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How to get rid of lice on bedding

Read on to discover how to get rid of lice from your bedding in our five-step guide.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Cleanipedia Team

bedding with teddy bear after being cleaned from lice
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Key steps

  • Treat everyone’s hair to prevent head lice getting back in your bedding.

  • Wash everything, even pillows and duvets.

  • Use a long, hot wash cycle.

  • Dry on high heat.

  • Vacuum your mattress.

  • Remake your bed in clean, fresh bedding.

Can head lice live on pillows and bedding? The answer is yes! But don't worry – here we’ll provide top tips for getting rid of lice, so you and your children can sleep safe and sound without catching more headlice. Be aware that some bed nasties might not be head lice but instead, bed bugs! If you’re worried about bed bugs then be sure to learn more.

Want to make sure that head lice are dead and gone from your bedding? Use a hot wash and good quality products.

FAQs: Head lice on bedding

Before we show you our guide for getting rid of lice, here are a few answers to questions about head lice that may have been bugging you:

  • Can head lice live on bedding? Yes! Head lice can live on pillows and bedding which means that you risk inviting more creepy crawlies into your hair or your children's at bedtime, even after treatment!

  • Can head lice fly? Head lice are unable to jump or fly, so will only survive if they are on the bedding for a short time before coming back into contact with hair and a scalp.

  • How long can head lice live on bedding? Head lice can only live up to 24 hours without getting back into yours or your children’s hair, so it is best to make sure that you treat pillows, sheets and other furniture immediately as well as treating everyone in the family.

  • What is the difference between nits and head lice? Nits are the eggs of the female head louse. Once mature, she can lay up to eight nits a day, and live for 30 days. If you’re wondering if nits can live on pillows and bedding, the answer is no. They need heat and blood to survive. You may find them on bedding, however, if they have rubbed off your hair into your bed. They can be treated and removed using our guide below for getting rid of lice.

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Get rid of lice in your bedding: a five step guide

There are just five easy steps for you to make sure that you and your family are free from these little pests.

  1. Make sure that you have treated everyone’s hair. Even if you or a member of your family does not appear to have head lice, it is better to be safe than sorry. Making sure that everyone’s hair is fully treated and you have removed all traces of head lice and eggs (nits) will allow you to make sure once your bedding is clean you won’t get them back in your beds!

  2. Strip the bed fully. This means every single part needs to be stripped and removed. Remove all pillow cases, pillow protectors, duvet covers, sheets and mattress protectors. Take it right down to the mattress.

  3. Wash anything that can be washed. Pretty much everything that you make your bed up with will be washable. If you have a small washing machine and want to wash duvets and pillows, do not be afraid to bag them up and take them to a laundrette.

    • Use a hot wash.

    • Use a long cycle, so that the bedding is washed in the heat for as long as possible.

    • Use good quality products like Persil and Comfort for extra germ-killing power.

    • Heat will kill off any surviving head lice.

  4. Dry the bedding on a high heat. The best way to make sure that all head lice and nits are killed off is to use more heat, after your hot wash, to dry your bedding.

    • Where possible, use a tumble dryer to dry the bedding on a high heat.

    • Alternatively, hang in a humid space in your home.

    • Finally, direct, warm sunlight will also do the trick.

  5. Vacuum your mattress. You may think that changing the bedding is enough, but we recommend making sure that you do this final step before making up your bed in freshly washed linen. Take care to pay attention to any creases or little hiding places the head lice may have been able to find.

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So, there you go; now you not only have FAQs answered, but a super easy five step guide for how to get rid of lice from your bedding. Now you can sleep easy at night in a head lice free home.

Originally published