How to Get Rid of Head Lice and Nits With Vinegar and Conditioner
Dealing With Head Lice
When I first noticed little dots in my five-year-old daughter's hair, I wasn't concerned because I thought it was dandruff. However, when they didn't disappear with washing, I decided to check with the school. They confirmed that her class was indeed experiencing an outbreak of head lice.
Like any mother, I was horrified, and I immediately sought advice from everywhere I could. Just the thought of these little critters living on your scalp will probably have you literally scratching your head!
After conducting my own research, I found an easy, non-toxic solution. I was able to implement this treatment fairly quickly (in the space of only about an hour!), and I'm happy to report that the lice has not returned. In addition, no one else in the family has been infected.
This method cost me a fraction of the cost of regular medical treatments, and I didn't need to put harsh chemicals into my daughter's hair. Try it out!
What You'll Need
- A nit comb, or a strong, very fine-toothed comb, metal if possible (these cost approximately $14 at the store).
- A bottle of white vinegar.
- A bottle of cheap hair conditioner.
Instructions for Treating Lice at Home
- Soak the hair in white vinegar. First, I wrapped my daughter in a towel, and then I had her put her hair over the bathroom basin. Then I soaked her hair in white vinegar. I made sure that it really was saturated, including the scalp. I didn't rinse it out—I just tied her hair up and out of the way. My daughter then put on her swimming goggles (vinegar has a very sharp odour), and she sat outside in the fresh air for half an hour.
- Part hair and comb. After half an hour, I sat outside with her and parted her hair into small sections, each secured with a clip. (I did this outside because I didn't want to risk putting any live eggs into the house.) Using the nit comb, I then worked on combing out the eggs until there were none visible in each section. I rubbed a generous amount of conditioner into each section as I finished, and then I clipped it again before starting on the next section. This was time consuming, but worth it.
- Leave the conditioner in, comb again, then rinse. Once I had finished, I left the conditioner in my daughter's hair for an additional fifteen minutes. Then I combed her hair through once more with the nit comb. Lastly, she took a shower to rinse it all out.
Just to be safe, all members of our family also did the vinegar rinse and left it for half an hour before rinsing out. We then put a generous amount of conditioner through our hair and left it for another hour before rinsing again. A pleasant side effect is that it left the whole family with beautifully pure, clean hair.
Theory Behind the Technique
The theory behind this method of treatment is that the vinegar loosens the nits so they are easier to remove. It also gets rid of impurities in the hair, so that new eggs will not stick easily. Meanwhile, the conditioner smothers any living lice and kills them.
Ever since I treated my daughter's hair, I have been diligently checking all of my family members' hair every day. So far, we all appear to be clear.
If I had found any sign of nits, I would have immediately removed them with the comb. Then I would have thoroughly covered the hair and scalp with conditioner and left it for as long as possible (overnight, ideally) before rinsing it out.
I am no expert on head lice, but I am happy to report that this method worked for my family. It's cheap, avoids harsh chemicals, and it is comparatively easy!
Once your child's hair is lice-free, you may like to try some of these ideas to prevent reinfection from head lice.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
Can Benadryl ointment kill head lice?
Benadryl can certainly help calm the itchiness from inflammation caused by head lice biting the scalp. However, it is not known to kill the lice, just to relieve one of the symptoms.
Benadryl is a trading name for an antihistamine called Diphenhydramine. Antihistamines work by blocking your body's natural reaction to a harmful substance. In the case of head lice, biting lice cause infection to the scalp. The body responds by making the infected area itchy.
Antihistamines such as Benadryl can block the itchiness from inflammation, but they won't kill the lice, and they won't stop the itchiness caused by live lice crawling on your scalp.
The best time to use Benadryl would be if the scalp still itches after the lice have definitely all been eliminated. Of course, while side effects are rare with Benadryl, it is always best to check with your doctor before using medication.Helpful 1
Do the head lice shells stick to the hair shaft?
Nits are head lice eggs. To make them stick to the hair shafts, lice produce a strong glue as they lay the nits. Once a nit hatches, the empty eggshell can stay stuck to the hair until it is combed out or until the glue weakens over time. The main purpose of using vinegar is to help relax the glue, making the nits and the empty eggshells much easier to comb out.Helpful 1
© 2010 Suzie Armstrong