What kills lice on furniture?

What kills lice on furniture?


When dealing with a lice infestation, it is important to not only treat the affected individuals but also take steps to eliminate lice from the surrounding environment, including furniture. Lice can survive off the human scalp for a short period of time, and if left untreated on furniture, they can easily reinfest individuals. In this article, we will explore effective methods to kill lice on furniture and prevent their spread.

Understanding Lice Infestations

Before discussing how to kill lice on furniture, it is essential to understand the life cycle of lice. Lice are parasitic insects that infest the scalp, hair, and sometimes other areas of the body. They feed on blood and reproduce by laying eggs, called nits, which attach to hair shafts. Lice can survive for up to 48 hours away from the human scalp, making furniture a potential source of reinfestation.

Methods to Kill Lice on Furniture

1. Vacuuming: One of the most effective ways to remove lice and their eggs from furniture is by vacuuming. Use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to thoroughly clean all surfaces of the furniture, paying close attention to seams, crevices, and upholstered areas. After vacuuming, dispose of the vacuum bag or empty the canister into a sealed plastic bag and discard it outside of the living area.

2. Washing: If possible, machine wash any removable fabric covers, pillowcases, or linens from infested furniture in hot water. The high temperature will help kill lice and their eggs. For non-removable fabric upholstery, consider using a steam cleaner to expose the furniture to high temperatures and eliminate lice.

3. Freezing: Lice and their eggs are sensitive to extreme temperatures. If the furniture is small enough, you can place it in a sealed plastic bag and freeze it for a few days. This method can effectively kill lice and their eggs. However, it may not be suitable for larger furniture pieces.

4. Chemical treatments: There are various chemical treatments available in the market specifically designed to kill lice on furniture. These products often come in the form of sprays or powders. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer carefully when using these products to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Preventing Reinfestation

Once you have successfully eliminated lice from your furniture, it is crucial to take preventive measures to avoid reinfestation. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Regular cleaning: Maintain a regular cleaning routine for your furniture, including vacuuming and dusting. This will help remove any potential lice or eggs that may have been brought in from outside sources.

2. Encourage personal hygiene: Educate family members or individuals using the furniture about the importance of personal hygiene, including regular hair washing and avoiding sharing personal items like combs, hats, or pillows.

3. Treat infestations promptly: If someone in your household has a lice infestation, make sure to treat it promptly to prevent the spread to furniture and other individuals.


Eliminating lice from furniture is an important step in preventing reinfestation and ensuring a lice-free environment. Vacuuming, washing, freezing, and using chemical treatments are effective methods to kill lice on furniture. However, it is equally important to take preventive measures to avoid reinfestation by maintaining cleanliness and promoting personal hygiene.


– Mayo Clinic: mayoclinic.org
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov
– American Academy of Dermatology: aad.org