Most parents who find lice and nits in their child's hair want it gone immediately. It's tempting to turn to what you already have at home for head lice treatment, which is why we get so many questions about the effectiveness of hair dye, hair bleach, and blow dryers at killing head lice and eggs. We've addressed many home remedies in other posts, but now let's answer the question: does high heat kill lice?
DOES HEAT KILL LICE?
Can these parasites survive heat, or can egg lice survive heat? According to the CDC, it is possible to kill bugs with the use of heat. However, killing lice with heat either on furniture or clothing or by way of a lice heat treatment is not so straightforward. Can these bugs die from hot temperatures and can nits die from heat? Head lice are hearty creatures, but the nits have a very tough shells that can not be penetrated.
The temperature needed for the killing of head lice is 130 degrees Fahrenheit which you may not want to be aimed at your child's scalp. How long does it take to kill bugs with heat? This temperature needs to be sustained for a minimum of five minutes to be of any use. Heat treatments are not recommended at home or for young children.
DOES HOT WATER KILL LICE?
Can hot water affect lice? Yes, on clothes. While it is not necessary to wash clothes to prevent reinfestation with our method, laundering clothing, hair accessories, or bed linens in hot water kills lice as long as the water temperature reaches one hundred and thirty degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes. Warm water cannot result in dead bugs, and if you're curious can you drown lice, that's not so easy either.
But can a hot shower affect your infestation? Do not expect to get rid of the bugs with your everyday hot shower. Live lice and nits are likely to survive the temperatures infested persons can tolerate.
CAN HOT WEATHER KILL LICE?
Does the summertime heat eliminate head lice? Obviously not, as head lice are more prevalent in summer and hot climates. What about the extreme weather in places like Arizona, does extreme hot weather have an impact on lice there? Any weather tolerable by the infested person is not going to eliminate your case. How long can head lice survive in these conditions? If you can tolerate the hot dry air, so can the head lice.
DO HAIR DRYERS KILL LICE?
We already covered does a dryer kill lice on clothes and other hair accessories. But if you were wondering can a hair dryer eradicates the infestation, or will a blow dryer affects the bugs, the answer is, not practically speaking. Since most hair dryers reach temperatures from 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, your home blow dryer may cause some head lice to die as you dry hair.
But will a hair dryer treat lice safely? Attempting this at home will likely cause burns. Keep in mind that in order to treat bugs and nits, the extreme temperature must be sustained for at least five minutes. When is the last time you dried part of your hair for five minutes straight – much less your entire head?
So if you're still wondering, does blow dryer heat affects the infestation, we urge you NOT to use a hair dryer to kill lice. These high temp methods are fraught with risk and there are far safer ways to eliminate head lice.
DIY LICE REMOVAL: HOW TO USE HAIR DRYER FOR LICE
We can not emphasize enough not to use a hairdryer to eliminate lice on your own. Likely, you have washed and dried your hair at least a few times before you started itching from the newly hatched lice. So you can see that normal everyday showering and use of hot air devices on your hair will have no noticeable effect on an active infestation. Despite our admonition, some people do try to use a hairdryer. They use a hairdryer for lice removal, sectioning the hair and waving the hair dryers over each section, concentrating the hot air on the roots and scalp, even though we tell them it may cause scalp burns and it likely won't be effective.
We do not recommend this head lice treatment method for many reasons. First, will hot air get rid of lice in hair is the wrong thing to ask; because the bugs are mobile, they will run from the hot air being produced from the dryer. Second, do high temperatures affect the eggs is also a dangerous question; since the eggs are glued to the hair shaft too close to the scalp to use the extreme hot air from hair dryers long enough to harm them. Third, even if the hot air from hair dryers gets some bugs and eggs on an infested person, hair dryers do not remove nits from the hair shaft, so you'd still need to use a lice comb for nit picking anyway. Using blow dryers to attempt to eliminate bugs and eggs is a waste of time and exposes your family to potential burns, rash, or damaged long hair.
CAN HAIR STRAIGHTENER KILL LICE?
Does the hot temperature from a straightener have an impact on lice and eggs? While it is true that live lice cannot survive the high temperatures from a flat iron, they don't really have to. Live bugs live on the scalp. Using any straightener technique close to the scalp is certain to burn the infested person.
DANGERS ASSOCIATED WITH USING HEAT AS LICE TREATMENT
Using hot air and water to treat head lice is not recommended; in fact, we strongly discourage it because of the danger it poses. The United States National Library of Medicine indicates that a person can get a serious burn from just three seconds of exposure to a 140-degree Fahrenheit temperature. Imagine what five minutes of exposure to 130 degrees can do. Plus, some people use flammable head lice remedies, like alcohol or kerosene. Using hot dry air after these solutions may cause an actual fire!
The risks outweigh any potential benefits of attempting to treat head lice on a child's head with hot water or hair dryers. Do NOT try this. In addition, just as in the case with head lice shampoo, many parents who try using hot dry air follow it up with manual extraction anyway, so why not skip the risky hair dryers and irons, and go straight to the safer combs and olive oil we recommend?
CAN I KILL LICE ON INANIMATE OBJECTS WITH HEAT?
High temperatures will affect bugs on clothing, sheets, towels, toys, hats, or other hair accessories. The even better news is, there's no need to worry about nits on inanimate objects. Head lice eggs that shed with the hair cannot hatch off a human. There's really no need to use high temps on inanimate objects other than the combs you're using in the treatments. Washing your nit comb in 140-degree water is sufficient, there's no need to use hot dry air from hair dryers on inanimate objects like nit combs and other hair accessories.
FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT USING HEAT FOR LICE TREATMENT
Why not get head lice treated the safer way? If you want complete head lice treatment, which includes getting rid of everything that is visible from the hair, has the highest success rate, that doesn't leave you looking for the best lice medication over the counter, LiceDoctors head lice treatment is the best option for your family. LiceDoctors is safe for all ages, and there are fewer risks associated with our treatment than with hair dryers and other high temperature head lice treatment techniques.