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Getting Rid of Head Lice

Someone using a nit comb on a child's hair.

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.


Solutions: Getting Rid of Head Lice

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Tip: Natural Remedy For Head Lice

Recently my 2 granddaughters got head lice from school. After using a Rid kit and 3 trips to the doctor they finally told me to use Listerine mouthwash and vinegar.

Using a spray bottle so you don't get it in their eyes, saturate the hair with mouthwash, you can use generic and mint flavored if you want. Cover the head with a shower cap to keep the heat in and leave on overnight or all day until hair dries. Rinse out mouthwash, towel dry, and spray hair with vinegar, cover with shower cap and leave on overnight or all day until hair dries. Shampoo and condition then comb with a nit comb.

This might take a few treatments, but it worked and was much safer than the chemicals you can only use once every 10 days, and it is much cheaper. I know this sounds crazy I thought so too, but it does work.

By Tonya from Cushing, OK

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Tip: Use Hair Color to Combat Head Lice

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!

    By gem [154]

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    Tip: Natural Frugal Head Lice Treatment

    My kids went to a summer program and ended up with head lice. I was going to buy a bottle of Rid, which would have been 40 bucks. The pharmacist told me to buy green Scope, which was only $3.00.

    You just saturate the child's head and leave in overnight, then rinse out. If you have to pick out nits (even though they are dead), they will be green and easy to find in your child's hair. Also put some Scope into a spray bottle and spray your child's hair about twice a week, to prevent future infestations.

      By coville123 [326]

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      Tip: Use Oils As Treatment for Head Lice

      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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      Tip: Use Tea Tree Oil to Repel Head Lice

      This is a lice treatment I learned about today on my trip to Walgreens, from a dear friend who I go to church with who works there. Combine 6 oz. dawn dish detergent, 2 oz. white vinegar, and 2 tablespoons tea tree oil. Put on hair for ten minutes.

      The way you tell if a lice egg is alive or not is to put it on the counter and smash it with your fingernail, it pops kind of (yes, morbid I know). Maintain the effect by putting 15 drops of tea tree oil into any shampoo, and washing hair two times a week with it. All of the above listed items are at Walgreens. Lice free is a non-toxic treatment sold there also. It smells like licorice and it can be used as often as desired with no ill effects.

      Janitorial supply stores sell lice spray cheaper than Walgreens and Walmart.

      Note: Tea Tree Oil is toxic to cats, so don't shampoo them with it!

      By Robyn Fed from Hampton TN

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      Tip: Homemade Head Lice Remedy

      I came across this tip about removing lice. In a nutshell, it says that by putting conditioner in damp hair and then dipping a metal (not plastic) comb in the baking soda and combing through hair, it gets them out a lot faster. Conditioner also has the added effect of helping you see the live lice and slow them down so you can find them in the first place.

      By Robyn Fed from Hampton, TN

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      Tip: Back-to-School Lice Removal

      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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      Here are questions related to Getting Rid of Head Lice.

      Question: Treating a Recurrence of Head Lice

      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

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      Most Recent Answer

      By Macie4 20 30 03/15/2013

      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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      Question: Non-Chemical Cures for Head Lice

      I am a huge fan of Dawn Soap. You can let it sit on stained clothing and it takes the stuff right out. But the best thing for the use of this soap other than it's cleaning ability is for lice. The junk they sell at the stores is expensive and can seep into the person's head. It damages the hair.

      I used Dawn soap on my granddaughter's head, bagged it for about 15 minutes and combed them suckers right out. Dead, dead, dead. Then I used a good conditioner like Pantene,. Now we have no hair damage, a huge savings in the cost of treatment, and a child who is not feeling bad about the situation.

      I took her back to school within the hour and they said that she could not be 'clean' but after they looked, they knew it worked!

      By Nicelady2k from Galesburg, IL

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      Most Recent Answer

      By Meemaw 57 115 06/02/2009

      I can't wait to tell my daughter about this one! What a nightmare. My sweet granddaughter has lived this nightmare over and over. She has the silkiest hair and the doctors tell us that lice loves this stuff and that we keep her hair too clean (another thing they love). We have spent hours combing and washing everything in the house. Not to mention how expensive (even doctor visits). Nothing like I have ever experienced before - we all get a sick feeling if we see her innocently scratch now. Now maybe we can let her hair grow and she can wear pig tails instead of keeping it in a short bob.

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      Question: Getting Rid of Head Lice

      How do I treat or find head lice?

      By Melissa

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      Most Recent Answer

      By Anita 2 7 10/27/2010

      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.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Getting Rid of Head Lice in Bedding

      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

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      Most Recent Answer

      By Gloria Hayes 18 96 03/16/2012

      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 !

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Getting Lice Nits Out of Hair

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

      By Drakesmom

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      Most Recent Answer

      By lindsaylu27 1 07/15/2013

      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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      Question: Using Baking Soda to Kill Lice

      Does Baking Soda really kill lice eggs?

      By mandayyx3 from Wilmington, DE

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      Most Recent Answer

      By Tina Brown 5 100 07/15/2009

      I don't know about lice in furniture, but my husband buys a chemical called Demon at the feed store. It is a powder packet that has to be dissolved in water and then sprayed on the floor and all furnishings, top and bottom, very thorough. It is a very strong poison and a mask should be worn. There should be someone outside to check on the person inside and once the spraying is over you need to leave the house for about 2 hours, with the windows up. Keep all children and pets away from the spray until it dries totally.

      It will kill roaches, ants and most all pest except fleas. For a flea poison, you can go online and search for a poison called Flee, it is expensive but it is worth is because it last a long time. It is the same as what the exterminator uses. It is not supposed to be toxic to people or animals, but we stayed away until it had dried. It has no odor. We found that we didn't have to put any flea drops on our dogs while using Flee spray in the house. It is also designed to use outside, under the house and on the outside pets betting.

      Oh, Salt is suppose to get rid of fleas as well, inside and out, but salt is very abrasive and will harm your carpet, but will work well outside and kill any plants it gets on. I hope this helps you some.

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      Question: Treatment for Fleas and Lice in Human Hair

      What are the products I can use for fleas and for lice in human hair?

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

      Question: Mayonnaise for Lice

      Does mayonnaise kill lice?

      By Shari from Wichita, KS

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      Most Recent Answer

      By Tina 1 1 01/28/2010

      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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      Question: Cleaning Microfiber to Get Rid of Head Lice

      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

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      Most Recent Answer

      By Chris Richman 10 106 08/26/2009

      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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      Question: Can't Get Rid of Lice

      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

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      Most Recent Answer

      By Libbie O. 1 08/06/2015

      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.

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      Question: Back to School... Head Lice!

      Is there an economical way to rid children of head lice. My family is infested with the critters and after 2-1/2 mos of Rid, Nix and other home remedies, we cannot seem to clear them. HELP!

      - Frustrated in Fresno
      (This was originally posted 10-01-2001)

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      Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

      Archive: Can't Get Rid of Lice

      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.