Does Lysol Kill Lice? Experiment & Video
If you’re struggling with lice, you know how difficult it is to get rid of it. It seems like lice today are immune to just about everything!
As you’re determining how to clean your house best, you’re probably wondering if Lysol kills lice.
This article answers the following:
Lice today are called “super lice” because they have genetic mutations that make them extremely difficult to kill.
A recent study shows that almost all lice today have the super lice mutation. So things that may have killed lice in the past are not effective at killing lice now.
Does Lysol Kill Lice?
Lysol is excellent at cleaning surfaces for bacteria and viruses, can it work on head lice too?
The active ingredient in most Lysol products is benzalkonium chloride.
Up to date, no formal research had tested Lysol on head lice. So, I decided to experiment.
Since I own my own lice center, I have access to loads of lice every day, so testing different cleaners on head lice is easy for me.
Lysol vs. Lice: The Experiment
I collected several live lice from clients in my lice center.
I immersed the lice in Lysol for 15 minutes.
Then place on a white paper towel in an empty mason jar.
Initially, the lice were immobile, but I set a timer and waited...
2 minutes later… all lice were alive!
The lice were just as active as before, completely unphased by Lysol whatsoever.
And, they stayed that way! They were still alive 24 hours later when I finally threw them away.
Something Better Than Lysol
Now that you’ve found out Lysol doesn’t work; you may be thinking about getting a pesticide spray. Do not waste your money. They do not work! Multiple studies have shown that lice today are immune to the pesticides in lice sprays.
The best household spray that I have found to kill lice is LiceLogic Clear & Free All Purpose Spray.
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 can with pesticides. This spray will leave your house smelling like peppermint.
Household Products That Kill Lice
Head lice are tough to kill, a wide variety of household products have been touted as being able to 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 Lysol?
No! Lysol does not affect lice at all, so you don’t want to soak your lice-infested hairbrushes in it, because they will come out just as infested as when you put them in.
Here’s what has proven to kill lice on hair brushes:
#1 - Soak in Hot Water-Do Not Boil
Lice die in temperatures higher than 130° F.
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.
Be careful not to boil brushes
Plastic’s melting point is 212° F, the same temperature of boiling water. Be sure not to boil your plastic brushes, or they will melt and be unusable.
#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.
#3 - Freeze Lice
How cold does your freezer need to be to freeze lice?
Your freezer needs to 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.
A quick disclosure: A few items in this article are affiliate links, and I do earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
Should You Use Lysol to Clean Furniture with Lice?
#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- Enzyme Lice Spray! (Non-pesticide)
Most sprays these days do not work to kill lice because lice are immune to them. The best household 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 profess to kill lice, but they don’t.
#4 - 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 Lysol to Clean My Leather Couch?
For those with vinyl-leather furniture, you can wipe down the leather with anything. Use a wet cloth, a leather wipe, or yes, even 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
This article only covers a few items about house cleaning, but you can find everything you need to know about exactly what to clean and how to clean it at the article The Ultimate Lice House Cleaning Checklist.
Can You Use Lysol on the Head?
Lysol should not be used directly on the skin or scalp. Using Lysol on your child can have severe consequences.
Lysol itself says,
“HAZARDS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS. DO NOT SPRAY ON EYES, SKIN OR CLOTHING” and “WASH HANDS AFTER USE”
Harsh cleaners on the skin can cause skin irritation and burns.
Additionally, if it gets in the eyes, it can cause severe eye irritation.
Considering Lysol is completely ineffective at killing lice, you shouldn’t “give it a try” anyway.
Summing it Up...
Lysol does not kill head lice. But, fortunately, there are lots of other ways to clean your hairbrushes and furniture that are effective. Never use Lysol on your child’s head because it is extremely dangerous. It can cause severe burns, poisoning, and eye damage.
A Word of Caution…
If you’ve used an over the counter pesticide treatment on your child’s head, you are likely to be disappointed and struggle with lice for a very long time. Super lice are immune to the pesticides found in both over the counter and prescription treatments today! They do not kill lice or lice eggs.
The best treatments today contain a non-toxic ingredient, dimethicone. Dimethicone used to only be available at lice centers, but a few centers have started selling their products online.
These are my top picks:
The Ladibugs Lice Elimination Kit comes with a serum that kills both lice and super lice. It also comes with an enzyme mousse that helps loosen lice eggs, making them much easier to remove. Ladibugs is a one-and-done kit, which means you have everything you need for one person in one kit. The enzyme mousse can be used multiple times over several days to remove lice eggs.
Lice Clinics Lice Remover Kit comes with an easy dispenser and is probably the easiest treatment to use. It kills all lice within 20 minutes. You’ll need to retreat in about 10 days.
Best Home Remedy: Coconut Oil
If you want to use a home remedy, then you can get all the details about every home remedy out there in my Home Remedies article.
So you know, coconut oil is one of the more effective home remedies.
Coconut oil kills about 80% of head lice if left on the head for extended periods.
Unfortunately, coconut oil has little to no effect on lice eggs. It neither kills lice eggs nor prevents them from hatching.
Complete removal of lice eggs from the head or several repeated treatments over 3 weeks are necessary for coconut oil to get rid of head lice effectively. Read the full article and tutorial at the article Coconut Oil For Head Lice Tutorial.
Here are a couple more articles that I think you might be interested in...