Introduction: How to Kill Lice

Picture of How to Kill Lice

Oh dear lord... you caught lice... Now what?!

The stigma of being infested with lice should be motive enough for anyone to kill the buggers, but for some reason they are still rampant all over the world. Don't be the person everyone hates (the one who gave us all lice).

Kill the little bastards before they can spread!
The only acceptable answer is to wipe them out!
Eradicate even the smallest and most pitiful louse!

I'll show you how.

Step 1: An Oz. Prevention = Lb. of Cure

Picture of An Oz. Prevention = Lb. of Cure

People can only get lice from other people, but lice can survive away from their host for a few days. Lice require human hosts so your pets won't get lice.

Sharing clothes, hats, pillows and brushes is a no-no if you might have lice. Hugs should be careful and restrained until you are clear. Once lice are discovered, a good idea is to quarantine bed pillows or stuffed animals which might be exposed. Quarantine time should be 14 days. Brushes, combs, and hair doodads can be boiled in water for 1 minute to kill lice and eggs. A cycle in a hot dryer will kill off any lice and eggs on cloth.

There are several products in stores which claim to be for treatment of lice, but most of these, as far as I can tell, are more likely to make you sick than to kill lice.

Lice are one of the hardiest life forms you or I is likely to meet. They fall dright between cockroaches and goats on the hardiness scale, and are, for all practical purposes, immune to all poisons marketed for their destruction.

... so how do I kill them?

Step 2: Advanced Hand to Louse Combat Techniques!

Picture of Advanced Hand to Louse Combat Techniques!

The easy and effective ways to kill lice are with heat or combing, and I suggest a mixture of both.

First obtain a delousing comb and a bottle of your favorite conditioner.
Now take a nice hot shower combing the conditioner through your hair and rinsing the comb and the tips of your hair throughout to wash any lice down the drain.

Second, dry your hair with an electric hairdryer, combing it out with only 'known clean' combs or brushes. Lice can't take the heat over 110F, but neither can you! Don't hurt yourself, but get it nice, hot and dry.

These methods can both be done on yourself, and don't rely on you actually seeing the lice. Which is a good thing since lice are tiny and tend to be nearly the same color as the hair they hatched on.

Step 3: The Ultimate in Lice Removal: the Liceguard Robi Comb

Picture of The Ultimate in Lice Removal: the Liceguard Robi Comb

I especially suggest this electric comb if you have elementary school age kids. It can turn a weekend long nightmare lice eradication frenzy into a 3 minute per day per child treatment. If you are careful with it, it will last for years and keep your family safe from lice.

This device should be used on dry hair only, combed through according to the directions. It will kill lice and nits when used properly, and, if used daily on everyone in the house, it will eradicate an infestion in 2 weeks of daily use.

These combs are about $30, but if you need one, and you know if you do, it's more than worth it.

Step 4: Know Thy Enemy

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His6314 (author)2015-10-17

I got lice years ago and I can't get rid of them I tried everything and I tried mayo and it just made it worse it was a lot of bugs coming out of nowhere it had to be aleast 100 I need help!!! I am done having them it's like I try to treat them and next day I get them back :,( I don't know what else to try I tried everything I am so irritated with it. People think I'm nasty I'm just done someone please help me

opiumbrella13 (author)His63142017-08-17

Mayo or any of the treatments meant to smother do not work. They can hold their breath for over 8 hours.
I would start by using the nix or rid treatment, then combing out all the dead nits and eggs. Blow dry nice and hot and dry. Then use a hair straightener on the hottest setting and go from the roots to tip on inch sections of hair multiple times each piece.
Take all of your bedding and your jackets and hats and run them through a hot wash and hot dry, vacuume around your bed, and boil all your brushes and combs.
Get tea tree oil and add it to your shampoo and conditioner. And use it to wash your hair then blowdry and straighten at least once a week until sure they are all gone. Keeping the tee tree oil in your shampoo and conditioner will also help keep them away as they don't like it.
I'm sorry. I battled with lice with my children for months on end and myself and my husband as well. And we all have waist too butt length hair even my husband lol. So it was a huge pain.
Your not nasty, in fact live prefer clean humans to dirty ones, it's an issue everyone has at one time or another. So please don't get down on yourself.

