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Head Lice on Furniture

While head lice do live on a person’s scalp, adult head lice are not limited to the confines of human hair. In fact, one of the reasons why it can be so difficult to treat an infestation of head lice is because these pests can live in fabrics. When treating an infestation, it’s important to treat not only the head lice in the host’s hair, but also the head lice on furniture.

The Spread and Life Cycle of Lice

A person gets lice by coming into contact with an infected individual, or by sharing a host’s clothes, brushes, or other personal items. It only takes a few adult lice to start an infestation. Once these lice mate, eggs are laid on the new host’s hair shaft. The eggs hatch after a week and become nymphs. Nymphs are adolescent lice that are unable to reproduce. The nymphs molt 3 times over a 17-day period. After the last molt, the lice are adults, and begin reproducing. A female starts laying eggs 2 days after mating, and can lay up to 7 a day until death. Lice live around 40 days in all.

Lost Head Lice

With a name like “head lice” it’s not hard to figure out what the ideal setting is for these pests. Head lice love the human scalp because it provides a safe place to mate, lay eggs, and eat. In fact, without human blood, a louse dies within 48 hours. Head lice don’t just prefer human heads; these parasitic insects need human heads to survive. Still, as safe as the scalp is for lice, that doesn’t prevent some adults, nymphs, and eggs from becoming dislodged. Wayward lice can make a temporary home in all sorts of fabric items, including bedding and carpet. Head lice on furniture isn’t uncommon, either.

Treating Head Lice First

Since most infestations start on the scalp, that’s where treatment should begin. There are a variety of lice treatment shampoos available on the market, but these products usually only kill adults and nymphs, not eggs. Without killing the nits, it’s virtually impossible to fully eradicate lice. A chemical-free shampoo and conditioning lice treatment system is safer and more effective than conventional products. A nit comb should be used to remove lice eggs, and a natural lice repellent spray should be applied to clothing, furniture, and other belongings to help prevent future infestations.

Cleaning the Home

The head is the primary residence for head lice, but once the head of the host has been treated, the host’s belongings must be cleaned as well. Bedding and clothing should be washed thoroughly to kill adult lice and nits. Home furnishings, including carpets and curtains, should be vacuumed to remove head lice on furniture. Hair care items ought to be disinfected as well. This can be done by submerging brushes and combs in a solution of 1 part hot water and 1 part vinegar. Ponytail holders and bobby pins should be discarded and replaced.

Without removing head lice on furniture, treating the scalp alone is the most ineffective way of dealing with an outbreak of lice. Once the host and the host’s belonging have been treated, it’s easy to get a handle on a lice infestation.


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