5 Gross Things Kids Bring Home From School And What To Do About Them

Got lice? Moldy lunchboxes? Here's how to make it all better.

By Macaroni KID September 13, 2022

School is back, which means it's time for shiny school supplies, new friends, and a fresh start. Nothing but sweetness and light, right?


Kids seem to bring home the most disgusting things from school — lice, ringworm, moldy lunchboxes, and more. We asked parents for examples of some of the grossest things that have come from the classroom.

Here's what they told us to keep an eye out for this school year ... and how to get rid of the issue if your kid brings home the most disgusting thing you've ever seen.

1. Lice

Just the absolute worst. — Linda L.

If your kid brings lice home, know you're not alone: Lice is the second most frequent health issue for school-age kids in the U.S., each year affecting more than 12 million children ages 3 to 11, second only to the common cold.

Now you can be ahead of the game: Our choice in lice treatment is the easy-to-use Vamousse Lice Treatment Mousse (NOT shampoo!). Vamousse attacks all stages of head lice — from eggs to lice — to end the lice life cycle. Plus, it takes just one 15-minute treatment and is even effective against ... Super Lice. Yep, Super Lice is really a thing, we're sorry to say.

You definitely want a superhero on your side for super lice and luckily the pesticide-free Vamousse Lice Treatment Mousse — developed by actual entomologists — is here for us grossed-out parents. Vamousse Lice Treatment Mousse means parents can confidently eliminate head lice problems at home and send kids back to school the next day! 

See? You got this, Linda.

2. Disgusting lunchboxes

I opened my daughter's lunchbox after a long weekend and almost vomited. — Dan G.

The four-day-old half-eaten banana. The crust they didn't eat from the sandwich you lovingly prepared that has turned green. The water that spilled, turning it all into a disgusting stinky, sludgy mess that could be a legitimate science experiment. Do they not provide trash cans in the lunchroom? Why is throwing away any leftovers so difficult?

You can try to get rid of the smell and the stains by washing that lunchbox out. Or you could preserve it as-is and let your kid use it for the science fair. Maybe it's blue ribbon worthy.

 Giphy via Canva

3. Smelly gym clothes

Gym clothes that have sat in the gym locker for weeks. When my son played football that was the grossest stuff I had ever smelled. — Meghan V.

And did we mention the shoes? 🤢  Wash, then wash again. Or throw them all on a bonfire. Your choice.

4. Ringworm

I got ringworm as a kid from a classmate, and thought there was an actual worm in my body ... talk about nightmare-inducing. — Kara M.  

It turns out, ringworm is just a fungus. There's nothing slithering around your body. Even so, this highly contagious fungus — which often takes the shape of a scaly ring-shaped rash that can break out in multiple places on the body — is really gross. 

Over-the-counter antifungal medication can treat many cases of ringworm, but some forms of it — especially if it's on the scalp or the nailbed — can require a prescription medication.

5. Shared items

The recorder grossed me out. Took that apart and soaked it in boiling water. And any kind of class stuffed animal they were responsible for and got the pleasure of having for a week went in a hot water wash right away since I was always terrified of lice. — Rachel H.

Sharing instruments ... that your kid puts their mouth on? A boiling water bath does seem like a good solution. So does just buying your kid their own recorder — one that no one else's lips have ever touched — for just a few bucks. And bringing home stuffed animals that have been around? A hot water wash sounds like a good idea.

We can’t always avoid what our kids bring home, but Vamousse Lice Treatment Mousse can at least scratch head lice off your list of worries. Vamousse will kill off those nasty buggers in just one quick treatment, which means your kids will be back in that classroom in no time ... bringing home the next disgusting thing.