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See also Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 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.


Personal experiences

There is no better recommendation than personal experience so here are a few I have received on this vast subject which, hopefully, will be of interest.

A contributor known as "E.R." kindly took the trouble to send in the following very useful information on this subject.

I have some useful information about lice. First, to anyone who has been struggling with lice for months and years: my family physician, Dr P Feldman, reported that her family had been trying for some time to get rid of their lice infestation. They finally discovered that they had lice living in an old mattress. Lice can lay eggs not just on hair, but on other fibres as well. Replacing a mattress or getting a plastic cover for it (very airtight) can be an essential part of treatment. This can apply to wool or other fibrous blankets as well, which should be bagged until the the lice is 100% gone, for a minimum of three weeks. The bag must be very airtight. Lice need air to survive. 

Hairbrushes need only be washed with vinegar and placed in the freezer overnight. Every single last hair must be removed from the hairbrush so use the kind with single plastic prongs, or a large - toothed comb during the lice period.  

Secondly, the only truly effective treatment for lice is manual removal of lice and nits, which is best accomplished of course by cutting hair very, very short. The woman who has had lice for three years is probably getting re-infected. She should go for hair cropping and manual removal (pay someone if necessary), and make sure possible sources in her house are not causing a reinfestation. Spraying a house with pesticides is neither effective nor necessary, and it's extremely harmful to children. A lint roller will do for any non-fibrous substance such as cotton sheets (it picks up stray fibres that could have nits attached to them, and stray lice) and bagging is sufficient for fibrous materials.

Finally: where hair is very thick and for emotional reasons cannot be cut, manual removal of nits is nearly hopeless. If you overlook just two nits and they happen to be housing a male and a female, the cycle will repeat itself. One has to keep in mind that lice cannot lay eggs in the first seven or eight days of their lives, and it takes eggs up to 12 days to hatch.

Thus one must attempt to KILL THE LICE EVERY DAY FOR AT LEAST 12 DAYS (16 to be on the safe side). Nix will not kill lice, unfortunately. I saw a louse alive and well crawling through my daughter's hair after a Nix treatment. What seems to work best is a combination of treatments for ten days, with a different one each day, and daily lint rolling of all surfaces which the head may touch. Thus one can do something like this: 

Day One: Pronto (effective but very toxic and with thick hair it's hard to get it everywhere).

Day Two: mayonnaise overnight (with three TIGHT plastic bags taped to the head, covered by a showercap, which is held by an elastic band). 

Day Three, Four and Five:tar shampoo such as Denorex Extra Strength. 

Day Six: tea-tree shampoo. Repeat cycle. One of the days can include dyeing of the hair, for anyone in the household who is over 16. 

This assault should weaken and eventually kill all the lice. It must be done every single day to prevent the lice that are mature from laying eggs. This round of treatment should work, if nothing in the house (or at school) is reinfecting your family. But again, the best remedy is to shave hair (for boys) and cut it very short for manual nit picking (for girls). Hair grows back.

It's back to school - this only means one thing to me NITS. I feel as though my oldest daughter who is 7 years old has had them since nursery the monsters love her hair. I have tried otc remedies - everyone rubbish, do not even start me on the useless results of Derbac spent a fortune got nothing in returnnot even 1 dead louse. Tried countless combs, natural remedies and don't even bother with haircuts unless you plan to just shave it all off, most hairdressers wont go near you anyway. However all is not lost on my latest visit of complaint to the school nurse she provided me with some free (NHS Provided) combs called Bug Busters they are neon yellow, she informed me that the lice are supposed to be attracted to the colour of it - RESULT. Firstly wash hair with Tea Tree Shampoo (the stronger the better) and then lather on the cheapest Tea Tree Conditioner you can find, and brush through with Bug Buster comb and you get them all baby nits and adult ones. However do not wash conditioner off leave on overnight and comb again following morning. You will see instant results. I then continue to comb hair everyday for 14 days and if you've had no more nits after 14days infestation is over. Finally my secret weapon before my children go to school with either ponytails or buns spray hair with nitty gritty nit repellent it is a great product and the only one out of about the 10 I tried that actually did what it said.

So we will recap expenditure:

Bug Buster Comb - FREE

Tea Tree Shampoo - 2.00

Tea Tree Conditioner - 0.50

2.50 is not bad considering I used to go through about 30.00 a week trying to Napam the nits with Derbac and any other lotions I could get my hands on.

Experiences of a weary mum.

I have 2 daughters in home daycare and we contacted lice and it spread through the daycare. It was so frustrating trying to get rid of it and from so many kids and people involved it was horrible. I ran across your web site looking desperately for help. We all did the Denorex and coconut treatment and drying the hair. Everyone is lice and stress free this really worked after months of trying to get rid of it. I am so grateful I found your site and recommend it to everyone I know. Thank you again.