LauraH84 (author)His63142016-03-01

Get rid of your pillow your bedding and just keep coming that out like outside treated every 10 days and keep your hair in coconut oil in a bag keep calm and it's out keep faithfully maybe get a prescription the most likely get rid of your bedding

JoleneS2 (author)His63142015-10-31

Have you tried the Nuvo method? It basically ends up suffocating the lice, look it up online and follow the instructions to the t! You just need Cetaphil cleanser, a comb and a blow dryer.

Beat_them (author)2016-09-21

I have tried every single remedy out there except the "de". Now I use salt. It works every time!

Beat_them (author)2015-12-15

My daughters had them last year. I think the conditioner method got them. They got them this Spring and we can't get rid if them. Tried Nix, store brand Nix, many attempts of Listerine and vinegar, coconut oil. Even paid a professional and she had them a week later.

Stewgal57 (author)Beat_them2016-01-17

You might try diatomaceous earth ("de"). It's used on pets for fleas and is safe It cuts the exoskeletons of the fleas; they dry out and die. Lice also have an exoskeleton. Put "de" the at the roots of the hair, making sure to work it through the hair. You could allow the "de" to stay in the hair for a period of time before washing the hair. I don't know if it would work but its worth a shot.

AprillR1 (author)Stewgal572016-09-20

Inhaling it kill you. I'd skip the de.

Stormgirl (author)Beat_them2015-12-19


My daughters got lice at summer camp. RID or Nix didn't work, apparently lice develop immunity to these pesticides. I used a home remedy that got rid of them for good.

1. Take 1/4 cup of warm apple cider vinegar and a 1/4 cup of salt. Mix it and soak the hair throughly and let it dry for 15-20 minutes.

2. Comb out the dead lice and nits.

3. Wash the hair with regular shampoo (just add 3-4 drops of tea tree oil). Condition the hair.

4. Blow dry and/or flat iron the hair carefully from the roots to kill any remaining nits.

5. Repeat every 4 days for 2 weeks.

*Tip: to avoid reinfestation you can buy the OGX tea tree oil shampoo and use regularly. Also, clean all hard surfaces with rubbing alcohol or vinegar. Vacuum sofa, mattresses, and anything with padding. Wash all clothing and stuffed animals in hot water cycle and hot dryer cycle. Anything that can't be washed seal it in a plastic bag for 2-3 weeks (i do 3 weeks cause I'm a bit ocdish). Finally, change the sheets daily until you do the second vinegar application in 4 days.

Goof luck!

Can white vinegar work??????

ElizabethS32 (author)Beat_them2016-06-28

I first apply tea tree oil and olive oil mixture and cover the head with a bag and leave on overnight. Then i wash it out with head and shoulders shampoo then apply vinegar and leave it on for four hours then rinse then apply mouthwash listerin original for four hours (head covered with both vinegar and mouthwash). Then wash hair with head and shoulders again comb hair with nit comb thoroughly. Then blow dry your hair and then take a flat iron and flat iron your entire hair. Wash bedding and boil brushes and hair ties. Lice can only live of the body for 24-36 hour's. So best bet is after treatment sleep on the floor and was clothing you use daily keep seperate from drawers and clothing and pillows for that time period. 5 days later reapeat entire process. Then another 5 days later reapeat process. I have only had to do this process once and it completely cleared up but the two extra treatments should make sure it works. Hope this helps.

LauraH84 (author)Beat_them2016-03-01

I'm a hairdresser and like I said it's very important that you treat it then doit once again 10 days later. and lots of combing every day in between with that little metal comb. Get rid of pillows and just get new ones after you treated it. Be sure to treat everyone at once. Again treat everyone 10 days later and wash everything in hot water and heat dry

AnikaP1 (author)2016-06-28

Ohk.. I don't want to admit it but In had those ugly looking creatures in my hair a few weeks ago. And they made my scalpn itch like hell. Then my friend suggested me to dye my hair and I did so and ended up with red colored lice :/ So, I used the last resort - fine toothed comb till they're all gone. Now I'm lice free Because I read this and learned a lot about lice from here which helped me to get rid of them.

ElenaM47 (author)2016-06-27

I personally used a store brand mouthwash. It didnt kill all of them them but i just put it on for 20 mins advice is to at least leave it on for an hour or two. ????

