A Step-By-Step Plan For Getting Rid Of Lice (2024)

3. Olive oil

This home remedy smothers and kills lice but it needs to be applied overnight under a shower cap because lice can survive without breathing for hours. You’ll also have to comb your child’s hair afterward to remove nits, but the olive oil should help loosen them from the hair shafts.

4. Nix, another lice-killing shampoo

Here is another permethrin-containing product that attacks live lice—although some parents have reported that lice seem to have become resistant to it. As with Rid, allergic reactions are possible, so keep a close eye on your kids after application. On damp, shampooed (but not conditioned) hair, saturate your child’s head with the lotion. Leave for 10 minutes, rinse, and comb out nits. Repeat if live lice appear seven or more days after the initial treatment.

5. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline)

Like olive oil, many moms swear by this (other options: styling gel or mayonnaise). The thick jelly suffocates lice by clogging their breathing holes. For best results, coat the hair and scalp, cover it overnight with a shower cap, and wash out the next morning. Comb for nits. Repeat the treatment one week later.

6. Vinegar

Some parents have found that vinegar dissolves the sticky glue that the female louse uses to attach her eggs to hair shafts. Also, Adler says she’s seen that coating the hair with vinegar after using a lice-killing treatment and before combing for nits works well.(White vinegar is recommended.)


Resembling a vacuum cleaner, this device directs heated air toward the hair roots and scalp to dry out lice and their eggs. A 2006 study showed thatthe LouseBusterkilled 98% of nits and 80% of live lice. Although safe and quick (a typical treatment takes only 30 minutes), treatments are only available through certified professional operators.

8. Clean items that have come in contact with your child’s head

To prevent re-infection, wash bedding, hats, scarves and towels in hot water and dry on a hot setting. Soakcombs and brushes in very hot, soapy water. Vacuum floors, pillows, upholstered furniture and car seats. Stow items you can’t wash in a sealed bag for two weeks. Check all household members for lice as well.

9. Hire a nitpicking service

There are actually de-lousing services that specialize in removing head lice. Ask friends, neighbors, your school nurse, or your pediatrician for recommendations for a reliable service in your area, or consult the National Association of Lice Treatment Professionals.

10. Benzyl alcohol lotion 5%

This prescription lotion (brand name Ulesfia) works by paralyzing a louse’s breathing apparatus. Ulesfia can be prescribed for patients 6 months of age and older and at least two applications are needed. (Note: It can cause eye and skin irritation.) To use, saturate dry hair and scalp with the lotion, wait 10 minutes, then rinse. Use a nit comb afterward to help remove nits and dead lice.

11. Cetaphil cleanser

Another product that can be used to treat lice via suffocation is Cetaphil Cleanser. This method has been shown to be 96% effective and has no toxicity. Start by coating the scalp and dry hair with a thick layer of Cetaphil. Once the hair has been saturated, wait two minutes to allow the product to soak in. Using a fine-toothed comb, remove the excess product. Blow dry the hair until it is completely dry (this may take longer than usual). Leave product in for at least eight hours, usually overnight. In the morning, wash hair as usual. This process should be repeated seven and 14 days later.

A Step-By-Step Plan For Getting Rid Of Lice (2024)


A Step-By-Step Plan For Getting Rid Of Lice? ›

Washing, soaking, or drying items at a temperature greater than 130°F can kill both head lice and nits. Dry cleaning also kills head lice and nits.

What kills lice immediately? ›

Washing, soaking, or drying items at a temperature greater than 130°F can kill both head lice and nits. Dry cleaning also kills head lice and nits.

How to remove lice from hair permanently? ›

Spinosad (Natroba).

Spinosad is approved for adults and children age 6 months and older. It can be applied to dry hair and rinsed with warm water after 10 minutes. It kills lice and nits and usually doesn't need repeated treatment.

