How to Get Rid of Lice

Two Methods:Getting Rid of Head LiceGetting Rid of Other Types of Lice

Head lice infestations are a common problem for school-age kids, who spread them to one another in the classroom. Lice are annoying and unpleasant, but with diligence, you can be rid of them for good after a week or two. Body lice and canine lice are similarly possible to tackle if you know what tools to use. See Step 1 and beyond for surefire instructions on banishing lice from your home starting today.

Method 1
Getting Rid of Head Lice

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    Be prepared to fight a long battle. Adult lice and immature lice are pretty easy to get rid of, but their eggs (called nits) are much harder to get rid of, and it is with these that the most problems crop up. People can think that they are rid of lice, but then get another case of lice from just a couple of eggs. Constant vigilance will be necessary to win this battle.
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    Choose a pediculicide (head lice treatment). Using a pediculicide is the quickest way to combat a case of head lice. Some pediculicides are formulated to kill both lice and their eggs, while others only kill crawling lice. For the latter type, a second application will be necessary. To use a pediculicide, read the instructions on the bottle carefully and take these steps:
    • Have the person being treated put on old clothes and sit in the bathroom. This makes cleanup easier.
    • Apply the treatment to the hair and scalp according to the instructions on the bottle.
    • Allow the treatment to sit for the recommended amount of time. It's usually an hour or less. Don't leave the treatment on for longer than recommended.
    • Wash out the treatment using water, not shampoo. No shampoo should be used for 2 days.
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    Comb out the lice with a nit comb. This step helps to hasten the treatment process if you're using a pediculicide, but you can also get rid of lice using a nit comb alone. Nit combs are handy tools that are specially designed to pull out nits (eggs) and dead lice as they are combed through the hair.
    • Divide the hair into sections.
    • Starting at the scalp, pull the comb from the roots to the end of a section of hair.
    • Swish the comb around in a bowl of warm, soap water. This will kill the lice and their eggs; they die quickly without a source of food.
    • Continue combing each section of hair until all the hair has been combed.
    • Sanitize the comb by putting it in a dish of very hot water after every use. Lice and their eggs die when exposed to temperatures of 128 °F (53 °C) for 5 minutes or longer.
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    Wash the person's clothes and bedding. After this initial treatment, wash all clothes, sheets, pillowcases, stuffed animals, and any other fabrics the person has come into contact with in very hot water, then run them through a hot dryer. While lice don't live very long once they jump off a person's head, it's still important to wash everything so you can be extra sure someone else in the family won't get lice.
    • For items that can't be soaked in hot water, like hairbrushes and hair accessories, place them in plastic bags for at least two weeks. The lice will die without air and food.
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    Monitor the hair for signs of life. After the initial treatment or combing, you'll need to diligently monitor the hair every 8 hours for signs of new life. Lice hatch in cycles, and it's almost impossible to get rid of all of them in one go. Do a thorough combing every 8 hours for the first 3 days. After that, continue checking the scalp every 16 hours and combing when necessary for the next 2 weeks.
    • Most lice treatments require a second application after about 10 days to kill any lice that may have hatched since the initial treatment.
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    Use and oil treatment to help the process move more quickly. Whether you used a pediculicide or not, there are natural substances that repel and kill lice. If you're sensitive to chemicals, it's definitely worth trying this oil treatment to help naturally combat the lice.
    • Melt 1/2 cup of coconut oil or warm 1/2 cup of neem oil and massage it into the hair and scalp. Both oils have antibiotic properties.
    • Use the nit comb to work through the oil-treated hair. The nits should come out much more easily.
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    Try an apple cider vinegar treatment. This is another cheap, effective way to loosen the nits. Mix 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, and pour it over the person's hair and scalp. Use the nit comb on the hair; you should find them easier to remove.
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    Use an essential oil spray. Certain essential oils repel lice and cause the nits to loosen more easily. Fill a spray bottle with 5 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of water. Try one or more of the following:
    • Tea tree oil
    • Lavender
    • Oregano
    • Peppermint
    • Thyme
    • Eucalyptus

Method 2
Getting Rid of Other Types of Lice

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    Treat body lice. Body lice live in the seams of clothing and feed on human blood. They are larger than head lice and easy to spot on the body. They are commonly found in areas where people live in very close quarters or don't have access to bathing and washing facilities. Body lice are easy to get rid of once access to these facilities is gained.[1] To treat body lice, do the following:
    • Throw out the infested clothing. Lice can live up to a month in clothes. Instead of trying to save them, throw them out.
    • Take regular showers or baths and use soap.
    • Regularly wash clothing, bedding, and other linens.
    • Your doctor may prescribe a cream containing permethrin, malathione, or benzyl alcohol to help with the itching.
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    Treat pubic lice. Pubic lice, also known as crabs, is most commonly spread through sexual contact. Pubic lice can also live in areas of the body with coarse hair, like the eyebrows, ears and armpits. The lice and their nits are easily visible. There are a few ways you can get rid of public lice:
    • Get an over-the-counter lotion containing 1% permethrin or a mousse containing pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide. These chemicals effectively kill the lice. Use according to the instructions on the package.
    • Remove the lice with a nit comb.
    • Wash your clothes and underwear in very hot water.
    • Soak combs and other items in hot water for 5 minutes.
    • Shave the pubic region. Getting rid of the hair the lice cling to is effective, especially in combination with the chemical treatment.
    • Monitor the area for signs of new lice. It may be necessary to undergo a second treatment.
    • Only use lindane shampoo as a last resort. It's effective but studies have shown it has a negative effect on the brain.[2]
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    Treat canine lice. Canine lice cannot be transmitted to humans (nor human lice to canines), but they can make your dog very uncomfortable. There are two types of canine lice: trichodectes canis, known as a chewing louse, and linognathus setosus, known as a sucking louse.[3]
    • Take your dog to the veterinarian. It's important to make sure that what your dog has is actually lice.
    • Use a powder, spray or other treatment at the advice of your veterinarian.
    • Wash the dog's bedding and everything he has touched in very hot water.
    • Soak grooming tools in very hot water for 5 minutes.


