Can Hot Heat or Cold Temperatures Kill Lice and Nits?

 Heat, cold, diligent laundering and dry-cleaning and a special shampoo are all useful in killing head lice that have been plaguing families recently.

What effect does temperature have on lice? 

Hot temperatures will kill lice. Such high temperatures are suitable for laundering purposes but not for shampooing the head or for bathing. Hand-held hair dryers do not provide enough heat to kill head lice; if they did, serious burns would result to the surrounding scalp.

Dry Cleaning at High Temperatures Can Kill Lice 

The tiny insects can be an especially bad problem in winter because they can get into winter coats, heavy items of clothing people do not want to wash. But without washing these coats, family members can still throw them in the dryer on the hot cycle, or, alternatively, get them dry-cleaned.

The dry cleaning process kills lice also. Dry heat, steam, or pressing with a hot iron will destroy lice since they can live only a few minutes at this high temperature, but, washing with cold or lukewarm water will not kill lice.

Use Cold Winter Temperatures to Kill Lice 

Both methods of killing the head lice are highly effective. If they can get the temperature (in the dryer) up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit (52 degrees Celsius) or down to -2 degrees Celsius, that will kill the lice. Though sun-lovers might not agree, a cold snap would be useful in helping to control lice pests. In the event the nighttime temperature should plummet to -20, hang the coats in a garage or anywhere outside in the freezing cold, which can kill the lice and their eggs.