Stop Head Lice From Coming Back - Simple Ways To Repel, Avoid, & Prevent Head Lice and Nits

Updated on October 18, 2016
Removing head lice is time consuming!
Removing head lice is time consuming! | Source

Did you finally rid your family of head lice, and you want to keep them from coming back? Have you received a note from school about an outbreak, and now you're trying to avoid the epidemic?

Head lice and nits are a huge problem for most families with young children. While anyone can get infected, younger children tend to be less inhibited about personal space and sharing clothing—allowing lice to be easily passed from child to child.

The child then brings them home, and before you know it, the whole family is infected.

Anyone who has had to deal with getting rid of head lice will know that it takes time and effort to remove them all effectively.

The big problem is that even when you have ensured that you and your children are free of nits and lice, a child can instantly be reinfected by another child at preschool or school. All you need is one pregnant louse to find its way onto your child's hair, and you have to start the whole messy business all over again.

While there is no definite, proven method of repelling or preventing lice, there are parents who swear by their techniques.

Here are some great ideas to try...


Tie Hair Back

It is a common misconception that lice can jump from head to head, like fleas. In reality, lice can only crawl quite slowly, and they don't have wings to fly. Often a louse moves to another head by direct hair-to-hair contact.

Tying back longer hair will lessen the risk of it accidentally brushing against anyone else's hair or picking up a loose louse that has dropped off someone else's head.

Beware of Hats and Brushes

Lice don't live very long without a host, but they can be present for a short time in brushes, hats, and anything else that has come in contact with the hair.

Be careful about allowing family members to share hats or brushes, or anything that might easily pick up lice, while anyone in the family has head lice or nits.

Tea Tree Oil

Many parents I have talked to agree that head lice seem to absolutely hate the smell of tea tree oil.

You can purchase special tea tree oil shampoos and conditioners, or add tea tree oil to your hair products.

Alternatively, simply add a couple of drops to a spray bottle, shake, and spray onto your children's hair before they leave for school or anywhere else where they will be in contact with other children.

Be careful to avoid spraying in or near eyes, as tea tree oil can sting.

I have tried this method, and we have managed to avoid head lice through a couple of epidemics.


Rinsing with vinegar will loosen the glue that attaches nits to hair. The acidity and smell will also deter lice from your hair. Be careful when using on young children, though, as the smell of vinegar is very strong and can be quite irritating.

Coconut Oil

Similarly to tea tree oil, coconut oil appears to have a scent that lice avoid.

Use it in the same way as the tea tree oil.

There are also many coconut hair products available, however parents advise that you should make sure that you use real coconut oil, or products containing real coconut oil.

Personally, I love coconut oil but find the smell a little overwhelming. Hopefully lice feel the same way!

Hairspray and Gel

I haven't personally tried hairspray or gel on my children's hair as a preventative method; however, a lot parents have said that simply using styling products has deterred head lice from choosing their kids' hair. It's well worth a try, as most of us already have these products handy anyway.


This might sound bizarre, but one mother told me how she killed all the lice in her daughter's hair by rinsing with regular, sugar-free mouthwash, and then leaving it in the hair under a shower cap for two hours.

She now regularly sprays her children's hair with mouthwash during head lice epidemics at school. She says the scent repels new lice.

My guess is that it's not only the scent that they dislike. Head lice also seem to avoid products that contain alcohol, and a lot of mouthwashes use alcohol as a base.

Treating Head Lice

Head lice are very common.

If, despite all your best efforts, your child still gets infected, here is a very cheap, effective and chemical-free way to get rid of nits and head lice.

Remember, head lice are spread very easily, and an infection has nothing to do with your hygiene or cleanliness. Really, they are just an annoying pest that affect countless families.

Hopefully one of the above methods of repelling and preventing head lice will work for you.

Good luck!

© 2014 Suzie Armstrong


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    • coolstuff4kids profile image

      Suzie Armstrong 15 months ago

      I hope it helps too, as lice are very frustrating. This other article I wrote might be useful to you also, as it could help you break the life cycle of the lice. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Ghostbounty 15 months ago

      I hope this will help my hair.... I have had lice for a entire year, it has been a nightmare i almost gave up. PLEASE let these work they are good idea's. Thank you. :)

    • coolstuff4kids profile image

      Suzie Armstrong 17 months ago

      These products unfortunatly won't kill the nits or any lice. They will just discourage lice from choosing to live and lay eggs in hair with these products in it. Nits hatch within 6 - 7 days of being laid, so if, after a couple of weeks, you find no live lice, you are clear.

    • coolstuff4kids profile image

      Suzie Armstrong 17 months ago

      Great to hear that it worked. Thanks for the idea.

    • profile image

      Nashville-Candy 2 years ago

      Great article, I used the tea tree and coconut oil and it was VERY effective! I even found a kid friendly leave in conditioner that has the oils that will also repel them away too. My fear is leaving one tiny nit, will using these products daily eventually kill them off or did it kill them already and it will take time to find all the nits? Thanks in Advance....

    • Winchestery profile image

      Winchestery 2 years ago

      My grandchildren went through a spell where they kept getting reinfested. My daughter in law started spraying peppermint oil on their hair. They haven't gotten lice since. Apparently they don't like the smell of peppermint.

    • profile image

      Mom of 2 3 years ago

      My kids have come home from school with nits quite a few times now. I kill the lice and spend time getting out all the nits, but they have kept coming back. Bought some tea tree oil and tried it a few weeks ago after the last lice infestation, and so far haven't seen any more lice in my kids heads. This is despite other kids being reinfected. Thanks for the advice.