Does Head Lice Live on Clothes?

If you’re worried that your child has head lice, you can help them rid their home of the infestation by washing all clothing and bedding thoroughly. Washing and drying in hot water will kill any lice, nits, and eggs in your child’s clothes. Likewise, freezing hair ties in the freezer overnight will kill any live lice that might be present on them. However, you must not use pesticide sprays on bedding, clothing, or furniture. These chemicals can damage the fabric. Vacuuming the clothing will also kill any head lice attached to it.

Head lice transfer from their host to bedding and pillowcases when they are sleeping, so this can be a re-infection risk. This risk is minimized by regularly washing and drying pillowcases. In addition, immersing pillowcases in hot water for 15 minutes, washing them in hot water at 60°C, and drying them in a hot clothes dryer can kill any remaining lice.

Lice that live on clothes are also known as body lice, and their bodies are larger than head lice. They feed on human blood and deposit waste matter on the clothing they feed on. Body lice usually live for a week or longer when they’re inside the clothing. They can also survive for a longer time when temperatures rise. If clothing is not changed regularly, body lice will migrate to the upper layers of clothing and increase their transmission.

When a person’s head is infested, they will begin itching. The itching is usually concentrated in the areas behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. The excessive scratching can cause secondary bacterial infections.

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