Hatelice (author)2016-02-17

help! I have had lice three times, I use loc killing shampoo, wash my sheets and pillows, and lice killing spray. I comb all nits out, but they keep coming back! What do I do? I really need a simple remedy that works in an hour

LauraH84 (author)Hatelice2016-03-01

You have to treat every 10 days. You can't just do it once. Make sure you're keeping like coconut oil and combing through with a metal comb everyday 3 times a day if you have to. Sleep with your hair in a cap with coconut oil olive oil tea tree oil any oil and also you can wash with vinegar or alcohol

SaraL38 (author)2016-01-03

I'm having a recurring problem. I will chemically and naturally treat my hair and they will be gone for a few days-as assured by regular checks- and then suddenly I have them back again. I don't understand. This has been happening for several years now and I don't understand what to do. I don't hug anyone, and I don't share hats, brushes, or pillows. They come out of literally no where and it is starting to get majorly annoying. Any suggestions?

Laceyforman22 (author)2015-10-29

Its listerine people... Soak your hair in listerine for an hour or two put on a shower cap rinse with water comb out...

savanahv (author)2014-08-07

I have it so bad .-. i have had it for 8 months now nothing has worked my head itches like crazy and my scalp is starting to bleed ! i need help whats kills eggs and alive ones i need help now :(

CarmenH8 (author)savanahv2015-10-04

goto n get a oyster cat flea comb gets out all live nits n babie bugs comb over th toilet so u can drownd n flush them good luck this comb works ,its all i use when my daughter gets lice come several times a day then daily til all bugs that get back in ur hair from blankets ect have been found

landoncarriere (author)savanahv2015-05-22

My wife and daughter use a hair straightener to kill them. It works so well. Then dose your hair with tea tree oil and or tea tree shampoo.

jeanwashburne (author)savanahv2014-09-22

coconut shampoo and a shower cap....sleep in it over night...wash and blow dry

x33perking (author)savanahv2014-08-28

Lice Shampoo?

CarmenH8 (author)2015-10-04

i always use a oyster cat flea comb found at it gets out all live eggs n lice babies n all comb everyday as much as u want over a cup of water or toilet ,u dont have to wash nothing just bugs that jump on u will be found ive never used lice shampoo always just th comb n never had a problem getting rid of them as soon as u see ur kid scratch there head check them to get them when they start

landoncarriere (author)2015-05-22

People use a hair straightener and get it as close to the scalp as possible without scorching yourself. It has worked great for my wife and daughter when they got lice.

betty.w.collins (author)2015-05-01

grannyjones (author)2015-04-11

i know this sounds weird, but the lice upsets me more than my breast cancer.

jessica.arndt.733 (author)2014-12-23

Listerine spearmint because bugs hate it but make sure u put a bag or shower cap over it and let soak for at least an hour. U can also spray all furniture down with this as well... as for the vinegar ppl are talking about that only helps make it easier to manually pull the eggs from your head which is the best thing to do. I've never used a lice comb except to get the bugs out. Extreme heat as well for linens and blow drying hair. I'm the go to person around my house, family and friends... kerosene works as well but have to be careful using it I rarely do but when I was younger I kept getting it and a friend's mother used it on me and never had again

abaltazar1 (author)2014-08-31

if lice shampoo don't work, just shave your head or get a very short hairstyle. my nieces had lice and after a month of suffering I just took them to the salon to get a haircut.

leicest10000 (author)2014-03-17

I have hand lice can your team call me on 07591948893 please thank u

thatonechickk (author)2011-11-27

I can relate to some of the comments: last summer I was having an itchy head problem. My mom assumed that I had itchy scalp, but the shampoo didnt work, and it eventually got worse. One week I went to a friends house. They saw me itching and decided to check my head. They didnt see any lice but found some eggs(small case). Luckily they had lice treatment lying around. That whole situation was done, but then 2 months later the itching started up again. No one believed me that I had lice again, and I was doubting it too, until one day I was itching my head and one came out into my finger nail - EW- I treated it again and all was well. But then, one or 2 months later, I got it again! and sadly it was discovered at a friends house): and my two friends got it too, but this time we used RID, and that totally took care of it, but now my heads itching again, and everyone's checking my head and they only see a few eggs, but i see many eggs. And just a couple minutes ago, I found 3 fricking bugs in my hair. yippee. But im scared to tell my mom because every other time I told her, she got very angry. She knows its not my fault but I cant help but feel guilty and helpless. Where do I keep getting it from!!?? the bus? school seats? a friend?( I hug lots of people) And since no one confessed to having it when I got it those 3(now 4) times, I may not know how to prevent it from happening again. so that's 4 times in one year(: fml...

