Can Head Lice Live On Pillows And Sheets? The Ultimate Answer

If you have a lice infestation, it’s critical to ensure that any stragglers are eradicated following a treatment. If not discovered early enough, head lice can spread throughout the family. These parasites can even travel to your hats, towels, or beddings. Can head lice live on pillows and sheets? The bad news is yes! These bloodsuckers can survive on your bed linens for one or two days. If you are looking for helpful tips to protect your bedding from these parasites, look no further than this post! Let’s check it out to discover it in detail!

What Are Head Lice?

Head lice are parasitic insects that attach to living organisms’ hair or fur and live on the blood on the host’s scalp. They grow 2 to 3 mm long when they reach maturity and can be as big as sesame seeds. They have no wings but six legs with dark skin. These insects adhere to the hairs on the host’s head around the root of the scalp and hair and release their eggs close to the skin.

These irritating insects aren’t going away on their own; they’re just going to worsen over time. These parasites migrate from this host to another by crawling using their tiny legs since they lack wings. When they settle on a person’s head, female ones proceed to lay nits, which are tiny eggs.

Female insects may release an average of at least 200 nits. When nits are born, they are often as big as pinheads. Adult nits may have the same size as sesame seeds. A nit is round or oval and features a projecting antenna on its front. The baby louse or nymph is housed in a hard, transparent shell. After staying in the host’s hair for around ten days, the nits open, and the nymph appears.

After 7 -10 days, the nymph reaches maturity. The nymphs have matured into full-grown parasites and can begin laying eggs at this stage.

Can Head Lice Live On Pillows And Sheets-Head Lice

Head lice

Can Head Lice Live On Pillows And Sheets?

The short answer is yes! Lice and their eggs called nits can survive on your pillows and sheets.

These insects attach their eggs to their host’s hair strands.

If a strand of hair containing an egg slips out when the parasite host is asleep, the egg may land on pillowcases or linens.

A louse may lay eggs even when it is without a host. Thus, they can survive until nymphs emerge from them.

However, head lice are unlikely to survive long in bed sheets as they require scalp blood and heat to be alive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these little insects can live for around 48 hours after dropping off a host’s scalp.

These bugs can spread from one host’s head to others if they come into touch with hair or share combs, pillowcases, or caps.

While it is reassuring that mattresses and cushions do not transmit head lice, you must wash them regularly.

Can head lice lives on pillows and sheets-These little insects can live a brief time on beddings.

These little insects can live a brief time on beddings.

What Is The Lifespan Of Head Lice On Pillows And Sheets?

According to the National Pediculosis Association, head lice may live for up to 30 days on a living body.

They can’t live on pillows and bedding sheets for too long because these surfaces have no food and are too cold for them to survive.

These insects must feed six times daily because they ingest blood every four hours. They frequently gorge themselves on the majority of their meal at night.

To successfully treat and control lice infestations, it is necessary to know the entire process of these parasites.

How long do head lice live? The life cycle of these parasites is divided into nine phases:

These insects start laying eggs called nits that cling to human hair shafts. Nits are round in form and come in various colors, like yellow or white.

They are the same size as a knot and are typically located around 1/4 inches below the scalp.

After roughly a week, eggs develop into nymphs. The nymph goes through three phases as it matures into an adult.

The nymph must molt three times after being newly hatched to grow into a full-grown louse.

It reaches adulthood and can mate after experiencing the third cycle. Adult lice are roughly as big as sesame seeds, measuring 2 to 3 mm in length.

Female lice can release three or eight nits each day as adults.

They can live for two weeks if they stay in a habitat on the living organisms’ heads after hitting puberty.

When these insects are separated from hair and dropped off, they eventually die after 48 hours because of lacking food and the ideal temperature.

Can head lice lives on pillows and sheets-The life cycle of these insects

The life cycle of these insects

How Can You Get Rid Of Head Lice Infestations From Your Pillows And Sheets?

Are you searching for ways to remove these pesky insects from your bedding?

The fact that sleeping head to head contact can raise the chance of having head lice spread on another person. The way to get rid of lice is by catching them on the pillow, which is not common.

Here are several simple steps to ensure that you or your family are clear of these pesky insects. Let’s scroll down!

Oil Your Head And Comb

Can Head Lice Live On Pillows And Sheets-Comb hair

Comb hair

Without a host, head lice die rapidly. So the first step is to get them out of your family or your hair.

The best method for killing insects at home is to use oil.

Apply oil directly to the scalp and comb.

If you keep it on lice will suffocate. brush these insects. Ensure that comb every hair splits your pieces about inches in width. Combing eliminates little insects, especially larger ones.

The louse may start dying moment settles hair. Any residual crumbs still have perished by the following day.

Washing And Drying Your Begin Nitpicking

Can Head Lice Live On Pillows And Sheets-Nits


You must adequately wash away see remove nits with specialized treatment shampoo like LiceDoctors. It would be best to inspect slowly thoroughly locate adhere or look through all hairs concentrate efforts as some exist there. find any kill them immediately.

