How to Kill Lice on Clothes With the Microwave

by Joshua Duvauchelle

Pediculosis, also known as the human infestation of lice, can be an itch-inducing ordeal. Common in children but also experienced by adults, lice can quickly jump from an infected person to a previously unaffected individual. Killing the lice that are on clothing is an important step toward eliminating the infestation.

Items you will need

  • Microwave
  • Laundry washing machine and dryer (optional)
  • Lysol (optional)
Step 1

Remove clothing. Avoid mixing the infected clothing with other laundry. Make sure the garment is microwave-safe and does not have metal or plastic pieces, adhesive or similar items that may burn or melt in the appliance.

Step 2

Place the clothing in a standard kitchen microwave.

Step 3

Enter 2 minutes on the microwave keypad and press start. The microwave will heat and kill the nits and lice on the clothing.

Step 4

Remove the clothing. Repeat this treatment process with all other clothing items that you suspect may be infested.

Step 5

For clothing that is not microwave safe, use other heating methods to kill lice. These include washing the clothing in hot water and drying for 20 minutes on your dryer's hottest setting. Alternatively, you may soak the clothing in a 2% Lysol solution for 60 minutes.


  • Cleaning your clothing is just one step in a comprehensive lice removal plan. Using lice-killing shampoo on the infected individual, as well as thoroughly cleaning all towels, bedding and upholstery is important.


  • Lice can spread easily and rapidly to previously uninfected individuals. Avoid sitting near an infected individual and sharing clothing, bedding, towels or hygiene items.

About the Author

Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.