What Do You Mean "We Have Lice"!?
You just discovered that your family has head lice. your mind goes into a mild panic as you try to remember all the things you’ve mentally gathered on the subject over the years. You run frantically through the house picking up everything you can to start the washing and drying process. all of the pillows and fabric toys and teddy bears are gathered and thrown into a bag(s) and put out in the garage.
But I want to introduce you to a different option in the place of washing and drying mounds of clothes and bed clothes.- something other than bagging everything and putting it out in the garage or in a storage shed. It's your freezer.
They Like It Hot, Hot, Hot
My concern with head lice and nits are that they are well adapted to heat. They actually need heat to exist and reproduce. So, while your plan is to put them in the hottest wash cycle you can and then dry them in the dryer at the hottest setting, I'm not convinced this is entirely effective. Lice and especially nits can survive for a while in water, and they certainly like and need heat. However, a weakness to both head lice and nits is cold. The head lice and nits that survive and thrive the most are the ones that are at the base of a ponytail, or behind the ear, or anywhere that is warm. This is the reason that head lice and their nits will not survive in hair that is 1” or under. There is just not enough heat to incubate the nits. So it stands to reason that cold is more of an enemy to head lice and nits than Heat is.
Bag it, Tag it, Freeze it
A much more effective process is to bag up whatever you may need in the very near future and put it in the freezer for a minimum of 12 hours. 24 hours would be best depending on how insulated the materials are. A large comforter will obviously take longer to freeze because it's in a bag and folded into layers, it will create its own insulation. Sure, you can still take the non-essential items and bag them and put them in the garage. They will die after a while (a week is a good timeframe).
Box of Winter
People who live in winter climates that experience extended freezing temperatures say one of the best things about it is that it kills all the bugs. Yes, in fact, it does. You have a “Box of frozen winter” in your home: Your freezer. I can tell you, it will kill the bugs. That includes head lice and nits. So, if you or your family or friends have to deal with head lice and nits, do yourselves a favor and freeze the little buggers. It works.
That’s Nothing Like Bobbing For Apples
Funny anecdotal story: I had a gentleman call me to order our product for his niece that he was caring for. I asked if he needed some for himself because lice can be carried. He said “No. I dunk my head in water.” I said. “What do you mean?”. He told me the story of how he leans back into a basin filled with ice water for 20 minutes. He covers up and leans back. He said he wasn’t going to subject his 11 year old niece to that but “it works like magic!”. He was the guy who got me to rethink what the common wash/dry/bag process was about. And, you know, it makes perfect sense.
Written by: Darren Serhal
23 year Pediculosis Expert