How To Get Rid of Head Lice – Fast!

Safely and Effectively Kill Head Lice!

Oh head lice, hearing just the words make my head itch and my skin crawl!  What parent doesn’t dread the walk of shame into the pharmacy to get the treatment?  Can we please just get this straight, if your child catches head lice, it does not mean they don’t have good hygiene or that you are a bad mom!  In fact, it probably means just the opposite because lice can attach easier to clean hair and children catch it from other children.  It probably means that your child is a friendly child with good hygiene habits.  So no more shame mom!  You have been doing a good job and you’ve got this challenge too!

So do you have a lice problem? No worries. You can get rid of it. Start with your child and them be sure to clean up bedding, furniture and clothing. You do not want those nasty suckers coming back, so prevention will be key.

Here’s how to get rid of those nasty bugs & itchy head:


Directions For Treating Your Child’s Head:

  1. Douse your child’s hair in the Listerine until it is completely saturated and then put on the shower cap so that the cap forms a tight seal.  Keep this on for at least an hour. You can let your kids watch a movie with their caps on and then removed it when the movie is over.  They will be dead lice all over the inside of the bag!  Yuck but YAY!
  2. Rinse your child’s head and then apply white vinegar to your child’s entire scalp.  Put the shower cap back on and make sure the seal is tight.  (You probably want to rinse the cap first to get the dead bugs off.  Did I mention yuck?)  Again let this stay for at least an hour.
  3. Use a “lice remover comb” to comb through the hair.   If you don’t have a comb and don’t have time to order one, then use tweezers. Start at the top of the scalp & work your way down.   Keep a towel handy, you’ll need it to wipe off the comb often.  Go through all parts of the hair at least 3 times or until you can comb through without getting any bugs or eggs.
  4. Shampoo hair as normal, I like the clarifying shampoo because it helps to get everything off the hair but any shampoo will do.
  5. Add  a 1 to 4 ratio of mouthwash to water to a spray bottle and spray your child’s hair every morning for 2 weeks.  Use the lice comb to comb through your child’s hair every night for 2 weeks.  This is the most important step because the bugs can come back if you don’t continue to treat for 2 weeks.  


Treating  Linens Exposed to Lice:

Bag all the bedding, dirty laundry, stuffed animals, and washable items that your child has come in contact with in the last 48 hours.  Wash everything it hot water.  Things that can not be washed (like pillows and stuffed animals) leave in a tightly closed garbage bag for 1 week then put in dryer on hot for 50 minutes.

Treating Furniture Exposed to Lice:

Fill a spray bottle with watered down Listerine. Spray couches, mattresses, and even the seats in your car! This kills any live lice. Also spray down bed frames, bathrooms, and vacuum all the carpets.

Tips for Preventing Head Lice:

Here are some ideas to help prevent head lice as well as prevent a recurring episode of head lice.

  • My favorite ingredient is one that you’d have to email me about!  Email me at seekingwellness {at} fabulesslyfrugal {dot} com or text me at 208-907-OILS and I would be happy to send you the info you need to know to get a discount on a natural solution.
  • You can also use a tea tree shampoo, this will deter the lice from your child’s head.
  • Put watered down Listerine in a spray bottle and lightly mist your child’s hair before they leave for school.
  • Tell your child to keep jackets and coats inside of their backpacks rather than hang them on the hooks.
  • Make sure jackets, coats, and hats, don’t end up on the classroom floor or outside on the playground.
  • Don’t share hats or headbands, bows, hair accessories.
  • Remind your children to not have head-to-head contact with other children.
  • If your child’s classroom has a bring your pillow (or stuffed animals) to school day, Spray the pillow or stuffed animal with the Listerine mix before they leave.
  • If your child’s school has a lice infestation it’s a good idea to check their hair EVERYDAY for lice. If they do get it, the sooner you find it, the better.
  • Checking your child’s hair with a Lice & Nit Comb will help you find/remove nits easier.
  • Keeping your child’s hair up, such as a pony tail, bun, or even a braid will help reduce the chances of them getting it.

Getting rid of lice is a LOT of work, but it’s worth doing it right the first time. It’s always recommended to follow up with a second treatment 9 days later. The eggs can hatch during that time & one lice can lay up to 300 eggs in 6 days. So make sure you deal with it fully so you can get on with your life, bug free.

