I have head lice.

I tried:

  1. Pour vinegar on my head
  2. Spread mayonnaise to suffocate the lice
  3. Put on a tightly sealed shower cap

It didn't work. Are there any better ways to get rid of lice?

What are they afraid of?

Light? Dark? Wet? Dry? Hot? Cold?

  • 6
    Have you tried any of the over the counter treatments available at your local pharmacy? Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 21:21
  • 1
    Empirically - we tried Rid, didn't work. Listerine (the brown stuff, and supposedly name brand) worked great. Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 13:38
  • 1
    Not to sound like a troll; how about simply cutting off all hair and shaving your head?
    – Uwe Keim
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 14:06
  • 1
    I've never tried it but there's actually a vacuum cleaner attachment to suck lice out of the hair licesuk.com.au/index.html Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 22:58
  • 2
    @UweKeim Sorry, you kind of do sound like a troll. Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 15:55

7 Answers 7


Over the counter treatments are the only way to go here. Go to your local drug store and get them. Before over the counter things were available the most common treatment was to shave the affected area.

Also you need to do some heavy duty spring cleaning or you risk the lice easily coming back. You need to wash all your clothes, and all your bedding, preferable in hot water. Lice can live in your clothes and in your bedding for awhile and if not removed will migrate back to your head. This is true for all types of lice on all parts of your body.

  • 4
    A lice (nit) comb is a necessity. Even after using powerful (and dangerous) insecticides such as gamma hexachlorobenzene, nits (eggs adhered to hair) may remain viable. The comb is a safe, effective way to remove them. Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 22:39
  • 3
    You absolutely do not need to do this spring cleaning. Lice don't survive off the head. They do not live in your clothes and bedding. That is not a viable survival mechanism for them, so they simply don't do it.
    – stone
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 7:59
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    "Head lice very rarely fall from the head. They require blood to survive. Head lice feed three to four times a day and without blood, will dehydrate in six hours in a dry climate and 24 hours in a humid climate. An egg requires warmth to hatch and is the reason why they are laid close to the scalp. The further away from the scalp, the less likely they are to survive." health.vic.gov.au/headlice/faq.htm Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 22:57

My daughter got lice several times in elementary school. After a ton of research we settled on this clinically proven, nontoxic (though labor-intensive) treatment involving only Cetaphil cleanser, a comb and a hair dryer:


There is a lot of misinformation out there on the 'net (such as in some of the other answers here!) and even in the information packets handed out by schools and doctors. Here's a small list of the most critical pieces of information we learned:

  1. No matter what treatment you used, you must perform it twice: Once to kill the existing adult lice, and again exactly 7 days later to kill the newly hatched juvenile lice. It takes a louse 10 days to become sexually mature, so no new nits will have been laid after the first treatment. Nuvo treatment recommends a third time to kill any lice that may have hatched after the second treatment.
  2. You do not need to "treat the home!" This is the most stress-inducing inaccuracy out there. Lice can't survive off of the human head, so they choose to stay on the head, and they're quite good at it! So you will not get lice from a carpet, a stuffed animal, a blanket etc. Don't bag up all your stuff or wash it at high heat. Complete waste of time and worry. Caveat: Sometimes juvenile lice ("instars") will attach to combs/brushes, or fall onto a pillowcase. So wash these items after each treatment (before going to bed or using them).
  3. You don't need to "kill the eggs" or remove all the nits. No treatment out there successfully kills all the nits. They all work by disrupting the life cycle. So attempting to remove the nits is a huge waste of time, and is stressful and unlikely to be successful.

The issue we had with effective anti-lice treatments of our kid's heads was that their contents are either highly toxic (Lindane) or highly allergenic (Pyrethroid) if tested and approved as a medical product. In addition more and more lice are becoming resistant to these drugs.

Other non-pharmaceutical remedies were not proven to be efficient, at least they were not tested in large studies as needed for official approvements as a drug.

Nevertheless we succeeded to entirely get rid of lice several times by using a shampoo preparation available from our local drug store containing a mix of coconut oil and the silicone oil dimeticone.

We had to follow the instructions closely, i.e. two applications of the shampoo each followed by 30 minutes tight enclosure of the shampooed hair in a plastic shower cap before rinsing. This had to be repeated after a week to also get rid of new lice that may have hatched from remnant vital nits.

We used a similar preparation for washing the bed linens and clothes too in order to also get rid of lice or nits there (but this was only for us to feel comfortable, we did not see any nits or lice outside the heads of our kids).

The containing oils are supposed to suffocate both, the insects, and their nits.

The shampoo will not remove the dead nits still tightly attached to the hair. We could impossibly comb the long curly hair of our girl using a nit-comb, it hurt too much. In addition how long we tried to remove nits with the comb they would still remain attached to the hair in large numbers. But still, after the shampoo treatments had been repeated after a week the remaining nits obviously were dead as we did not observe any further vital lice and the dead nits disappeared gradually over some weeks.


Best thing I found when my daughter was small was an electronic comb. Far more pleasant than putting poison on her head and because it is used with dry hair it works with kids who hate having their hair washed. I read that experts say these are no more effective than a plain nit comb but that wasn't our experience. It may be just the fact it makes a noise when zapping a louse but in this situation every little helps.


Ah yes. My family has had to deal with this quite a few times over the last few years. The first step is to thoroughly soak your head in rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol). Now, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap - you may need someone to help you. Keep your head wrapped for about an hour. Rinse your hair thoroughly and then comb - to the scalp - with a nit comb or any other extremely fine-toothed comb.

You may want to treat again once or twice a week for two weeks just to be sure that you have them out (see Life Cycle of a Louse). Also, wash your hair frequently and use slippery/greasy conditioner to help the nits, eggs and adult lice to slide off of your hair.

Here is a link to several other natural remedies (some of which you mentioned you've already tried) as well as how to get the bugs out of furniture.


I have tried everything as well, and these lice are difficult to remove. My friend suggested me to use nitty gritty comb. Google it, and you wouldn't regret it.

  • 2
    Could you explaun what is "nitty gritty comb" and how to use it. Answers which include "google it" without explanation of the hack often look low quality and can be downvoted by other users. It will be good if you can edit your answer to improve it.
    – vladiz
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 17:51
  • @vladiz hey the official nitty gritty website could explain better than me besides i was just sharing my personal experience with the thing ..
    – Umar
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 13:01

I have successfully removed the lice with Nix.
I bought it at a local drugstore.

Here's how you use it:
1. Use shampoo.
2. Dry your hair.
3. Spread half a bottle to one bottle of Nix on your head.
4. Wait 10 minutes.
5. Wash it off.
6. Use the comb it comes with and try to scratch off the lice left.
7. If it didn't work, try it again in a week.

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