LadyRoz (author)thatonechickk2013-09-06

Try giving your hair a vinegar rinse after washing it...then use a hair dryer every day for seven need to wash your hair every day unless that is what you normally do. The vinegar is an excellent conditioner and will kill and repel lice. I'd recommend the vinegar rinse once a week after that and to always use a hair dryer to dry your hair to avoid continued infestations. I'd also recommend purchasing a coconut shampoo and conditioner. Throw your pillows into the dryer for thirty minutes on high after treating your head and wash your bedding. I'm not sure how old you are but these are things you can do on your own without upsetting your family. Also make sure you have your own hairbrush and do not share it, or hats, with anyone else.

How old are you?

Orngrimm (author)2012-11-28

"Advanced Hand to Louse Combat techniques!" made me laugh! :)

mlew (author)2012-07-19

All of these tips and tricks are useful, but I've never had any long term luck with them. The best I've had was 2 weeks itch free by using Rid.

The trick I use for lice, (and crabs, ticks, mosquitos, and other bugs that eat your blood) is simply to eat some sulfer. I didn't want to head to the pharmacy, so I went to a convenience store and paid 25 cents for two packs of matches (they are free if you buy cigarettes).

1. Scrape the sulfer off of half the match sticks (ten matches) by either biting them off or using tools.
2. Eat the tips of the ten matches.
3. Everyday for 2 weeks eat 2 more match heads.

Within 48 hours you'll be entirely itch free (and mosquito/crabs/tick free). My stool was a little loose the first morning, but it was well well well worth it.

For a quarter of a dollar I was 100% itch free.

djcssp (author)2012-07-06

My friend had long thick black hair and 3 treatments with Rid and small comb took way to long and I still found lice. I decided to use a curling iron on high. Starting near the scalp and slowly pulling to the end of each section fried all the eggs and lice. One treatment and done. I suppose you could use one of the flat hair straightening irons.

Chantelle-Lee (author)2012-06-18

Hi Everyone!!!


I have fantastic news....I have tried everything as you will see above...even the coconut oil.

But guess what! I tried a new product and have been so excited to share the results. My daughter has hair almost to her touchie.

Now I know what its like to sit for hours combing...

And pulling...and she cried everytime...its just not a nice thing for any child to go through...
Google: centolice...and the comb is even took me 20 min total 30min to comb out and wash through!

Thank you Centro lice! MMMMMWWWWHHHHHA!!!!

SisterMable (author)2010-07-11

I have four kids... The BEST way to get rid of lice is to buy the cheap version (walmart/walgreens, whatever) of Listerine, though real Listerine will work, and a gallon of white vinegar. Soak the head in the Listerine, use a shower cap or wrap the head in plastic wrap. Wait one hour. Rinse thoroughly. Listerine's ingredients bloat the bodies and kill the lice. Soak the head in white vinegar. Rinse the shower cap and put it back on or re-wrap in plastic wrap. Wait one hour. Rinse completely. White vinegar dissolves the glue that holds the nits (eggs) to the hair shaft. Now use Suave coconut conditioner. Slather the hair with the conditioner and comb out the hair to see if there are any more nits or bugs (there should be n one unless you didn't completely saturate the hair). Rinse and let air dry. Coconut conditioner is best because it repels lice. Adding tea tree, lavender, rosemary, and other strong-smelling essential oils (10 drops of each) to the conditioner heightens the repelling action.l Repeat the Listerine/Vinegar soak every other day for a week to ensure any eggs that got missed in the first go-round don't get a chance to live long enough to hatch and procreate. In the meantime, wash and dry thoroughly all bedding. Put pillows and any stuffed animals that are used in the bed into the dryer for 40 minutes on high heat, daily. Vacuum everywhere, including the couch. Spray couch and chairs with Listerine. Within a week you can breathe easy that the lice aren't coming back, but repeat treatment once a week for a few more weeks to be sure the child doesn't bring lice back again from wherever they caught them. Also continue using the coconut conditioner -- my kids are over 20 and still use it! :) Alternative chemical free head treatments: Soak the head in olive oil or coconut oil. Both of these types of oils dissolves the lice exoskeleton. Leave oil on for an hour. Wash the hair with shampoo (will take several washes). Use Vinegar soak for one hour. Rinse, then use coconut conditioner. Follow directions as above. Because both olive oil and coconut oil penetrate the hair shaft, you will be left with delightfully glossy hair. Good luck!

Hi there,

Im in South Africa and my daughter keeps getting it on a yearly basis. I love your solution & will be trying it! Thank you so much Super MOm!

bcmcquain (author)Chantelle-Lee2012-06-16

Read my suggestions below for the hair dryer solution. It really works.

