Getting Rid of Head Lice

It is not uncommon for children to get head lice at school. Not only do you have to get rid of the lice in their hair, you also need to make sure you get rid of any lice in your house. This is a guide about getting rid of head lice.

Someone using a nit comb on a child's hair.
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I brought up 5 children and when one got lice, they all got lice. It is not a very funny subject in that you have to wash and dry everything in the house. The medication is not really great so I used hair dye on them. Each child's hair was dyed the same color it was before they had lice. I found the hair coloring killed the lice better than any prescription medication ever did.

Boy, was I thankful when they got older and there were no more lice infestations!

    CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    When my kids were young, head lice plagued the school system and my long haired children. My kids are Hispanic and Native American so cutting the hair was out of the question. I do not use chemicals and stories about them not working, costing a fortune, and causing damage just reinforced my choice not to go that route.

    Tea tree oil is a popular homeopathic deterrent, and coconut shampoo and conditioner is also recommended. Always treat bedding, mattress, stuffed animals and winter coats and hats/scarves. Things that can go into the dryer -DO IT. Bag stuffed animals, because the dryer can ruin beautiful materials the toys are made of.

    I am not fond of tea tree oil's smell especially when you send your child to school smelling like a medicine chest. I used cinnamon oil to improve the smell. Always mix only 2 drops into a quart of water. Never make it stronger or cinnamon oil will irritate skin. But I found that a light mist on the hair and spritzing the coats and hats eliminated the head lice plague!

    Of course, use caution! I think food grade cinnamon powder would also work. Dust items in a garbage bag, sparingly and mix some in hot water for the spray bottle.

    Compared to expensive and caustic chemicals, it works fantastically. Very inexpensive, very effective, and very Natural. The bottle of cinnamon oil did my kids for years and I shared it with others plagued by the insects. No one ever complained about the smell.

    Between occurrences use coconut shampoo and conditioner and continue to maintain the bedding, pillows, and stuffed animals. You may never hear the words "head lice" again.

    By Linda from Flint, MI

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    My granddaughter has head lice. She goes to school after using different medications, prescribed and over the counter. She appears to be free of lice, but come home again with lice. What is the best treatment and why is she not getting rid of the lice?

    By JM from WVA

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    My granddaughter came to visit and brought a whole head full of friends. I immediately took her in the backyard (since she had long hair) I cut her hair. Then I took her in the bathroom and doust her entire head with Vegtable Oil. I then took seran paper and comletely covered her entire head. After the seran paper I took the hair blower and blew hot air over the seran paper. We then covered her head with a towel to keep her head warm. About four hours later I removed everything and all dead lice were stuck on the seran paper. I then put her in the shower and washed her hair throughly. BINGO never saw another lice in her hair after that treatment. Good Luck

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    My granddaughter keeps coming home from daycare with head lice. I have done the spray and wash everything in hot water. Any other solutions? This doesn't seem to work.

    By Jan

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Three things:

    1) Naptime mats need to be replaced at the daycare,if there are any,as well as cubbies,or other storage bins where overcoats and scarves would be stored (turn the daycare onto tip #3, below).

    2)And secondly,if your couch cushions will unzip,take them out,wash the fabric part,and put the foam rubber part inside two huge lawn and leaf bags and leave them there for at least two weeks. Same thing for any pillows it would be safe to cover with garbage bags. As long as they cannot feed for two weeks, they will die out.

    3) Go to your garden center at walmart or wherever and look for spray for aphids on roses. it contains the same pyrethrins for 2.99 as the 12.99 lice sprays. The pyrethrins are derived from chrysanthemums, so they are safe for use around the children. I washed coats, cushion covers,pillows, towels-you name it,with the Aphid spray and hot water,and rented a carpet cleaner and used the Aphid spray in the solution tank. Problem solved !

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    How do you remove the nits from a child's hair? Please let me know.

    By Drakesmom

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    From everything I've read and experienced, no lice remedy gets rid of nits. They absolutely have to be combed out. We bought the Lice Terminator comb on Amazon and it works 100% better than any other lice comb we've tried. It has metal teeth with little grooves and it works great for removing nits and even smaller live lice.

    We've used listerine, olive oil and mayo to kill lice and they all work well. The real issue is getting the other adults in your life to be as vigilant about checking their kid's heads as you are. Our daughter will go weeks or even a month without any sign of lice and then suddenly she'll spend a night away from home and come back with them.

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    As a preschool teacher, I have heard (and tried!) many tips for getting rid of lice, the back-to-school bane of every school. The best and cheapest one is to use mayonnaise. Not only do you get rid of the bugs and their eggs, but you also give yourself (and/or your child) a hot oil and egg hair treatment.

