Can Head Lice Get on Clothes?

One question that often pops up when we think about head lice is, can head lice get on clothes? The answer is yes. These parasites live inside clothing and are easily spread via head-to-head contact and sharing of items worn around the head. Fortunately, it is not difficult to kill head lice on clothing and avoid spreading the condition to others.

The most common way for head lice to spread is direct head-to-head contact. Less frequently, they can be spread via clothing and other shared objects. These insects live for up to a month if they remain on clothing and on infested items. While the risk of contracting head lice from someone’s clothes or carpet is small, it’s still a good idea to wash and dry your clothes frequently to reduce the risk of contracting the parasite.

To treat an infestation, the first step is to wash clothes and bedding in hot water. The water temperature should be at least 129 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius). If you don’t have a washing machine, you can use a clothes dryer. After washing the clothes, you should let them dry thoroughly in the dryer. To kill the parasites, you can also use an insecticide on the infested clothes and bedding.

Lice that live on people’s hair can also live on clothing and shoes. While adult head lice can live for up to 30 days on the head, they die within 24 hours when removed. Adult female lice lay about 100 eggs in their lifetime, which are glued to the hair shafts. Once the eggs hatch, they will live for five to fourteen days depending on the temperature and the location of the eggs. Lice eggs need blood every five hours to mature and survive.

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