How Long can Lice Live on a Couch?

photograph of a white couch with throw pillows

Often parents are concerned that after treatment from LiceDoctors that their newly lice-free child will re-contract head lice from the sofa, a backpack, clothing, or some other “non-human” object. In fact, Tracy L. in Minneapolis, is one such parent. “I just spent good money on finally getting my family to where we see no bugs or nits in the hair; the last thing we want to deal with is a re-infestation from a bug or nit that is residing in the couch. How long can lice live on the couch?”

Lice can live on a couch for a maximum of 24 hoursgraphic of the numbers on a clock face

As stated on the website of the National Pediculosis Association, a watchdog group in Cambridge, MA, “Head lice can survive on a human host for approximately 30 days. They generally cannot survive longer than 24 hours off the host.” Source NPA Website 

In other words, the risk of contracting head lice from a couch or clothing or anything other than another person is very low. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) corroborates this on heir site


Risk of Getting Lice From Furniture is Very Low

“Head lice are spread most commonly by direct head-to-head. Much less frequently they are spread by sharing clothing or belongings onto which lice have crawled or nits attached to shed hairs may have fallen. The risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a carpet or furniture is very small. Head lice survive less than 1–2 days if they fall off a person and cannot feed; nits cannot hatch …” Source: Center for Disease Control CDC Website

Another website, Baby Center, advises, “Don't drive yourself crazy. As the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) puts it in a clinical report on head lice released in July 2010, ‘Herculean cleaning measures are not beneficial.’ So, while scrubbing the house from top to bottom and boiling the bedding may make you feel heroic, it won't help get rid of an infestation.” Source: 

Still not convinced?

Here is advice from a lice treatment service in Australia:

“Cleaning your house is NOT necessary. It adds nothing to your head lice treatment regime. In fact, you're just wasting your effort, your time and your money. If your children have head lice and you're running around like you've gone mad, trying to launder the sheets, vacuum the floors and clean your house, STOP now! They're called head lice for a reason and It's because they live on human heads. They don't live on floors, or on sheets or carpeting. If a louse did fall off a head, which is unlikely because its claws really can latch on, the louse would die quickly. If death didn't occur, to get back on your child's head, he or she would have to do a headstand, on the furniture where the louse landed, and remain that way until the now weakened louse climbed back onto a strand of hair.  This could happen, just like you could win the Lottery and like lightening could strike you, but the chances aren't that great. In fact, a study by the Head Lice Research Group at James Cook University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine located in Australia concluded that the chances were one in a thousand that a louse would end up in a pillow after an entire night's sleep. Put another way, you could sleep for almost 3 full years in the same bed before a live louse ended up on your pillow. you'd have to agree that those odds are small. And then, after about 12 hours and IF the louse somehow survived, it would have to muster up the strength to climb back on the head again. The chances of this type of reinfestation happening are there, but they're slight which is why you shouldn't knock yourself out trying to rid your home of lice. The scientists from the above-mentioned study also conducted another study. This time it involved sweeping 100 classroom floors that had been occupied by children known to have current lice infestations. After testing the floor debris, they found not one louse! While one team looked more closely at the floors the other team examined the children's heads. That team found and removed over 7,000 lice from these heads. They identified 7,000+ lice on the heads yet they did not find even one on the floor. So stop trying to rid your floors of lice that aren't even there and instead put all that effort into dealing with your child's head. that's the winning solution!” Source: Nitmix head lice treatment

LiceDoctors Agrees!

We agree 100%. The risk to your family of being infected or re-infected from the furniture, bed, clothes, etc is exceedingly low. And since LiceDoctors has a follow-up protocol, in the unlikely event, that that were to happen, our follow-up protocol will take care of you. Once LiceDoctors treats you, your lice infestation will be behind you so don’t worry at all about the couch! So call 800-224-2537 today for smart expert effective lice treatment!

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