Treating Lice-Infested Clothing

January 12, 2019

Does an infestation of lice mean a cleaning nightmare? Not necessarily. Head lice are adapted for living on a human scalp and nowhere else. Although they can spread as long as the lice or eggs remain alive on the affected person or clothing, they can only survive for 48 hours off the body. The most important thing to do is treat the affected person.  Cleanup and laundry is only helpful after the infestation has been taken care of.

Lice on clothing

Photo credit: CDC

After you’ve treated the infestation in a way that kills both the lice and eggs, you are ready to clean the household items that have come in contact with the infested person.  There’s no need for any special chemicals. Heat is the main weapon against lice.

Machine wash the clothes, bedding, and towels that the affected person used within two days prior to the treatment.  Use hot water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Tumble dry using the highest heat setting on the dryer for at least 20 minutes. If you are sending it to a wash-dry-fold service, seal the affected items in a plastic bag.

For dry clean only items, seal them in a plastic bag for 48 hours and then take them to a professional dry cleaner. Be sure to tell your dry cleaner about the infestation. They will know how to handle and clean the items to ensure that all lice and their eggs have been killed.

Items that cannot be washed or dry cleaned should be sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks, then vacuum them to remove the dead lice.

Vacuum items such as rugs, pillows, and upholstered furniture even though the risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto the carpet or furniture is very small.

About Utopia Cleaners

Utopia Cleaners offers dry cleaning and laundry services to the communities in Boston and Cambridge. Our services extend to the suburban cities and towns of Brookline, Everett, Chelsea, Medford, Newton, Arlington, Belmont, Winchester, Woburn and Lexington via dry cleaning delivery and laundry dropoff services. Other services include alterations, wedding gown preservation and shirt laundry.