  • Try to avoid head-to-head contact.
  • Use a flat iron/hair straightener over the eggs. The heat coming from the flat iron will kill the little pests.
  • Lice have a 7-10 day reproductive cycle, so it's a good idea to redo the combing exercise every six days or so until you are certain they've absolutely permanently disappeared.
  • Try not to scratch your head. Although it will get itchy, if you scratch too much you could possibly make the bite worse!
  • Another natural product that has been found to be effective in the reduction of the spread of head lice is the use of fresh rosemary. Many effective shampoos and sprays work because lice are repelled by the smell of rosemary. A small number (2-3) sticks of fresh rosemary should be placed inside the pillowcase of each member of the household. They can be placed underneath the pillow so that they do not affect or interfere with the person trying to sleep and cannot be felt by the person. If they are left for over one week, the lice leave the hair and no further eggs are laid in the hair.
  • You are not dirty if you have lice - it's a common problem and anyone can get it. Check people who live/sleep/sat next to or came in contact with the person with life to make sure it hasn't spread to other people.
  • A good way to start it by brushing the hair very often to see what comes out in the sink.
  • People who live with the affected person should be inspected as well.
  • Wash your clothes every day.
  • Vacuum everywhere beds, pillows and couches.
  • Use shampoo with Tea Tree Oil all year round to prevent lice.
  • Remember if you have children to bag up all stuffed toys for 3 weeks to kill any lice.
  • Use any essential oil in your hair to kill lice. Sleep with it in your hair. Wash hair until all olive oil or any other oil is out.Wrap in plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Don't leave small child alone with plastic bag in case they suffocate themselves.
  • Clean pillowcases, sheets, and blankets in hot water and do the same with brushes and combs.
  • Because lice can travel from one item of clothing to another, it can be helpful to quarantine clothes that have been worn, however briefly, from those that are clean.
  • Try not to borrow hair combs or brushes from someone else. You should always have your own.
  • Read all instruction thoroughly on all lice sprays. Remember, they are pesticides, and penetrate your scalp.
  • This is not a one day process. Remember to treat the hair at least a week after the first treatment.
  • Remember to take all of your brushes and combs, get the hair out of them and soak them in hot water.
  • If your child has nits remember to keep them from playing with other children.
  • Blow dry hair as often as you can.
  • Items that can't go through a dryer can be placed in black plastic bags and left in the sun for a day or so. Even if it's not that hot outside, the interior of the bag will heat up and kill the lice.
  • To prevent future infections, consider quarantining anything suspect - like a hat from the thrift store - in a sealed plastic bag for at least two weeks before letting it into your home. Avoid trying on hats at yard sales or thrift stores, or hanging your coat or hat on a hook in a public place that may be contaminated.
  • Don't scratch your head. Scratching your head will only spread the lice to other people.
  • If you think showering helps get rid of lice, it doesn't. Lice actually like clean heads.
  • Boil the Neem leaves or make a paste of Neem leaves and put it on your hair and scalp for half an hour...rinse thoroughly and comb your hair with a nit comb.
  • Make a paste by grinding 10-12 neem leaves, leave on the affected areas for 15 minutes and wash with normal water.
  • Make sure that you do the steps correctly and slowly so it will work.
  • Put your hair in hot water.
  • Use a nit comb with olive oil on it. This works because lice hate oil.
  • Check your hair every two weeks.
  • If you can't use lice spray on your furniture, use huge sheets or blankets to cover them for a couple of weeks. This can be done on floors in the main areas where they tend to play also.
  • If you are male (or a progressive female), consider shaving your head bald with disposable clippers and razor blades. Keep your head clean and shaved for at least two weeks.
  • Avoid sharing hats or hair accessories with anyone.
  • Mix 5 table spoons of RID to a full jar of Hellman's mayonnaise. Then put the whole jar on your hair, put on a shower cap, and then wait 24 hours. Then rinse.
  • If possible, try to keep your hair short (especially if you're a girl), because it will be much easier to manage than long hair.
  • If you suspect there is lice on your hairbrush, put it in the freezer overnight. Lice can't live in extreme cold.


  • Do not use same comb if it has spread to more than 1 person in the family.
  • Do not leave anything in your hair longer than instructed. This may cause scalp damage.
  • Treat hair while in the tub.

Things You'll Need

  • Nit comb
  • Pediculicide (lice treatment)
  • Conditioners
  • Water
  • regular comb
  • Any essential oil
  • Hair

Article Info

Categories: Head Lice Treatments