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See also Parts 1, 3, 4, 5 , 6 and 7


Treating headlice

Headlice 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 that.

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 go.

Lynsey Morrow


I 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:

#1 - breathe.  It isn't the end of the world.  You aren't a dirty person/neglectful mother/diseased.

#2 - 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).

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

#4 - get comfy.  Have your little one sit down in front of you.

Step One:

Slather, 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 pillow.

Step Two

Cover 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 wrap.

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

Step Three:

Put in another movie.

Take 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.

Once you have combed the entire head...comb again.

Step Four:

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

Step Five:

Comb again like in Step Three

Step Six:

Wash the hair with the potion from the pharmacy

Step Seven:

Comb again

Step Eight:

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

Step Nine:

Give him a hug and a kiss.  

Repeat steps One to Nine once per week for three weeks.

It worked like a charm.

Marnie Ferguson-Lapierre 



Nitty Gritty Nit comb If you are located in the UK this comb and other products can be seen and purchased from Nitty Gritty at http://www.nittygritty.co.uk/site/home.asp  

and for those of you located in USA Nit 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 Hiscock -

"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."


Head 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.

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


Tracey Jones-Francis  says-

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 cycle).

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 www.headliceremedy.com 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 overnight.

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 S.


"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 in.


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.

Contributed 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.

Contributed 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 http://www.headlice.org


See also Parts 1, 3, 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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