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See also Parts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7


Treating headlice

Headlice Information, remedies and games.



  Some of the more bizarre remedies I have received to get rid of head lice.  I would, however, like to offer a word of caution as these could have very unpleasant side effects. PLEASE See comments from the professionals is Part 1

My child had a horrible case of headlice in her beautiful, long, thick hair.  Finally, I tried a pharmacist's suggestion: Vaseline (petroleum jelly).  I applied it all over her scalp/hair and put a shower cap on her head.  The shower cap is needed to smother the little critters.   She slept with the cap on over night.  Then I tried to wipe off as much Vaseline as possible with paper towels.  The problem with this remedy is that it takes a long time to get the Vaseline out of the hair.  It took about a month for my daughter's "wet look" to be gone - even with countless extra shampoos/rinses.   However, she took it in her stride and deflected questions quite well.  Her hair looked as if she applied too much gel or mousse for about a month but as least it killed all the head lice!"

Thanks P.M...

Perhaps the new "clarifying" shampoos would help with this problem as they are intended to remove all traces of hair products.

I have received a very important warning with regard to the above remedy, as follows:-

"I would suggest you put a warning after this remedy.  I took a survival course and one of the things that we used for quick fire starting is "Vaseline" (petroleum jelly) soaked cotton swabs.  Just a few sparks from a flint stick and "voila" a fire.  Keep your child's head away from open flames e.g. candles, cigarettes etc.  Also beware, this is a petroleum product that you are smothering your child's head with."

I have to thank Stefan Meyers for the very timely warning.


"Two years ago I struggled with a bad case of headlice.  After many frustrating calls to the doctors, one wonderful nurse suggested that I wash my daughters hair with mayonnaise.  It worked great and they never came back!  Saturate the hair with lots of mayonnaise, leave on for about 45 minutes then rinse off.  Your hair will feel full and shine.  Because of the oils in the mayonnaise the nits are very easy to comb out.  I also heard that spraying a little hair spray will keep headlice away.  They don't like the taste!

Thank you Claudia.


"Another non chemical way of getting rid of the little darlings is to coat the hair in mayonnaise, wrap with plastic wrap for about twenty minutes and then wash out with shampoo.  I suggest using a conditioner after and using a nit comb to just do a comb through.  This is especially great if you happen to be pregnant and cannot use the regular applications.   It also works great for hard to get rid of headline problems.  Also a good follow-up routine to any head lice program is to spray hair with hair spray and generally you will not get the little darling back."

Courtesy of "rat..."


I am a mother of 5 children (3 - 11 years of age) I have constantly been battling the headlice plague for 8 years since my first child started at kindy. All my children have had them. The only way I have found to get rid of them is via hard work and lots of combing. I simply use 25 drops eucalyptus oil and 15 drops tea tree oil mixed in 1 cup of conditioner and do the conditioner combing method to remove the lice and eggs. This mix seems to loosen the eggs off the hair shaft quite well.

I have removed many, many lice each time I have done it but all the lice taken seem to be dead, as I have rinsed the lice in water and drained the water off and placed the lice on white tissue to see if they come alive again - but they don't! I guess this is because of the oils mixed in with the conditioner as the the conditioner is only supposed to put the lice to sleep for a short time to make it easier to remove them. I repeat this painstaking job every 5-6 days till eventually after the 3rd or 4th session they are gone.

I have found however they are back within a few weeks after being shared throughout the school. I am going to try a blend of 'repelling' essential oils (camphor, citronella, neem, cypress, pine, cedarwood and some Quassia wood tincture diluted and sprayed on my kids hair to see if this will repel the pesky buggers. I will let you know how this mix goes.

Tammy (Australia)


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



My best friend had her first run-in with lice on her oldest child (6 at the time), who got it from one of her good friends at school. Unlike many of your horror stories, this one was pretty quick (little over two weeks) and only mildly irritating. Her other younger two children did also get the lice within a day, but none of the adults did. Part of the reason is that I think the school and the classes are very small (we're out in the country here in Texas) and all the parents were equally proactive. Here's what we did (yes, I came over and helped all day)

1. ALL of the children's (and Mom's few teddies) stuffed animals were washed and run through the dryer and immediately garbage-bagged for 2 full weeks. The bed linens and pillows were also washed and bagged. It will NOT kill your children to sleep on bare mattresses for a few days. For goodness sake - they crash on the floor, in the car, face first in their food at the table!! She left them each one blanket in case they got cold (i don't know if that will work as well in the winter)

2. she washed the blankets every other day and vacuumed the couch and the floor every few days - just in case.

