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Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Hair Brushes After Head Lice Infestation

Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Hair Brushes After Head Lice Infestation

Explore our ultimate guide to cleaning hair brushes after a head lice infestation. This guide offers proven techniques, including hot water soaking, dishwasher cleaning, and freezing, ensuring your hair accessories are thoroughly lice-free.

Can you catch lice if you use someone else’s brush?

Yes, you can catch lice from using someone else’s hairbrush. Lice can transfer from the bristles of a brush to your hair if the brush was recently used by someone with an active lice infestation. Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Direct Contact: Lice can move from the infected brush to your hair if you use it shortly after an infected person.
  • Short Lifespan: Lice cannot live long without a human host, but the risk remains if the brush is used soon after exposure.
  • Prevention: To avoid getting lice, do not share brushes, hats, or other personal items that touch the hair.

How Long Do Head Lice Live or Survive on a Hairbrush?

Head lice can only survive on a hairbrush for about 1 to 2 days. Their survival depends on their need for human blood, which they can only get from a living host. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Survival Time: Without feeding, lice will die within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Environmental Factors: The survival rate can vary slightly based on the temperature and humidity.
  • Cleaning Practices: Regularly cleaning brushes and not sharing personal items can help prevent the spread of lice.

By understanding these factors, you can take preventive measures to protect yourself and your family from lice.

How to Clean Hairbrushes and Hair Accessories After You Have Lice?

After dealing with a lice infestation, it’s crucial to clean all hairbrushes and hair accessories to prevent re-infestation. Here are effective methods to ensure that these items do not harbor lice or nits (lice eggs).

Wash Brushes in Water

Soaking your hairbrushes in hot water can kill lice and nits effectively. Here’s how to do it:

  • Temperature: Use water that’s at least 130°F (54°C).
  • Duration: Soak brushes and combs for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Aftercare: Clean the brushes with soap and water after soaking.


Using a dishwasher to clean hairbrushes and accessories can be an effective method due to the high temperatures reached during a wash cycle, which can aid in lice treatment.

  • Settings: Place brushes on the top rack and use a hot water cycle.
  • Safety: Ensure the brushes and accessories are dishwasher-safe to prevent melting or damage.

Put Brush In the Freezer

Freezing is another method to kill lice, although it’s less common.

  • Duration: Leave the brush in the freezer for at least 12 hours.
  • Effectiveness: This method can be useful, but it may not be as reliable as heat treatment.

Rubbing Alcohol  

Rubbing Alcohol

Using rubbing alcohol can help eliminate lice due to its disinfectant properties, and using a vacuum around the house can assist in getting rid of lice from soft furnishings.

  • Application: Soak the brushes and combs in rubbing alcohol for at least one hour.
  • Precaution: Thoroughly rinse the brushes with water after soaking to remove the alcohol.

Avoid Using Hairbrush

If possible, avoid using the infected brush until it has been thoroughly cleaned.

  • Alternative: Use disposable or inexpensive brushes that can be thrown away after the infestation is cleared.
  • Prevention: Consider having designated brushes for each family member to minimize cross-contamination.


Dealing with head lice requires attention to detail, not only in treating the hair but also in managing the environment and personal items like hairbrushes and accessories. By applying methods such as washing in hot water, using a dishwasher, freezing, or using rubbing alcohol, you can ensure that these items are thoroughly disinfected and free from lice. Each method has its benefits and limitations, so choosing the right one depends on your specific needs and available resources. Remember, preventing re-infestation is crucial, so maintaining good hygiene and cleaning practices is essential. By taking these steps, you can protect yourself and your family from the discomfort and annoyance of lice.

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