You may also like our homemade cleaning recipes.



  • Stephanie

    Some of this information is wrong. I used to work at a lice salon where I combed bugs out of people’s hair daily. Your best bet is to get a GOOD lice comb and olive oil and comb comb comb comb comb. Make sure you check ALL family members.

    Here’s a link to the comb that most lice salons use. It’s worth the money. Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb, Professional Stainless Steel Louse and Nit Comb for Head Lice Treatment, Removes Nits

    • Kim

      Sorry, but I strongly disagree with your reply. One of my daughters had lice for over 4 months; we tired EVERYTHING. We used the vinegar/coconut oil treatment twice and now she is lice free!!
      Maybe it just depends; some things work for some and some things work for others it seems.

  • Leslie

    The National Pediculosis association ( makes an excellent lice comb, available on the website, and I’ve seen it at CVS and Walgreens. The best way to make sure you get all the lice and eggs after the initial treatment is buy the cheapest, biggest bottle of hair conditioner you can find, and every day work a good amount into the hair-it paralyzes the lice, and comb through with the comb. Its also a lot easier to comb with the conditioner in the hair. Do that every day until you go 2 weeks without seeing any lice, then every 3 or 4 days for a couple of weeks, just to make sure you get them all. Also, soak all combs and brushes in a glass of rubbing alcohol to make sure you kill any hangers on.

  • donita

    i have gone thru this so many times that i feel like i should own stock in lice shampoo. natural, prescription and over the counter.BUT i found out that there is an electronic lice comb at walgreens, cost is about $30 AND IT WORKS!!!!! i bought one 4 months ago when my daughter again came home with it and i did her hair, mine, and the other kids she is around daily for 1 week. and i didn’t spend a fortune on shampoos or have to put chemicals on them. the nurse at school even went and bought one for the school to help control the outbreaks. good luck

  • how to get rid of lice

    I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re amazing!

    • Ang

      Nope not him, but I feel your pain! With 10 kids we have gone through our share! This is a tried & true cure! Welcome to our site!

  • Angel

    Thanks for the tips. We have been dealing with our lice issue with my stepdaughter for 6 years now. We only get her on the weekends and its so frustrating for us and her because we treat it and she walks around with a shower cap to prevent her from passing it onto our other 3 kids. We have done everything we can but its reallt upsetting that her mom has not gotten rid of it. I will have to print this and send it home with her mom.

  • lori

    Thank you I’m in tears my 6 year old girl had it last night been up all night washing every single piece of thing I can get my hands on vacumned couches and now wondering what I can do to prevent or continue spraying this Listerine trick is a godsend and will do right now thank you for this post, really calmed me down

  • Jennifer

    I have 9 kids, and 4 of the nine are constantly catching lice. They’ve had them several times over the last three years and it bums me out so bad when they catch them. Boys are the easiest to clean because their hair is usually the shortest, and sometimes before a cleaning after catching the lice, my husband will give them a haircut and then we’d clean them out. Girls are tough! But the BEST method that works for me is a good CONDITIONER!! We’ve spent soooo much money on over the counter medication, which does nothing! Recently the kids had letters sent home from their schools stating that “Super Lice” has hit Cali, and these menaces are immune to the meds. What I do is completely saturate their hair in conditoner. I put a plastic bag over their heads for about half an hour. I lay them on the kitchen counter (I have a hose that stretches out), take the bag off, wet their hair a bit to make the hair smoother, and start combing with a lice comb. COMB COMB COMB!! That’s the best way. The conditoner just makes the hair so smooth that the nits (eggs) glide right off since they’re very stuck on the hair. The bigger live ones come out no problem and are mostly dead by the time their heads hit the sink. Anything the comb didn’t take off I would just pull out, but it’s typically very very few. I just did this again yesterday. ? In the past I’ve also used coconut oil which also has the same effect. I’d prefer theses methods than using those meds again, and they smell BAD! The conditoner or coconut oil leaves their hair silky and smelling AMAZING!

