prescription lice treatment. Follow the instructions carefully. Comb out nits and lice with a fine-tooth lice comb. This step is critical.

  • Wash all clothes, bed linens, towels, and personal care items like brushes in hot water. Then run them through a hot dryer cycle for 20 minutes to kill any lingering nits or lice.

  • Soak all non-washable items like stuffed animals and headphones in hot water for 10 minutes. This also kills lice and nits.

  • Vacuum upholstered furniture and mattresses to pick up any live lice. Seal the vacuum bag tightly before disposal.

  • Have household members check each other’s heads daily for 2-3 weeks. Remove any nits or repeat lice treatment as needed.

Deep Cleaning the Home

With people treated, it’s time to tackle the environment. Here are key steps:

Clean Floors and Furniture

  • Vacuum all floors, furniture, mattresses, and carpeting. Use the highest heat setting on canister vacuums. Seal and dispose of vacuum bags immediately.

  • Steam clean mattresses, furniture, and carpet. The high heat kills lice and nits.

  • Wash all non-washable fabrics like blankets, pillows, and curtains in hot water. Tumble dry on high heat for 20 minutes.

Disinfect Surfaces

  • Clean bathrooms with disinfecting cleaners. Pay attention to sinks, showers, bathtubs, and counters.

  • Wipe down surfaces in the kitchen and dining areas. Disinfect tables, chairs, countertops, and benches.

  • Clean electronics like phones, tablets, keyboards, and remote controls with disinfecting wipes.

  • Spray and soak combs, brushes, hair ties, and clips in rubbing alcohol for an hour or boil them for 5-10 minutes.

Treat Personal Spaces

  • In a child’s bedroom, launder all bedding, sanitize surfaces and toys, and vacuum thoroughly.

  • Give adult living areas like bedrooms and offices a thorough vacuuming, laundering, and surface cleaning.

  • For family spaces, vacuum, sanitize, and launder all shared linens and furniture. Give special attention to upholstered couches and chairs where lice can hide.

Deep Cleaning Schools and Daycares

Lice outbreaks often hit schools and daycares. Here are tips for facilities:

Treat Infected Persons

  • Follow steps above for treating people with lice at home.

  • Communicate treatment protocols clearly to parents. Coordinate efforts for maximum impact.

Clean Facilities Thoroughly

  • Vacuum carpeted floors, upholstered furniture, and fabric-covered items in classrooms and common areas.

  • Sanitize hard surfaces like desks, tables, countertops, sinks, and play equipment. Use school-safe disinfectants.

  • Launder all soft materials like pillows, blankets, dress-up clothes, and stuffed animals according to product instructions.

Limit Head-to-Head Contact

  • Avoid activities like close dancing or hugging for 2-3 weeks until the infestation clears.

  • Do not share hats, helmets, headphones, hair accessories, clothing, brushes, combs or towels to limit re-infestation.

  • Store personal items separately in cubbies or bags. Do not let them touch other people’s belongings.

With diligence and coordination, lice can be controlled even in crowded environments like schools or sports teams. Don’t let lice keep you down!

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