    Apply a glob of the cheapest mayo you can find (adjust the amount for hair length) and comb it thoroughly thru the hair, from scalp down the hair shaft, making sure to cover all the hair. Wrap with plastic food wrap or tie a plastic shopping bag around your head as you would do if you had washed it. Wrap with a towel to catch the drips as it "melts" into your hair, and find a good book or movie for a while. (My granddaughter and I watched a Disney movie.) Remove the towel and plastic wrap and comb the hair again.

    Depending on how bad the infestation was, you will see bugs and eggs in the comb. Thoroughly wash your hair (I did nothing special, just used my regular shampoo). My hair was past my waist in length, and my g-daughter's was almost waist-length. No bugs, no eggs!

    Source: The many parents who recommended tea tree oil, vegetable shortening, and mayo (my fave!)

    By Trenna from KY

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    How do I treat or find head lice?

    By Melissa

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    My 3 daughters and I had lice not long ago. It was a nightmare! I finally took them to a lice specialist and paid lots of money, but in 2 hours they did what I had been trying to do for 5 days. You don't need to spend all the money I did, though. The key is to find the right lice comb. The cheap plastic ones in the drugstore kits are worthless. The Terminator or Licemeister work wonders! We had such a bad outbreak at the school and nothing was working for anyone. Even our principal and her daughter got it. But everyone who got the Terminator was back to school in a day or two, with no nits, while those who didn't were gone for almost a week. You can find these combs online or at some kids salons. They aren't cheap, but it's cheaper than the money I spent tryng everything else.

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    Does mayonnaise kill lice?

    By Shari from Wichita, KS

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    My daughter has extremely thick, long hair. We really did not want to fight with mayo along with lice. After some research, we found using LISTERINE (store brand) works best. You can use it every night (we did it every 2-3 nights to make sure the life cycle was definitely interrupted).

    Saturate the head with listerine (we used a spray bottle). Wrap the hair in plastic wrap, then put a towel or shower cap around it to hold in place. In an hour or two, wash it out in the shower. We also use Suave (cheap) coconut conditioner to comb that thick hair out.

    For nits (if it's progressed that far), vinegar (like in mayo) loosens that super-glue like hold. Kill them with listerine, then rinse with vinegar (okay, use the coconut conditioner before the vinegar so you can get that tiny nit comb through thick hair). To wipe nits off the nit comb, spray with a spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol.

    It makes you feel better to know you're wiping the eggs off on a tissue rather than back into the hair! I was able to do my own hair as a precaution (with no help from anyone to do the combing) by using this method.

    I was so bug-a-phobic for a while that we saturated and wrapped our hair every Saturday night for a few months, just to make sure we really had them gone. This worked wonderfully.

    We still use the coconut conditioner, just because they don't like that smell--why crawl on a smell you don't prefer? Also, if there is an outbreak at school, keep little girls' hair in ponytails! Also, saturate and wrap anytime you hear a rumor of those bugs! It's that easy, and no pesticides! Thanks for letting me share!

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    I found head lice on my granddaughter when she came to visit. How do I clean my microfiber couch and loveseat to make sure they are not on them?

    By idahome2001 from Meridian, ID

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    We had head lice in our house a few years back. We just vacuumed the furniture everyday (at first) and then every few days and so on until my daughters problem was cleared up. Plus she was banned from sitting on the couch until then. PoorbutProud is right that the lice don't like to be on non-living surfaces and that it is easier to delouse furniture than people. Good luck!

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    My sister and niece have lice. My sister has taken her daughter to the Doctor. He told them to get Rid. They couldn't find it at the drugstore but they did find Nix. They used it and did everything they were told and It didn't work.

    My sister called the Doctor back and was told to saturate both of their heads with mayonaise and leave it on for 8 hrs. They did that and for almost a week they thought they were gone. They hadn't seen any until today. The Doctor prescribed something called Ovine.

    With the insurance they have the meds were still going to cost $123.00 and that was just for my nieces head. They don't have much money right now and $123.00 to her may as well be a million. Please, if anyone knows anything that will work I would love the feedback.

    They were supposed to come to my house for Thanksgiving because they didn't have anything but now with the lice I can't take a chance of anyone else getting them. My niece is 2. Thank you so much!

