How to treat and prevent lice

It’s a gross topic but someone’s gotta cover it!  Has your kiddo had lice yet??  If so, you know how absolutely disgusting it is, not to mention embarrassing :/  Here’s what I’ve learned as a lice surviving mama after much research plus trial and error. Here is the easiest and cheapest way to not only treat lice, but how you can easily prevent it too. How to TREAT and PREVENT lice:
How to treat lice!! How to prevent lice! You may have all of these household items laying around your home. Safeguard yourself and kids before they invade! How to treat and prevent lice!

How to treat and prevent lice

We had to learn how to TREAT it, unfortunately, so I hope this post will help you PREVENT it!  Ingredients needed: Any kind of Listerine, disposable shower caps, white vinegar, tea tree oil and coconut conditioner. We prefer a metal comb as well. 

How to effectively Treat Lice:

  • If you know your child (or yourself) has lice, soak your hair in Listerine (any kind) and cover with a shower cap for 2 HOURS.
  • Rinse, then do the same with vinegar (yes, 2 MORE hours). *Be sure to use a clean shower cap.
  • Using a fine tooth comb, pick out those nasty buggers.
  • Rinse again, then wash your hair with your normal shampoo but add 1 tablespoon of Tea Tree Oil into your shampoo bottle.
  • Condition with any brand of coconut conditioner.
  • Repeat 5 days later, then 5 days after that due to lice laying nits that hatch every 5 days.

To Prevent Lice:

  • Add 1 tablespoon of Tea Tree Oil to your regular shampoo bottle, the oil repels the lice.
  • Use any brand of coconut scented conditioner on a daily basis, apparently lice don’t prefer the smell.
  • Before the school year starts, follow the instructions for treating lice…I read that a military mom of 35 years did this every year her kids were in school and between all the random cities and countries they lived, her kids NEVER picked up lice, even their classes were infested.
Note: It’s been reported that lice are starting to become immune to the lice shampoo sold in stores.  Just as well, those bottles are really pricey and didn’t work the first 2 times my daughter had lice…which is why she get re-infected over and over until we heard about this treatment.
 
Cost: From the Dollar Store: 8 shower caps/$1, coconut conditioner/$1. Supermarket: Tea Tree Oil/$8, Listerine $5, Vinegar/$1.  TOTAL COST: $16, less than 1 box of the whole preventative shampoo box! (We included links above just in case but you can find most of it at you local dollar store and/or drugstore/supermarket.)
 
Hope this works for you, worked for my long haired girls beautifully!  Even my 2 1/2 year old kept her shower cap on the whole 4 hours without complaining.
 
BIG thank you to my good friend, Melissa, for sharing these home remedy treatments.  Sorry she had to suffer through it until she got it right but it benefits us all well, right?? (:  
How to treat lice!! How to prevent lice! You may have all of these household items laying around your home. Safeguard yourself and kids before they invade! How to treat and prevent lice!

GOOD LUCK!
On a happy note…check out all our Tips & Tricks pinterest board PLUS our back-to-school ideas! As well as our 13 back-t0-school fonts! (:

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62 Comments

  1. Hi! I have long thick curly hair and am infested baddddd. I’m currently doing the listerine and just happened to read another article saying listerine is bad but it was on the website for a lice removal company so I don’t know if they’re just trying to keep up business. Is this going to dry out my hair and scalp really bad? I’m so grossed out I want to die and cry!

    1. Ohhhh no! I’m so sorry to hear that!!! I hope you’re on the mend by now but yes, we used Listerine for all 4 of my kids and it worked like a charm. Just condition if it dries out your own hair but I would rather have dried out hair than LICE!!! lol Good luck!

