Did you know lice die less than 48 hours after falling off human hair? These pesky little infestations are human parasites that will not take over your furniture if you treat the problem at its source – the human body.
I know it can be very embarrassing to have people over, only for them to notice your furniture is full of lice. You may panic and want a solution that can kill the lice fast, but this may lead you to make a drastic decision that can be harmful and isn’t even necessary.
With that in mind, this article will take you through the simple, straightforward strategies to eliminate furniture lice in less than 48 hours.
Read on to learn of some popular home remedies, chemical solutions, the best lice sprays, and a few natural remedies used to kill lice.
Why Killing Lice on Furniture Is Difficult
Head lice are human parasites that only feed on human blood and do not infest any other animal or object. They have nothing to do with hygiene or cleanliness but are rather attracted to humans because of our blood.
These small wingless insects produce rapidly which makes them a nuisance once they have taken hold of your home or school.
There are three types, the head louse, body louse, and ‘crab’/pubic louse, named based on where they are found on the body.
Lice are tenacious pests with remarkable adaptations that allow them to survive on various surfaces, including furniture. Their ability to cling to fibers and surfaces using specialized appendages makes them difficult to dislodge.
Additionally, lice have developed resistance to certain insecticides over the years, making eradicating them more complicated. According to a 2021 study, more than 70% of the common head lice populations are resistant to pyrethroid insecticides, and the rate is increasing.
Lice also undergoes various life stages, including eggs (nits), nymphs, and adults. Adults are easily identifiable and can be manually removed and vacuumed in furniture. However, small nymphs and eggs are harder to spot.
Also, furniture is made of several materials, including upholstery, wood, fabric, etc. The nature of these materials provides numerous hiding spots for lice and their eggs. The uneven surfaces and concealed crevices make it challenging to apply treatments uniformly, thereby allowing some lice to evade exposure to eradication methods.
You may think you have rid your furniture of all lice, only for the eggs to hatch, turn into nymphs, and reemerge as adults in less than ten days of the life cycle.
Furthermore, even if you solve the problem, Lice can easily be reintroduced to furniture from infested clothing, bedding, or direct human contact. Without addressing the underlying sources of infestation, treating furniture alone may only be a temporary solution.
With all this in mind, the best way to kill lice on furniture is to treat lice on the human body and then apply furniture solutions that use treatments to target all the stages of the lice lifecycle, thereby destroying the entire lice population.
How To Treat Lice On Furniture
Luckily for us, lice cannot survive without human blood for more than two days. This makes it much easier to kill the lice on furniture by simple methods like isolation, vacuuming, cleaning, and quarantining.
The lice won’t survive for long when they aren’t in contact with a human body. Therefore, removing the lice that settle on furniture is much easier once you have treated lice on your body.
So, how do you get rid of lice on furniture permanently? There are three fast methods to go about it:
- Homemade Remedies
- Chemical Treatments
- Natural Remedies
1. Home Remedies To Kill Lice On Furniture
These are the most recommended and efficient methods of removing lice on furniture.
Homemade remedies used to kill lice on furniture include heat treatment, vacuuming, and essential oils.
Regular vacuuming of furniture surfaces can help remove lice, eggs, and debris. Use a vacuum with good suction power and a crevice tool to access hidden areas where lice might reside.
- Wipe Surfaces
Use a cloth, disinfectant, and water to wipe down furniture and upholstery that cannot be vacuumed. This includes vinyl-leather materials. You do not need to deep clean; just wipe down the surfaces that the person with lice was in contact with.
- Lint Rolling
The adhesive nature of the roller captures lice, eggs, and other particles, helping to physically remove them from the furniture. This method is particularly useful for quickly capturing visible lice and reducing their presence on furniture.
- Wash and Dry Covers and Linen
This method is particularly effective for removing lice from fabric-based furniture items. Remove fabric covers from furniture, such as cushions, pillows, and blankets.
Wash the fabric covers in hot water using laundry detergent. Hot water helps kill lice and their eggs. After washing, dry the fabric covers in a hot dryer. The heat further contributes to eliminating lice and nits.
- Quarantine Infested Furniture
This involves isolating furniture for a certain period to prevent lice from spreading. You may also seal some of the furniture pieces in plastic covers or wraps for about 48 hours to get rid of lice.
2. Chemical Remedies That Kill Lice on Furniture
Since lice are not environmental pests, it is unnecessary and excessive to use pesticides to kill them on the furniture. The above home remedies are more than sufficient for killing the lice all on their own.