    Beverly from Louisville, KY

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Just repeat what you did with mayo if it seemed to work for a week. Even Rid and Nix have to be repeated in 7-10 days in case missed nits have hatched or perhaps nits that were on other surfaces. Just persist in what works and use a comb on them. No need to cancel Thanksgiving. It isn't that big of a deal.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes


    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    My sister had a similar problem. I read on this website where someone said to rinse hair in vinegar to take care of the eggs. She did that and it has worked. So what I would suggest is to treat with the Nix again to get rid of the adults and then rinse in vinegar to dissolve the eggs. That should take care of it. I had told my sister to rinse my niece's hair in vinegar every day for a week or so just to be sure. (11/23/2005)

    By dpcw

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Our health department had us use mineral oil, wrap a towel around your head for 1 hour. Then wash it out with Dawn dish soap. It did the trick. (11/23/2005)

    By IMAQT1962

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    I am a hair salon owner and I tell everyone to use the mayo thing, but then you have to pick the nits out and do the mayo thing again in one week. Vinegar will loosen the nits, but you still have to carefully pick them out. Please, don't use Nix or any chemical offered at the pharmacy it is pesticide and there has been a lot of evidence of it being cancer causing, not worth the chance in my opinion. (11/23/2005)

    By Justanothercowgirl

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Try olive oil in hair for about 2hrs covered with a plastic bag or shower cap, then wash with any shampoo until olive oil is washed out of hair. Next use nit comb, clean nits out of hair, repeat if necessary. God forbid shave the head as last resort! Make sure all bed clothes are clean as well as combs and brushes. I wish you well. (11/23/2005)

    By Jim

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Use the dandruff shampoo Denerex. It's about 9 dollars a bottle, but it works!
    Leave it on awhile before rinsing out. (11/23/2005)

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Another thing to remember, get all the stuffed animals that the child sleeps with and put them in a plastic bag, cinch it with a twist tie and put them outside for at least a week. Vacuum the floors as well, and throw away the bag outside. Wash everything you can and put in the dryer. That includes coats, hats, bedding, etc. Make sure you either clean combs and brushes with bleach or throw away outside and buy new ones. Sometimes you have to just throw the pillows away and buy new. Make sure no one else in the family has lice, you could be re-infecting one another.
    Good luck!

    By Marlene

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    My sister in law was told to use Crisco. Put it on their heads, put a shower cap on and leave it there for a couple of hours. It smothers them. (11/23/2005)

    By chima0692


    I found that picking the nits out of my daughter's hair was what finally got them all out. The metal comb works a little, but I had to go through her entire head of hair virtually strand by strand to make sure. Sounds gross, but I just used my thumbnail and forefinger to pull down each strand (or maybe 3-5 strands at a time in actuality). I had to do this twice over her whole head. (11/23/2005)

    By Katie A.

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Use a fine comb and hair conditioner, apply the conditioner to dry hair and comb out. Use a paper towel to clean your comb after each comb through. You will be able to see the lice. (gross) Do this every day until you get a clean comb through.
    I did this every night for about 4 nights on all three of my children before they had a shower. It worked for me. And it doesn't hurt their head or my hip pocket. (11/23/2005)

    By catspotts

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    We used every suggestion posted, but my granddaughter had a recurring problem all summer. Seems her friend was reinfecting her. The friend's family did not work hard at trying to get rid of them. We discovered a product online called Licerx, made by Selmedica. It is an all natural remedy. It took a few applications, but it was they only thing that worked. It's a little pricey, but we were at our wits end and many dollars poorer. I've misplaced the website, but type in head lice and it should come up. We were getting concerned about the use of chemicals and the other "natural" remedies did not work. I recommend it. (11/23/2005)

    By Memere

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Head lice cannot jump or fly! They can crawl only. They will not jump from one head to another. If your sister and niece have been treated and have no live lice in their hair at the present time it is fine to be around them. If they have missed some nits in the hair you cannot catch them, even if a nit were to fall off of their heads it is simply an egg and cannot attach itself to you. It also cannot survive for more than two or three hours on any surface, it needs a live host. If you do a web search on head lice you can find all of this information. DO NOT use kerosene ever, very dangerous! Children have been blinded and also killed by this insane method. (11/24/2005)

    By Justanothercowgirl

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Have they been swimming in a chlorinated pool? The chemicals in the pool stop the head lice treatments working. Teachers always know there will be a lot of head lice in their classes when the children are taking swimming lessons. (11/24/2005)

    By Julia from UK

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Saturate head and hair in tea tree oil and wrap a towel around head and let it sit. Wash out. Repeat this every 3 to 4 days and work at those nits with a small comb to remove. This is a safe alternative that works. Never use Rid or Nix or other type of "treatment" especially on young children as it can cause brain damage. (11/27/2005)

    By rstubbs

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    In Florida all schools have lice break outs. When I first moved here I was in shock because I never heard of such a thing. They get rid of it easily by dyeing their kids' hair the same color and no one is wiser. At first I thought no way would I put those dye chemicals in my daughter's hair. Well after trying the lice medications (flea dip in creme form), and combs I let my friend dye her hair. It didn't look any different and her lice problem was gone. Of course we washed all her bedding, etc. also. (12/02/2005)

