What should be cleaned?

Head lice are acquired mainly by direct head-to-head contact with an infested person. Inanimate objects (such as combs, brushes, hair accessories and other such items) serve little, if any role in the transmission of head lice.

Louse combs used to remove lice should be rinsed in hot water and wiped clean with a towel or a small brush. Generally, hot water from the water faucet will be sufficient to kill lice and their eggs with just a few seconds of exposure. If the water it too hot for washing hands, it is likely adequate to kill lice and eggs quickly on combs. Boiling the water is excessive for this purpose, and risks causing burns and damaging some combs.

Shared helmets and headphones in schools or recreational settings would rarely, if ever, harbor an occasional head louse or nit. The effort necessary to effectively inspect and clean these devices, however, is not warranted. Shared lockers or coat hooks pose even less risk as sources of contamination. Any head lice or nits that might detach in a swimming pool would be removed by the pool filter or should otherwise perish before they have a chance to contact a person. Closing a swimming pool because of lice is a hysterical overreaction.

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