Head lice, these blood-sucking insects, are any parent’s nightmare. There is no wonder since most often it is the kids from 3 to 12 years old who suffer from them the most. Adults shouldn’t relax either, though as these insects can crawl on their heads too and there they can breed and start such a mess that you’ll have to spend several weeks removing the lice. Here you’ll learn how to kill head lice: 10 rules of effective lice treatment, a 5-Step Strategy for treating head lice and nits, a review of the best lice shampoos and combs, and how to kill lice on clothes, hats, bed sheets and pillows.
We have prepared a very detailed and complete guide to treating lice. They are malicious, so please do read the entire article as every step and every detail is crucial when it comes to eliminating lice. In order to provide you with authentic information, we have consulted a friend of ours (who is an MD) and have studied the opinions of scientists and doctors. Let’s point out the main ideas first.
Table of Contents:
You should know that eliminating lice and nits (their eggs) are two tasks of different complexity. Lice are vulnerable while the eggs are protected from any external effects. Permethrin, for example, which is a renowned and proven insecticide, kills the lice. A nit, however, can even survive being immersed in a permethrin solution.
In this connection, there are two methods of getting rid of nits:
A clever lice prevention strategy is the best way to save money and effort spent on eliminating these pests. If you encounter them nevertheless, don’t be devastated. We’ll give a detailed description of the 5-step Guide to treating lice and nits.
There is only one way to solve all these problems, and that is a clever and gradual elimination of lice. There are different ways to kill them, but some of the recommendations given are common for all of the pediculosis victims. Here’s what the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise to them:
So, how to get rid of nits and lice? Scientists can’t come to a consensus when it comes to choosing the best way to treat head lice. Some of them recommend immediate application of lice medicine, which also called pediculicide, while others believe that mechanical removal is the preferred way to detect and treat head lice because it is effective, does not contribute to insecticide resistance in head lice and also presents a lower risk of skin irritation.
It is up to you to decide whether to use pediculicides or not, and we’ll outline 5 most important steps when eliminating lice for you. The removal strategy will not be the same for adults and kids.
Let’s first take a look at adult head lice removal process.
Shaving a child will be most effective. If this is not possible, the only safe strategy is to wash the hair meticulously with hot water (the lice are sensitive to high temperatures) and then you should comb. In order to facilitate the gliding of the comb through the hair, add some hair conditioner or oil (for example, olive or tea tree oil for lice). The process will take a long time, 2-3 weeks at least.
It is also important to disinfect clothes, bed sheets, and stuffed toys fully. Use tea tree oil if there are any scratches or small wounds on your kid’s skin as this oil will both disinfect them and help with the itching. If a kid has deep scratches or obvious allergies, make sure you consult a doctor.
NEVER use methylated spirits or kerosene on your child’s head! I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this….But your child’s safety is of the utmost importance!
Don’t be astonished that we’ve only picked two”best” products. Surprisingly, among the many lice control products found, there are only two worthy and proven options that are approved by both doctors and the FDA and that really work. They are NIX and RID. Therefore, we will tell you about them. Let us warn you that there is one product that is very popular, but is homeopathic. As we have mentioned above, according to the scientists, homeopathy does not work against lice.
This Nix set contains a special permetrin 1%-based cream rinse. This pediculicide is also approved by the FDA for the treatment of head lice hence the Nix products are recommended even by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moreover, permethrin is considered to be gentler than pyrethrin that is why you can use a permethrin cream rinse even for treatment of children from 2 months of age and older. For convenience the set contains not only the 2 pediculicide bottles but also 2 nit combs which are especially important if you want to simultaneously treat two patients. Conveniently, all of this can be bought for only ~ Check the current price
FYI: the manufacturer claims that Nix products will kill both adult lice and eggs. We’ve already explained that nits cannot be killed with pediculicides, they can only be combed – hence the comb supplied. Don’t blindly rely on a single product. Lice treatment must consist of two parts: cream rinse head treatment and combing!
One of truly effective products which can be used for kids over 2 years old is the RID Complete Lice Elimination 3 Item Kit for ~$14.79 manufactured by the world famous pharmaceutical giant Bayer. It is made in the USA. Its active ingredient, Pyrethrins (naturally occurring pyrethroid extracts from the chrysanthemum flower) was approved by the FDA.
