Monday, February 7, 2011

Managing Head Lice

I was planning on blogging about our homeschooling lessons for the week and homeschooling cheap/free in general today, but one of my Facebook friends, who shall remain nameless unless she comments on here and says I'm talking about her, posted that her daughter's school called and said that she has head lice, so I'm going to post about that instead.

I have some experience with this subject, since a couple years ago, my oldest son brought our family head lice over Christmas break.  I was pregnant with my youngest baby at the time, so I couldn't run out and get the expensive lice treatments, since they are highly toxic.  Instead, I tried a natural remedy and was able to get rid of them from our house before my son's dad got them gone from his, using practically every treatment on the market without success!

Step 1.  Use a lice comb (sterilized between people) to find out who in the house has been infected.  Check everyone, so no one can reinfect anyone after the treatment is done.

Step 2.  Saturate all infected people's hair with real mayonnaise.  Don't used Miracle Whip or reduced fat mayonnaise, since the fat is the active ingredient in this remedy.  Once the hair is saturated, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.  I recommend securing the plastic wrap in place with a knit stocking cap, so it doesn't go anywhere until you are ready for it to.

Step 3.  Wash everything in the house that can be washed in the washing machine and dry it in the dryer.  If something isn't washable, but is okay to put in the dryer, just do that, but make sure the dryer runs at least 45 minutes to kill any lice or nits in it.  When I say everything, that includes any dirty laundry lying around, bedding, pillows, throw pillows, stuffed animals, etc.  Leave no fabric that has been out near the infected people unwashed, or you could be leaving your family open to reinfection.  Any fabric surface that can't be treated like this, put a towel or thick blanket on it, to create a barrier between you and any lice it may be harboring, for at least 3 days, so any lice on there will starve (the nits can't survive being that cool that long, so don't worry about nits on these surfaces).

Step 4.  Once the last load is in the washing machine, a process that should take 6-8 hours, depending on how many pillows and such your family uses, you can wash the mayonnaise out.  It will likely take a few shampooings to come out completely, but that's okay since it is essentially deep conditioning your hair while you do all this!

Step 5.  Rinse the hair thoroughly with white vinegar.  My son's dad found this to be the most effective thing he did in trying to get rid of the lice at their house.  This step helps dislodge any nits still stuck in the hair.  The vinegar will feel very cold if you don't warm it up!  If you do decide to warm it up, be careful not to overheat, since you don't want to burn the scalp.

Step 6.  Comb through the hair with a lice comb to get all the nits out.  This should be done daily for at least 3-4 days to make sure you get them all.  Take care to get them all, or you'll have to do the whole process again.

Step 7 (optional).  Add some tea tree oil to the family's shampoo to help discourage future outbreaks.  Lice hate the stuff!

(Legal disclaimer:  These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. See a licensed authorized alternative medicine physician if needed.)


  1. Yup, yup and yup. We use olive oil instead of mayo, but the rest is all right on. Works like a charm.

    One final tip is don't miss the fabric seats in your CAR. Our last louse session rebounded on us because I didn't vacuum and cover the back seat. Doh!

    Great post, Chris. :)

  2. Yeah, olive oil definitely works too, but mayonnaise is cheaper! Of course, if you have olive oil on hand, but not mayonnaise (or maybe olive oil about to go rancid?) that might be a good option to get it going quicker?

    Good reminder about the car as well. I doubt lice would fare too well this time of year outside anyway, but better to be safe than reinfected!

  3. Great info I've only encountered lice at the daycares I've worked for in the past. The commercial products are definitely unreliable and very expensive.

  4. We didn't bother with the mayo and went straight to the tea tree oil. My hair was waist length and THICK and the conventional treatments didn't work, so finally a doctor said I had to shave my head. (No.) We put two ounces of tea tree oil into a shampoo, and washed my hair twice a day. Two weeks later, the nits were dead, the lice were dead, everything was dead. And even if we missed a piece, it was still -dead-. I even went to a friend's birthday afterwords, and a few days after the party the mothers were calling because everyone had lice... except me.

  5. Well ... it isn't natural . . . .but I have gone around with this at my house. I doused the head with a bottle of minty-blue original formula Listerine and put on the shower cap for about 45 minutes. EVERYTHING WAS DEAD!!! :) I shampooed as usual and rinsed w/ a vinegar rinse to get rid of nits and then combed with a clean metal flea comb. We did have to repeat treat in 5 days but it was a breeze! I was very pleased with the effectiveness.


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