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How to Get Rid of Lice: A Guide for Effective Lice Treatment

how to get rid of lice

Lice are tiny insects that live in human hair and feed on blood. Lice eggs, also known as nits, can be found on the shaft of hair close to the scalp.

It is very difficult to remove this wingless parasite from hair or clothing without professional treatment, but there are many ways to prevent lice infestations in the first place.

If you suspect your child has lice or if you have seen an adult with them then it is important to know how to get rid of them effectively.

This detailed blog post will provide a guide on what are lice, their types, and how to get rid of lice!

What are Lice?


Lice are tiny parasites that live in human hair and feed on blood. They can spread from person to person through direct contact and by sharing belongings.

Phthiraptera, more commonly known as lice, is a clade that contains nearly 5,000 species of wingless parasites.​

There are 3 types of lice:

  • Head lice found on the scalp. They're most apparent around the nape of the neck and above the ears.
  • Body lice that live in clothing and bedding. People who don't have easy access to baths or clean clothes are more likely to get body lice.
  • Pubic lice, also called crabs, can also be found on the pubic region's skin and hair. They're more prevalent on coarse body hair, such as chest hair, brows, and eyelashes.

If not dealt with in the correct way, these parasites can become a constant issue.

Life Cycle of Lice

lice life cycle


The three stages of the life cycle for a body louse are egg, nymph, and adult.

Eggs: Body lice eggs are known as nits. They're tough to detect and frequently mistaken for dandruff.

The adult female deposits nits at the base of the hair shaft closest to the skin, which are then cemented into place.

Nits are small, oval-shaped eggs that measure 0.8 mm by 0.3 mm. They usually hatch within a week (between 6 and 9 days).

Viable eggs are generally found 6 mm from the skin's surface.

Nymph: The nymph emerges from the egg. The nit shell then becomes a lighter yellow, becoming more apparent and remaining attached to the hair shaft.

The adult female body louse is about the size of a pinhead and has four legs, whereas the juvenile nymph has only three legs.

Nymphs develop after three molts and become adults seven days later.

Adult: Adult lice are tiny, about the size of a sesame seed, and have six legs (have claws). Adult lice are tan to grayish-white in color.

They can cause a lot of discomfort, and their bites may be poisonous. They lay between one and eight nits per day, depending on gender.

They can survive thirty days or more on a person's body.

How Long Do Lice Live?

Adult lice can survive up to 30 days on a person's head. To live, they must feed on blood at least twice each day.

If the louse does not consume blood meals, it will die in 1 to 2 days after detachment from the host.

See Also: Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs

How Common are Lice?

Head Lice are among the most common of all human parasites, with an estimated 6 to 12 million infestations in the United States alone each year among children from 3 to 11 years of age.

Wingless parasites are found worldwide and affect people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic levels.

An infestation of head lice may not be indicative of poor personal hygiene or an unclean environment.

Symptoms of Lice?

itching hair

Common signs and symptoms of lice include:

  • Intense itching on the scalp, body, or genital area.
  • A tickling feeling from the movement of hair.
  • The presence of lice on your head, body, clothing, pubic or other body hair. Adult parasites may be as small as a sesame seed or somewhat larger.
  • Lice eggs (nits) on hair shafts. Nits can be tough to find as they're so tiny. Check behind the ears and at the nape of the neck for them.
  • Sores located on the scalp, neck, and shoulders. If you scratch often, small red bumps can appear and become infected with bacteria.
  • Bite marks are common around the waist, groin, upper thighs, and pubic area.

How Do Lice Spread?

Head Lice are most commonly spread through direct contact with an infected person or their clothing, hats, bedding, or other personal items.

Sharing combs, brushes, hair accessories, headgear (such as headphones), towels, pillows, upholstered furniture, or any other item that may have had contact with an infested person's hair.

Being in close contact with someone who has head lice, such as during play at school, slumber parties, sports activities, or camp.

How Do you Check for Head Lice?

head lice

While they are not known to carry diseases, they can cause itching and irritation. Checking for parasites is relatively simple, but it does require patience and a sharp eye.

  • First, use a fine-toothed comb to part the hair and look for lice eggs, which are small white ovals that cling to the hair shaft.
  • Then, look for live lice crawling on the scalp.
  • Finally, check for nits, which are small brownish-black dots that indicate where wingless parasites have previously been

If you find any evidence of head lice, contact your doctor or a local clinic for treatment options.

How Do you Treat Lice?

There are a few different ways to treat this wingless parasite, but the most important thing is to be thorough.

You'll need to treat not only the person who has head lice but also everyone in their household and anyone they've been in close contact with.

  1. The first step is to comb through the hair with a fine-toothed nit comb to remove as many eggs and lice as possible. This can be a time-consuming process, so be patient.
  2. Once you've combed out as much as you can, you'll need to kill any remaining lice and eggs with special lice-soapy water.
  3. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle carefully. Some shampoos require that you leave them on for a certain amount of time before rinsing, while others must be rinsed off immediately.
  4. In either case, you'll need to repeat the process every few days for at least two weeks to make sure all the lice are gone.

You should also wash all bedding, towels, and clothing in hot water and dry them on high heat to kill any remaining lice and their eggs.

A dermatologist or pediatrician can also recommend an effective treatment for your child. This may be a prescription treatment or over-the-counter medication may help.

There are two prominent over-the-counter medications: permethrin and pyrethrin. This does not kill nits

With a little patience and effort, you can get rid of this parasite for good!