You must follow a basic follow-up procedure to prevent parasites from going back and eliminate any residual nits.

Following your lice therapy, use a specific head lice treatment oil on your hair several times over a few weeks.

Get Rid Of Head Lice Of Your Pillows And Sheets

The most popular method for cleaning pillows and bedding sheets is to set them aside for about one day.

These crumbs will eventually die without an ideal temperature and warmth. To remove head lice off your mattresses and beds, follow these steps:

  • Remove everything from your bed, including pillow covers, blankets, or bed linens.
  • Use hot water to wash these items. After that, you can use a hot dryer.
  • Place non-washable items in plastic containers for more than one week.
  • Allow the infested things to sit under the direct sunlight for several days.
  • Vacuum over your bedding to remove any remaining insects.
Can Head Lice Live On Pillows And Sheets-Remove everything from your bed

Remove everything from your bed.

Extra Tips To Deal With Head Lice On Pillows And Sheets

After applying ways to get rid of these crumbs on your bedding but you are still worried about returning insects, you can consider the following tips:

Eliminate The Root Cause

To prevent a recurrence, eliminate crumbs from the hair, the root cause of the infestation.

You can use over-the-counter medicine lotions, shampoos, and oils to get these insects out of the hair.

Brush your hair with a nit comb to remove any dead insects or nits.

If none of these head lice treatments works, contact a dermatologist to get more effective treatment.

Make Sprays For The Bedding

If washing and vacuuming beddings are insufficient, you can make some sprays. You can consider the two options:

Homemade Bleach Spray


  • Bleach: 1 tablespoon
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Spray bottle


  • Pour bleach and water into a spray bottle.
  • Spray your linens, blankets, and pillowcases with this solution.
  • Wash all of the items in boiling water after the solution has dried.

Homemade Essential Oil Spray


  • Essential oil: 10 drops
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Spray bottle


  • Pour water and essential oil into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the bedding with this solution thoroughly.
  • Allow it to dry before washing or vacuuming the bedding.
Can Head Lice Live On Pillows And Sheets- Essential Oil

Essential oil

How To Avoid Getting Head Lice Infestation?

Do you want to avoid getting head lice infestation? Follow these tips:

  • Avoid sharing items that come in touch with the head, such as combs, hats, and towels.
  • Avoid engaging in activities that need you to interact with another person head to head.
  • Keep your stuff out of communal spaces like closets, specifically upper clothes.
  • To prevent these insects from spreading, wash the hair accessories using hot water. The CDC suggests using water that is more than 130°F.
Can Head Lice Live On Pillows And Sheets-Wash hair accessories

Wash hair accessories


How long do lice on pillows survive?

Pillows? Lice can only survive for 1-2 days on any type of bedding, including sheets, pillows, and comforters, just like mattresses. Lice cannot live without a human scalp as a source of nourishment (blood) for more than a day or two.

Should I wash my pillows after treating lice?

Following a lice infestation, how to clean your bedding. All bedding should be taken off, washed in hot water, and dried for 20 to 30 minutes on high. To ensure that all lice and nits have perished, place your pillows and sheets in a large plastic bag if they cannot be machine washed. Let them stay there for 7–10 days.

If I have lice, can I still sleep in my bed?

Stay away from sharing a bed with someone with a live lice infestation. Avoid doing so if you haven’t sat there in the last two days. Dry clothing and linens quickly after washing in hot water. For two weeks, store stuffed animals, pillows, and other objects that can’t be washed in an airtight bag.

Can head lice scurry over a floor?

Head lice are unable to jump or fly. They have to pull themselves through hair or threads as they crawl from place to place. On a firm, smooth surface, they are unable to crawl. Nymphs and adult head lice can pass from one person to another or from one contaminated object to another.

How likely is it that a pillow will transmit lice?

The rate of live lice infestation on pillowcases was 4.2 percent per night, and 0.11 percent of the head louse population was found there. Experimentally put head lice in pillowcases were killed by heat (hot washing machine and hot dryer). Head lice could not be killed by a cold wash and air-drying the pillowcases.

What first results in head lice?

So you might be wondering, where did head lice originate? This question has both a short answer and a long response. The short answer is that head-to-head contact with another person is how you or your child contracted lice if you have it.


This article has finally reached the bottom of your question: Can head lice live on pillows and sheets?

To sum up, these parasites can live on your bedding but no more than 48 hours because they will die without food or an ideal temperature.

If you are experiencing this situation, you should treat lice infestation immediately by oiling the hair, killing nits, following the after-care plan, or using DIY sprays for bedding.

Other tips that after having lice treatment removed from your hair, consider cleaning your home entirely to prevent any remaining lice or lice eggs from outsiders.

If you know other methods, you can share them in the comment below. Thanks for taking the time to follow this post!

David Elkie

David Elkie

David Elkie is the CEO and Founder of Elkie & Ark. He has 20 years of experience in bedroom furniture, design, decor, and all related bedrooms. David has helped hundreds of people better understand the bedroom and choose the best products.