Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Lice can live for about two days without a meal, and nits will die within a week if they're not kept at the same temperature as that found near the human scalp. That's why it's so uncommon for people to be infected with lice by any method other than head-to-head contact. All close contacts need to be examined. Despite this low risk, you may want to: 

  • Wash items in hot water. Wash bedding, stuffed animals, clothing and hats with hot, soapy water — at least 130 F (54.4 C) — and dry them at high heat for at least 20 minutes. Soak brushes and combs in very hot water for five to 10 minutes.
  • Seal items in plastic bags. Place bedding, clothing and unwashable items in an airtight bag for three to four days. This will kill live lice, and newly hatched lice will die because they have no nutrition.
  • Vacuum. Give the floor and furniture a good vacuuming.
Jun. 01, 2011