How Long Lice Live on Stuffed Animals and
5 Proven Ways to Treat Them

Discover how long lice can live on stuffed animals and 5 proven ways to treat stuffed animals for lice.


My kids have TONS of stuffed animals. How do I treat their stuffed animals for lice?

stuffed animal being cleaned and treated for lice

Answer from a Lice Expert:

After spending hours treating your children with lice the last thing you want is to get it back from their stuffed animals!


Before diving into this article, you should know that there is a FREE, all-inclusive LICE CLEANING CHECKLIST available for you to take with you as well that goes over what to do for every room in the house.


In this article let's talk specifics of how to clean stuffed animals for lice.


Let me introduce myself...

Lice nurse helping others

Hi there! I'm a lice expert, lice coach, Registered Nurse, and the creator of My Lice Advice. I help people with lice every day in my lice treatment center, in school districts, and in government work. But the thing I love the most is empowering parents to get rid of head lice in ONE DAY at home! 

You can eliminate lice in one day using the same proven professional technique I use in my lice center on your child. Follow along with the Step-by-Step Video System, and when you're done with the videos you're done with lice. PERMANENTLY!

How to Clean Stuffed Animals From Lice

large stuffed animal bear and the word head lice

How to Clean Your Stuffed Animals for Lice- VIDEO!

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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….

picture of lice bug under a magnifying glass

Lice bugs are immune!

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. 

magnifying glass looking at lice eggs and nits in brown hair

Lice eggs hatch!

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:

  1. Lice Bugs
  2. Lice Eggs
  3. 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.

lice bug under a magnifying glass

Head Lice and Stuffed Animals

4 stuffed animals that need to be cleaned from lice

Head lice are called head lice for a reason. Generally speaking, head lice stick to the hair and scalp of humans. Lice are built to hold on to hair as if their life depended on it (because it does).

But, what if lice does come off your child's head and onto their favorite stuffed animal, then what? 

How long can lice live on stuffed animals?

stuffed animal staning next to a clock

Think 48 hours or 2 days. Most lice die within 24 hours of being off the head away from a human. However, under exact temperatures, the longest lice can live is 2 days without a human head. So, when you think about how long to "quarantine" things, the 2-day rule ensures all lice will be dead.

How likely is it that lice will be on stuffed animals?

child snuggling a stuffed animal tightly, presumably with lice

It is unlikely to have lice lingering on stuffed animals, but it is possible. The risk for lice being on stuffed animals lies somewhere between 0-4%. One study examined the classroom floors of children with head lice after a full day of school and did not find any lice on the floors in the school. Another study examined the pillowcases of 48 people with head lice after a night's rest and found 2 live lice on the pillowcases (4%). 

If your child has a particularly loved and snuggled stuffed animal, then the risk of their being head lice on it is probably closer to 4%, but if you're talking about stuffed animals in the closet or on the floor, then the risk is closer to 0%.

Can I use lice sprays on stuffed animals?

the word no

Do not waste your time, money, or health on pesticide lice sprays or lice bombs. If you have tried a bunch of pesticide 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!

Just like pesticides are an ineffective treatment on the head, they are even more worthless when sprayed in the air or on your couches.

Additionally, they are EXTREMELY toxic and dangerous to you, your children, and your pets. If they actually killed lice, maybe you could rationalize the risk of breathing problems, sickness, or even cancer, but they don’t actually kill lice! The chemicals in lice sprays and bombs are the same pesticides that 98% of lice are resistant to, so you end up just spraying poison all over your stuffed animals for no reason.


Over 98% of lice have some immunity to pesticides!

5 Proven Ways to Treat Stuffed Animals for Lice

As I said before HEAD lice are called head lice for a reason. Generally speaking, head lice stick to the HEAD, specifically the hair and scalp of humans. 

But, what if lice do come off on your stuffed animals here are 5 proven ways to treat stuffed animals for lice.

large stuffed animal bear and the word head lice

#1- Dryer (for the favorites)

stuffed animal rabbit in the dryer, being cleaned for lice

If your child has a million stuffed animals, then you're not going to want to put them all in the dryer, but for the favorite stuffed animals putting them through the dryer for 40 minutes on high heat is the ideal treatment. They'll have their stuffies back in no time.

