Without a host, lice can only live for a few days. Lice are parasites that need human blood to survive, so they will die within a few days on carpets and furniture, if they do not find another host.
Lice are tiny insects that can live on the human body. There are
- Head lice: Experts also call head lice pediculus humanus capitis. Adults are about 2.1–3.3 millimeters (mm) long and tend to live in the hair on the head.
- Body lice: These are also known as pediculus humanus corporis. Adults are around 2.3–3.6 mm long. They live in clothing and move to the body to feed. However, body lice
are rarein the United States.
- Pubic lice: Also known as crabs, these are called pthirus pubis. Adults are around 1.1–1.8 mm long and tend to live in pubic hair.
Adult lice can live for up to
Read on to learn more about how long lice can live on carpets, furniture, and other household items.
Lice feed on human blood and need human hosts to survive. Once separated from their host, lice usually die within a
Head and pubic lice nits, or eggs, cannot hatch if they are not on a human body. They will typically die
The following sections explain how long lice can live on different household objects.
Furniture and carpets
According to the
Regularly vacuuming furniture and carpets will help remove any lice and nits.
Pillows and sheets
Sometimes, people can get lice from sharing pillows and sheets with someone who has lice. As with furniture and carpets, adult lice typically live for around 2 days on pillows and sheets without human contact. Nits will not hatch and will die within a week.
People should machine wash any pillows or sheets someone with lice has used in hot water of
People can get lice from sharing clothes, including:
- hair ribbons or clips
To kill any lice or nits on washable clothes, people can put them in a hot wash with water of more than 130°F (54.4°C). If the item is not washable, people can place them in a plastic bag and store them for
The CDC also advises against sharing hairbrushes.
Adult head lice can survive for 2 days and nits for around 1 week on a hairbrush. Soaking combs or hairbrushes in hot water of at least 130°F (54.4°C) for 5–10 minutes will kill any lice and nits.
Sometimes, lice can move from person to person via shared clothing or other belongings. However,
Body lice tend to transmit:
- through direct contact with a person with lice
- by sharing clothing, beds, bedclothes, or towels with someone with lice
Pubic lice transmit from one person to another during sexual contact.
- avoiding head-to-head contact
- refraining from sharing hats, scarves, coats, hairbrushes, or hair ribbons
- refraining from lying on furniture, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with a person who has lice
Lice are parasitic insects that feed on human blood and must live close to the body to maintain their temperature. Without a host, lice will die within a few days.
Lice cannot live long on household items such as carpets and furniture, and people are unlikely to get them from these surfaces.