How long can lice live on a couch? Head lice are most commonly spread by direct head-to-head or hair-to-hair contact. Head lice cannot jump or fly, so they can only be spread by crawling from one infested scalp to another.
But what about couches or furniture, or other items, that come in contact with the hair and scalp? Can head lice crawl to those items? Can those items spread head lice?
Technically, yes, head lice can live on couches and other surfaces, but it’s extremely uncommon.
How long can lice live on couches and furniture?
Head lice can only survive on couches and furniture for a maximum of 48 hours.
Head lice are extremely picky parasites: They only feed on blood from the human scalp. Additionally, their eggs require the warmth of their hosts to survive and hatch. Once on a human scalp, they don’t want to leave. A head louse will not voluntarily crawl off of a warm host onto a cold couch or pillow.
And head lice have evolved over millions of years to cling firmly to human scalps and hair. That’s why normal brushes and combs are not sufficient for removing them, and normal showers or pool times don’t wash them away.
If, somehow, an adult louse was brushed off onto a couch or other piece of furniture, it wouldn’t survive long. An adult louse needs to feed at least once every 48 hours.
How do I get rid of head lice?
If you have a confirmed case of head lice in your home, the first step is to remain calm. Head lice are a nuisance, but that’s about it. They are not necessarily indicators of poor personal hygiene and they do not carry disease
Find a proven, natural head lice treatment and follow these three steps to make sure it is effective:
- Contain — Isolate the infected individual and clean any furniture or other items that their head has been in contact with in the past 48 hours.
Learn more about cleaning →
- Treat — Choose a proven head lice treatment and read the instructions carefully. Most “re-infestations” are really the same head lice that weren’t adequately treated the first time.
Learn more about lice treatments →
- Comb — Get a lice comb and spend a morning or afternoon doing a complete head check.
Learn more about combing. →
How do I clean couches and furniture for head lice?
Cleaning furniture to make sure they are free of head lice is simple.
- Put any pillows or removable covers in the dryer, on a high heat setting, for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
- Vacuum the couch well.
If you want to be really thorough, you can wrap furniture in plastic for 48 hours. This will simply contain any head lice that may be on them until they die. Then vacuum again.
Do not use fumigants in your home to get rid of, or try to prevent, head lice. These chemicals have never been proven effective against head lice and often introduce even greater health risks. The CDC even discourages the use of head lice fumigants.
Start clearing your couches of head lice
The easiest way to prevent reinfestation from furniture, after you’ve treated a case of head lice in your home, is to simply keep people off the couches for 48 hours. Head lice have evolved for a long, long time to feed specifically off of human blood, and they can’t survive long without it.
If you are treating a case of head lice, make sure you get a proven, safe treatment that works the first time. The Novokid head lice system uses the best, all-natural lice treatment options in a dry vapor, so you don’t have to worry about shampoos and showers. It’s simple and scientifically proven effective.