However, if you are looking for what kills lice on furniture fast, then you will want to use chemical remedies like insecticide lice sprays.
It is important to note that the CDC does not recommend the use of chemical sprays since they can be toxic once they are inhaled or absorbed into the human skin – they pose a greater danger to kids under the age of two.
As more than 70% of human head lice populations are resistant to pesticides, treatment resistance is the number one factor contributing to the rising number of head lice infestations.
Of the few insecticides that work, only a handful are used to make lice sprays for fabric and upholstery.
So far, the most reviewed and best lice-killing spray for furniture is Tec Labs’ Licefreee Home Spray – a non-staining spray used for head lice treatment as well as killing lice & eggs on furniture or beddings.
3. Natural Remedies That Kill Lice on Furniture
What kills lice on furniture naturally has to use unharmful methods that do not lead to toxicity or contamination. Below are the best natural methods to kill lice:
- Quarantine Furniture Outside the House
Lice are easily dehydrated when exposed to sunlight. By airing out the furniture outside, the lice will be eliminated, including eggs and nymph. Do this for at least 2 days.
- Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a natural powder derived from fossilized aquatic organisms. It is abrasive to insects like lice and can cause dehydration leading to their death.
Use this method by lightly dusting furniture surfaces with food-grade diatomaceous earth.
- Essential Oils
Certain essential oils like tea tree oil, lavender, and eucalyptus have shown insecticidal properties. Applying these oils on their own onto the furniture surfaces can help deter and eliminate lice.
Of the three, tea tree oil has been scientifically found to be the most effective. A mixture of lavender and tea tree oil has also yielded some good results.
- Homemade Lice Spray for Furniture
Creating a homemade lice spray involves combining natural ingredients known for their repellent or pesticidal properties. One recipe includes mixing water, tea tree oil, and a mild liquid soap in a spray bottle.
This solution, when applied to furniture surfaces, can act as a deterrent and potentially disrupt the lice lifecycle.
- Heat Treatment
Exposing furniture to high temperatures (at least 130°F (54°C)) through methods such as steam cleaning can help eliminate lice.
Heat treatment effectively destroys lice and their eggs while being safe for most types of furniture materials.
How To Prevent Lice Infestation on Furniture
1. Treat Lice Immediately
Ensure you treat lice as soon as possible using CDC-approved methods.
This includes wet combing, using certain essential oils, smothering hair using smothering agents like Dimethicone, and using over-the-counter medications like shampoos, lotions, and cream rinses.
2. Get Checked out If in Contact with The Infected
If you’ve been in close contact with someone who has lice, getting yourself checked by a healthcare professional is essential. Early detection and treatment can prevent lice from spreading to your hair and, subsequently, to furniture.
3. Check Any Furniture, Tools, or Devices Used by The Person with Lice
Inspecting any items an individual uses with lice is crucial to preventing their migration to furniture.
Clean hair tools like combs and brushes. Use soap & water and clean for not less than 10 minutes.
Also, regularly vacuum and clean furniture surfaces to remove any potential lice or eggs. Pay special attention to seams, crevices, and upholstery where lice could hide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Alcohol Kill Lice on Furniture
Alcohol does kill lice on furniture, but it is not an effective method to do so.
Rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol) has been studied and found to be only 10% effective at killing lice. Ingestible alcohol (ethanol alcohol) was only effective if it was a 100% ethanol solution; otherwise, all lice recovered from exposure. All of this data means alcohol should not be used to kill lice.
However, it is important to note that natural essential oils like tea tree oil are good at killing lice due to nerolidol, a naturally occurring sesquiterpene alcohol. Benefits of nerolidol include its anti-parasitic, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Remove Lice from Hair Permanently?
Use CDC-approved treatments for treating an infested person:
- Using Over-the-Counter (OTC) medication, including pyrethrin and permethrin lotion 1%.
- Machine wash and dry clothing
- Clean combs and brushes with hot water (at least 130°F)
- Vacuum your environment and routine clean
Can Lysol Spray Kill Lice on Furniture?
Lysol does not kill lice.
Lysol is a germicidal disinfectant and not an insecticide. It is an effective solution for disinfecting surfaces, killing 99.9% of germs, and eliminating odors.
Natural remedies such as essential oil and heat treatment offer effective natural solutions for killing furniture lice. However, go for commercial sprays with insecticidal compounds for the most rapid solutions.
Regular cleaning and maintenance practices remain key to preventing and managing lice on furniture. As with any pest control approach, consultation with professionals and adherence to recommended safety guidelines are essential.