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Unusual remedies for getting rid of head lice.

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



Information, remedies and games.




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


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


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

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.



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

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

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

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.”


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.

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.


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,
, 3, 5
and 6



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