Victoria H

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 had been researching remedies for those pesty little head lice and came across your site. I gave Denorex shampoo a try, and WOW! It works like a charm!

Like other users who commented on its effects, I was happy to find dead lice in the tub, knowing they were no longer on my head. I haven't had trouble since. I believe it would be a wise and profitable decision for Denorex to advertise their shampoo as a lice killer as well; with the billions of people who have lice, they'd make millions! Can you tell how overjoyed I am that I needn't to worry about any critters on my head?

Experience of Christine L.

Valerie Flowe has sent the following comments which she would like to bring to everyone's attention.

I have been reading through all of your suggestions for head lice. I just wanted to mention that after fighting lice on my children for over 2 months, I was excited to hear about the more natural remedy of extra-strength, therapeutic Denorex. A word of caution: look on the back label. It states that there is an ingredient in it that has been known to cause cancer in the State of California. (NOTE: California is very pro-active in their research of toxic chemicals). I returned it quickly to the store without using it.

I contacted the National Pediculosis Society and they confirmed that most of the expensive over-the-counter lice products both don't work (lice are resistant to it), AND can have adverse side effects, such as leukemia in children. My child was treated for leukemia for 3 years and I was furious to know that these products are dangerous, particularly to those who are already immune-compromised, like my daughter. There was NO note of warning on these products, which I used 3x on my daughter, before realizing that they were worthless. I am going to get a refund for the $100++ that I spent. AND I am going to take this up further with the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) who approved these products, as well as the manufacturers. I want this junk off the shelves!!!

I would like to thank you for this site I have two small girls who love their long hair but unfortunately keep getting repeat infestations of lice which cost me a fortune to get rid of and upset both myself and my girls. I shall be trying some of the remedies on this site to see if we can keep the nasty critters at bay.

Where I have not found the perfect remedy to deter or get rid of lice I have found helpful two things:

1-The Nit free comb....It is a god send it pulls everything out of the hair it does cost 10(in the UK) but on many packets there is a life time guarantee so the company will replace it if it gets broken.

2-I have found with a lot of oil based lotions from the chemist and home remedies that my girls where left with greasy hair for days on end no matter how much I washed their hair. Out of desperation I tried washing up liquid and it did the trick their hair was left soft silky and shiny. ******

Denise Todd

****** I would like to offer a word of caution here.  Washing up liquid (hand dish washing liquid) is a strong detergent and not intended for use on scalps, therefore, it may contain strong ingredients not suitable for use on the scalps of children.  It would probably be better to use a reputable clarifying shampoo which is purpose made to remove excessive oil/grease from hair.



I tried everything to get rid of my daughters lice. I went from treatment to treatment and nothing worked.

My wonderful daughter Jade suggested to straighten her hair so it could burn all of the lice. It was a success, all you could hear when i was straightening her hair with a GHD was tic tic tic.

Amel N.

I would like to add a post script to this suggestion - it is very difficult to use these appliances near to the hair root and this is where a lot of the eggs and lice "reside".

I have been dealing with head lice in my family for about 10 years. I have used almost every remedy on the market. I was using Derbac and within 2 days the nits were back in there hundreds.

I have just found one remedy that I must share with you, after one treatment I only found a couple of nits on the kids hair after 2 days. The lotion seem to repel the nits and soften the new eggs so they can be removed.

This remedy works on child's thick curly hair.


10ml of tea tree oil.

100ml of olive oil.


I mixed it up in one of those squeezey plastic ketchup bottles you can buy to put your own sauce in. The one that looks like the bottle on a hair dye kit. This is really handy with evenly covering the hair with the mixture. I leave it on all night (lay towel on the pillow to protect it) Watch out as the nits seem to slide off the hair! In the morning I wash it out with a well known baby shampoo and put a good conditioner on, comb hair has normal and watch all the eggs easily come out.


Tea tree oil 10 mls - 4 (at chemist)

Olive oil about 100 mls 50P

A darn sight cheaper than the 10 I was spending a week... and it did 2 applications!

I re did my child's hair a week later and there was only 2 nits in it, also the rest of  nit eggs came off too.

3 weeks later child still only has the odd 1 or 2 instead of 1-2 hundred!!!

Good luck

A smiling mum!!!

Your site was the first port of call I made when I found my daughter had head lice.  I tried many, many of the remedies suggested.  These include Full Marks (loads of times), Nice'n'Clear, Lice Attack, Lice X, electronic combing and home made concoctions such as Olive Oil/ Eucalyptus/Tea Tree Oil and Quassia wood chips.  Also tried wet combing several times a week - all to no avail.

