How to Wash Bedding That Contains Lice

Kimbry Parker

Lice are small parasites that suck blood, and move and multiply quickly. They attach to the hair shaft and lay eggs, which can lead to a full-blow infestation.

High heat will kill lice on bedding.

In order to control a lice outbreak in your home, one of the first steps you need to take after ridding the hair of lice is to wash the bedding that was exposed to lice. Pillows, blankets, sheets and comforters must be washed properly to not only kill the adult lice, but also the eggs.

  1. Place the bedding in the washing machine. Set the machine to the hottest water temperature -- it should be a minimum of 130 degrees Fahrenheit -- and add laundry detergent to the machine.

  2. Run the bedding through a complete wash cycle. Take the bedding out and place items that can be machine-dried in the dryer. Hang the other items over a drying rack or bannister to air-dry.

  3. Run the bedding through a complete dry cycle using high heat. Dry the bedding for a minimum of 20 minutes.

  4. Tip

    Bedding that cannot be machine-washed should be taken to a professional for dry cleaning. If the bedding can withstand heat, you can skip the washing and place it in the dryer on the highest heat setting for a minimum of 30 minutes. Bedding that can’t be dry-cleaned or washed should be placed in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks. Tape the bag shut so it’s secure. After two weeks, take the bedding out of the bag and shake it before putting it back on the bed. In addition to treating bedding, wash all affected clothes in hot water, or place them in a hot drier or take them to a professional cleaner. Vacuum carpets, floors and furniture well, and empty the vacuum canister or bag outside. Soak brushes and comb in rubbing alcohol for one hour, or wash in hot, soapy water.