3. all the children immediately got bathes and shampooing with a nit comb.

4. her PEDIATRICIAN recommended Cetaphil lotion b/c of its mildness and he specifically stated to use a comb to part the hair into thin rows so that it can specifically be put close to the scalp. leave it in for at least 10 hours.

5. then it was combed out, washed the next day and repeated.

6. washed again 3rd day and repeated lotion application

7. left that lotion for 2 days and then washed out and repeated for rest of 2 weeks, but not as much lotion so it was hard to tell. For the oldest's sake, since she was in school, her hair was put in a slick ponytail or braid everyday, so no one could really tell it was lotion and not hairspray making her hair a little shiny and stiff at the scalp.

8. All three girls were bought their own new little brushes and of course, lectured repeatedly about NEVER sharing hair products from then onward. at least once a month since - all their brushes are "disinfected" too.

9. for an additional week after the first two weeks of the ordeal, the oldest's hair was hairsprayed and ponytailed or french-braided.

For the record, after an amusing hour-long diatribe at Easter about our plight, both her mother and mine noted only ever having one run-in with lice with us as children. After that, they both started using heavy hairspray (and braids or ponytails so we would not be tempted to brush or trade barettes, etc) on certain occasions - such as a possible outbreak at school, hayrides, field trips, etc (since no one is exactly sure how headlice is transferred the first time). Why hairspray? B/c they were always told that nits/lice need clean healthy scalps/skin to eat and the chemicals in the hairspray gave 'em a nasty taste and deterred them. They also used the lotion remedy when we got them, but my mother did not have Cetaphil available, and so she used a charcoal and tea tree oil lotion (tea tree oil is excellent for killing some bacteria, fungi, etc that cause many skin irritations and is moisturizing - so it is really acceptable for sensitive heads!) I use a similar product all the time for one of my poor dogs for that exact reason, and it also seems to deter ticks (and i have used a small dollop to smother them too on both dogs). Good Luck! 

Mary in Texas


"After spending hundreds of dollars one summer, inspiration hit me full in the face!  Instead of buying all those over the counter remedies I bought an $8 bottle of dog shampoo.  I washed the children with a few drops, waited 10 minutes, rinsed, smothered their hair in mayonnaise, put a plastic cap on a let it set for an hour.  The nits pulled right out, all adult lice were killed and the childrens' hair was shiny and still healthy afterwards.

To prevent further infestation, I put a dab of styling gel in their hair after each wash and a light hairspray before school.  Head lice have more difficulty adhering to a sticky shaft of hair.   They like clean shiny heads.  I also do daily head checks before and after school, or at any time they have been around a group of children."


This remedy came from Jeanette B, for which we thank you.  I am a little nervous about the dog shampoo as I am not sure if this could do any damage to childrens' scalps. As we have received three recommendations for the mayonnaise treatment, I feel perhaps it was this that did the trick.

I have used the dog shampoo remedy as well. If you read on the label, the chemicals are the same as for regular lice shampoo. As for concerns for the scalp; if it won't irritate a dog's sensitive skin, it shouldn't irritate a human's either, as they are both similar. It does make the hair a bit more "wispy" but I have found that using a good conditioner afterward eliminates that effect .. and it costs a LOT less than regular lice shampoo.

A friend of mine also swears by taking a bottle and putting about an inch of kerosene in it and filling the rest with shampoo and washing her kids hair with that. I have yet to try it, being satisfied with the dog shampoo, but her family works in the local school system and they all use it. (see note below)

Lynda B.


I was browsing your head lice section and I thought I might offer a page that I found helpful when I was doing some research earlier. http://www.vosenekids.co.uk/headlice-knowledge/


As I have said this subject provoked many responses and from the replies received it would appear that head lice do not like greasy things, whether it be Vaseline or mayonnaise!  Perhaps hair gel is not such a bad idea after all eh Mums!


See also Parts 1, 2, 3, 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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