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