Does Bleach Kill Lice? The Truth
Discover if bleach can get rid of lice in your home and if bleaching your hair can get rid of lice.
Can using bleach help with lice? Can bleaching my hair get rid of lice? Should I use bleach to clean my house after lice?
Answer from a lice expert:
If you have tried other treatments that have failed, you are not alone, and it’s not your fault. The latest stats say that most parents that use over-the-counter kits still have lice even after multiple treatments!
After no success with lice kits, some turn to home remedies. Bleach is one that I see some people turn to in desperation, but before going down the bleach route there are a few things you should know.
So, let's talk about exactly what bleach can do and cannot do when it comes to helping with head lice in this article and video.
Let me introduce myself...
Hi there! I'm Theresa, I'm a lice expert, lice coach, and Registered Nurse. I help people with lice every day! You can get rid of lice in ONE DAY at home by using the same proven professional technique that I use in my lice center.
Just follow the step-by-step videos and be done with lice by the end of the day.
Bleach for Head Lice
Why Is It So Hard to Get Rid of Lice?
Now that you know what you're looking for I want to talk briefly about your biggest worry (that your child actually has lice) and the question I get asked by parents around the world that have been battling lice….
Parents around the world are all asking me the same question…. "Why is it so much harder to get rid of lice now?"
Lice have become immune to everything that used to work in the past. Perhaps you remember your mom using a typical lice treatment or mayonnaise and that doing the trick. The new strain of head lice is no longer killed by those treatments, that’s why lice today are termed by people, “super lice,” because they are immune to those treatments.
I’ve cured thousands of people of lice in my lice center and let me tell you, I don't do it with over-the-counter lice treatments.
Most people struggle with lice because they focus all of their attention on killing lice bugs and not enough attention on GETTING RID OF LICE!
If you want to get rid of lice you have to address all 3 of the problems of lice:
- Lice Bugs
- Lice Eggs
- Getting Lice Back
The best way to get rid of lice is to tackle all 3 of these problems at the same time, which is what I teach in my step-by-step video system.
So, if you discover your child HAS lice, don't panic. Just head over to the video system. Follow along with the videos and you'll be done with lice by the end of the day.
Is Bleaching Your Hair A Good Lice Treatment?
NO MYTHS HERE- ONLY THE FACTS.
There are loads of random people claiming different home remedies "cure" lice circulating the internet.
The purpose of My Lice Advice is to give you the undiluted facts about home remedies and other lice treatments- so that you can make good decisions and get rid of lice as fast as possible.
This article focuses on the facts about bleach and head lice.
Bleaching Your Hair for Lice
While 100% of Clorox bleach can kill head lice, it SHOULD NOT be used directly on the head! It is extremely dangerous!
Let me be clear. Using Clorox bleach directly on your child’s head could severely burn her and cause other major health issues. Don’t do it.
Products designed to bleach hair do not use Clorox bleach.
Most “bleaching” products contain hydrogen peroxide and ammonium persulfate. Both hydrogen peroxide and ammonium may kill some of the weakest lice on the head, but they WILL NOT get rid of head lice.
I have helped hundreds of people that have attempted to get rid of head lice by bleaching their hair.
One of these situations is especially drilled into my brain because the little girl had struggled with lice for a year, and her parents had attempted to get rid of it by bleaching her hair multiple times.
By the time I got involved, this little brunette had ridiculously bright white hair with loads of lice. Most of the lice were this translucent white color (like the picture above). Imagine trying to find these translucent bugs in white hair!
The new super lice today are very strong and resistant to almost all treatments, including bleaching your hair.
If you try to bleach your hair to get rid of lice, you'll end up in the "Never-Ending Cycle" (explained below).
Bleach & The Never-Ending Cycle
If you bleach your hair in an attempt to get rid of head lice, you'll get caught in the horrible "Never-Ending Cycle of Lice"
First- You Have Lice
When you first discover lice you have adult lice bugs, baby lice bugs, and lice eggs (also known as nits)
You Think You've Gotten Rid of It.
After using an over-the-counter treatment or a home remedy, people think they've taken care of the problem because they aren't finding lice bugs for a while.
But what they don't realize is they've missed the lice eggs and the baby bug. Lice kits and home remedies don't kill eggs, and each of those little lice eggs has a bug inside just waiting to hatch and re-infest your child again.
Then- Those Eggs HATCH!
Just like lice eggs are tiny, when lice first hatch they are teeny-tiny. In fact, they are almost invisible to the naked eye! So, it typically takes a few weeks for them to grow big enough for you to see them.
And before you know it you are infested with more baby bugs then you may have started with!
And Lice Is Back Again!
How to Avoid the Never-Ending Cycle
Does Bleaching Your Hair Get Rid of Lice?
Do you want to get rid of lice?
Does Clorox Bleach Kill Lice?
People online say that all sorts of things kill lice that don’t, and I’ve proved it in multiple experiments and videos on this website.
Because I help people with head lice every day, I’m able to test out different products on lice, including bleach.
I’ve tested all sorts of things against head lice: Lysol, rubbing alcohol, Listerine, etc.
Most claims online of something killing lice are entirely false. Lysol doesn’t kill lice; hydrogen peroxide doesn’t kill lice; Listerine doesn’t kill lice etc.
