Head lice are a common problem among school-age children, especially those under 12. They are easily spread among children who share hats, combs, and brushes with their classmates, or hang their coats against an infected person's coat. Once your child is infected with head lice, it can be a cumbersome task to get rid of these pesky parasites. One of the most commonly overlooked areas is your furniture. Here are some tips to help you rid your furniture and the rest of your home of head lice.
Remove any pillows, stuffed animals, or throws from your soft fabric furniture. Place these in garbage bags and seal tightly. Remove them from the area, and make sure they remain sealed for at least two weeks before placing them on your furniture again.
Vacuum your furniture thoroughly with a fresh carpet bag. Take care to get into all of the cracks and crevices of your furniture. Using an attachment for upholstery, vacuum the sides and back of your sofa, upholstered chairs, mattresses and futons. Once you have vacuumed completely, immediately empty the vacuum cleaner bag or cup and place it into an airtight plastic bag. Seal it tightly, take it out of your house immediately, and deposit it in the trash.
Clean your furniture thoroughly with a handheld upholstery machine, or the upholstery attachment of a floor-sized carpet shampooer. Following your machine's directions, use hot water or steam if at all possible. The steam helps to kill any nits that are remaining after vacuuming.
Keep the infected person from sitting on the furniture until her hair is completely nit free to keep from reinfecting. Place a vinyl cover over the child's pillow, and wipe it clean with warm soapy water as soon as she awakes in the morning to keep any nits from getting on the mattress again. If possible, cover the mattress with a vinyl cover as well and wipe each morning.
Continue to vacuum your furniture each day until all signs of the lice and nits are gone. Each time you vacuum, take care to remove the bag or empty the cup and seal it in a plastic bag so none of the live lice escape and reproduce in your carpet, repeating the cycle of infestation.
Although you may be tempted to bring out your pillows sooner, wait the full two weeks to ensure all nits have died.
Do not spray your furniture with harsh chemicals, and take care not to mix chemicals on your furniture.