hintsandthings.co.uk »Nursery

How to control head lice and suggested remedies for getting rid of headlice.



See also Parts
, 4, 5 ,
and 7



Information, remedies and games.


face with steam coming out of the head


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.



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 found the best thing that works is
being patient and persevering. If you see lice in the hair after
you have combed it you are not combing it right its as simple as

The conditioner method is the best but
repetitive as needs to be done regularly. I do use this on my
daughter’s hair. On my own it is simple – I just straighten my
hair at the highest setting on my straighteners and they soon



just went through a lot of time and care helping my 11 yr old get
rid of his case of lice.  It was our first ever in the house. 
I never experienced it as a child or an adult so was at a loss.
 I spent hours on the “net” researching what to do.
 In the end here is the treatment I followed and it worked:

– breathe.  It isn’t the end of the world.  You aren’t a
dirty person/neglectful mother/diseased.

– purchase a bottle of olive oil, a good thick conditioner, lice
combs and some disposable towels and a bottle of lice killing
potion from the pharmacy (any honestly will do).

– pick up a couple of good movies (to keep your darling still
while you work.) and some good healthy snacks.

– get comfy.  Have your little one sit down in front of you.


drench, dose the hair with almost all of the oil as you can,
lather it in as you would shampoo.  Next add two good dollops
of the conditioner.  Lather, rub, dig in the fingers to the
scalp.  Massage the scalp well.  Make sure to get behind
the ears, the base of the neck, and where the head lies on the


the head.  Use a towel, use a bathing cap (in our case, we
used a left-over streaks cap), or even a plastic bag or plastic

for an hour, or to the end of the movie.


in another movie.

that lice comb and comb and comb and comb.  Take only tiny
bits of hair and wipe on the disposable towel after every stroke.
 Work the comb down to the skull!  Your little darling
may want to see the little blighters you are removing – go ahead –
show him or her…there’s nothing wrong with it.

you have combed the entire head…comb again.


your darling’s hair in the sink to help get rid of all the goo.


again like in Step Three


the hair with the potion from the pharmacy




all of your little one’s bedding, hats, and coats and recently
worn clothes.


him a hug and a kiss.  

steps One to Nine once per week for three weeks.

worked like a charm.




Nitty Gritty Nit comb
you are located in the
this comb and other products can be
seen and purchased from Nitty Gritty at


and for those of you located in USA
Free Terminator (USA)

This NitFree comb is sometimes available on
prescription from your GP or from any prescribing health visitor,
nurse or Pharmacist – It is listed in Part IXA (Appliances) of the
current Drug Tariff as the Nitty Gritty NitFree Steel nitcomb with
microgrooved teeth.

Nitfree Terminator nit combe


The following is the latest contribution I
have received on this subject from Alison

“I use a Robi-comb
from the first signs of lice, then I do the conditioner on wet
hair with a fine tooth comb routine.  I use the Robi-comb
on dry hair one night and the conditioner/fine comb the next,
continue like this for about two weeks.   This way you
are removing the live lice as they hatch and (hopefully) before
they are mature enough to reproduce and start the cycle again.

When routinely tidying your hair
throughout the day, use a fine comb rather than a brush, less
chance that the little blighters will hang on.”


lice, a pesky little bug that can drive you crazy, but there is help
and it is not a chemical, it is a little electrical device called
the “Robi Comb” and, believe me, it works.   It
can be purchased at most drug stores for about $30.00.  They
have shampoos and conditioners as well but I have only used the
comb.  I’m a mother of three and have had the lice myself. 
My aunt told me about the Robi comb and now I want everyone to know
about it.  It’s great, you must read the directions and do as
it says or it won’t work.  Believe me investing in the comb is
well worth it.  Here is their web site www.liceguard.com.

came from an anonymous contributor and I would like to stress I have
no allegiance with the company mentioned.  June Jackson


Tracey Jones-Francis 

June – I’ve read your remedies for head
lice section with interest – some rather extreme suggestions
(especially the Vaseline!!) Anyway, I though your visitors would be
interested in my experiences:

Having worked for a decade in the
pharmaceutical industry I was totally amazed at the reports (and
first hand experience) of how ineffective the chemical head lice
treatments really are. This led me to try natural products on my
family since my little boy was persistently bringing these nuisance
pests home from nursery and I was loath to keep using chemicals,
which clearly have problems of resistance.

