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See also Parts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7


Treating headlice

Headlice Information, remedies and games.


super mum flying to the rescue

Please read comments from professionals in Part 1

As always, research, products and advice is every changing making it very difficult to make available the most up to date at any given time.  With this in mind it may be worthwhile checking out the following sites as they are very likely to feature the latest:-



As mentioned in other pages, the best, safest and cheapest resolution is to remove them manually with conditioner and a fine tooth comb.

I am retaining the original information which has been on site for many years in case it is of interest but I would, however, like to stress at this point that I have no personal experience of most of the remedies listed I am just passing on information received from interested visitors.

The following items refer to a product called Denorex and it has now been brought to my attention this product is no longer available in the U.K.  My daughter is a pharmacist and she confirms this product is no longer listed as being available.

Having done some research I see it is coal tar based and I believe these products have been withdrawn in the U.K.  I do see, however, they are often recommended for Psoriasis sufferers so perhaps they are still available by prescription.  

During research I noticed other tar based products mentioned were Neutrogena and T/Gel, I don't know if they are available over the counter.

I have been recommended Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and vinegar is also said to work.

Experts I have contacted seem to be of the opinion that nothing beats the good only fine tooth comb.  Cover the hair with a lot of conditioner as the lice find this difficult to cling on to, then comb slowly through the hair, cleaning the comb on tissue paper after each length of hair.   Tedious but effective.

As a professional lice debugger and nitpicker I want to make sure people are aware that Denorex or any product that has Salicylic Acid (a form of aspirin) SHOULD NOT be used on children!

Gonne Asser


I have had to deal with this problem several times and have recently come across a product in my native Holland that seems to prevent this problem.

The trick is to prevent head lice from spreading! There is a product called The Bug Bag. Head lice very often gets spread thru clothing. This usually happens in schools. If you can isolate your child's coat from infected clothing you will be ahead of the game. The Bug Bag is an easy to use product that is used in over 50% of the schools in The Netherlands and is endorsed by the Board of Health there.

Simply use the Bug Bag EVERY day. You can read all about it on www.bugbagusa.com. 

The Bug Bag is cheaper than a bottle of RID, doesn't use any chemicals and your child can take it with him from class to class.

Mariana Joseph


"Thank you!  I have been fighting head lice all summer.  When I found your site I figured why not give one or two a try.  I ended up trying all of them.  I am happy to say we are now louse free.  The only one that worked for us was the Denorex Extra Strength.  I dampened the hair, lathered and let it sit on the hair for half an hour, rinsed and no more lice. I now have my children use it twice a week.  Thanks again."

The message was received from J. Kittel. 


My children had a horrible case of head lice that we could not get rid of. We tried over the counter, then went to prescription strength, all with no relief. They missed a lot of school and I was so tired of washing sheets and pillows etc. It dawned on me that neither my husband nor myself had contracted them, even though my hair was 2 feet long! The only difference was that we were using Denorex Extra Strength dandruff shampoo. That afternoon I found live lice once again on my daughter's head. I brought her right then into the shower and began lathering the Denorex on her head, and I swear I saw lice falling out of her hair. She never had another live lice on her head, and any nits that were still there never hatched. The good thing about it was that we could use it every day if we wanted, and we did. The lice simply stopped from that day forward. I told the pharmacist about it, but I don't think he believed me. It was a tremendous relief!

Thank you Lisa Smith for this advice.


I just wanted to let you know that my daughter and I both have suffered from headlice for a long time, almost a year now. and today I read about some of the hints on getting rid of the lice.

Well the Denorex shampoo was a miracle, after reading about it, my husband ran out to buy it, and tonight I washed my daughter's hair in it, and believe it or not, she was in a bath of water and we had to drain the water due to the dead louse floating around. As disgusting as this sounds, I must admit it was joy to my eyes, as we have tried everything else, like many have. And as mentioned before we can use it daily, which we will do every other day. Even my 9 yr. old was happy to see it work so fast.

Thanks for the advice, as I will keep your site as my favorites.... and go there often..

Thanks to Andrea for sending in another testimonial for Denorex shampoo.


Just another little hint about head lice.  I couldn't believe this would work until I tried it.  A lady told me to try lamp oil.  I decided to try it and sure enough it killed all the lice in my daughter's hair.  We had been battling lice for over a year when I decided to try the lamp oil.  Just leave it on for about five minutes then shampoo a couple of times to remove the oil.   Make sure you apply it while the child is in the bath tub - don't want oil all over the place.

This was kindly sent to us by Sonja Johnson

I would like to add a word of caution here though, I am not sure what effect lamp oil has on scalps (especially childrens') and also be careful of the flammability of this product.


