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How to Effectively Get Rid of Head Lice

Updated on February 15, 2011

I'm a nitpickin' ole thing!

About a year ago, my middle child kept scratching at his head. I didn't think too much about it - figured there was some shampoo build up in there or something. After all, it is hard to rinse it out of that pretty long hair he sports in the winter.

But then it just didn't stop. And by the time I even thought it could be head lice, he had a tremendous amount of them in there.

Then there came the checking of the heads. Does the baby have it? Check. Does the daughter have it? Check. Does the mother have it? Check. Does the father have it? What do you mean you don't have it? So four of five family members have head lice.

I went...

straight to the computer.  How to get rid of head lice.  See, I had seen this before when I taught - a little kid would get it, and just keep it for what seemed like half a school year because the family wasn't "effectively" treating it.  I always figured they were just getting it out of the kid's head, and not getting them "off" other stuff, and they were just jumping back onto the kid's head.

There was one school year when I would NOT wear my hair down - it was in a bun every. single. day.  I was scared of head lice.

Anyway, the computer is telling me all this stuff I should do - go get the lice shampoo, don't get the lice shampoo, put mayonnaise in your hair, every day, for a month, use an electric comb, sterilize your home, your car, your existence.  It was obvious that head lice was going to become a life-changing experience for us.  I mean, it seemed as though I should just trade in my kids and move out of my home.

Getting them GONE - for GOOD!

I started with the shampoo. I used the generic brand that they carry at the local pharmacy. I also bought some nice metal nit combs since the ones that came with the shampoo seemed flimsy.

Day 1 - I treated everyone with the shampoo. After following the directions TO THE LETTER on the instructions, I then sat my children in front of a window, in full sunlight, and started combing out nits and lice. (I am scratching as I'm typing this) Then I treated myself. Though I probably should have had someone else do my nit-picking, I took over an hour and did myself.

Now, when I started nit-picking, I only found a very few nits/lice on me, my littlest boy, and my daughter. I was very relieved. But that middle child of mine had a HEAD FULL of activity! I mean, those things must have been reproducing like crazy in there. Makes you wonder when they had time to suck your blood...

Then, same day, all the bedding came off and went through the washer and dryer. All of the pillows went through the dryer. I also sprayed lice control spray on pretty much any surface that I thought could harbor a fugitive louse. Head lice like to live on people, not on stuff. They will die in two days if they fall off of someone. They cannot jump from one person to another, nor can they jump off of furniture onto someone. But it is still possible to get a louse via a sofa or a hat - it's just not as likely. Typically people will get lice by hair on hair or head to head contact (like hugging or sitting very very close).

Day 2 - I coated my kids' scalps with oil and a bandana for the evening. I'm sure this was an unnecessary step, but I was freaking out a little. And constantly scratching.

I started relaxing a little, but was still scratching a lot because it consumed my thoughts.

Day 10 - I repeated the treatment process with the special shampoo. This time I used the brand RID. I am pretty sure they are all the same, I just had a coupon this time. When I started picking nits/lice, I found none on me, the baby boy, or my daughter. There were a few more nits on my middle child, but I worked very diligently with the nice metal nit combs and a pair of tweezers.

They were gone for good!

Ever had 'em?

See results


After the whole ordeal, I realized that head lice is nothing to be scared of.  Granted, I don't ever want them in this house again.  EVER.  But it is more of a pain and a time-sucker than anything else.  

My advice if you suspect your little one has head lice is to first buy the set of special combs.  One or two swipes through the hair around the ears or at the nape of the neck is going to tell you whether or not he/she has them.  If it turns out your child has them:

  1. check everyone in the house.
  2. treat with the shampoo and wash/dry all the bedding.  Don't forget the throw pillows and spray the sofas and comfy chairs with the lice control spray.
  3. be prepared to spend hours picking nits and dead lice out of hair, especially if more than one person has it.  If you are not finding many in someones hair, do not stop.  Continue until you have checked the entire head.  It only takes two little lice to do the lice tango and to have a close "nit" family.
  4. try not to scratch scabs into your head for the next nine days.  If you do, the treatment shampoo is really going to burn.
  5. absolutely do the follow-up shampoo in ten days
  6. remember that it's really only a pain in the rump and that it will be over soon!


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    • profile image

      Fiona 6 years ago

      Thanks so much for posting it (even though I itched the whole time while reading!) my son recently brough nits home from school. He has straight red (fairly short hair) so I was able to treat him pretty quickly but I have long thick curly hair and my 20 month old daughter has thick curly (beautiful!) hair too. Of course we both got infested and resulted in me getting a shortish bob (and dyed blonde too!) drastic but I've been after a change for a while! Getting the nits out of my daughters hair has been a nightmare but she seems clear now (I used Lyclear which was amazing stuff followed by vosene nit shampoo and spray on reppellent)Her head is covered in little scabs but I have seen no further activity. Suffice to say we are now like a family of monkeys checking each other constantly fo nits and lice!!!

    • cheapsk8chick profile image

      cheapsk8chick 6 years ago

      Susan, that's awesome that you found something natural and effective! I would say I would try it next time my kids get lice, but I think in reality I will just lop their heads off. Nah, actually I think I will write "tea tree oil" on an index card and keep it with my LICE KIT (which consists of the nit combs and lice sprays. yuck.) Sorry to make you itch!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great information. I remember when my kids were small they were bringing home lice and it drove me crazy. I got itchy reading your hub. After doing all of the above I eventually found tea tree oil and tea tree oil shampoo works really well rather than the pharmacy shampoo. I bought it at my local health food store.

    • cheapsk8chick profile image

      cheapsk8chick 6 years ago

      Thanks for all of the positive comments! rpalulis, I hope you never have to follow this advice either!

    • Pixienot profile image

      Pixienot 6 years ago from Clarksville, Indiana

      Well said!

      voted up and useful

    • rpalulis profile image

      rpalulis 6 years ago from NY

      Wow this does sound like a big pain in the but and very time consuming, I hope I never get lice. I started itching just reading this.

      Very informative and useful hub, hope I never have to follow any of the excellent advice here. Thanks for sharing from experience how to effectively get rid of head lice.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Thank you for sharing this information. God Bless You.