You should have plenty of access to coconut oil in South Africa :)

meggie508 (author)SisterMable2012-06-16

hi ok so last year 2010-2011 i had lice and we tried RID but that didn't work so i came to maine and we tried listerine and olive oil and alot of combing but it came out but not all of them died so i prefer try the tecnic and also do the hair dryer trick it helps alot too!!!! and coconut conditioner is helping too :D thankz

Will it really work still even though I dont have coconut conditioner?

It will totally work without the coconut conditioner -- that's just extra insurance. If you do the Listerine thing *or* the olive oil or coconut oil soak, every week, you're going to disrupt the growth cycle of the buglies and ensure they can't procreate. Good luck :)

bcmcquain (author)2012-01-21

Lice can be killed by hot dry air. IE,. a hair dryer. My daughter got lice and I did some research and this really works. When I first tried I saw the dead lice come flying out of her head and at first I was afraid they were still alive and I had to kill them but they were dead. The life cycle of the eggs, nits, is 6 to 7 days. I used a hair dryer on my daughters head for 7 days, really close and thorough, to the point that it hurt a couple of times, maybe overkill. But after this treatment for 7 days they were done. We tried the chemical pesticide that can have drastic side effects(do the research, it can be bad) and it DIDN'T work for us. This really works!!!! We suffered for months until I tried this. I even shaved my son's head. I really didn't want to do that to my daughter. IT WORKS!

meggie508 (author)bcmcquain2012-06-16

yes thank you very much just a few minutes ago i went and tried that and i had the dryer close to head and on high.. within the first 10 second with my head down and me combing through it with my fingers two lice came out andd then 10 lice came out within 2 minutes... thank you my head feels so much better... no how do i get rid of the eggs that are there if there are any...? :D thankz again

bcmcquain (author)meggie5082012-06-16

The life cycle of the eggs, nits, is 6 to 7 days. I don't know if the hair dryer kills the nits. So if new eggs were laid before you killed the lice, they might hatch within the next week. I recommend that you repeat this procedure every day for one week. Your problem will be solved!!!!!

l8nite (author)2012-02-27

When my kids were in school we washed their hair once a week with dog shampoo that kills fleas, letting the lather sit for what ever the label said. We still got the occasional call from the school nurse but it was usually just a couple of bugs that had been recently picked up.. and now MY HEAD is itching.....

ScarletWitch (author)2008-06-21

ok, one of the reasons i now homeschool my kids is my 10 yr old with wiast long hair kept coming home with lice. i'd get rid of em WITHOUT their freakin chemical BS that KILL kids!! i used tea tree oil shampoo, suave coconut conditioner(something in this conditioer kills the bugs) both the shampoo and conditioner got left on her hair for 15 minutes each. then i would wash everything i thought she might'vce touched with her skull, and sprayed furniture with alcohol. after conditioning, i'd go through her hair dilligently. then i braid her hair send her to bed on clean linens. when she got up & braid her hair tightly and shillack the hell out of her hair!! (read spray it down solid with hairspray) when she came home from school i would bursh through her hair & i'd go over her hair with the robi comb . 8 times in one year we got rid of em...yep..i was not a happy mamma. i have waist long hair as well and funny how niether i nor my son got even 1 bug!! and the school nurse had the nerve to tell me i wasn't getting rid of em? hmmmm...yeah how come she only had big old ones and eggs? hmm? same woman told me african american kids can't get lice. BS!! seen it with me own eyes! GAH!! we don't need to poison our kids to get rid of these lil buggys!! also occasionaly i would do a tea tree hot oil treatment on her hair . works wonders! CHEERS!!

JessG516 (author)ScarletWitch2009-04-08

I would itch and itch all night, for pretty much the whole summer. I went to a dermatologist for what my mom thought was just severe "dry scalp". I was 14 at the time, so we didn't really consider lice. I saw the dermatologist said it was just dry scalp and recommended some shampoo. The first week of school, I squeezed my hair out in the sink and saw a little bug in the water. Then I checked my comb, it was crawling with bugs! My neighbor, who is a nurse, came over said this was months infestation. Then we went back to the dermatologist, who my mother screamed at. The dermatologist checked my head again, and continued to tell my mother still had dry scalp and say the bugs were gone... the flakes were still eggs. Somehow, no one in my family got lice and neither did my neighbor's daughter (I spent the night at her house often).

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