We have received the following from Jean Coyle -

I have discovered a wonderful, natural remedy - GARLIC.  At one time my entire household came down with headlice, so I went the route of over-the-counter remedies - which didn't work.  The males in my house had it pretty easy because they could get short haircuts but I, with very long hair, suffered and struggled for weeks.  Then, visiting my daughter, I saw a bottle of garlic capsules in her kitchen.  For some reason, I took a couple of capsules.  Lo and behold, the lice disappeared.  From that day on, at the first sight of a nit, I give my "patient" a capsule of garlic and the lice immediately disappear.  I don't know whether the garlic kills them and they fall off or whether they just "take off" but it works!  Now my daughter and her elementary school children take a capsule every day and, while the little girl's classmates frequently go through the headlice routine, my little granddaughter breezes right through the traumatic event - headlice free".

I use Tea Tree Oil.   One small bottle in a regular size bottle of shampoo to wash hair. It also works as a preventative if lice are prevalent in the area.  It does smell like a medicine but the smell leaves as the hair dries.

Thank to Louise B.

I have found that there is only one easy way to kill lice, their eggs, and prevent reinfestation - and that is with NEEM OIL. You can purchase neem oil almost anywhere for less than fifteen dollars (Target, Whole Foods, any health store) or on the internet for less than five dollars. If the neem oil solidifies, simply put the closed bottle in a cup of warm tap water and it will liquify in a few minutes.

I am a mother of two and our household was hit with head lice when my daughter picked it up at preschool. It was a never ending nightmare that went on for months. I tried every product out there, but we kept getting reinfested immediately and I was going broke buying expensive products. After much thought and research, I finally made the connection that Neem Oil was the key to eliminating lice.

The lice were gone immediately after using neem oil and adding neem oil to leave-in conditioner was what kept them from ever returning. I've told other friends and family that have had lice and they all marveled at how quickly they were rid of the lice. I want to share this information so other children and families do not have to endure the pain and exposure to over-the-counter chemical products, as we did. Best of luck - you will be amazed with the results.


Simply massage Neem Oil into the scalp and leave for a few minutes. Shampoo out. Add about 6 small drops of neem oil to your favorite leave-in conditioner to use after you towel dry your hair. Comb through thoroughly with a 'nit comb' to remove the dying nits. Repeat daily for 3 to 4 days, then use only leave-in conditioner until the outbreak is gone in your house and school in order to prevent reinfestion. As the problem diminishes, simply add a few drops of Neem Oil to your childs favourite shampoo as a preventative measure.

The entire family must be treated in order to prevent reinfestion. If there is no viable host, the lice will die off in your home.

Neem Oil contains substances which mimic insect hormones called 'ecdysones'. These disrupt feeding, breeding and metamorphosis. Neem oil is child-friendly and ecologically sound and may be used safely on a regular basis to deter infestation during outbreaks. Neem oil comes from the neem tree and has been used for over 5000 years to treat skin problem, etc. It is organic and perfectly safe to use.

Diane V.

I find your page very interesting and useful. I particularly liked your advice on Head Lice and thought that I could also share my remedies.

We are initially from India but I've never lived there for long. I did my schooling at an American School in Kuwait and for us having Lice was a disease and you get sent out of school till you get a doctors certificate saying that your hair is clean.

While in India Head Lice is an everyday thing. You will find people surprised if you say you don't have head lice. I still very clearly remember my mother putting me through the torturous procedure of combing out my hair for lice and trying to get the Nitts out.

As I grew and did more research for myself I learnt that Neem tree oil is the best. It not only nourishes your hair giving it a great shine but gets rid of Head Lice. The smell is most foul and it's very bitter should you ever be unfortunate to taste it, but I found that this was a small price to pay since you wash (shampoo) off the oil after two hours.

I have two girls and we visit India every year to be with relatives during the Christmas season for 6 weeks. I've made it a habit to use Neem oil for all of us starting a week before we leave. Keep doing it every third day and should you have Nitts, they would also hatch and die or just die and fall off when you shampoo your hair.

Once you apply Neem oil to your hair I just wrap it up in a towel and keep it like that till I'm ready to wash my hair. Some people in the villages in India use it as an everyday hair oil. The smell takes getting used to, but once your used to it, it's fine. The towel wrapped around your head does stop the smell or you accedentally smearing it on furniture. I've also learnt that Neem Oil keeps Head Lice off too. It should be readily available at any Speciality Indian store.

Combing out wet hair is ok, but we live in Botswana Africa now and you can't exactly comb out wet African hair. I've brought back Bottled Neem oil for parents at my kids school who were interested in ridding their children's hair of Head Lice.

Persis Menon


"I am a family nurse practitioner and have seen my share of head lice (especially nits) that seem to resist all treatment, whether conventional prescription medication or home remedies.  After seeing many children suffering what seemed to be drug-resistant lice, I spoke with several beauticians.  What was suggested by all was a little odd, but I tried it on my niece with excellent results and have since then freed many a poor child and desperate mother from the nasty creatures.  If everything has failed to rid the child of nits - the most resistant - colour the child's hair 2 or 3 shades lighter. DO NOT TRY THIS ON A CHILD 2 YEARS OR YOUNGER.