This is a kit containing 4 items aimed to remove the lice. The system is complex.
Step 1 is lice killing shampoo treatment (the active ingredient is Pyrethrum extract);
Step 2 is using gel which is to be applied when combing for facilitating the process;
Step 3 is using the home lice control spray (its active ingredient is 0.5% Permethrin).
The manufacturer, in this way, first suggests that you wash your kid’s hair with a special pediculicidal shampoo; then use the gel for combing the lice and nits out of their hair. Since the parasites attack not only humans but also their accommodation, the kit also contains spray for treating the furniture, mattresses, pillows and other household objects which aren’t supposed to be washed in the washing machine (remember to treat you car salon as well).
Since getting rid of nits is a lengthy process, prepare to spend a few hours combing them out of the kid’s hair. Price: ~ Check the current price
The label states that it contains natural ingredients: sodium chloride, benzyl alcohol, and water. What alarmed us is the inscription that this is a homeopathic drug. As we’ve mentioned above, the scientists confirm that homeopathy cannot kill lice.
It’s crucial to pick a great comb. Regular ones for daily hair styling certainly won’t do here, as their teeth are too wide apart. The density of teeth of the lice comb should be extreme as in “No Gap Comb”. This will cause lots of difficulties for the parents of kids with curly hair.
You can’t do without a comb when treating pediculosis. Not only does it remove the nits stuck to the hair, but it also helps to check whether they’re alive or dead insects in the patient’s hair during treatment.
Nit combs are essential in the removal and treatment of lice. This comb is a best seller in the Lice Combs category and is well like by it’s users.
This is quite a large item here before us; its dimensions are 3×4 inches. It is made of stainless steel and the teeth are micro-corrugated so that the nits which are firmly attached to the hair are hitched up better. There are also corrugations on the handle. This is made to prevent the comb from sliding out of your hands when dealing very thick hair. Nit Free Terminator is durable enough for the manufacturers to issue a lifetime warranty for it. Its country of origin is the USA.
The buyers of this product note that it is more advantageous than many of its rivals. According to them, the micro-canals which are located on the teeth can really grip on more nits. In addition, the Terminator works fine for thin and fragile hair as well. Not every comb can do that! We weren’t able to find any complaints concerning the breakage of the comb, but we were able to find a few pieces of advice instead. The customers recommend using it on wet hair. Over 90% of the consumers consider the Terminator useful.
Unlike other classic combs, this one is available in sets of 2, 6, 10, 12, 24 and even 100 units for mass lice treatment.
Price: from Check the current price
Electronic lice combs are ambiguous gadgets. On the one hand, they facilitate nit removal and safeguard others against as the found eggs are not touched or shaken on the fabric due to the fact that some models of these devices work like vacuum cleaners and thus all lice eggs are collected in a container inside the device, which is then easily possible to flush down the toilet.
It is a combination of a hair brush and a mini vacuum cleaner. It is the most gentle and soft hackle because its metal teeth ends are rounded. When you comb the hair, vacuum sucking in its handle starts to work and all of the lice and nits gripped are transported into disposable soft bags. The rating of the product is medium.
Price: ~Check the current price
The customers appreciate Fairy Tales Repel Conditioning Spray, Rosemary, 8 Fluid Ounce. It is the most popular spray, and it comes in a convenient 8 oz. bottle. However, it can only be used as a preventive (!) spray against head lice.
By the way, it also contains B-5 vitamin and aloe vera, which means it softens and strengthens the hair, which is a nice perk. Spray it a few times over your kid’s hair before sending them to school.
Price: ~ Check the current price
Use products like the one below in order to disinfect the bed sheets, pillows, hats and other belongings of an infected person.
This product kills the pests on contact and serves as a repellent. It contains the most brutal mixture of sodium sulfate and sodium chloride, peppermint oil, and potassium sorbate. The idea is obvious: the chemicals kill the insects, and the peppermint odor repels them later on.
In the comments section, the customers describe their experiments of killing the insects. They would take a parasite, spray it… and watch it die within 12 seconds. That’s why the effectiveness of the killing on contact is unquestionable.