  2. Three little girls all around my daughters age moved in next door around my daughters age and they got along great! Better yet, im pregnant and hi risk and had to quit my job and their mom needed a sitter at night and paid decently, i was so happy…until i noticed the itching one night…then quiet whispers about if they had combed their hair or not, they had lice, the mom knew and didnt tell me, knowing my daughter would have to sleep next to them part of the night. Worst part is that i found out the Thursday before the last week of school,my daughter has been antcipating the last week of school events since Xmas! I was terrified she would have to miss out. I went to walgreens and used a 6.99 generic treatment first, made sure to wash all of her bedding and cloth toys on high heat, and spray and vaccuum all carpeting, couches and curtains. Then after combing her hair out after the first chemical treatment i made a hair mask out of tea tree oil and coconut oil and left it on all night, in the morning washed her hair out with dawn and let a mixture of dawn and tea tree oil sit on her hair for five minutes and blow dryed her hair and combed it. Put mask on again, let it sit all day, touching it up a few times, and repeated the process at bed time, made mask again and had her sleep in it. I’ve repeated this every day from thursday night and its now Sunday morning..i found nothing! Im going to put a tea tree oil and water spray on her hair tomorrow if she wakes up again free of these guys. I hope it works!!

  3. It’s interesting that you mentioned that lice are starting to become immune to the lice shampoo sold in stores. I just found out yesterday my little brother has lice, so we’re trying to figure out what to do. Thanks for the tips-I’ll be sure to try this out and see if it works!

  4. Our daughter just got lice for the first time. We used RID and have done it 2 times. Daycare checked the kids today and she has nits yet again! They believe they saw 1 lice, but obviously when the nits hatch….yikes!! We currently have 1 hour left on the Listerine and then will do the rest of the treatment. Fingers crossed!! She’s very upset that she’s gotten it not once but twice and wishes we’d have her head!!

  5. Oh my goodness! I am 32 years old and have never had lice, my 13 year old neighbor girl who is at my house daily has lice, so I checked my hair and I couldn’t believe it! I have lice! I would have never guessed unless she had it. Definetly gross but am thankful for these home solutions!! Sleeping with coconut oil on my hair tonight, then listerine, and vinegar it I for me tomorrow! I’m really in shock that I have lice! It makes me wonder how long I’ve had it! The only positive thing is it is treatable!! And I was just winning the battle over the fleas this summer!! Ahh! Thank you for sharing this.

  6. Years ago my daughter got lice at a summer camp. It was horrible after trying literally every treatment at the store and a prescription cream from her Dr, nothing worked. I finally just looked up home remedies for lice. I ended up saturating her head with listerine ( used a generic bottle) put a shower cap on for an hour. When I took the cap off they were dead. I then put her in bath tub and washed her hair with a tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner. I bought it at sally’s beauty supply. I’ve found their Generic brand (actual name is Generic in a black and white bottle) works the best. It does have a strong smell, but my daughter said the menthol helps soothe the itching. After doing this intial process I just used the shanpoo and conditioner. Putting a cap on after shampooing and conditioning for 30-40 then rinsing Every 3 days. She was rid of them in less than a week. The shampoo and conditioner have also worked to prevent my other two from getting them.
    Definatly use a metal comb to get nits out. And I had also found a battery operated comb at Wal-Mart. You use it on dry hair. As you’re combing and it hits a nit it zaps it and kills it.

  7. Hi

    Thank you so much for this article! It’s a lifesaver.. I was wondering if you think using coconut oil in the hair will also be successful instead of the coconut conditioner? Only because I didn’t have any I improvised.. I will be purchasing coconut conditioners.. I really appreciate your article. Bless you! 🙂

    1. Hi Anna,

      In response to your question, yes you can use oil in place of the conditioner however the main thing missing from this equation is that the comb has to be a professional grade lice comb as the quality of the comb and the technique used are the difference in losing or winning this fight. No product, natural or chemical, will get rid of everything, the combing is how the nits are taken off the hair shaft.

  8. When I was younger my mother always heard of these things, however due to the harsh strong smell of the products, I was unable to use them because I have asthma. I had an old relative come over and my mother told him about my situation and how embarrassed she was. He suggested to boil an avocado seed in water for about 30 minutes until the water turned a pink/brown tone. I never used it because my mom would typically sit me next to the window to pick them out, then kill them between her nails. (Gross, right?!) All I remember hearing was popping sounds and it still makes me cringe to this day. However I feel like that was the best way to get rid of them.
    About 6 years ago I had caught them AGAIN. I was about 14! I have no idea how but I was freaking out. I was extremely embarassed and I thought I would try out the remedy my uncle had mentioned to me. I washed my hair with it in the shower. I would do it 2 times just with that, then comb it out and the final time I would mix it with my shampoo. I have to say, even though it sounded silly I got rid of them in the next 2 days or so. I found out that Aztecs used to do this in ancient times. Plus you can never say no to the wonders of avocado in your hair ! Just thought it would be nice to share– incase anyone can’t use strong smelling products!
    We just found out that my younger sister got them while she was volunteering with her kindergarten students at an event. I am definitely going to tell her to try out your remedy since the smells won’t bother her !