Apparently the peroxide in the dye required to make the hair lighter will exterminate the most persistent nit or louse.  This, of course, will not work very well with African-American coarse hair, but that hair type is usually lice resistant (most likely due to the shape of the hair shaft).  This has worked without fail on my patients."

This contribution received from Jill Swigart - thank you.

In response to the above suggested solution we have received the following warning from Tonya James who is a beautician.

"It is a known fact that a child's hair is not fully matured until after they go through puberty.  The dye can cause major permanent damage to your child's hair growth so this may help with Lice but, in the long run, it will do more harm than good."

I have now had a reaction to the above warning from Angus Brown who says -

"Any hair, regardless of the owner's age, is dead,  Therefore, whatever damage dye can do it will not affect the growth of new hair unless the hair follicle is damaged."

On receipt of this I contacted Diana Dudas, a professional,for her comments -

" I would not use permanent hair colour on a child as the chemicals can be toxic - if it is to kill the lice.  Semi permanent hair colour will do the job!  That will then just wash out!

Not all hair on the head will be dead, it all depends on where it is in it's growth cycle.  Whether it be anagen, cartagen or telogen.  Hair in the anagen stage is alive, and has a life span of about three years, all depending on race.  However the colour will not damage the hair follicle."

I just finished reviewing your site on head lice and it all reminded me of my first contact with head lice that has been going on for 3 years.

I'm a mother of 2 girls 11 and 5, full time employee, and girl scout troop leader. I was taking my troop on there first camping trip a little over 3 years ago and a little girl arrived with her mother who informed me that she had been sent home from school with head lice but she assured me she had taken every step to rid her of the Lice. 

Now me never had to deal with this problem really was unsure what to do so I said OK, and we left for our camping trip. One night the girls wanted to do star gazing so we laid in a circle with our heads close together. I never once saw J scratch her head.

About a week had gone by and we had a troop meeting out of 10 girls only 2 showed up that night, my daughter and J.  I thought I had made a mistake and it wasn't a meeting night so I called my co-leader to find out where she was, she informed me that her daughter had been sent home from school with head lice and she was having to treat her and the rest of her house.  I then made a few more phone calls and got the same response from other parents.

I approached J's Mom and asked her abut Jamie's head lice she informed me she must not have gotten all of it and she had live bugs when she returned to school after our camping trip.

I then went to the pharmacy and spoke with them I had never seen or knew what to look for so I asked the girl behind the counter to help me and low and behold not only my daughter but myself had them, I spent close to $100.00 that night on every product they had went home read every direction, washed bedding, bagged toys, vacuumed beds, couches, chairs. anything that had fabric was either vacuumed, sprayed or bagged for 2 weeks. At this point I still didn't understand what I was looking for I have poor eye sight and can't see well as it is, but since I had done everything the boxes said I thought I was done.

Well I wasn't over the next 3 years I had to shave my 2 year olds head because she was covered in them and wouldn't sit still, I paid a lady $20.00 a person to pick our heads clean, paid over $500.00 on products over the counter, I've paid for mayo, olive oil, combs, electric combs, shower caps, special shampoos, prescriptions from Dr.s, and they just keep coming back. 

The bottom line is Yes I was doing everything as I needed too but was forgetting to inform the school, daycare, other children my kids played with and they were not telling me either. 

I finally got it under control.

The over the counter products do not work; the best solution I have found, a friend told me about, now think about this, Who doesn't get head lice? People of African American descent WHY? Two reasons and the first one does not apply;

1: their hair shaft is different,

2. they apply products to there hair which contain oils. and guess what they are cheap, its more cost effect to buy products from the stores that carry these products than to try and buy them and mix at home. The first time I went with my friend to the store that carries her hair products I got some strange looks, but now I'm a regular customer and I don't have to leave it on my hair, but my hair has never looked better, its soft and silky, and the same goes for my childrens hair. 

The Brand of Super Gro I've been using is BB by Bronner Bros out of Atlanta GA there website is www.bronnerbros.com 

One product I have been using called Super Gro contains vitiman E, Sage, Sulfer, and Coconut Oil, Coconut oil is great for the scalp, hair and your skin. In the beginning I first applied this every night for 2 weeks 20 mins just before bath time, then I washed each girls head with regular shampoo and didn't need any additional conditioner. and combed out bug after bug and nit after nit until they were gone. After 2 weeks I treat myself and the girls twice a week and it's been 6 months and we have not seen or been bothered by Head lice

Since the above treatment worked by staying on top of it and being diligent with a routine. To all who have dealt with lice I wish you luck and to remember persistance pays. by the way J is still apart of my troop and she just earned her Silver award, made Principal Honor roll, and is Lice Free too...


See also Parts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6


Treating headlice

Headlice Information, remedies and games.


IMPORTANT - Hints and Things does not necessarily endorse or recommend any or all of the suggestions contained on these pages.  We would never recommend the use of pet shampoos, kerosene, etc., especially on children.  They may well get rid of the lice but can be dangerous and may call health problems in the future. Professional advice should be sought before use.




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