Price: ~ Check the current price
| NIX Permethrin Lice Treatment Family Pack 2×2 ||Elimination kit.||Permethrin.||Check Current Price|
|RID Complete Lice Elimination 3 Item Kit ||Elimination kit .||Pyrethrum extract.||Check Current Price|
| Licefreee Spray ||Elimination kit.||Sodium chloride, benzyl alcohol, and water. This homeopathic product is not effective.||Check Current Price|
|Nit Free Terminator ||Metal.||–||Check Current Price|
|V-Comb ||Electronic.||–||Check Current Price|
| LiceGuard ||Electronic.||It’s not effective.||Check Current Price|
|Fairy Tales Repel Conditioning Spray, Rosemary ||Preventive spray.||Rosemary, citronella, tea tree, mint, and sage and lemongrass oils. ||Check Current Price|
|Liceadex-eX Home & Bedding Spray ||Home & bedding spray.||Sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, peppermint oil, and potassium sorbate. ||Check Current Price|
As we’ve mentioned before, permethrin and pyrethrin-containing pediculicides are the most effective treatment methods. Natural treatment shows weaker results, if any. Bio-enzyme shampoos, homeopathic treatment and oil-based products (tea tree, olive, coconut, eucalyptus oils etc) are considered to be natural remedies.
Certain scientists believe that the oils are completely useless for killing lice and can only repel them. Others argue that the oils can kill, but this will require as much as 3 washings of the hair with an oil-based shampoo every 4 days, that is, you will have to wait for about 2 weeks until recovery.
Are you ready to watch your kid itching for an entire 2 weeks? If your child is allergic to it? Is it worth a try? We believe you’d better treat the hair with proven Rid or Nix pediculicides (in accordance with the manuals) which guarantee recovery rather than suffer for 2 or more weeks without any reassurance.
Remember, using home remedies is the worst idea. It is the parents who seek to save on their children’s treatment and thus google treatment, who resort to this. Not only such remedies are ineffective, they are also highly dangerous!
Kerosene, gasoline, vinegar, mayonnaise, petroleum jelly, alcohol, etc are undesirable or even dangerous (gasoline and kerosene) treatments. In some cases such methods may be deadly. The University of Utah Health Care staff reminisces of a terrible case when the parents of a 1 year old baby who got infected with lice decided to use mayonnaise as treatment. They smeared the baby’s head with it, put a plastic shopping bag over it and left for a few hours. The bag slipped onto a baby’s face and the poor being suffocated.
The doctors are against using home remedies: The only safe and effective way to treat head lice is by using an over-the-counter or prescription medication,”says Ellie Brownstein, M.D., a pediatrician at University of Utah’s Greenwood Health Center. “Home remedies to treat lice, including the use of mayonnaise, vinegar or petroleum jelly in the hair and covering with a shower cap for several hours or days, do not work”, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Also read: The Scientists’ Opinions on Whether the Tea Tree Oil Kill Lice
I can’t tell you anything about shampoos, but I know for sure that nit free terminator is the best lice comb. I’ve never used it personally, but my acquaintances have and they are extremely content with it.
Please let me know whether a rid shampoo will help me remove all the lice.
Buy this Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb. It will perfectly deal with the problem. My nephew used to have lice and he used this comb so I recommend it to use based on my family’s personal experience.
I have encountered this problem relatively recently. These parasites were found on my daughter, and my wife and I are clueless as to what to do next. How to remove lice ASAP?
Try lice combs, they are helpful enough, but they won’t let you get rid of lice ultra-fast. You can also use a special shampoo.
Guys, what is the best lice shampoo, what do you think? Thank you!
Has anyone ever heard of an electric lice comb? I used a regular one to comb my son’s hair and have never heard of an electric one.
I used a headlice shampoo; it is so awesome and helped me get rid of them very quickly. Maybe it is a good thing that I bought it immediately instead of experimenting with other treatments.
And how to kill lice? Everyone recommends combing them and what should I use to kill them? Thanks.
How does a lice comb affect the insects? As far as I understand, it doesn’t kill them; it only helps comb them out, doesn’t it?
That’s right. It should be used along with a lice shampoo to achieve dual effect as all lice on different life stages will be removed.