If your child comes home from school scratching and with a letter saying that several parents reported that their children have lice, you will have to bring your child to the local lice treatment center. They'll do a lice check and provide a head lice treatment. But, what else can you do to make the sure that the lice removal process is 100 percent? Check out the at-home tactics that will help rid your child's head of those uninvited guests.
Wash All Clothes
All the clothes that your child was wearing when she came home with lice and anything that came contact with them afterwards need to be washed. Don't toss them into the laundry basket or mix them in with anyone else's clothes. Along with the clothes your child was wearing the day she started scratching, wash anything that she wore in the two days preceding the obvious infestation. These may have eggs or nits on them.
Simply washing your child's clothes isn't always enough. You'll need to use hot water that is above 130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). After washing the clothes in hot water (with laundry detergent, of course) dry your child's clothes on the highest heat setting possible.
Wash All Bedding and Shower Items
Use the same washing instructions (high heat washing and drying) for your child's bedding. This includes her sheets, blankets, comforter, mattress pad, dust ruffle, pillows, pillow cases, pillow shams, or any other fabric that is on her bed. Along with her bedding, wash all towels, wash clothes, and robes that she wore in the past few days. Don't stop there, use the same high-heat washing strategy for the rest of the linens in your home. It's possible that your child jumped onto her sister's bed yesterday or took a rest break on your pillow the day before.
Keep Stuffed Animals Clean
The soft, fuzzy toy that your child brings to bed every night might be harboring lice. To fully stop the problem you also need to wash all plush or fabric toys that your child has come in contact with. If the toys are machine washable, wash them in hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit) and dry them on high.
Use Plastic Bags
Some clothes, linens, pillows, and toys aren't washable. Instead of ruining your child's coat or her beloved teddy bear, put the items into plastic garbage bags. Tightly seal the bags and store them for at least two weeks. This suffocates the lice, removing them from your home.
Clean the House
Do a deep clean everywhere—focusing on soft or fabric surfaces. Vacuum the carpets and fabric or upholstered furniture. Empty the vacuum bag or canister and clean all of the vacuum's filters immediately after cleaning.
Treat Haircare Items
Remove and throw away (in sealed bags) all hairs from brushes and combs that your child may have used. After cleaning them out, soak the brushes and combs in 130 degree Fahrenheit water for between 5 and 10 minutes. Don't forget about hair ties, fabric-covered barrettes, and headbands. Stash these away in sealed plastic bags for the next two weeks before using them again.
Yes, the lice treatment center can make those nasty little nits go away. But, you also need to treat your home. By washing all of the clothing, bedding, toys, and anything else that had touched your child's head, you can reduce the risk of re-infestation.