  9. Good Luck to all with this!
    My daughters got lice this summer. Yuck!
    To really get rid of them quickly, I wet their hair with an herbal lice spray and conditioner, then combed through it thoroughly with a good lice comb i found on amazon, until the comb came out clean. I wiped the comb after each time, on a paper towel. This comb has grooves across each stick, which really picks up each lice and nit.
    Then i washed her hair with shampoo, into which i added some tea tree oil.
    I did this for a few nights, and then every 5-6 days.
    A couple more things that i learned from experience:
    *Spray the curtains, the carpet and your car too.
    *Vinegar didn’t work in my daughter. Listerine did.

  10. Contain home based remedies, pesticide based shampoos and regarding the lice comb. The great news is that head lice do not survive for some time time once on the scalp. Right after they are dead you just comb them out in the hair. Lice Removal, 100 Church Street Decatur, GA 30031 (770)-645-4548

  11. I used the listerine overnight and when I shook it out over the bathtub the next day a ton came out. I rinsed and used conditioner and then combed out nits. They turned green in the conditioner.

    Before bed I put in this mixture and covered with a shower cap and towel:
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup coconut oil
    15 drops of tea tree oil

    I heard all of those help deter them. Going to comb out shampoo and rinse with apple cider vinegar-leave in for a couple of hours (helps to unglue nits) then comb out again. Listerine worked amazing for the live lice-hope the rest works for the nits!

    1. Haha little suckers! Glad that did the trick! Thanks much for the tip, fingers crossed those buggers steer clear from your house from now on!!

  12. Oms, my best friend has five brothers. They absolutely don’t care weather or not they have lice!! o I have Ben dealing with live for FOUR years!!! I jst find out I have it AGAIN. I need something tht works!!

  13. Im so absolutely obsessed with this whole process, I feel terrible everytime I look at our daughter I’m looking at her hair! Defitenely trying this tomorrow, I spent over $100 on products Im flipping my lid over this. I would like to hear from everyone who tried this if it worked?

      1. Hi- these critters plaque some people more than others, never thought I would get it at my age, but I did. Having two grand lovable daughters , they tend to sleep over some times. When I was small I remember my mom used raid and put a plastic cap for a couple of hours. Shampooed it off and repeated as often as possible. Today I use natural products. I have all the ingredients u mentioned above. I will try it. Hope it works,

        1. Darn it, Ellie! They are super annoying and SUCH a hassle for sure- our fingers are crossed this is the solution that gets rid of them for you!! 🙂 Good luck! XO

  14. It really is so nice to know that I am not alone in the battle with Lice! So embarrassing and disgusting.

  15. Thank you so much for this post!! I have been having such a hard time finding info online about lice treatments. I was wondering if you combed the hair with a nit comb as well?

    1. Good question, Charlene! I’ve never heard of that method?? All I know is lice is becoming immune to the boxes at the store so natural is the best way to go!

  16. Last year I got head lice and only one remedy helped me get rid of it. I shampooed my hair and then rinsed it. Then I rinsed it again with a mix of water and kitchen vinegar in equal proportions. This home remedy has bad odor, but it is really effective!

  17. We went round and round with the chemicals and then the home rememdies… finally hired a professional – yes, a professional – to come remove the lice from my daughter. Learned some great tips… #1 the bottles in the store have different main ingredients. If one brand doesn’t work, try another. This stuff only kills hatched lice – not the nits. Nothing on the market kills the nits. #2 the most “organic” way to kill them is heat. The professional used a type of hairdryer on small, small sections of hair – not hot enough to burn her scalp but hot enough to kill the adult lice #3 invest in a GOOD nit comb – not the plastic ones that come in the store kits. We now have a metal tooth comb that each tooth is actually a spiral #4 take the time to carefully comb through tiny sections of hair and use baking soda on the comb to help catch the nits. Comb each section multiple times in different directions (from under the hair, on top, on the side). Keep clean hair and “infested” hair separate on the head by using clips. It’s easier to clip it all up and start at the nape of the neck moving up to the top, then start over the ears working up to the center part. The combing is the most important in order to stop re-infestation.
    Hope those tips help!