How long does it take to get rid of lice completely? ›

It takes several treatments to completely remove lice and nits from your hair. It could take up to three weeks to get rid of all lice and nits. Make sure all members of your household check and receive treatment for head lice if one member of your household has head lice, as lice easily spread from person to person.

How do you get rid of head lice finally? ›

Medicated lotions and sprays

Head lice should die within a day. Some lotions and sprays come with a comb to remove dead lice and eggs. Some treatments need to be repeated after a week to kill any newly hatched lice. Check the pack to see if they're OK for you or your child to use, and how to use them.

What kills 100% of lice? ›

Tea Tree Oil. Though many people are sensitive to tea tree oil, it has been shown to be effective at killing lice. One study showed a 100% mortality rate after 30 minutes of treatment. A tea tree oil-scented spray or shampoo may be useful in preventing reinfestation.

What kills lice eggs and live lice? ›

Lice treatment shampoos (called pediculicides) are available over the counter or with a prescription. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, ask your doctor to recommend a product that's safe to use. Both over-the-counter (OTC) products and prescription treatments may kill live lice and their eggs (nits).

What do lice hate in hair? ›

What repels head lice? Coconut, tea tree oil, lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon grass, and peppermint are scents popularly believed to repel lice. Using any coconut scented shampoo and conditioner is an easy way to increase your defense. At 1% concentration, tea tree oil killed 100% of head lice after 30 minutes.

How to get dead nits out of hair? ›

Removing the dead nits is not essential or urgent. However, it prevents others from thinking your child still has untreated lice. Nits can be removed by backcombing with a special nit comb. You can also pull them out one at a time.

Can lice survive on pillows? ›

Head lice do not live on pillows or sheets, as they need to feed on the scalp of a host in order to survive. According to the CDC, lice can only survive for 48 hours after falling from a host scalp.

How to tell if lice are gone? ›

Generally, if no live crawling insects are seen three weeks after the treatment, it's safe to assume that they are gone. Nits would have hatched by that time if they were alive. Nits and their shells may remain in the hair for some time but won't be viable.

How long are lice contagious? ›

What makes someone contagious with head lice is having a mature, egg-laying adult female louse on your head that could travel to another head. After the first treatment, when the egg-laying lice are eliminated, you are no longer contagious.

What kills head lice the fastest? ›

Malathion Ovide Lotion is a prescription-strength lotion that comes highly recommended by experts for treating lice. It's suitable for treating live adult lice and their eggs, known as nits. Malathion is applied directly to the scalp and dry hair.

Why is head lice so hard to get rid of? ›

Lice can be tricky to get rid of because nits can remain unhatched on your head or you might pick up lice that are still on bedding or other items. Here's what to do if you've had lice — or someone in your family has: Wash bed linens and clothing that anyone with lice has used recently.

How long do lice live on a mattress? ›

Without a host, lice can survive on your mattress for up to 48 hours, but during this time, they can continue to lay eggs and multiply, which can lead to a more severe infestation. It's essential to take action to get rid of lice and prevent their multiplication.

Can head lice live in pillows? ›

Since head lice must feed on the scalp of a host to thrive, they cannot dwell on pillows or linens. Lice can only live for 48 hours after dropping off a host scalp. While lice can spread from one person to another's head if they share bedding, the odds of them doing so is unlikely.

What smell kills lice instantly? ›

Coconut, tea tree oil, lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon grass, and peppermint are scents popularly believed to repel lice. Using any coconut scented shampoo and conditioner is an easy way to increase your defense. At 1% concentration, tea tree oil killed 100% of head lice after 30 minutes.

How do you get rid of lice in 10 minutes? ›

Nix Cream Rinse® (permethrin based product) This medicine is put on hair that has been shampooed and towel dried. After 10 minutes, the medicine is rinsed off. Nix Creme Rinse® kills lice, but not the nits. It is the favored medicine because it may continue to kill newly hatched lice for a few days after treatment.

Do dead nits stick to hair? ›

After elimination of the lice, the dead eggs and empty eggshells (nits) remain firmly fixed to the hair.

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