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How to Kill Lice on Furniture?

How to Kill Lice on Furniture?
Created on 
April 9, 2017
Updated on 
February 21, 2023

We often hear parents say they've cleaned and sprayed everything, and yet the family's lice infestation persists. “What kills head lice on furniture?” they ask. Most head lice infestations don't require any special attention to the question of how to treat lice on furniture. But since most parents aren't lice experts, they'll still suspect that their family is getting re-infested with lice and nits because they don't know how to get lice off furniture after lice treatment. Read on for tips on how to get rid of lice on furniture naturally.

Is It Necessary to Treat Lice on Furniture?

The target of treating head lice should be the heads, not the furniture. How long can lice live on furniture? Fortunately, the bugs cannot survive for more than 24 hours after falling off of a human. So head lice at school, for example, all die over the weekend without having to pay special attention to how to treat furniture for lice.

Live lice can barely move around if they're anywhere but in human head hair, and they can't lay eggs on anything but human hair attached to a human scalp. Nits attached to shed hair die after a short period without warmth from the scalp, and these nits cannot reattach to new hosts.

Only 5% of cases are transmitted via objects. Don't waste time or money attempting to get rid of lice in your house. Parents and school personnel may feel a need to be proactive, but using an over-the-counter pesticide fogger is not healthy or useful for super lice and nits.

How to Get Rid of Lice on Furniture?

what kills lice on furniture

First, we should be asking, “can lice infest classrooms?” Head lice do not survive long off the head; once parted from the host, they will die in approximately 24 hours WITHOUT ANY INTERVENTION. There is a lot of confusion among different types of lice and other bugs perpetrated by the Internet that leads people to believe that a massive amount of environmental cleaning is necessary to eliminate lice;  it's not uncommon for even doctors and health professionals to believe in this myth if they have little personal experience with head lice. Save yourself a headache, and truly absorb these words: head lice cannot infest environments, period; therefore, pest control in a classroom should not include using pesticides for head lice in the room.

Second, we should ask, “does disinfectant spray kill lice?”. It seems a silly question since that is the only intended purpose of lice disinfectant spray... but the answer is shockingly disturbing: if these sprays contain common pesticides like pyrethrins or permethrins (check the label; most do), experts have known for over a decade now that over 99% of American head lice are genetically resistant to these chemicals! You may even reach for the bleach, but again, bleach has not been found to be effective at killing head lice.

Many school personnel takes the chance anyway, feeling pressure from parents and staff to control the situation, at a loss for other options, and working off of inaccurate information. But it's important to know that many lice fumigation sprays are filled with harsh chemicals that people and pets inhale, and they may cause side effects for the children and teachers who are exposed.

People often wonder: what can I spray on my furniture that kills lice? The answer will surprise you.


Many parents, after having been treated for head lice, wonder how to clean the house after finding lice and how to clean the house from head lice effectively. You will be relieved to know that if treated properly, cleaning the house is not necessary. In other words, you don't need to spray the furniture at all!

It's very rare to find many head lice on the furniture at all. There are, however, several effective ways to get rid of lice on furniture, should you see any.


lice spray for furniture

Throw pillow cases, armrest covers, stuffed toys, and throws can usually be removed from furniture and laundered. Drying them on high heat for 20 minutes kills nits and bugs. But heat may also damage them, and it's also effective to set them aside and not touch them for a day.


If you're trying to do DIY lice treatments on your own, you might wonder if using a vacuum is the best way to kill lice on furniture. While not necessary with our method, you can use your vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment on the couch, upholstered chairs, mattresses, and other furniture that cannot be washed. Don't mess with the vacuum bag for at least hours, to give the lice time to starve to death.


Does steam kill lice on furniture? Steam is even hotter than hot water, and lice will die after just 5 minutes above 130°F. Using a steam cleaner can be tricky and cause burns, so be sure to read the instructions and take precautions. The basic steps to steam cleaning furniture include:

  • Fill cleaner's tank with water.
  • Turn on/plug in. Let water heat to 140°F minimum.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions to test an inconspicuous area for resistance to heat and water, discontinuing at any signs of damage within 5 minutes.
  • You may need to apply steam to every area for 5 minutes to kill bugs and nits.
  • Steam cleaning leaves furniture wet for hours. Ventilate the room to help furniture dry, and use an air conditioner or heater in humid weather.


how long can lice live on furniture

Because steam cleaning is such a pain, you're probably looking for an easier and safer option that won't damage your furniture. Look no further than your trusty lint roller. You can roll the sticky lint roll over high-contact fabric areas to remove any bugs. Just make sure to double back with a fresh sticky sheet as the stickiness wears off.


