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Uncovering the Truth: Does Bleach Kill Lice Once and for All?

Uncovering the Truth: Does Bleach Kill Lice Once and for All?
Created on 
January 19, 2021
Updated on 
November 21, 2023

There are many questionable remedies for lice out there, most of which have a high failure rate. Many people wonder “does hair bleach kill lice?” and are considering a root touch-up as a way to avoid lice treatment. Others are wondering about how to clean lice and nits off their belongings without causing serious damage. Let’s dive deeper into the question: “Does bleach kill head lice?"

Can Bleaching Your Hair with Special Products Kill Lice?

can bleaching your hair kill lice

Can hair bleach kill lice? Technically, hair bleach WILL kill lice. But can bleaching your hair kill lice eggs? The answer is no and without removing all eggs or nits from the hair, you have not gotten rid of your lice problem and you will be infested again. Nits have impenetrable eggshells, so nothing topical kills nits effectively. The infestation will persist, since the nits will survive to hatch later.

There are also potential risks associated with bleaching your hair. Some of these are as follows:

  • Chemicals applied to hair may cause irritation especially on kids' heads.
  • Bleach may cause burns on the scalp.
  • Applying too much may cause allergic reactions including abdominal pains, blurred vision, and sight difficulties.
  • The hydrogen peroxide in bleach strips color from the hair.

We highly recommend that you seek the help of a lice professional rather than relying on hair bleach or hair dye to kill lice. LiceDoctors uses all natural lice treatment products and is a much safer and more effective way to go.

Using Household Bleach on Lice

can you use real bleach to kill lice

NEVER put household bleach like Clorox bleach on your skin or hair, but can bleach kill lice in the home? Technically, bugs will die in undiluted bleach, but they will also die in the home when off the head for several hours (with or without bleach). We provide our clients with safer alternatives.

If you are thinking about how to kill lice on furniture or how to get rid of lice in your house, you need not worry. Head lice that are off the head for a few hours will start to die. Focus your efforts on keeping the hair protected and if you have an infestation, look for a professional who uses a natural treatment that does not contain a harsh chemical.

Does bleach kill head lice on laundry? Sometimes, but leaving dirty laundry in the hamper undisturbed for up to two days will also work. Again, we emphasize that using bleach as a lice removal tool for immature or adult lice is not something that we recommend.

Chlorine in the Pool: A Lice Treatment Myth

woman in a swimming pool with chlorine

Does bleach in the form of pool chlorine kill head lice? Chlorinated water won’t harm lice or nits any more than it harms you. Head lice are extremely resilient and can hold their breath longer than you can, and cannot be drowned. Does salt water kill lice and nits? The answer is no.

You can’t catch lice from a pool. If lice fall off in the pool, they won’t survive to infest others. Head lice can transfer from head-to-head contact during pool play, even though the hair is wet. Keep in mind though that head lice are not able to swim in water to grab hold of your hair. The only way a louse is transferred is through direct head-to-head contact.

Bleach for Cleaning Hair Brushes and Combs

We do not recommend using bleach on lice combs or other tools. The downside of using bleach on your hair tools are:

  • It is unnecessary as the head lice will die when off the head.
  • The bleach may harm the tools.
  • You may irritate your scalp when using the bleached tools if the bleach is not washed off properly.

If there are any dead adult lice or unviable nits left on the nit comb or your hair brush after a day, you may want to run it under water just to rinse the dead bugs and remove the nits. Remember that anything left on the comb, whether nits or bugs, will be unviable and therefore not able to be deposited back into the hair.

Will bleach kill lice on a hairbrush? Yes, but safer alternatives include boiling your hairbrush for one hour (but this may cause bristles to fall out), leaving it in the freezer overnight, or storing it in a cabinet for a couple of days. As long as the head lice are on the comb or brush for a day, they will die so you don't have to think about how to clean brushes after lice. If you need to use your brush immediately then boil it or clean it with soap and hot water.

Consultation with Healthcare Professionals for Lice Treatment

Consultation with Healthcare Professionals for Lice Treatment

When you find head lice, it may be tempting to self-treat with a home remedy. If you decide to follow this route, keep in mind that the safest process is to apply oil to suffocate the bugs. Then comb out the dead bugs and nits. It is a very painstaking process and if you leave anything behind in the hair, the case will start up again. This is why many families seek LiceDoctors for safe treatment that removes the nits and lice and leaves you lice free.

Head lice professionals will be able to diagnose if you truly have head lice and will follow through with lice treatments that are successful in killing lice without causing skin irritation, hair breakage, or toxic reactions. Note that lice and nits on the scalp are very small and blend in with the hair. It is hard to find and get rid of them unless you know what you are doing.

Head lice are a fact of life today, especially among school-age children. We recommend that to get rid of lice infestations on the scalp, avoid all chemicals and go with natural, non-toxic treatments that work.

Say Goodbye to Lice – Reach Out to LiceDoctors for Expert Assistance!

If your initial reaction to finding a lice infestation in your family is to apply bleach, ammonium persulfate, or rubbing alcohol, we suggest that you resist that urge. These are not our recommended treatment suggestions. Using home remedies without proper guidance can lead to problems and/or will fail to effectively kill lice and remove nits. When you ask the question does bleach kill lice, our answer is that bleach is not one of the proven treatment options and we do not recommend it to treat lice.

If you find lice in your family, there is a simple answer to your problem: call LiceDoctors, and an expert lice professional will be at your residence at a time that works best for your schedule. Contact LiceDoctors, day or night, at 800-224-2537 for a lice treatment appointment. LiceDoctors makes your life a lot easier!

We provide a friendly in-home lice removal service

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