  • Misty

    Hello I was browsing the net researching head lice bc my 7 yr old daughter has long fine blonde hair and she was complaining of itching so I pulled her hair apart it didn’t take a second I seen lice with the naked eye every part in her hair I looked thru made me more upset she has them so bad that she scratches and there’s a lice critter on her hand I’ve never even dealt with lice I only know a little about them from working at the hospital but never had to deal with it in my home I read that u really have to look hard to find them but I see at least 10 eggs every time I part the hair and she even has the bugs they sell combs with magnifying glasses and I can see them 2 feet away is this a bad case hope you can help I’m going to get your ingredients and start right now the worst part is I also have a 3 yr old daughter who has fine long hair and my hair is past my bum super thick I’m freaking out here I’ve been on line all night I put oil in her hair and put 2 grocery bags tied around it bc it was midnight when I found out took her and her sisters blankets to the wash but now what any advice on what to use for the furniture and mattress I’m freaked out 1 st time dealing with lice don’t know what to do so many different things online but your page my eye best yet but will it work with so many critters HELP please

    • Becky

      Use the melaleuca in a spray. Wash all the bed linens, including pillows and spray bare the mattresses with the melaleuca spray.


      You kind of have to figure out what method works for you, and for your daughter’s hair texture. My five year old has straight, silky hair, while my six year old has curly, fine hair. The conditioning method works well for both of my girls. Another GREAT tip I discovered, doing MORE research, was spraying Listerine in their hair and linens after you have cleaned the hair out. The lice does not like the smell of it. If you clean out the kid’s hair over the weekend, you can spray Listerine in their hair Sunday night, or early morning Monday before school begins, and it will repel any other lice jumping from one child’s hair to yours. Spraying Listerine once can last the entire week. And, it’s the original Listerine (brown liquid) that works best. Hope this helps!


    Most school districts now (at least in California), no longer notify the families of children with head lice, nor the families of their classmates. It stated that they are avoiding humiliation and absences for children who catch lice. We received a letter from my children’s school district about a year ago stating that there is a strain of “Super Lice” in California and that it’s near impossible to prevent all children from catching the lice. When my kids have caught it in the past, we were able to tell as soon as one would reach up to scratch. Upon checking, we’d see the nits and begin the task of removing them. As long they are around other kids that have them, there’s really no prevention. Parents wouldn’t be investigated unless school officials know for a fact that their children are the ones spreading the lice, and continue to do so after being sent home for treatment more than once. Also, lice loves clean hair, so having them doesn’t mean that the kids are filthy and neglected. The lice is just more attracted to the cleaner hair and will pounce any chance they can get! =(

  • Bobbie Olson

    So whatever happened to doing regular hot oil treatments? I remember doing v05 on a regular basis but looks likes ilk have to switch to olive oil and tea tree oil with mint. Im 50 and havent had one awhile but think i may have problems with nits. I just pulled one out of a spot behind my ear. My dr said bed bugs but i havent seen either critter anywhere! Dont know where where they are hiding!!

