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How We Conquered Lice

How our family conquered head lice

Can you believe I lasted 19+ years of parenting without dealing with head lice?

Well, now that streak is a thing of the past.

I just spent a solid 5 days researching, slathering, rinsing, combing, and picking. And then doing all of that over again. To my seven long-haired daughters.



So, I thought I would share with you what I learned during that experience. These things are just what I did. They were not prescribed by a doctor.

1. I bought 1 gallon of mayonnaise, and plenty of tea tree oil.

2. I mixed about 1 tsp. of tea tree oil per cup of mayo and thoroughly slathered every head, even those of us who did not show signs of lice. This was supposed to suffocate the live bugs.

getting rid of lice2

(Identities have been blocked to protect the embarrassed.)

3. I wrapped every head in a plastic bag and we all stayed this way for at least 4 hours.

4. During this time I started washing all bed linens and pillows, and I bagged up all stuffed animals and put them in the garage.

5. I rinsed all the heads with vinegar and saw plenty of bugs washed down the drain.

6. Next, I had everyone dunk their heads in a bowl of Listerine, and we put the wrap back on. This was to kill the nits.

7. We waited another 4 hours and continued to wash bed linens.

8. Then, I blow dried everyone's hair, particularly the roots, on the hot setting. This is supposed to dehydrate any nits so they will not survive.

Lice free Spray

9. I saturated everyone's hair with Licefreee Spray, and I combed and combed and combed with the nit comb that came in that package. (The combing must be done by starting at the scalp and running the comb all the way to the end of each section of hair.)

10. I tried boiling all brushes, but that just warped them, so I ended up throwing them away and buying all new. I sprayed these with tea tree oil, which is supposed to repel lice.

11. I added about 1 tsp. of tea tree oil to all of our shampoo, and to our homemade "no more tangles" spray.

12. The next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, I saturated each head with conditioner, and I combed and combed and combed. The conditioner makes the combing easier and traps any live bugs left, making it harder for them to crawl away.

13. Each morning, I put everyone's pillow in the dryer on the hottest setting for 30 minutes. This kills any live bugs.

14. I repeated step 9, above, several times a day for several days even after I was seeing no nits.

We have now been lice free for over 2 weeks, but I am still checking and combing through hair with the lice comb periodically just to be sure.

I can't say whether one single treatment above is what got rid of the lice, or if it was everything combined. I didn't want to take chances on one method not working, so I just employed every method I had read about. I suspect that combing with a fine toothed nit comb 3 times a day to remove every last nit was key.

What are your best tips for conquering lice?

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  1. I have lived through a lice infestation, too. It is not something you ever forget! I wish I knew about all of the non-toxic remedies back then!
    Glad you all made it through – it is not for the faint of heart!

  2. Did their hair have any adverse side effects from the Listerine or vinegar?

  3. Michelle Nettles says:

    I wonder if Diatomaceous Earth would work on lice……

    • It does, but it’s a slower process. Coconut oil is FABULOUS and immediate. It’s amazing how that works so much better than mayo or olive oil. I’m sure there is a scientific reason I haven’t bothered to learn. 😉

  4. This brings back memories. We found lice on one of our nine children once a long time ago. I didn’t know about natural remedies back then so we had the prescription for the girls and I. No one else had any nits. The thought of washing a trillion loads of laundry was unthinkable, we bagged everything in her room except the sheets and one week’s worth of clothing which we washed as directed. The bags went into the basement for over a month. Yes, we took a chance, but it worked. We must have caught it right before it went viral.

    Diatomaceous Earth sounds like it might work. It would be interesting to find out.

  5. A good preventative is also Rosemary essential oil. I used to put a few drops in some vinegar-water as a final rinse. Bugs don’t like rosemary.

  6. I used plain olive oil. First I saturated the hair with it, then I combed the hair with the nit comb. Finally, I washed the hair with regular shampoo several times. Lice are no fun! I used a similar lice spray on the couches and things that couldn’t be washed. I even broke our washing machine with all the bulky bedding items I washed every day or two (it was on it’s last leg anyway).

  7. We have gone through this no less than 3 TIMES with our special needs daughter in the last 5 months. I know there must be someone at school who is not treating their lice and she keeps getting them again. Poor thing, the constant treatments & combing :( We even had to skip a party this weekend because of them. I feel your pain!!

    • Use a daily treatment to repel the lice. Add tea tree oil to shampoo or leave in conditioner or detangler.

  8. Many years ago I also had a long-haired daughter and could not get rid of lice with the over the counter products. Then we found the Robi Comb, a battery operated lice comb that zaps the bugs and nits as you comb through the hair. GENIUS!!

  9. It was the conditioner and combing that worked. Trust me. I’ve lived this tale twice and found that was the ONLY way that worked. Keep doing the tea tree oil in their shampoo forever as it naturally repels lice. I made that mistake after our first round. Tea tree oil forever!

  10. michelle says:

    Oh you poor lady! Clearlice is the best thing I have found and it really does get rid of lice in 24 hrs!

  11. Katena D says:

    I am the mom of 6 boys and luckily we have never dealt with lice. I have three boys that have curly hair and we use tea oil as a preventive maintance. I could not imagine having to deal with that. Glad you made it thru.

  12. just wondering….did you rinse the hair with water during each step and if not did you wait a certain period of time before washing?

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      We left the solutions on 4+ hours and rinsed the mayo and conditioner, but left the vinegar and Listerine on.


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