5 Best Ways to Clean Hats, Helmets, and Headphones After Lice

After struggling to get rid of head lice, the last thing you want is to get it back from a hat or helmet. Discover the 5 best ways to clean hats, helmets, and headphones after lice.

Before getting started on cleaning, let’s address the bigger question that I get asked all the time. 

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….

problem #1

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. 

problem #2

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.

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Let me introduce myself...

lice expert

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.

Most people with lice are stuck in what I term the “never-ending lice cycle” that looks like this…

You discover lice; you spend hours treating, nit-picking, house cleaning etc.

You think it’s gone for a few weeks…

But then it’s back again!

Many people think that they’re in this cycle because they’ve missed something in their cleaning. Let me assure you it’s not because you missed something in your cleaning. It’s because you never really got rid of lice. Lice are immune to lice treatments.

If you want to be confident that you’ve eliminated lice from your life permanently then check out the page How to Get Rid of Lice in One Day.

Hats and helmets are blamed by many as the chief culprits for spreading head lice. Is it true? Before getting to the 5 Best Ways to treat your hat, helmet, and headphones, let's answer some of the most commonly asked questions. 

How long can lice live on a hat, helmet, or headphones?

48 hours. Lice can live on hats, helmets, and headphones for up to 2 days. Most lice die within 24 hours of being off the head away from a human blood meal. But, when studied in labs under precise temperatures, lice were able to survive 2 days.

Can you get lice from a hat, helmet, or headphones?

Yes, you can, but it's not as likely as you might think. A study examined the hats of 1,000 people with head lice to see how many lice would transfer to the hat. How many lice do you think they found out of 1,000 hats? 

The researchers found ZERO lice in the 1,000 hats.

However, there have been other studies that indicate the chance of lice transferring to a hat is a little higher, closer to 4%. But still, that is a pretty small risk.

Most lice are passed directly from head-to-head (or hair-to-hair) contact with someone else with lice.

Most don't want to take even a small risk like that, so here are the 5 best ways to treat and kill lice on hats, helmets, and headphones.

5 Best Ways to Treat and Kill Lice on Hats, Helmets, and Headphones

#1- Don't Wear Them For 2 Days (Hats, Helmets, Headphones)

Lice can't survive off the head for more than 2 days. If you don't wear the hat, helmet, or headphones for two days then all lice on them will die, it's as simple as that. Putting the item in a bag labeled "Do not use" can help everyone remember not to use them as well. I know that isn't going to work for every situation, so read on...

#2- Dryer (Hats)

Lice die at 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. 

How long do I put my hat in the dryer to kill lice?

Many will debate the number of how long to put things in the dryer. In a study specifically designed to test lice and dryers, 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 hat goes the full 40 minutes on high heat in the dryer. See the picture below.

#3- Wipe Them (Helmets)

The best thing to wipe down headphones and helmets are alcohol-based wipes. Rubbing alcohol has been proven to kill lice in studies. If alcohol-based wipes are not available, then any cleaning wipe will suffice. When wiping the inside of a helmet, it's not about killing lice inside the helmet, it's about wiping out any lice that may be hiding inside.

#4- Lice Spray (Helmets and Headphones)

Unfortunately, most lice sprays on the market today are pesticides that are no longer effective at killing lice on the head or items like helmets and headphones.

#5- Lice Repellent Spray (Hats and Headphones)

There are certain essential oil scents that lice hate. When those fragrances are sprayed on furniture, lice flee the scene. Spraying this kind of repellant spray on your items won't kill lice, but it'll make them less likely to come to you. 

What should I do if my child has to share a helmet for sports?

You can provide your own helmet and ask that it not be shared with the other people on the team. Another way to help protect her head is to wear a hat underneath the helmet. The hat will act as a barrier between your child's head and the lice that may be in the helmet.

Can I get lice from trying on hats at the store?

It's possible but highly unlikely. Three very unlikely things would have to happen: Someone with head lice would have to have tried on the hat within the last 2 days, lice would have had to have left their head to be inside the hat (very unlikely), and the lice would still need to be inside the hat (not crawled out) when you try the hat on.


The risk of getting lice from hats, helmets, and headphones is smaller than many people think. Most lice are spread from head to head contact with someone else with head lice.

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 fast, then check out the technique I use on the How to Get Rid of Lice in One Day article.

Best of luck on your lice journey! (1)

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