Lice and Car Seats: 5 Proven Ways to Get Lice out of Your Car

After treating your child for head lice, the last thing you want is to get it back from your car! Discover the 5 best ways to treat your car and car seats for head lice.

Many people spend hours cleaning their house for lice, but completely forget about cleaning their car and car seats! Others believe that using a pesticide lice spray will take care of lice in their car, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Multiple studies show that lice are resistant to these pesticides and that they do not kill lice! 

Instead, here are five proven ways to treat your car and car seat and get head lice out of your car.

#1- Car Seat In the Dryer

Disassembling and Reassembling a car seat is among the most hated tasks for many parents. I'll admit that I hate doing it myself and usually reserve that task for "special" occasions such as when my baby vomits or poops in their car seat (just being honest). Another such special event is head lice. Disassembling the car seat and putting it through the dryer on high heat for 40 minutes is the best way to ensure that no lice are left in your child's car seat to re-infest your child.

#2- Vacuum

One of the easiest ways to clean after an infestation is to vacuum the seats and car seats. For those with cloth seats that have a handheld vacuum or an extension hose for your vacuum, you should be feeling thrilled right now. Be sure to vacuum the child's car seat exceptionally well in the cracks and crevices. If you do not own a vacuum like this, then you can go to almost any local car wash and use a vacuum for about $1.

For those with leather seats, things are much more manageable. Lice do not climb or hold onto leather well. Wiping leather seats down with a damp cloth is all that is needed to remove lice.

#3- Sticky Tape Lint Roller

Another way to remove lice from the seats of a car is by using a sticky lint roller like a Scotch Brite Lint Roller.

A quick disclosure: the following product are all affiliate links, and I do earn a commission from qualifying purchases; however, all of my reviews are based on the quality of the product.

Some sticky lint rollers are better at picking up things than a vacuum, including lice. Roll all the areas of the car where people sit. Be sure to replace the sheets of the lint roller as they collect debris and lose their stickiness.

#4- Enzyme Lice Spray for Car

Like I said, most sprays these days do not work to kill lice because they are pesticides. The best spray that I have found to kill lice is LiceLogic Clear & Free All Purpose Spray.

There are lots of other household lice sprays out there that claim to kill lice, but they don't. LiceLogic's spray is different than others because the solution contains enzymes (not pesticides) that break down the exoskeleton of lice and kills them. Lice can not become immune to these enzymes as they do to pesticides. This spray will leave your car smelling like peppermint.

#5- Repelling Lice Spray for Car

There are several essential oil scents that lice hate. When you spray these fragrances on your car's upholstery, lice flee the scene. My top pick for a lice repellent for cars is Lice Clinics of America Lice Prevention Household Spray 

Unlike other repellents for furniture, this spray is completely honest about what it does, repel-not kill- lice! Lice Clinics uses pure essential oils, peppermint being the strongest. It'll leave your car smelling like candy canes.

Can lice live in cars?

Yes, they can live in cars for a short time, but it is unlikely for them to be in your vehicle. Head lice are called head lice for a reason. Generally speaking, head lice stick solely to the hair and scalp of humans, they do not live in cars. Lice must feed on human blood multiple times a day to survive. Without a human head, lice will die of dehydration.

How long can lice live in a car?

48 hours. Most lice die within 24 hours of being off the head away from a human blood meal. But, when studied in labs with precise temperatures, the longest lice live off the head is 2 days.

Can you get lice from a car seat?

Yes, you can, but it isn't very likely, I'd say less than a 4% chance. In a study, the pillowcases of 48 people were examined for head lice after a full night's rest. Two of the 48 pillowcases had live lice on them. Since most people spend less time resting their heads in a car than they do sleeping on a pillowcase I assume the chances are a little less than 4%.

Can head lice live in a cold car?

That all depends on how cold the car is. A vehicle that is below 0° F is cold enough to freeze lice. Studies show that lice in cold temperatures, but not freezing, LIVE LONGER! Lice in warm temperatures usually die within 12-24 hours, whereas those studied in precise cold temperatures were the ones who lived up to 44 hours.

Can head lice live in a hot car?

In most cases, lice can live in a hot car, but they will dehydrate and die faster. Lice in humid environments die within 12-24 hours. A very hot car, reaching 130° F or more, will kill lice in about 5 minutes.

Summary

Head lice prefer to stay on the head and rarely come off, but they can live up to 2 days in your car before dying of dehydration. It is unlikely for them to be on your car seats and headrests, but not impossible. Always avoid pesticide lice sprays, because they DO NOT work, if you're looking for a good lice spray, use an enzyme spray or a repelling spray.

Most people struggling with head lice aren't getting it back from their car or their home but instead can't get rid of lice because they are using a treatment louse are resistant to. Just like lice are resistant to pesticide sprays, 98% of lice are resistant to most lice treatments. Be sure you are using an effective treatment by reading our article Best Lice Treatment Shampoos for  Head Lice and Super Lice.

Your next stop for cleaning your house should be the Ultimate Lice Cleaning Checklist to find out what else to clean and how to clean it to get lice out of your house for good.

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Theresa is a Registered Nurse and lice expert. She owns a top lice treatment salon where she helps families battling lice every day. Disappointed by the false information about lice and lice treatment on the web, Theresa created MyLiceAdvice.com to empower families to get rid of lice on their own--and fast. Read more about Theresa and her lice journey at “From Cardiac Nurse to Lice Expert”.