Like many parents out there I have a daughter with very long and very thick hair and no matter how well I thought I'd treated her hair, reinfestation always occurred - all the way back to November 05 through to June 06.  A few times my son managed to catch them also but his were very easy to eradicate due to him having short hair and catching them before they bred.

All in all I spent hundreds of pounds on trying to treat her.  By chance I was in a my mother's local chemist shop a few weeks ago and discussed the problem with the pharmacist.  She told me to sign up there and then for Direct Care and duly provided me 'free' with two small bottles of Derbac. Although this was intended for two applications, I had to use both bottles for the one treatment.  I was far from optimistic, it was just another product and one that was far cheaper than its competitors - so I was sure there was no way it was going to work.

I applied it that same evening and when I went to check my daughter in the morning was astounded at the amount of dead lice and nymphs sprawled over the pillow.  There was not one live lice or nymph left in her head.  It was amazing, I could have leapt for joy.  Having tried so many products, I had never found dead lice on her pillow before.  It turned the stomach at the thought of these things crawling all over her.  I re-applied the following week to kills any eggs that may have since hatched and happy to report that after seven long months seem to have finally got on top of the problem.  I'm dying to take her to the hairdressers now after having to attend to her trims myself. 

I can't believe that every chemist I had previously visited recommended Full Marks as the market leader - I wasted a fortune on that product.  Lice X was the most expensive, including postage from USA, I paid $94 and feel foolish for believing all the users' comments on how wonderful the product was.

So why not give Derbac a go, I speak from months and months of anguish and had almost given up, so much so that my next step was to get my daughter's hair chopped off.

Thanks to Sharon T for this one

A very resourceful Dad (DB) managed to make time to send in his experiences with this problem -

At last success when there was none in sight. We had been battling head lice on my 7 yr old daughter for almost 2 months with absolutely no success with the over the counter products. Since my ex-wife and I were fighting this in 2 separate households it was very expensive, frustrating and time consuming. So I began researching online for options. I got to your website from a google search and tried a combination of several suggestions that were posted. I achieved success within 1 week with the following course of action all obtained from Eckerds drug store. 

1) Garlic capsules once a day. 

2) Denorex extra-strength shampoo 

3) Paul Mitchells Tea Tree Conditioner 

4) Small bottle of Tea Tree oil 

5) Vegetable oil 

6) White Vinegar 

7) hair spray

Mix equal parts of the Vinegar and veg. oil then add 20 to 30 drops of the tea tree oil shake until milky (empty Gatorade sports bottle works great). Then saturate the head and wrap with seran wrap and let sit for 2 to 3 hours (appx. run time of 2 videos, not overnight). 

Then comb out carefully with the small combs that came with the other products that didn't work. Then this can be rinsed out with Dawn dishwashing liquid. I repeated this about 3 days later. On a daily basis give the garlic pill, wash & condition with the Denorex and Mitchells conditioner. Pony tail her hair and then use the hair spray before sending to school. This may sound like a lot but not compared to the repeated attempts and expense of the specialty products that just don't work any more. And her hair looked great.

I have used many things for lice, seems you cant have a child in school for 1 week without encountering these pesky critters. The one thing I have found that really works is the Extra strength Denorex...but you have to buy the "medicated" form...it will state medicated right on the bottle above the name. The difference is the medicated has coal tar oil in it, the regular extra strength doesn't. 

Also, if you continue to use it once a week through school months, your child should stay lice free, and one bottle should last through these months. It really does work, my daughter is proof, and its also safer than lice medications, without the mess. You will still have to comb out the nits, but they should be dead, as the Denorex kills them also. To be safe, at first use for three consecutive days, then once to twice weekly after.

Thanks to LW for sending in this contribution.

Unfortunately this version is not available in the U.K. due to the coal tar content.

It was fascinating to read your reader's experiences of headlice control. I struggled with my daughter's headlice infestation (she is 3 and has long blonde hair way below her shoulders) and the pesticides failed dismally. In the end through talking to loads of people and the staff at her nursery, I hit upon the best solution. 

I bought a white (so you can see the eggs and lice) nit comb and some tea tree oil conditioner and every other day applied the conditioner and then combed through to get rid of the eggs and live lice. Within a day no more were hatching and we got rid of them quickly and easily in the end. This is a humane and natural way to get rid of lice and doesn't use pesticides. Boots do a tea tree and lavender leave in conditioner in their alternatives range which was even better as it didn't need to be rinsed out. Interestingly my husband and I both have short hair in which we wear gel/hair styling products and neither of us got them - this is supposed to be a good prevention!!!

KK sent in this information

Just thought I would mention Hedrin as it's fantastic stuff and does what it says on the tin as it were. Easy, painless for the poor sufferer and quick for a busy parent, absolutely brilliant.

Louise D.

See also Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 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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