Following the 15 minutes, lice were placed in an empty jar, on top of a dry white paper towel, and observed for any signs of life for the next 24 hours.
100% Clorox Bleach kills head lice.
Clorox bleach is one of the only household cleaners that I have found that can kill head lice (Besides hot water and enzyme sprays).
If you are looking to use bleach for lice cleaning, go to the “housecleaning” section of this article by clicking here.
Don’t EVER use Clorox Bleach on the head!
Applying Clorox bleach to the head is extremely dangerous for the following reasons:
Bleach applied to the scalp can be absorbed through the skin and cause poisoning, especially if there are sores/scabs on the scalp.
Bleach can cause chemical burns- nasty chemical burns!
If bleach gets in your child’s eye, it can cause eye injury, eye damage, and blindness.
Household Products That Kill Lice
Head lice are tough to kill; people claim that a wide variety of household products can kill lice, but they don’t. I’ve tested them all in similar experiments. Feel free to read any of my articles below if you want to learn more about them:
I’ll give you a hint...bleach is the only one on the list that kills lice.
Should You Soak Your Brushes in Bleach?
You can soak your hairbrushes in bleach; it will kill head lice. But, I don’t recommend it, because it’s likely to ruin your brushes. It also won’t kill lice eggs, which I think is essential when it comes to brushes. Here are some better ways to clean your hairbrushes after head lice.
#1 -Soak in Hot Water-Do Not Boil
Lice and lice eggs die in temperatures higher than 130° F.
Be careful not to boil brushes, or they will melt and be unusable.
Heat water on the stove until it just begins to boil and then remove it from the heat. Soak your brushes in hot water for 10 minutes. Hot coffee or hot tea temperature is enough to kill lice.
#2 - Dishwasher
The Sanitization setting of a dishwasher gets to a minimum of 155° F (also called SaniWash, Sanitize, or Anti-Bacterial cycle). The Heated Dry setting of a dishwasher gets to 180° F. Any of these settings will kill lice and lice eggs.
#3 - Freeze Lice
How cold does your freezer need to be to freeze lice?
Your freezer needs to be below 0° F; most freezers are -10° F to -20° F, but if your freezer is cold enough to freeze meat, then it is cold enough to freeze lice. The precise amount of time it takes to freeze lice will depend on your freezer, but 12 hours is plenty.
Should You Use Bleach to Clean Furniture with Lice?
This one seems like a no-brainer. Unless your couch is white, using bleach on your furniture will ruin it. Here are some alternatives.
#1 - Vacuum
The most effective way to treat your furniture for lice is by vacuuming your furniture with either a handheld vacuum or your vacuum’s hand tool. Most vacuums come with this tool specifically designed to clean things such as furniture. Although lice are very good at gripping cloth surfaces, vacuums provide enough suction power to remove them. Vacuuming lice and throwing them into the garbage outside will ensure that they do not survive.
Be sure to focus your vacuuming on the surfaces of the couch that people put their heads on.
#2-Sticky Lint Roller
For those without a vacuum, the next best thing is a sticky lint roller. The lint roller’s adhesive tape is strong enough to pick up lice off surfaces.
Roll each surface of the couch, replacing the roller sheet as the stickiness wears off.
#3 - Pillows
If you have a lot of pillows on your furniture, it will be extremely time-consuming for you to vacuum each pillow individually. Another alternative to vacuuming pillows is to place them in the dryer on high heat for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes in the dryer, your pillows will be safe and can return to your clean couch.
Another option for your pillows is to bag them up for 2 days and keep them away from the family. Lice dehydrate and die after 2 days off the head.
Can I Use Bleach to Clean My Leather Couch?
You don’t need to use bleach on your leather; it will likely ruin it! For those with vinyl-leather furniture, you can wipe down the leather with anything. Use a wet cloth, a leather wipe, or a Lysol wipe. None of these things will kill lice, but it will remove them from your furniture. (Just be sure to vacuum your carpet).
House Cleaning for Lice
Summing It Up…
Soaking items in 100% Clorox bleach will kill head lice, however lower concentrations of bleach will not kill lice. There are better ways to clean your items than bleach, such as soaking your brushes in hot water, vacuuming your couches, and putting items in the dryer.
Bleaching hair is not an effective way to kill lice. Lice today are resistant to most chemicals, so it’s more likely that bleaching the hair will kill some of the weakest lice, but the stronger lice will survive and breed, making even stronger lice. Additionally, lice eggs are completely unphased by harsh chemicals and bleach, so you will continue to go around and around in an endless cycle of head lice.
DO NOT USE BLEACH ON YOUR HEAD in an attempt to get rid of lice. It is dangerous! And bleaching your hair won't fix your lice problem.
If you want to get rid of lice quickly, then follow along with my step-by-step videos and get rid of lice by the end of the day.
I'll see you there!
Theresa is a Registered Nurse and lice expert with years of experience curing children of lice. She owns a lice treatment center in the US which is where she perfected the Step-by-Step Video System proven to get rid of lice. She also works with government agencies and schools helping those with the worst head lice cases in America.
Her greatest passion is empowering parents by teaching parents online how to do a professional lice treatment on their child at home. She is the Lice Coach for the My Lice Advice Step-by-Step Video System.