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 treatment. If not discovered early enough, head lice can spread throughout the family. These parasites can even travel to your hats, towels, or bedding.

Can head lice live on pillows and sheets? The bad news is yes! These bloodsuckers can stay 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 be 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

Can Head Lice And Nits Live On Pillows And Bed Covers?

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

These insects attach their eggs to their hosts’ 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 cannot 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 another if they come into contact 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.

These little insects can live a brief time on beddings.
These little insects can live a brief time on bedding.

What Is The Lifespan Of Head Lice?

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

They cannot live on bedding 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 life cycle 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. These eggs 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 inch 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 to eight eggs 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 the hair and dropped off, they eventually die after 48 hours because of a lack of food and the ideal temperature.

The life cycle of these insects
The life cycle of these insects

How Can You Remove Head Lice Infestations From Your Pillows And Bed Covers?

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

The fact that sleeping head-to-head with another person can raise the chance of having head lice spread to them. The only 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

Comb hair
Comb hair

Without a host, head lice die rapidly. So the first step is to get them out of your family’s or your own 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 off these insects. Ensure that when you comb every strand, your pieces are about an inch wide. Combing eliminates little insects, especially larger ones.

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

Washing And Drying Your Begin Nitpicking


You must adequately wash away and remove head lice eggs with a specialized treatment shampoo like LiceDoctors. It would be best to slowly and thoroughly inspect, locate, adhere, or look through all hairs, concentrating efforts as some may exist there. If you find any, kill them immediately.

You must follow a basic follow-up procedure to prevent parasites from going back and eliminating 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 from your mattresses and beds, follow these steps:

Step 1: Remove everything from your bed, including pillow covers, blankets, and bed linens.

Step 2: Use hot water to wash these items. After that, you can use a hot dryer.

Step 3: Place non-washable items in plastic containers for more than one week.

Step 4: Allow the infested things to sit in direct sunlight for several days.

Step 5: Vacuum over your bedding to remove any remaining insects.

Remove everything from your bed
Remove everything from your bed

Extra Tips To Deal With Head Lice On Beddings

After applying ways to get rid of these crumbs on your bedding, if you are still worried about insects returning, 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 your hair.

Brush your hair with a nit comb to remove any dead insects or head lice eggs.

If none of these head lice treatments work, contact a dermatologist for more effective treatment. 

Make Sprays For The Bedding

If you need more than washing and vacuuming the bedding, 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.
Essential Oil
Essential oil

How Can I Avoid Getting Head Lice Infestation?

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

  • Avoid sharing items that come in contact with the head, such as combs, hats, and towels.
  • Avoid engaging in activities that require you to interact with another person directly.
  • Keep your stuff out of communal spaces like closets, specifically your upper clothes.
  • To prevent these insects from spreading, wash the hair accessories using high-heat water. The CDC suggests using water that is at least 130°F.
Wash hair accessories

Wash hair accessories


How long do lice on pillows survive?

Pillows? Lice can live for only 1-2 days on any type of bedding, including bed covers, pillows, and comforters, just like mattresses. Head lice cannot survive 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?

How to clean your bedding following a lice infestation: all bedding should be taken off, washed in hot water, and dried for 20 to 30 minutes on high heat. To ensure that all lice and nits have perished, place your pillows and bed covers 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 their 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 alive lice infestation on pillowcases was 4.2 percent per night, and 0.11 percent of the head louse population was found there. When researchers experimentally put head lice in pillowcases, they were killed by heat (hot washing machines and hot dryers). You cannot kill lice by cold washing 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? In conclusion, these parasites can spread on your bedding, but for 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 infestations immediately by oiling the hair, killing these insects’ eggs, following the after-care plan, or using DIY sprays for bedding.

Other tips suggest that after having lice treatment removed from your hair, you consider cleaning your home entirely to prevent any remaining lice or these insects’ eggs from being introduced by outsiders.

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