  • Tonya

    Okay…so here is my story. Sorry…it is sooooo long. My hope is that others will learn something and not freak out like I did. Although I do “feel” like my experience was abnormal. I still have to take at the very least, some responsibility for the trauma my children endured. I have two girls and one boy. At the time…a number of years ago, the youngest was in head start. She came home with lice. The battle began!! I treated all 5 of us, 1×/wk for 2 weeks. Used the combs. I used otc products. Cleaned everything, vacuumed everything, sprayed the sprays. Either we still had them or we got them back. Phase 2: Same process…different products. Still had them or got them back again! Talked to her teacher…she said, “Well, I have NEVER had lice in my classroom!” I said, “Well, you do now…so you need to send notification home with the children.” Nope!!! She refused. Mind you now…this is a minimum of a month into this. And…I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do. Not to mention how expensive this is getting. By now I’ve started putting movies on for the girls while they lay across my lap, and I go through their hair and pull nits out by hand. I buzzed my son, but the girls had waist length hair. Phase 3: I called the school super and reported my issue. The teacher jumped me for going over her head. The school nurse said I didn’t know what I was looking at. I called the head of laboratories at Nix. This is what he said, the sprays did basically nothing, except give mom’s a false sense of security. Lice are in fact attracted to cleaner hair. One lice can live on a single strange of hair on a floor or anywhere for up to 72 hours…possibly longer. The products aren’t working because the lice are becoming immune to everything. At this point I’ve used every product including prescription. Also, I did get my money back from Nix. So…I moved on to mayo and plastic bags. Oh was that horrible! My girls wouldn’t eat mayo anymore, but even worse…it runs down their faces when it warms up on their heads. Blah blah blah…work work work. Still had them!!! Okay…this is WAR!!! PHASE 4: Called the head of nursing in DSM, IA. Reported the school…because it is considered a communicable disease. I called into college, fiance took vacation, kept kids home from school…all for one whole week. Pulled the girls hair up into a ponytail, and shaved the under side of their hair up to their ears. When we took the pony down, it looked normal. Plastic protectors on pillows and mattresses. All excess fabric: stuffed animals, towels, clothes, bedding, everything…40 black garbage bags…stuffed, tied, stored away from living areas. Vacuumed EVERYTHING!! Walls included!! Did the mayo thing everyday…the nit picking everyday…washed every item of fabric that didn’t get bagged. (Left the bags sit for no less than a month.) Used the hotest water possible and dried on the hotest setting possible. I spent well over $200 that week alone. My kids were FREE!!!! By the time Monday morning rolled around…we were all free from any evidence of those nasty lil beasts. I checked everyone over before school…and off they went. Checked them when they got home. Guess what!?!?!?! BAM!!! A live lice on my youngest and another on her brother!!!! Ohhhhhh…….you haven’t seen mad until you’ve met a mother that has gone through all of this. Trust me… I called the school and told them my children would be staying home again, because they had lice again. They were upset with me already and threatened to report ME due to my children missing so much school over this. You think I wasn’t upset over them missing out on their education?!?!?!? The nurse called me back and wanted me to come in so she could look at them and decide if they should stay home. Really?!?!?! Okay… I pulled the live ones I found off of the kids and bagged them. With one bag in each pocket, I walked into her office with my children. She took a pencil, flipped my daughters hair up; on the top in the middle, and two more time going down the back of her head. Looked at me and told me my daughter didn’t have anything, and my son’s hair was too short to have them. She told me I didnt know what I was looking for. That whatever I had been seeing, wasn’t lice. I pulled out my lil baggies, held them up in her face, and said, “Well then what are these?!?!?” She freaked out like I was holding a bag of death…literally. Backed across the room, studdering, and said she GUESSED I had been seeing lice…and asked us to leave!!! Are you freaking kidding me?!?!?!?!?! It was 6 months I dealt with this. My children were traumatized. I was broke and exhausted. Years later… finally, I no longer cry and have anxiety attacks whenever faced with this issue. My granddaughter is staying for the summer. This is very common for her to come with them…that’s another story. Anyway, I was looking for more natural methods and came across this. Some good ideas. I still use cheap generic mayo and do as I’ve done with my kids. It works as long as they aren’t continually being exposed. In which case, nothing works. It really does seem to be the cheapest, easiest, and most trustworthy method that I have used so far. Load us up with mayo, wrap plastic wrap around our heads, tuck a roll of some kind of tissue under it just above the eyes, tie a plastic grocery bag good n snug, pop the movie in. I usually give them a towel to wipe the drips. While they watch, I clean. If I’m not done when the movie is, I put another movie in. When I’m done cleaning we wash our hair like normal. I leave the conditioner in so it’s easier to pick nits. Another movie… We usually wash the hair again the next day to get the extra conditioner out. I’ll do this 4 to 6 times over the course of the next 2 weeks. It gets faster and easier as time goes on. I also try to make the time special for the kids. Special flavored popcorn or whatever. And…I reassure them constantly that it’s all OKAY. As my daughters got older…they began putting lots of hairspray and other hair products in their hair…to keep from getting them. It seemed to work for them. Anyway…good luck to all!!

  • Kate

    Thank you so much for this. My daughter went to a sleepover in June where someone had lice, and thus began our summer of hell. We are a low income family and I had to buy the cheapest lice treatment at Walgreens ($18.49) but we needed to buy three of them to have enough for all of our heads. It didn’t work so a week later I had to buy three more treatments…. and a couple weeks later there were more lice so I bought three more…. still finding lice when the new school year started. Finally in September I found this site and decided to try the Listerine method… what did we have to lose? We already had vinegar and lice combs, so all I needed to spend was $25 for 6 shower caps, a couple big bottles of Listerine and a couple of spray bottles.

    We are lice free. Bless you! To think of the money I wasted at Walgreens when I could have been fabulously frugal all along.

    • Oh wow Kate… that sounds like a nightmare! I’m so happy to hear that this was the solution that actually worked for you! HAPPY you found us!! 😀

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