Lice: 9 basic steps

to get rid of head lice

If you have head lice, you know it. If the kids have head lice…they are probably itching behind their ears or nape of the neck. The time to get rid of these aggravating tiny insects is today.

What to do.

A head louse and nits (eggs) attached to hairs


  • Know what they are (a tiny wingless insect that eat very small amounts of blood) and their eggs (called nits) look like
  • Look in the kid’s hair regularly at bath time
  • Understanding their time life cycle of about 22 days from egg to adult
  • Recognize the signs they are likely in your or their hair. Scratching behind the ears and nape of the neck.

2. REALLY TRY TO PREVENT THEM: Teach kids the importance of not sharing hats, clothes, scarfs, head bands, towels, and other personal items. And that head to head contact is how they spread.

3. COMB THEM OUT: Use a very fine tooth comb to get the lice and nits out. Because they are actually glued to your hair, they don’t comb out easily. Buy a comb designed for this very purpose and even a kit for total lice removal locally at a drug store. There is an electronic comb available as well. Boil all brushes or combs to eliminate them from the reintroducing them.

4. SHAMPOO THE LICE AWAY: The old-time remedies are not very effective…cooking oil, mayonnaise, vinegar, Petroleum jelly, and regular soaps.

Instead, shampoo your hair with insecticidal soap, or soap that is commercially available for that purpose, either as a separate product or within a kit. In most cases, you let it work its magic for 10 minutes and then rinse it out.

Repeat this process 10 days later to remove the adults that were eggs when you did the earlier treatment. It is extremely important to follow the directions exactly.

5. VACUUM THE LICE AWAY: Sucking up lice and eggs  from your rugs and other surfaces will help prevent reintroduction..

6. WASH THEM AWAY: Washing clothes, towels, hats, and personal items will kill them if the water is hot enough and if they don’t die, they will be swimming in your drainpipes instead of migrating back to your head. Those that are alive when the clothes reach the dryer will be killed at 140 degrees.

7. CUT YOUR HAIR: The shorter your head hair the less likely you are to re-acquire them. Bald is not necessary, but bald does remove their ability to call you home. A shorter hair style should be considered.

8. SPRAY THE LICE: Apply a commercial killing spray on  mattresses, pillows, furniture, etc to rid those surfaces of them. These sprays are available from a local store.

9. SMOTHER THE LICE: Toys, stuffed animals, and other similar things can be sealed in a plastic bag and reopened in 4 weeks. Or if they fit in the freezer, that kills them as well.