Lice die in temperatures higher than 130° F. The average dryer gets to 135° F on the high cycle, but it does take some time for the dryer to get to that temperature and to stay at that temperature. In a study, all lice were dead after 40 minutes on high heat in the dryer, so that's the timeframe I recommend.

One word of caution before you put things in the dryer. If you have a newer energy-efficient dryer, be sure to turn off the "eco sensor." The "eco sensor" on dryers is designed to help save energy by automatically turning off the dryer once the clothes are dry enough. In a lice situation, most people care much more about killing lice than about saving money on their energy bills. So, make sure your "eco-sensor" is off, and the stuffed animals go the full 40 minutes on high heat in the dryer.

#2- Sticky Tape Lint Roller

stuffed animal hippo being cleaned for lice using a sticky tape lint roller

Another alternative for your child's favorite toy is to use a Scotch Brite Lint Roller to clean it. The adhesive on most lint rollers is strong enough to pick up any lice that may be on stuffed animals. Just be sure to replace the sheets of the lint roller as they pick up debris and become less sticky.

#3- Bag Them

stuffed animals bagged for lice

For the one million other stuffed animals that are hanging out in your child's closet or floor, the likelihood of them having any lice on them is close to 0%. For those that want to be very cautious, you can put those stuffed animals and toys in a large bag and keep them away from your child's head for 2 days. After 2 days, they are safe to return to your child.

#4- Sanitize

a washing machine with a sanization cycle

If stuffed animals could use a "bath" anyway, then you can put them in the washing machine. But, be aware that most cycles in the washing machine are not adequate to kill lice. Many people assume that lice will drown or wash out in the water, neither of which is true. Lice can not drown, and lice do not "wash off" items. The only cycle on the washing machine that will kill lice is the sanitizing cycle because it reaches temperatures high enough to kill lice. 

#5- Lice Repellent Spray

a bottle of lice presumably of lice repelling spray for stuffed animals

DO NOT use a pesticide lice spray to spray on stuffed animals! Lice are resistant to these sprays, so if there are any lice on them, it will not kill them. And, these pesticide sprays are very toxic to children and pets. 

While pesticide sprays are not a good idea, I do recommend lice repellent sprays. 

There are certain essential oil scents that lice hate. When you spray one of these fragrances on items, lice will leave the area. These sprays do not KILL lice, but they are useful as a boost to keep lice away. 

These fragrances are things like:

  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Lavendar
  • Citronella
  • Anise

The Never-Ending Cycle

Most people that use lice kits and home remedies get caught in the horrible "Never-Ending Cycle of Lice"

Three arrows pointing down

First- You Have Lice

lice eggs, baby lice, and adult lice with arrows labeling them

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.

arrows pointing to lice eggs left in hair

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 the bigger problem is the lice eggs that are left in the hair. 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!

baby lice bugs with arrows labeling them

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 by the time you notice your head is infested all over again!

And Lice Is Back Again!

full lice infestation representation with lice eggs, baby lice bugs, and adult lice bugs

How to Avoid the Never-Ending Cycle

If you want to avoid this never-ending cycle and get rid of lice fast then check out my Step-by-Step Video System. Follow along with the videos and you can be completely done with lice in ONE DAY, no retreatments necessary.

If you choose to go another route...

discouraged mother dealing with head lice

Lice is horrible, and no one should have to endure it for months on end. And I hope you don't.

Many people go from lice kit to lice kit and then from home remedy to home remedy. They think it's gone for a week or two, and then it comes back again.

I created the My Lice Advice Video System so you can avoid struggling with lice for months, instead, just follow along with the videos and be done with lice by the end of the day!

Summing It Up…

Lice can only live off the head for up to 48 hours. The chance of getting lice back from stuffed animals is relatively low. But placing things in the dryer, lint rolling them, bagging them, and sanitizing them will bring that risk down to zero.

The most important thing about getting rid of lice isn’t cleaning inanimate objects--it’s making sure you’ve gotten rid of lice!

If you want to get rid of lice quickly then follow along with my Step-by-Step Video System and get rid of it in ONE DAY.

All the best,

lice expert

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.

A white stuffed rabbit is holding a blue with white polka dot present. The background is a baby blue color with the words "How Long do Lice Live on Stuffed Animals?"
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