  18. thanks a bunch for sharing this! we just found out today that my little sister has lice 🙁 the school didn’t even notify parents that 2 kids were checked and have them week before last! we were furious but they said it wasn’t policy. needless tosay my mom was mortified to find out. i’ve already shared this with hernand we’re gonna give it a try. the lie isn’t too bad yet thank god so hopefully we can get rid of them

  19. oh my, we’ve had it and i’ve thought about writing this post, but i just can’t bring myself to do it! the RIT stuff did not work, after several rounds and lots of tears, I bought an online book that said just this above. the listerine was temporary, too, but the tea tree was JUST the trick! literally, months of on again off again agony.

    1. Oh Kristen, sucky suckage huh?! Lice is the biggest annoyance ever! Luckily it’s not something that will kill you … just makes you want to go insane though! Glad the oil worked!! Hopefully that’s the last of it!

  20. Thanks for the information! I did a little experiment in a bowl with a louse from my son's hair – I put a drop of listerine on it, and it was knocked out after about 30 seconds. It stayed in this state for several hours – still, but alive. Then I put a drop of vinegar on it, and it suddenly awoke, sprinted like mad, and then keeled over dead after 5 seconds. It makes me wonder if you really need to bother with 2 hours of listerine, and 2 hours of vinegar, or whether 5 minutes of vinegar would be enough! This guy was d-e-a-d, dead.

  21. Thank you so much! I am phobic about lice. It makes it worse that we found out I am allergic to chemicals in the store kits. I have never had to rid us of lice, but I did use tea tree oil as a preventative 16 yr.s ago. I was a mental health counselor at a special 2 wk camp & we found lice. Saving this for hubbie's grandkids; they have gotten lice from school & a neigbor friend.

  22. This is GREAT! I am paranoid about my daughter getting lice and thankfully she hasn't got it yet. I don't let her brush or play with other kids hair or allow other kids to touch her hair. I remind her this almost everyday -but she is a kid! I heard about the tea tree oil but I love all the other stuff you suggested! Pinning it!

    1. Hopefully it doesn’t come back. Glad you established rules for her, I learned that too late!

  23. Thank you so much! I am in head lice he$$ right now! I have been combining the listerine/vinegar and treating for 2 hours. This insanity started on Thursday night and my daughter has massively thick hair down to her mid-back. Today, I found another 2 live lice on my son and I just want to bawl. I treated him the same way I did but will retreat Friday night and every five days for another couple weeks. I'm afraid to look at my daughters hair tonight.
    THANK YOU!!

  24. I never had lice as a kid and only remember them checking us in class…but it seems to be an epidemic now. We had it and it was just a pain in the behind. I used Cetaphil and the chemicals. I like this idea a lot (hopefully there wont be a next time, but ya never know!). I have tea tree oil in all the shampoo now (buy it in the ethnic hair care section – much cheaper than in the herb section) and in a herb mister thingy. UGH!

  25. We haven't had lice yet (crossing my fingers) but i am so glad you posted this. I will have to put tea tree in their shampoo bottles and start buying coconut conditioner. So sorry you had to deal with this so many times.

  26. THANK YOU! for posting this…2 of my girls got lice and it took me about 3 months to get rid of them…i tried everything…i will do this for sure

  27. Oh my gosh – lice FREAKS ME OUT!!! We have had none of it yet (knock on wood) but this is a good tool if that happens (knock on wood again – just for good measure )!!!

  28. nasty!
    I'm totally stashing this in my 'just in case' file! We got a note home from my son's school that someone had lice in his classroom, and I had keep-me-up-at-night nightmares about me getting it! SICK!
    thanks for the tips and tricks!