Instead of wondering what kills lice on furniture, why not just avoid touching that furniture for a day while the pests starve to death? If it's impractical to avoid using your furniture, just avoid touching it directly by covering it with a barrier. There's no need for plastic; the bugs can be blocked simply by covering your sofa with clean bed linens. After a day, just toss the sheets in the wash to remove the dead bugs.

What Can I Spray on Furniture to Kill Lice?

Still asking "what can I spray on furniture to kill head lice?" Wondering what kills lice on furniture is pointless if there's still anything on the heads. Lice spray for furniture is unnecessary if you follow LiceDoctors' advice on protecting the heads after lice treatment.


When cleaning after lice treatment, some parents wonder if Lysol kills lice. Lysol can kill viruses and bacteria, but does Lysol spray kill lice on surfaces? Does disinfectant spray kill lice?

We've wondered ourselves; can Lysol disinfectant spray kill lice on contact after lice removal? No; head lice doused in Lysol can survive.

Instead of “can disinfectant spray kill lice?” we should be asking, “should I attempt killing lice on the household surfaces after lice treatment?” With our process, no, as you will sleep with oil as a follow-up so if any bugs remain alive in the home and they try to get back onto your head, the oil will suffocate them.

But if you're wondering will disinfectant spray kills lice on a human head, know this is ineffective, unhealthy, and dangerous.


how to kill lice on furniture

Listerine is a popular brand of alcohol-based mouthwash. Some people use it for DIY lice treatment, even though mouthwash ingredients may be associated with irritation, burning, and damage to the scalp. Although it contains ingredients that act as insect repellants, such as menthol, mouthwash is not effective at killing a louse or nit on the hair or on the sofa. Listerine lice treatment is more likely to ruin upholstery than it is to be effective at killing lice.


While Raid is a real pesticide, with all the benefits and risks of chemical pesticides, it's not the type of pesticide that is effective at killing lice. Reading the label on the Raid spray or fogger reveals that it's intended to kill other pests, like roaches, ants, wasps, or spiders, depending on the product. If it doesn't say it kills lice, it's probably just unnecessary chemical exposure.


We know that alcohol lice treatment is a common home remedy for an infestation in the hair and can be used to disinfect hard items like combs and other hair accessories after treatment, but does rubbing alcohol kill lice on furniture? To be disinfected, an item needs to soak in alcohol for some time. Since alcohol evaporates quickly, spraying it on the upholstery is ineffective at killing lice, and is more likely to just damage the fabric.


While straight household bleach is effective at killing lice, it should never be used on upholstery or people. Undiluted bleach is extremely likely to damage nearly any porous surface you might use it on, and puts you at risk of chemical burns, respiratory irritation, and worse. Diluted bleach is ineffective at killing lice. Overall, bleach is not a reasonable option.


can lice live on furniture

People come up with all sorts of homemade sprays to treat objects. We get asked about the effectiveness of active ingredients like lavender, peppermint, or tea tree oil. These may ruin upholstery and do no good, since a louse will die off the head within hours anyway.


Lice will die when off the head for 24 hours so there is no need to expend a lot of energy trying to get rid of them in your environment. Conversely, you can disinfect belongings all day, but if just a few head lice eggs remain in someone's hair, you still have a lice problem. Head lice live on a child's head, and no amount of upholstery cleaning will rid you of a head lice infestation.

If you want to do something proactive to get rid of bugs on infested items, here are a few extremely simple steps you can take:

  • Put hair accessories like brushes and combs in a plastic bag into the freezer overnight.
  • Use a sticky lint roller on household seating or car seats infested children have rested upon in the past few days, or cover it with a sheet or towel for a day.
  • Toss exposed bedding in the hamper. You can wash and dry bedding to kill bugs and eggs, or just avoid contact with it for a day.

There is no need for any other cleaning after an infestation, or putting anything else in a plastic bag. Using a vacuum, hot water wash, high-heat dryer, and/or cleaning products may make you feel proactive, but your energy is best spent focused on the scalps and hair of the affected children and adults. When help is needed, call LiceDoctors to book an appointment, and we will safely and effectively get rid of the head lice today.

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