    By Debbie

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    My mom has spent over 200$ for my hair and we found the only way to get rid of it is comb all the bugs out, and pick all the eggs out. (01/21/2006)

    By 19

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    I was having a problem with lice in my family. For some weird reason I am the only one that gets it. I heard this from a friend. This is what I did. I put a small amount of pure almond oil in my shampoo, you know just to make sure that it is clean, too. Then I covered my hair with that almond oil. After it dried I used the lice comb to pull out any nits or bugs. It's great I didn't have to use any harsh chemicals on my color treated hair and it works. Not only that I had a great hair day the next day, the almond oil is very relaxing and made my hair so soft. (02/22/2006)

    By Katie

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    You don't need to do anything special to get rid of head lice! Just use coconut shampoo (Suave is good). Coconut oil destroys their exoskeletons, not poison. After that, put shaving cream in the hair and comb through to loosen the nits. I did this and it worked like a charm, after spending I don't know how much money on the stuff in the drugstores made to kill lice the previous three months. None of it worked. Coconut shampoo works instantly and I use it all the time now as a preventative. My family will never be without it. (02/25/2006)

    By Sharon (guest)

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Check with you local health department or drug store. The product is called De-Bug. It is really safe and you can use it more than once in a day. Not like the over the counter products. And it really works. If you can't get it in your local area, reply back and I'll try and help you find the closest place to get this.
    This product is so safe that the inventor of it, brushes his teeth with this everyday to ensure the safety of this.


    By Tracy

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    My girls with lots of hair got lice from a friend and I used Dawn dish soap on both their heads and it got rid of them. I know it sounds funny, but it works. (05/27/2007)

    By Celena

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Rinse your hair in vinegar, it will kill the lice, but you should buy the spray for your furniture and make sure to wash all bed clothes, because the lice will just keep coming back if not. (09/13/2007)

    By kfr1sby

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Use men's shaving cream as a shampoo. It works. (10/25/2007)

    By glad

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Any shampoos with semi harsh chemicals, dandruff shampoo, for example, worn long enough will kill the live ones. (12/17/2007)

    By John

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    I have been dealing with the same thing with my daughter,
    I was told to use white vinegar and vegetable oil keep in on over night! After every treatment you must vacuum every thing including the car. Plus wash everything.
    I promise if you do this at least 2 - 3 times a month it will kill the lice. (01/30/2008)

    By Lori

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Lemon juice works too because it's acidic. (06/18/2008)

    By -0.

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    I found out my daughter had head lice just before school started in September. I tried Nix a couple of times, mayonnaise, and tea tree oil, and still was not able to eliminate all of the lice, or at least not all of the eggs. After a month of daily combings, extra laundry and vacuuming, and frustration, I tried a new over the counter product, LiceMD.

    This product does not contain pesticides or other harmful chemicals, and also does not have any odor. It is very slippery, and allowed me to comb out 100% of the lice and eggs on the first application! It was almost like a miracle. I would definitely recommend it. (11/13/2008)

    By Jill

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Denorex Extra Strength works wonders. My boyfriend got lice from his little sister. They have a huge lice problem in the elementary school. We applied the Denorex to our hair while it was dry and fully saturated it. I bought plastic shower caps in order to make it easier. We left the Denorex in for 30 minutes. It's some strong stuff. My scalp was tingling. When the time was up, we rinsed and then put in regular conditioner and used a comb for all the nits.

    I heard it's best to use coconut conditioner because coconut oil destroys the exoskeletons of the lice. For a preventative method, it's good to shampoo hair with Denorex a few times a week just in case any nits hatch since the Denorex only kills the hatched lice. At $6.50 for a 10 ounce bottle, it definitely beats spending so much money on pesticides that lice have built up a resistance to, plus you can't you them every day. (12/19/2008)

    By anonymous

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    For adults, Henna hair dye works wonders! Read up about it. I have hair to my waist and this stuff works. And it's great for your hair. Watch out though, because it's "very" messy. (01/24/2009)

    By Stephanie

    Can't Get Rid of Lice

    Besides the Henna on my hair, I got "Lice Ice" for the kids and I think it's going to be a lifesaver. I'm even going to follow up on my hair with it. It is non-toxic and takes care of the live ones and the eggs. (It keeps live ones from laying new eggs and keeps eggs from hatching).

    I think I may start up a business helping people get it out of their kids hair. (01/26/2009)

    By Stephanie

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
    Home and Garden Pest Control LiceAugust 12, 2011
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