Following considerable research, we
came up with a winning formulation. In a nut shell, to get rid of
these unwanted visitors, use essential oils (2-3%), and an Indian
oil called neem, mixed in a carrier oil. You need to saturate the
scalp and comb the hair for a couple of hours (use on 3 separate
occasions around 5 days apart to be confident you have broken the

Then to stop reinfestation use a spray
or rinse of quassia chip extract and essential oils. Tea tree is the
essential oil everyone talks about for head lice, but there are
several others that work too, and blended together there is a
synergistic (co-operative) effect. Until recently we have been
supplying people in our locality in South Wales, but now our winning
formulation is available on-line. Please take a look at www.healthleadsuk.com
where you will find Ultra-Nix head lice kit. There is also a free
head lice advice line. Feedback most welcome.


I have received the following
from Lisa Defevers who has been
battling with head lice for many years and appears to have tried
every remedy possible with little success.   There does,
however, appear to be some light at the end of the tunnel and I
thought others may take heart from her experiences –

“I just read all of your info on
head lice remedies and knew I had to respond.  I have fought
head lice for 3 years now.  Honestly, it’s been 3 years and
don’t think for one minute I haven’t done all I could do. 
I’ve tried mayonnaise, vinegar, Vaseline, tea tree oil, Rid,
Nix,Clear, Not Nice to Lice, alcohol, Robi Comb and even kerosene. 
I’ve spend two months in research on the web so I wanted you to
know some things.

Some strains of lice are very
aggressive and almost impossible to kill.  Evidently that is
the kind I’ve struggled with.  I used Nix every night for two
weeks thinking I had to deal with the hatching process.  What
a joke!  I will never use poisons again.  I have
smothered my hair in Vaseline and left it on for two weeks and
would still have lice when I was through.  They somehow, even
though many died, managed to lay a few more eggs and I was back to
square one.   I believe that hatching of some eggs last
longer than normal.  Dying your hair does not work I’ve done
that for years and it doesn’t phase them!!

I’ve heard people rave about Not Nice
to Lice and I’m telling you it didn’t kill the lice on my head and
I used it 3 nights in a row.  It’s an enzyme based shampoo. 
Nada Zilch didn’t do a thing!  Olive oil is good but really
too thin.  Shower caps do not smother lice.  I’ve slept
in them for countless nights using many remedies.  I even
went so far as to purchase a swimmers’ cap as it is air tight and
thought it might smother them better – didn’t work!

I am telling you, this is the truth –
nothing would kill them.  I even tried Mae Loats salt
solution which did help but I left it on overnight and it burned
the back of my neck because it ran down my neck.  The first
night was effective, but the next couple of treatments were not. 
I would have live lice the next day.  You have to do it every
other day because of hatching lice.   Plus the salt
thins the gel or shampoo and makes it runny and you need something
that will stick to your hair.

The Robi Comb was a joke – you can’t
even get it close to your scalp.  That’s where the lice are. 
The main problem isn’t just killing the lice but getting rid of
all the eggs is where the real problem lies.

I found a web page at
that a family had put together after making a solution of
different herbs and oils mixed with mineral oil.  This oil
solution is left on your hair overnight with a shower cap. 
This process is repeated every other night for three weeks. 
My daughter and I are going on our second week and I noticed a
decrease in lice after 3 applications.   The reason this
is done every other night for 3 weeks is to kill the newly hatched
lice.  It really is killing the lice.  The mineral oil
is much thicker than other oils and works so much better.  I
think we have found something that really works.  I will
contact you at the end of the third week to let you know for sure
if we are completely rid of them.  In the meantime, thanks
for the information, people have no idea what it is like if they
have never had them.  I never had lice in my life until I was
42.  I do childcare for a living and it’s awful.!”


