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What Kills Lice on Furniture and Household Surfaces?

Jennifer L. Betts
woman cleaning a couch

Is head lice in your home? Just the word "head lice" can set panic in motion. However, rather than freak out over a head lice infestation, explore what to spray on furniture for lice. Find out if bleach and Lysol work to kill these pesky, itch-inducing menaces.

How to Get Rid of Lice in Your Home

It is every parent's worst nightmare: head lice. And it seems like once you are infested, getting rid of them is nearly impossible. Before you start looking for the instant lice killer, there are a few different facts to remember about lice.

When a lice infestation hits, the first thing to do is breathe. Treating the person with head lice and the items they touched are key to stopping the infestation.

What Kills Lice on Furniture?

While you are throwing your combs in hot water and bedding in the wash, you might be wondering what to spray to kill the lice on your bed, carpet, and couch. Before reaching for a spray cleaner, grab your vacuum and lint roller. According to the CDC, just vacuuming and lint rolling the area that the infected person has touched in the last 48 hours is enough to stop the spread. However, if you're looking for a little extra assurance, try these commercial and homemade lice killers.

Commercial Cleaners for Killing Lice

Several commercial lice sprays are available for lice on furniture and bedding. Many even use non-toxic and natural ingredients safe for children and pets.

Before using, make sure to read all the instructions and labels clearly to ensure it will not danger you or your family.

Homemade Lice Spray for Furniture

Research has shown tea tree oil can be effective in killing lice. According to a study in 2012, a 1% tea tree oil mixture will kill lice in 30 minutes. To create this louse killing home remedy, you'll need:

  • Vacuum
  • Tea tree oil
  • Spray bottle

Once you have your ingredients on hand, follow these instructions.

  1. Vacuum the area carefully.
  2. In the spray bottle, combine 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil to 3 tablespoons of water.
  3. Shake up the mixture.
  4. Spray down your furniture and carpet.
  5. Allow it to dry.
  6. Give a final vacuum.
  7. Roll with a lint roller to get up any remaining lice.

It should be noted that while effective, tea tree oil does have a very distinctive smell. Therefore, you can add additional oils to work to mask the smell.

Does Bleach Kill Lice?

When an infestation hits, everyone panics. You try to think of the things around your home to kill those itch invoking menaces. You might think "does bleach kill lice?" Thankfully, bleach is effective for disinfecting and killing lice. However, it should only be used on fabric and carpet materials that are bleach safe. Find this information by looking at the tag or researching the material. To use bleach to delouse your furniture or carpet, you'll need:

  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Water bottle

Instructions for Using Bleach to Kill Lice

In the water bottle, combine 2 tablespoons of bleach to 2 cups of water.

  1. After vacuuming, spray a discrete area to test the mixture on your fabric.
  2. Wait to make sure it doesn't cause discoloration.
  3. Spray your furniture, beds, and carpets with the mixture after passing the test.
  4. Allow it to dry.
  5. Vacuum and lint roll the area.

Does Lysol Kill Lice?

Since Lysol is so great for killing germs and disinfecting, you'd think it would kill a louse. However, Lysol is infective at killing lice on household surfaces. While it might immobilize them for a short period of time, the active ingredients aren't enough to kill the louse. This is especially true of drug-resistant lice, which are becoming resistant to most commercial killers.

Killing Lice in Your Home

Everyone has a head lice horror story. While head lice aren't particularly dangerous, the hours needed to get them out of your hair is enough for the word reinfestation to send you into a panic. Rather than panic and fog your home with insecticide, try methods that work.

What Kills Lice on Furniture and Household Surfaces?