Hairbrushes can be expensive, so it’s natural when dealing with head lice to wonder what to do with hairbrushes after lice. Some clients have even gone so far as to throw away all of their hairbrushes to ensure that they are not re-infested. That’s not necessary! We’ll tell you what to do when dealing with hairbrushes and lice and what not to do.
Can You Get Lice From Using Someone Else's Brush?
While we don’t recommend sharing hairbrushes, chances are that if you or a family member get head lice, it will be from direct head to head contact with a lice-infested person because lice don’t like to leave the warmth of the human head. However, in incredibly rare cases, sharing a brush with someone could lead to a lice infestation.
How Long Can Lice Live on a Hairbrush?
You may wonder how long can head lice live on a hairbrush? Head lice begin to die immediately after they fall off the head; in the absence of their food source and the warm needed to sustain them, they will die within 24 hours. If the infestation was recently discovered, out of caution, you may begin to inspect your grooming supplies and wonder can you see lice on a hairbrush. If there is a live louse on a brush, you will see it. Lice are small wingless bugs that are visible. If there is an egg (nit), it may be too tiny to see. Nits off the head pose no threat as they cannot reattach to the hair.
What to Do With Hairbrushes After Lice?
Some parents are all too eager to pitch out their old hairbrushes after treating lice and buy all new supplies out of fear that using the old brushes will reinfest their family. We understand your concern, but it is not necessary to do so. Here are a few suggestions on how to clear your hairbrush from lice:
Soak Brushes in Water
This is a simple, free way to get rid of any lice that may be lingering on your hairbrush. Fill the sink with water and put your hairbrushes in the water. The brushes must remain fully submerged for a minimum of 8 hours as that is how long lice can hold their breath.
When figuring out how to clean a hairbrush from lice, you might consider this method that may or may not work depending on the temperature of your dishwasher. Additionally, the high temperature may damage hairbrushes.
Freeze Your Brush
This is the method we recommend when helping clients. It’s quick and requires little effort. Put your hairbrushes in a ziplock back and store them in the freezer overnight. Any lice on the brushes will freeze to death.
While alcohol is a good solution to sanitize tools, it will not kill head lice or nits. Lice will hold their breath, and they are very resilient. Skip this method, it will not work for anything other than sanitizing your hairbrushes.
Don't Use Hairbrush
Another practical solution is to set aside the hairbrush for a day. Any bugs on it will be dead the next day. Remember, though, that no matter what choice you make as to how to deal with hairbrushes, the reality is that the bugs usually do not end up on a hairbrush. They scoot around the hair, and when they sense another human head nearby, they will crawl from one head to another. Head lice feed on the head, and they need the blood to survive. They do not like to land on a hairbrush because, without blood, they will die within a day.
It is safer not to share hairbrushes, caps or helmets because it is possible to transmit head lice through those vectors. Keep in mind, though, that about 95% of lice cases are passed from one human head directly to another one, so being with other people makes one at risk of getting head lice; lice are just a fact of life today. If you find lice in your family, there is a simple answer to your problem: call LiceDoctors, and 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. LiceDoctors makes your life a lot easier!