Chemical lice treatments can be costly and some parents worry about pesticides leeching their way into the bloodstream. Luckily, lice breathe through their skin, so treating head lice is as easy as smothering them with mayonnaise or olive oil. Learn about head lice and lice removal today.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Head lice
- Nit-picking comb (optional)
- Shower cap
Slather the entire head with a very thick coating of mayonnaise. The entire head must be completely saturated and greasy in order to kill the living lice and prepare for lice removal.
Cover the head with a shower cap and allow the mayonnaise to remain on the hair for 6-8 hours. Lice can "hold their breath" and you must keep them smothered for a long time to be sure that they're dead. For most children, simply tying a bandanna around their head and sending them to bed for the night is sufficient.
Remove the shower cap and shampoo the hair several times to remove the mayonnaise. You will see the bodies of the dead head lice going down the drain, but treating head lice is a little more complicated. Now that the living lice are gone it's time to remove their unhatched eggs (nits) and clean the pillows, sheets and stuffed animals.
Remove all of the linens from the beds, including pillows and stuffed animals. Head lice can crawl off of the victim's head and wait patiently on the pillow to climb back on at a later time. Treating head lice successfully means making sure every lice in the house is removed.
Wash everything in a standard washing machine and run through the drying machine. It is the hot air of a dryer that kills the lice, so hanging them to dry will not be effective.
Head lice require a blood meal at least every 10 days so to kill the lice from a stuffed animal you can place them in a ziploc bag for two weeks. When they come out, you can vacuum the dead lice bodies from the fur of the toy. They will not lay eggs on a stuffed animal.
Comb out the victim's hair when they've finished shampooing (lather, rinse and repeat several times) The lice eggs will appear 1/2 an inch or so from the scalp and they look like gooey little bubbles . Each nit needs to be scraped off of the hair. You can use a nit comb or your fingernail. It is important to search the hair for nits every 2-3 days following treatment. Be vigilant about the areas behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. Nit picking can take hours.
Tips and warnings
- When you're removing nits to treat head lice, try sitting on the couch with the child seated in front of you. Reading a book and watching television are effective distractions.
- Treating head lice involves killing the lice and their unhatched eggs. It only takes one unhatched nit to recolonise the entire head.