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Lice and Stuffed Animals: What to Do?

Lice and Stuffed Animals: What to Do?
Created on 
October 2, 2017
Updated on 
November 3, 2022

How long do lice live on stuffed animals? Find out what to do with stuffed animals when you have lice and how to safely remove head lice from stuffed animals. You will see that a lice treatment on a stuffed animal is not necessary to get rid of lice in the family.

LICE AND STUFFED ANIMALS: WHAT TO DO?

Your child has head lice...those unwanted parasites. What to do with her and her belongings? While searching the internet for info, you see lice stuffed animals and now you are wondering, can lice live in stuffed animals? You may read that you should bag up all your toys. Your daughter is already upset and now you're being advised to take away her most comforting toy. You can already picture how that's going to go over:

  1. Your child will become forlorn as you try to cajole her, explaining that this is something that must be done to get rid of the lice, and eventually.
  2. Your child will rise in rebellion, demanding that you leave her head and her toys alone.

You are ready to pull out your hair (literally!)

Treating lice is difficult for most people and even after successful lice treatment, in order not to let lice reoccur, many parents try to get rid of lice everywhere including stuffed animals because children may use or have used their toys while having head lice.

CAN LICE LIVE ON STUFFED ANIMALS?

You are looking at your child's stuffed animal and wondering what to do. Can lice lay eggs on stuffed animals? Can lice eggs live on stuffed animals? The good news is that even if a louse were to crawl off the head onto a stuffed animal (not likely) and lay eggs (even less likely), the eggs would NOT be viable. In other words, the stuffed animal is not a conducive environment for lice eggs to survive. Lice survive only on the scalp of humans; they are unable to live on inanimate objects for long including stuffed animals, hats, combs, etc.

The lice will die within a few hours if they land on a toy. The lice need the temperature of the human scalp and human blood to thrive. They feed multiple times a day on the head and without the blood and optimal temperature, the lice start to die. Within a day, they will be dead.

HOW LONG DO LICE LIVE ON STUFFED ANIMALS?

head lice and stuffed animals

Good news! The answer to how long can head lice live on stuffed animals is the same as that for any inanimate object: lice cannot live off of the head for more than a few hours, and the bugs do not like to leave the head and go on to an inanimate object.  When they leave the head, it is usually to move to another head where there is human blood (their food). Furthermore, nits are not contagious. The nits are glued to the hair, and if for some reason they fall off (not likely) they can not reattach to the hair.

WHAT TO DO WITH STUFFED ANIMALS WHEN YOU HAVE LICE?

When attempting to treat lice, you do not need to pack away or wash stuffed animals. As we have explained, human head lice will die within about 24 hours if they happen to fall off onto a toy or stuffed animal. There is no need to try to kill lice as they will get weak very quickly when off of the head and will die within hours. How long lice live is determined by their environment and food supply.

As with other vectors or inanimate objects such as bedding, linens, pillows, clothing, and other personal items found in the house, there are some ways to get rid of lice on stuffed animals (such as trying to catch and kill them, placing the bugs in a plastic bag, wiping eggs off) but you can also just be calm and patient and they will die. At LiceDoctors we recommend that you sleep with oil on your head the night of treatment and by the time you wake up, any lice or nits off the head will have died. If a louse tries to get into your hair, the oil will suffocate it. Keep in mind that almost every case of head lice are spread through head-to-head contact, not through inanimate objects so you don't have to be focused on toys or clothing if you discover that your child has an infestation.

TREATING STUFFED ANIMALS FOR LICE

can lice live on stuffed animals

You will not find lice infestations on stuffed animals but you may find a single louse that has left the human host. Again, this is unlikely because the lice, known as pediculus humanus capitis, is named as such because it needs to stay on the human scalp to get food and for an optimal temperature environment. If you do happen to see a louse that has left the scalp of an infected person and you want to be proactive here are some ways that some people try to get rid of the lice without ridding stuffed animals from the home:

  • Placing stuffed animals in a plastic bag and then sealing the bag. The head lice will die very quickly.
  • Using the dryer on high heat - placing the toy in the tall receptacle and aim a hot dryer at the bug. This is cumbersome and the hair dryer can blow the bug off the toy and not even kill it.
  • Use a sticky tape lint roller - some people like to just run a lint roller over the object and that will pick up all or most lice.
  • Washing stuffed animals in a washing machine will knock the lice off of the stuffed toy but the hot water will not actually kill the bugs. You cannot drown lice.
  • Using Lice Sprays - some people are so anxious that they want to grab lice spray. We do not recommend spraying chemicals that may be harmful to a person and do not work anyway.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON STUFFED ANIMALS AND HEAD LICE

The only way you will get rid of a lice infestation is to eliminate all lice and nits from all heads and do a reliable follow-up to ensure that the case is gone for good. With our lice treatment, stuffed animals and all other belongings will clear themselves of lice within a day, and since your child is protected by the follow-up, they can't catch lice from those objects in the meantime. To book an appointment, contact LiceDoctors at 800-224-2537 to get rid of the lice infestation without toy quarantine, and both you and your child will be happy!

We provide a friendly in-home lice removal service

Book your appointment today

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