My daughter has been suffering an
infestation of lice for about a month now and we have tried many
over the counter remedies from the chemist. At least the
pharmacist had the decency to let us know that none of them really
work anymore! You do get desperate in the cause of annihilation.
My sister by co-incidence actually tests some of these products
when they have complaints, and says they, the companies are aware
of the shortcomings in their formulas. By night she does
aromatherapy and she mixed me an old remedy in essential oils:
3 drops each of Burgomot, Geranium, and lavender to 25ml of
carrier oil (sunflower for example)
apply to dry hair,
completely soak, massage particularly near the scalp and leave on

I put a shower cap on her and
combed out the dead/dying lice before and after a shampoo and
condition. We did have two baby lice again that evening but 36
hours on we are only pulling out eggs/cases. I think that the
worst is over. They are a nightmare but I did have tears rolling
down my cheeks at the lengths we are all prepared to go to. In the
face of lice, maintain a sense of humour . Michelle


To kill the head lice without poison, use a
thick conditioner to which has been added Tea Tree Oil (about 2 oz. of Tea Tree Oil to a
32oz. bottle of conditioner.  Put the conditioner on the hair real thick, then put on
a swimming cap.  Leave on for at least 4 hours (or overnight).  The conditioner
will suffocate the head lice and the Tea Tree Oil will loosen the glue on the eggs, making
them easier to get out.  As an added bonus your hair will be soft and manageable
after this treatment.”

Thank you Rhonda


On the topic about headlice – Tea Tree oil mixed
with regular shampoo or tea tree oil shampoo is
fabulous!!!   I work in child care where headlice are
inevitable.  My hair is around 3ft long and I have never had
head lice “knock on wood”.  I use tea tree at the
very hint of headlice and so far have been quite fortunate.

Rhonda Crump sent this


I had been doing
the lice treatments for 2 years now with my daughter I tried all of
the shampoos and the oils and I have spent over 700$ with this
stuff. I knew that something had to be done because all of the kids
at my daughter’s school were making fun of her so I called my doctor
and he told me to use tea tree oil in her hair and it worked – I
recommend this to you.

by Meme


“I have found that the chemicals used to kill
head lice are not working as well as they used to, they are expensive to buy and, with
over use, can be dangerous to the child.  I have found that using olive oil and a
shower cap works wonders.  Just work the olive oil into the hair (especially near the
scalp), put on shower cap and leave on all night.  In the morning shampoo hair.
  It may take a couple of shampoos to get out all the oil but it kills the live head
lice by suffocating them.  This has been tried by several people I know and has
worked every time”

Thanks to Terry J. for this remedy.


As a parent, I struggled with
nit combs and anti-head louse chemicals for several years without much success and a lot of
pain for my children. Then my mother pointed out that you can remove nits easily by simply
washing the hair in a bowl of water to which has been added a bottle of vinegar.

The adult head
louse can be killed by
normal head washing routines. However, the nits (egg cases) are glued to the hair and are
impervious to water and shampoo. They are also streamlined, so that the teeth of a comb
just pass over them. However, the glue which fixes the nit to the hair dissolves in weak
acid. The watery vinegar is so weak that it does no harm to eyes or skin (tears and sweat
are alkaline, so they neutralise the acid anyway)…but I promise there will be no tears
compared with the tears associated with hair pulled through a nit comb and chemical
head louse killers. Incidentally, you could also wash the hair in coca-cola or pepsi-cola
(which is extremely acid) and get the same effect. “

Many thanks to
Georges Dussart for this contribution.

My best friend
children was having a problem with lice. They could not seem to be
rid of them. I found your site and recommended she try Coca-Cola
for the nits. And follow up with Denorex. She tried the Cola, and
she called me so happy, there was no nits left in her children’s
hair. The Cokes acid does eat the ‘glue’ that holds the eggs to
the hair shaft, so they can simply be rinsed away. The Denorex, or
even T-Gel with coal tar kills the adult louse.

They had used Rid for
several weeks and not had any luck. It was like the lice had
became immune to it.

But now they are
completely louse free. She’s going to use the T-Gel a couple times
a week to keep them away.

I think this is one
of the easiest methods to deal with Lice and their eggs, and it
really works.

by VJ

In response to this entry we have
received an unsigned message advising that head lice cannot be killed by normal shampooing
and suggesting anyone requiring more information should visit


See also Parts
, 4, 5 and



Information, remedies and games.


– 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.