Lice infestations are very common in families that have young children attending daycare, preschool, and grade school. After treating every family member who may have contracted head lice, it is important to remove them from your home by thoroughly cleaning everything so they cannot reinfest anyone. These bugs can live approximately three days away from the human body on clothing, furniture, toys, and bedding. You'll need to vacuum carpets and furnishings and wash all clothing and bedding in hot water.
Once you are sure that there are no more living lice in anyone’s hair, thoroughly vacuum all rugs and furniture. Since they are small, lice can burrow into tiny fibers in your rugs and on upholstered furniture. To be safe, repeat the vacuuming for the next three days. It is a good precaution, when possible, to wash any throw rugs in hot water and to steam clean carpeting and furniture.
The next step is to wash all clothes and towels that have been in recent contact with anyone who had a lice infestation. This includes clothing that has been in contact with the infected person's clothing, such as jackets that hang side by side in a closet. To effectively remove lice from the clothes, wash them in very hot water and dry them in a hot dryer. Clothes that are too delicate for hot water can be placed in a tightly sealed plastic bag for a week or two before being cared for as usual. It is not necessary to wash clothing that hasn’t been worn in a while, since lice cannot live that long without a human host.
It is important to treat bedding in the same way as furniture and clothing, but to do so daily for one week after everyone in the house has been treated. Wash all sheets and pillowcases in hot water and dry them in a hot dryer every day. You should also vacuum the mattress and pillows daily to ensure you get rid of any lice that may be hiding under the sheets and pillowcases. Toys, including stuffed animals and dolls, should also be cleaned thoroughly to remove lice. Anything that cannot be washed in hot water should be vacuumed and stored in tightly sealed plastic bags until all the lice have died from suffocation and starvation.
By taking these precautions, you should not need to use pesticides to get rid of lice. Pesticides are not always effective at getting rid of these insects, and they can be harmful to children and pets.