Why are lice so hard to get rid of?

They are notoriously difficult to get rid of, and even people who take extra care to avoid them can find themselves with an infestation.

There are several reasons why lice are so hardy creatures.

  • First of all, they reproduce very quickly. A female louse can lay up to eight eggs per day, and the eggs hatch in about seven days. This means that an infestation can grow exponentially in a very short period of time.
  • Additionally, lice have evolved to be very good at avoiding detection. They are extremely small, and they typically stay close to the scalp where they are less likely to be seen.
  • Finally, lice have developed mechanisms for resistance to many of the common treatments used to kill this pest. This means that even if you do manage to kill some of the lice, there is a good chance that the survivors will quickly repopulate the area.

In short, lice are difficult to get rid of because they reproduce quickly, avoid detection, and resist treatment.

If you find yourself with an infestation, it is best to seek professional help.

How to Get rid of Head Lice Naturally?

Essential Oils

They are a common problem for school-aged children and their families. Although this parasite does not carry disease, it can be a nuisance.

The good news is that there are several effective ways to get rid of them naturally.

  1. First, wash your hair with water or vinegar.
  2. Mix the oils together with essential oils.
  3. Comb your hair with the fine-tooth comb.
  4. Wash the garments thoroughly with soiled water
  5. Repeat each step every 9 days.

Read Also: Does Bleach Kill Roaches

Can essential oils be used to kill lice and nits?

Yes, some essential oils can be effective in killing lice and nits. Tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and lavender oil have all been shown to be effective against head lice treatment.

To use essential oils to kill lice, mix a few drops of the oil with water or vinegar and apply it to the hair and scalp.

Leave it on for at least 30 minutes, then comb through the hair with a fine-toothed nit comb to remove the dead lice and nits.

Repeat the process every few days until all these parasites are gone.

Does vinegar kill lice?


There are a lot of home remedies out there for lice removal, but does vinegar actually kill lice? The answer is yes!

Vinegar is an acidic substance that can help to break down the exoskeleton of lice, ultimately killing them.

  1. To use vinegar as a treatment for lice, simply combine equal parts vinegar and water in a bowl.
  2. Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp, using a comb to work it through all of your hair.
  3. Cover your head with a shower cap and let the vinegar sit for 30 minutes before rinsing it out.

You may need to repeat this treatment a few times to completely remove lice.

How to Get Rid of Lice in Your Home?

If you find lice in your home, it is important to take steps to remove them as quickly as possible.

Head lice can spread very easily from person to person, so it is important to treat any infestation promptly.

There are a few different ways to get rid of lice in your home.

  1. First, you will need to wash all of your bedding, towels, and clothing in hot water and dry them on high heat to kill any remaining lice or eggs.
  2. Next, vacuum all of the carpets and upholstered furniture in your home. This will help to remove any lice or eggs that may be lurking there.
  3. Finally, you will need to treat all of the people in your household who have lice. This may involve using a lice-cleaning solution or some other type of treatment.

What's wrong with Insecticidal lice shampoos?

Insecticidal lice shampoos are the most common treatment for head lice, but they are not without their drawbacks.

  1. First, this can be toxic if they are used incorrectly. Be sure to follow the directions on the package carefully to avoid any problems.
  2. Second, some people may be allergic to the insecticide in the cleaning solution, which can cause a rash or other problems. If you notice any adverse reaction, stop using the shampoo and see a doctor.
  3. Finally, this parasite has developed resistance to many of the common insecticides used in these washing solutions. This means that they may not be as effective as they once

Can you get rid of lice by shaving your head?

Shaving your head is one way to get rid of lice, but it is not the most effective method.

This parasite can survive for a short time without hair, so it will quickly move to another person if given the opportunity.

Additionally, shaving your head will not remove all of the nits (lice eggs) from your hair, so you will still need to use another method to get rid of them.

Can you get rid of lice by washing your hair?

Washing your hair will not get rid of this parasite, but it can help to remove some of the nits (lice eggs) from your hair.

To effectively remove nits from your hair, you will need to use a nit comb or some other type of fine-toothed comb.

Start at the roots of your hair and work the comb through to the ends, being sure to remove all of the nits that you find.

You may need to repeat this process a few times to completely remove all of the nits from your hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get rid of lice quickly?

You must wash all clothing in hot water and dry it with a warm cloth. Bags made of plastic. When it is impossible to throw items into a washing machine or dryer place them inside secure bags for 2-4 days.

How do you get rid of lice overnight?

Petroleum gel (vasoline). Unlike olive oil most mother swears on them as well as mayonnaise and styling gels. The thick jelly is said to suffocate lice and clog up a breathing hole.

For best results, coat hair and skin with hair spray overnight.

Can lice go away on its own?

Head lice can’t be removed by itself. It is important to get your baby checked out immediately. Get in touch with a medical professional.


In summary, getting rid of lice can be a difficult and time-consuming process. However, it is important to take the necessary steps to remove them from your home as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to speak with a medical professional.

They will be able to help you determine the best course of action for your particular situation.

Thanks for reading! I hope this article was helpful.

About The Author:

Meet Mark Calhoun, a seasoned pest control expert in the realm our pest control company. With over 10 years of dedicated experience and Managing Editor. His primary mission is to furnish you with precise and invaluable DIY insights, ensuring your home remains pest-free while aiding you in distinguishing various household pests.
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