Headlice – the one cure that really works

Our twelve hear old daughter came home with headlice. It was the first time she’d had it in over a year.

These days it’s not such a drama, because I know how to kill those nasty beasties real quick. Here’s how.

You’ll need: A blow dryer and a set of straighteners (flat irons) that are water-resistant.

These items don’t have to be expensive. The flat irons I have cost me $20 from the local discount store, and are “home brand”. They work a treat.

You’ll also need a regular plastic comb for combing hair during this process, and you may choose to use a nit comb (fine toothed) for removing dead lice and eggs from the hair after blow drying and straightening the hair.

Before you start…

Remember that your child’s pillows, towel, sheets, hair ties and hair brushes will all need to be decontaminated with a hot wash before being used again.

Any clothes the child has worn since the infestation will also need washing.

Vacuum any areas the child has been lying, including sofas etc., and remove soft toys that may harbour headlice for two weeks. Placing them in a freezer bag in the freezer has been shown to kill any adults plus their eggs.

After the treatment, any combs, clips, ties etc. you have used during the treatment will also need thorough washing or disposal.

Step 1: Wash and blow dry

Get your child to wash their hair. Ask them to leave it wet without overly towel-drying it.

Blow dry their hair, as hot as possible, as close as possible to the scalp. It should be as hot as they can bear.

If necessary, section the hair, and dry it through a chunk at a time.

The key here is to heat all the hair as hot as possible until it is all completely, thoroughly dry and the hair has all been heated as much as possible.

Step 2: Flat iron

Flat iron hair, in sections, starting at the nape of the neck and working up.

Use the hottest setting, but test the irons first if you’ve never used them on your child’s hair before.

Once again, ensure you complete cover all strands, so that all hair has been treated.

You may hear small “popping sounds”. That’s the sound of the eggs being fried (yes really!). I find this very satisfying!

Step 4: Repeat every 3 days

Headlice have a 7-10 day life cycle, so repeating the process above four to five times should break the cycle for good.

Remember to check your child regularly regardless, and try to track down where the nits came from in your child’s community, to avoid future infestations.

It’s absolutely okay to tell your child to avoid any friend who has nits, and to inform a parent their child has headlice (if they do). This is a health issue, and your child does not need nits again!

Also, remember to inform your child’s school, playgroups or other carers about the infestation.

Preventing further infestations

Keep long hair tied up. All people with long hair should keep their hair tied up, in buns or plaits, when lice are going around.

Short hair makes lice less likely, and easier to treat. My partner shaves his head. He’s never had lice. My son keeps his hair very short, and

Why most chemicals / lotions don’t work

Lice, like all insect populations, adapt to chemicals.

Just like other bugs have grown resistant to the chemicals we humans use, so too have headlice.

I spent literally hundreds of dollars on chemicals and hours and hours on the “conditioner and combing” method before I learned that the most effective treatment for headlice was simple heat.

Our family is now lice-free, and we never spend money on lotions and chemicals that don’t work and cost a lot! ๐Ÿ™‚

headlice cure


  1. This method is genius and seems likely to work. I did notice that the adults and juveniles drown — if you remove them and throw them in a sink full of water. So I ask my kids to put their hair under water in a tub and just let it float there for a long time before I start dealing with the hair (and eggs). That way, I don’t have to deal with live critters, which make my skin crawl. I usually cut out strands with eggs, but heat would work, too. The only thing I would add would be to vacuum really well, every where your child has been — rugs, furniture, car seats. It is so much work, but you can get rid of them. And you must put things through the dryer after washing, as it’s the heat that kills the critters. My daughter puts her hair up everyday, and she hasn’t gotten them since. Sadly, our schools have decided this isn’t a health issue and have stopped notifying us or looking for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely agree with the vacuuming! I’d add removing soft toys to that. I’ll edit the post to include these.

      A scientist friend of mine put some live adult headlice in a petri dish to see how long they could survive away from human contact. The standard wisdom is 1-2 days but she found they were still alive and active after nearly a week in the dish!

      In short, what we humans have done, with our nonstop attempts to eradicate the beasties, is make them tougher and more resilient.

      My experience has been that highly chlorinated swimming pool water did NOT kill headlice with my kids, but it’s entirely possible there are different species of headlice around the world that respond to different things, including water. What I do know is that heat treating them (a.k.a. frying the little buggers!) seems to work universally. Plus it’s virtually free, and certainly a LOT cheaper than chemicals and lotions, and less time-consuming than the “comb and condition” method, which is also fairly effective.

      Here’s to bug-free kids! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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