  29. Ugh! Getting lice is horrible! We are a foster family and never dealt with lice until we had foster kiddos 🙁 I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and it totally sucked! After getting it 3 times over the course of 2 months, we found that coconut oil worked best for us. I slathered it into their hair (comes in a jar solid, but melts in just the warmth of your hand) and covered with a shower cap overnight. Combed through the hair the next morning (nits slid out so much easier), rinsed their hair really well, but did not shampoo (just put hair in a ponytail), combed out for the next couple of days, then washed out the oil with shampoo. Now, that it is gone, we still use coconut oil every month or so as a scalp conditioner and lice prevention.

    All these things are good to have in your back pocket since the intructions on the lice shampoos you buy in stores are so not helpful!

  30. Blah that stinks u had to do this 2x sis 🙁 Lice is a nightmare. I have done it once and hope (&pray to here do it again!)

  31. I have not had to deal with lice yet…and with boys it sure has to be easier…but i have pinned this up just in case I ever do. Plus, you might as well just prevent things right?

  32. Ooh, wish I would have known this about 3 years ago! I just about lost my mind, I swear! I still have nightmares about it. I didn't know about the tea tree oil though…you'd think I would have since I grew up in Idaho Falls, in the Melaleuca capital of the U.S.! 😉 Thanks for the tips, gals!

  33. I hate the smell but like the effectiveness of tea tree oil. It works as a natural home remedy for a lot of things.

  34. Hi ladies,
    I read your remedy for Lice control and thought I would share mine with you. My daughter had lice for 6mths last year…what a nightmare that I care not to repeat. UGHH! She kept getting re infested by a child on her bus. Instead of all those products and steps I see you have tried…which believe me I tried everything too and on top of it I am a cosmetologist, which made this process more frustrating that I could not fix it!! UUGH! Finally I did though, I just used Tea Tree oil, from Walgreens, in the small concentrated brown bottle in the herb section of the pharmacy. I then mixed about 1/2 cup of olive oil and added about 1/4 (about 1 -1 1/1 tsp)of the small bottle of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is very strong smelling almost gasoline like. I then worked the olive oil /tea tree mix through my daughters hair. Cover with a cap for 30-40 min. Yes it stinks and it has a minty effect on their scalp., but try to leave it on as long as they can stand. Wash their hair a few times to remove the oil and comb to remove nits. Then 3 days later repeat but only put 4-5 drops of tea tree in olive oil. Wash, comb out any nits. If you still have a problem repeat every 3 days. I also added drops of tea tree to her shampoo. I also used a daily deterrent spray from the drug store too. This did the trick for us in only 2 applications!! Such a nightmare. Olive oil is a great conditioner too and actually leaves the hair in better condition. Good luck I hope this helps!
    [email protected]
    http://madeinaday.com

  35. Hi ladies,
    I read your remedy for Lice control and thought I would share mine with you. My daughter had lice for 6mths last year…what a nightmare that I care not to repeat. UGHH! She kept getting re infested by a child on her bus. Instead of all those products and steps I see you have tried…which believe me I tried everything too and on top of it I am a cosmetologist, which made this process more frustrating that I could not fix it!! UUGH! Finally I did though, I just used Tea Tree oil, from Walgreens, in the small concentrated brown bottle in the herb section of the pharmacy. I then mixed about 1/2 cup of olive oil and added about 1/4 (about 1 -1 1/1 tsp)of the small bottle of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is very strong smelling almost gasoline like. I then worked the olive oil /tea tree mix through my daughters hair. Cover with a cap for 30-40 min. Yes it stinks and it has a minty effect on their scalp., but try to leave it on as long as they can stand. Wash their hair a few times to remove the oil and comb to remove nits. Then 3 days later repeat but only put 4-5 drops of tea tree in olive oil. Wash, comb out any nits. If you still have a problem repeat every 3 days. I also added drops of tea tree to her shampoo. I also used a daily deterrent spray from the drug store too. This did the trick for us in only 2 applications!! Such a nightmare. Olive oil is a great conditioner too and actually leaves the hair in better condition. Good luck I hope this helps!
    [email protected]
    http://madeinaday.com

  36. Lol thank you so much! Bookmarking! We have four girls so I'm pretty sure the odds are against us.

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