How long can lice live on furniture?

How long can lice live on furniture?


Lice are tiny insects that infest the hair and scalp of humans. While they primarily live on the human body, there is a common concern about how long lice can survive on furniture and other household items. In this article, we will explore the lifespan of lice on furniture and provide helpful information on preventing and treating lice infestations.

Can lice live on furniture?

Transmission of lice: Lice are typically spread through direct head-to-head contact. They cannot jump or fly, so they rely on close proximity to move from one person to another. While it is possible for lice to temporarily crawl onto furniture or other surfaces, they cannot survive for long periods away from a human host.

Lifespan of lice off the human body: Lice require a human blood supply to survive. Once they are away from the warmth and nourishment of the scalp, their lifespan is significantly reduced. Lice can only survive for a maximum of 24-48 hours away from the human body. This means that if lice happen to crawl onto furniture or other household items, they will not be able to survive for an extended period.

Preventing lice infestations on furniture

Cleaning and vacuuming: Regularly cleaning and vacuuming your furniture can help minimize the risk of lice infestation. Pay special attention to upholstered surfaces, such as couches and chairs, where lice may potentially crawl onto. Vacuuming can help remove any stray lice or eggs that may have fallen onto the furniture.

Isolation and quarantine: If someone in your household has a lice infestation, it is important to isolate their personal belongings, such as pillows, blankets, and hats, to prevent the spread of lice to furniture. Quarantining these items in sealed plastic bags for a few days can ensure that any lice or eggs present will not survive.

Treating lice infested furniture

Cleaning methods: If you suspect that furniture has been infested with lice, there are several cleaning methods you can employ. Washing machine-safe items, such as pillowcases and fabric covers, can be laundered in hot water and dried on high heat to kill any lice or eggs. For non-washable items, such as stuffed animals or decorative pillows, placing them in a sealed plastic bag and freezing them for 48 hours can be an effective way to kill lice.

Professional cleaning: In severe cases of lice infestation on furniture, it may be necessary to seek professional cleaning services. Professional cleaners can use specialized techniques and products to eliminate lice and their eggs from furniture, ensuring a thorough and effective treatment.


Lice cannot live on furniture for an extended period. They require a human blood supply to survive, and their lifespan away from the human body is limited to 24-48 hours. Regular cleaning and vacuuming of furniture, along with isolation and quarantine measures, can help prevent lice infestations. In the event of an infestation, appropriate cleaning methods or professional cleaning services can effectively treat lice on furniture.


– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
– Mayo Clinic:
– American Academy of Dermatology: