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Cheap Way to Get Rid of Head Lice that Doctors Won't Tell You

When I found out I had lice I was pretty disgusted. The thought of bugs on me was petrifying! I wasted money on expensive lice shampoos and tried dog shampoo and other treatments that didn't work. I decided there must be a cheaper way...

Human head lice, with match and copper coin for scale.

Human head lice, with match and copper coin for scale.

Rubbing Alcohol? Dog Shampoo? What Works on Lice?

I acquired lice on my waist-length hair from school-aged kids. I tried everything from an expensive prescription shampoo to over-the-counter lice shampoos. I even tried dog shampoos! Nothing worked. (Spoiler alert! Dog shampoo doesn't work.)

After reading the contents of each shampoo I tried, I realized that each one seemed to contain some amount of alcohol. In the end, I found the cheapest treatment of lice prevention that even low-income people can afford, and which totally worked. Rubbing alcohol! It costs under a dollar a bottle and goes further than any other lice shampoo.

I used isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle on my kids too and it was quick and easy. As soon as you wet the hair and comb it out, any adult lice fell out dead. I just repeated this every few days making sure I got the newly hatched ones too.

Alcohol: The Secret to Curing Lice Cheaply

I'm not sure why doctors don't tell low-income people about this secret, since alcohol is so much cheaper than lice shampoo. But they should know about it!

The best way to use alcohol to get rid of lice is to mix it in a spray bottle with a few drops of lavender oil. Just make sure you use the alcohol outside or in a ventilated indoor area to protect yourself from the fumes. When you're done, blow dry your hair to apply a bit of heat to the critters.


meanda on August 22, 2017:

My daughter has had lice for a couple of months. She kept telling me her head itched and I guess I just didn't think or want to know she had them. We went on vacation and slept in the same bed and shared a brush. She kept telling me bugs were falling out of her hair but since we were in the mountains I assumed they fell from the trees. Now, after 2 months she still kept complaining and I took her to the doctor and she was officially diagnosed with lice. I just didn't think she had them because my head didn't itch and I assumed I would get them if we shared brushes and slept in the same bed. The doctor checked my head and was amazed I didn't have them. The crazy thing is now I feel itchy, not just my head but everywhere because I'm so freaked out!! The doctor told us to use NIX which we did that night (1 week ago) I combed thoroughly and the next night again and then again for 5 days. I treated her with a different product (again) during the combing process. After 6 combs and 2 treatments there were still lice and tons of nits. I read comments on this blog and other sites and tried this last night. She had a little shampoo left from a treatment so I had her shampoo her hair with it and then I sprayed wintergreen alcohol all over her hair as I combed it with my defender comb I just received in the mail. After I did that I sprayed a mixture of olive oil mixed with tea tree oil all over her hair and put a tight shower cap on her for the night. I'm at work but she washed her hair and combed it again. She found no living lice but some nits. I want to repeat the olive oil treatment for the next few nights and continue to comb through here hair each night for another week before I add more alcohol or other treatments. A few days ago we spent all day doing laundry and cleaning up. I told her to take off the bedding from last night and put it in bags to be washed later. She's spraying her mattress with that lice control spray. I'm not sure if this worked yet but I'm praying!! She starts school in a week and these need to be gone!!

Qweefer Sutherlan on March 10, 2017:

The rubbing alcohol does work but it is so harsh and drying.. whilst it is cheap, the cheapest remedy for head lice is actually free and there's a good chance someone in your house has it at the ready...semen! 3 to 4 good loads blown into a Tupperware container is all you need.. lather it in and rinse after it hardens.. if you have no way of acquiring nature's pesticide then the next best option is the rubbing alcohol. I recommend pouring into a microwave safe container and heating for no more than 30 seconds, if u have access to any moist tampons you can dunk it in a few times because lice find the smell of clam repelling. In a pinch you can substitute a teaspoon of mint toothpaste if no bloody tampon is on hand. I am so grossed out by lice, but I'm a bit of a germaphobe.. cheers and please spread the word

Winter on January 16, 2017:

Rubbing alchol may work but it can cause serious damage to your hair and chemical burns on you scalp.

Yes on October 07, 2016:

Comb out as best as you can but if u spray your head (outside) every day with 91% rubbing alcohol for a week and wrap your hair in a towel and leave it 10 to 30 minutes then use tea tree conditioner and comb it every day you will be able to get rid of it by yourself (also spray furniture and matress and pillows)

maybe on July 16, 2016:

How do you comb lice/nits/eggs out of hair if your alone........ You can't see where they are does anyone have any advice...... Will the rubbing alcohol alone work without hand picking out the lice nits.............. Really thanks for your help

Kristy on March 03, 2016:

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I am seriously over the little cretins . for 12 years now i have been battling to eliminate head lice . they will not stay away, they just keep coming back to rule and test my patience.

Since my first born child started kindy I have secretly and been losing this fight.

Eldest now 16. And three more younger children .

So many hours , so much money. Even she'd tears.

Not any more I am so determined to find a way I permanently destroy and eradicate these nasty head crawling beasts.

It's over....

As we all know our kids keep on bringing them back... From where?????


Every child , every staff member and every parent need to be treated all around the same time. Simultaneously .

Luckily it's a small community :)

since it seems to be from school , why not treat it at school some way or another.

Rules & regulations .. Pfftt !!!!

Well mayonnaise , lavender oil , any cooking oil, a splash of vodka and salt.

Straight away it eases the itch.

Thank god...!!!!

Once applied thick , root to tip, rub with fingertips to work the grains of salt . Cover with glad wrap. And wait 1 hour or so.

Instant relief !!

Rinse with water for quite awhile .make a thick salt and oil paste help wash out . now apply a generous amount of conditioner,And rinse. Comb out the little suckers remains.

And say goodbye to the bastards.

Get it ? Got it ? GONE.

Repeat in a week.

Simple ,cheap and effective.

Susan on February 21, 2016:

Wintergreen alcohol...totally works, will never use anything else or waste my money on expensive treatments that DON'T work! have your child cover their face so they don't breathe in the fumes or go outside if you have the option. Saturate hair with wintergreen alcohol (use a spray bottle) and then wash it out. Anything living will be dead. Retreat as necessary....nit picking still necessary, but now without the panic. Don't forget to bag up stuffed animals and such. Run pillowcases/blankets through the dryer on high for 20-30minutes to kill anything. I always kept a towel behind my kid on the couch and ran that through the dryer too.

bria on January 19, 2016:

Alcohol works great! I have a 10 yr old daughter who has very thick hair...& because we're Native Americans, we do not cut our hair...trim yes...cut it off, No way. When she got it one time, I had to buy 3 bottles of Nix to cover her hair...i combed them out for 6 hours...picking thru every strand. Washed everything in the house, shampooed carpets.. Very tiring. Needless to say, they came back! I did this again...week after week for about 3 months. I couldn't take it anymore... Read alcohol will work...I got this purchased Lice Freee. Had my daughter get in the shower, wash her hair with regular shampoo & rinse it out. Then I got wintergreen alcohol & poured it over her head (with her head tilted back) careful, it may burn the scalp because of the bites!! Then I doused her hair in a lot if conditioner (I use Mane & Tail) I comb her hair with a wide tooth comb to get out the knots...then I take the nit comb that came with the Lice Freee & start combing thru the hair...all the lice & nits come out. After that, she rinses out her hair & when she's done in the shower, & I put her hair up, I spray her hair with the Lice Freee. I repeat this process for 3 days....everything is gone & out... Its the best home remedy EVER!!

Holly on December 03, 2015:

Ok alchohol works. But you have ti be persistant!!! Comb comb comb in 2 days treat again and comb comb comb!!!

Sandie on August 16, 2015:

Rubbing alcohol does kill the lice and helps the nit's glue disolve to make it easier to comb away. While showering use conditioner and brush the hair with the nit comb and you'll see how easy the nits come off.

me on August 03, 2015:

Rubbing alcohol, left on for 30 minutes to an hour, does work but it does not kill the nits(eggs). Therefore you must comb them out or repeat the process at least once or twice after waiting 5 to 7 days, to be sure.

it worked for me on April 09, 2015:

Kerosene works i had no choice i put str8 from the jig in my hair avoiding my eyes took a store bag made an airtight seal left it on for an hoir or so and it didn't burn my head and then i took hot water and rinsed and i could see them falling out dead and after u rinsed for a while take conditner and add it use a lice comb start by flipping head upside down nape of neck and it will pull nits which most are dead u may want to repeat in 2 days just incase but use some grease to replace hairs natural oil and use a good shampoo and this has worked for me i am adult dont use this on children as it can affect their breathing.. or cause hair loss or damage i have used it on a lice comb by dipping it and it works as well

Blondie on March 30, 2015:

Lice free does not work, idk about salt water but I'd add a little conditioner and a little bit of rubbing alcohol.

Rubbing alcohol, Listerine, oils and tea tree all failed. Cetaphil numerous times failed.

Rubbing alcohol does kill them fast but the fumes are terrible and its a bit drying, and they return in a few days.

So as the post says, add a spoon of lavender oil to every half cup of rubbing alcohol, if you can't afford it use the cheap tea tree hair oil in the drug store, or baby oil for moisture. These help with the fumes too. But keep from flame!

You can spray it on but ventilate and cover face. It probably only takes a half hour. But you will need to do this four nights, or every couple days about four times.

I used cheap gin or vodka, or rum. Less fumes and not drying and safe! But as one video says, squirt it on two hours capped, then again for two hours, and again in a week then again. This worked well, and in between I used a few drops of neem oil in my shampoo, it stinks but is good for hair, or Denorex shampoo, ten minutes.

But you need to comb well with a metal nit comb and some conditioner, flat against the head! In one swipe, hairline to back, rinsing or wiping every time. Hair fairies has a video to show you how.

I have the terminator comb, or use theirs, or CVS can order the lice miester , experts only use that and cheap conditioner! Use a dollop on damp hair so you can drag the comb easier.

You can use distilled alcohol as needed without wrecking your hair.

If you use rubbing alcohol, please add a spoon of oil to every half cup, or conditioner. But the lavender oil is nice, and you can add a few drops to your shampoo and conditioner, or eight drops to a water bottle to repel!

Extra strength Denorex shampoo is great to kill them in 15 or 20 minutes, the tar one too, but not the nits, and babies return in a few days. But once a week helps keep them away, just shampoo normally for a few minutes. Or add the neem oil or lavender to your shampoo. Tea tree mint shampoo or conditioner helps repel too. You can even sleep in the rum or gin! Cap and keep from flame. Just use a moisturizing conditioner after.

Pesticides and suffocation fails.

Sleeping in oil only helps some if you follow with vinegar on damp hair fifteen minutes, but still not a cure in one treatment! They hold their breath indefinitely!!!

Never use a plastic cap on a small child all night, suffocation risk.

Supervise use of a plastic cap on small children.

eek on February 15, 2015:

SALT WATER.... KILLS NITS TOO. NOW THAT'S CHEAP!! Make your own or buy "Lice Freee" spray (yes, three e's). It was $10 at the dollar store.

Blondie on January 08, 2015:

Months ago, when my granddaughter gave them to me, I tried the 90% rubbing alcohol. I was afraid because my hair is lightened and long so I added a little baby oil. It burned and did not work! Next time I tried wintergreen with baby oil gel from the dollar store, it worked but they returned in a few days. So I tried other things that failed. Then I tried the alcohol and drug store baby oil gel. A half hour. It was sooo hard to wash out! Then I used the wintergreen alcohol with dollar store angel of mine creamy baby oil, it's light. A half hour. That worked good, but in a month they were back. I should have repeated!

Everything I used to use failed, olive oil and vinegar and tea tree, tea tree and peppermint in conditioner, and not coconut oil or olive oil or even straight vinegar or Listerine!

Finally I just braved it and massaged on the 70% wintergreen alcohol, not easy, I should have sprayed but the fumes are bad! Then I immediately rubbed conditioner over it, and combed over the sink. And left it on ten minutes. Then washed and conditioned. I read it somewhere. Then I blow dried to help kill nits more. This worked!!! Finally after 7 months! I should have just used the wintergreen alcohol straight ten minutes first! It didn't wreck my lightened hair. I just used some olive oil lotion over it and on scalp.

I also read someone just combed it on. Then shampooed out. A dad used a rag to put it on. It really only takes ten or fifteen minutes!

Next time I would just comb the wintergreen alcohol on well then wash out in ten minutes! :-)

Sue on November 29, 2014:

Alcohol is harsh and can burn and they will return if you don't get every nit. You add hair oil to the wintergreen rubbing alcohol but Listerine is milder.

Just spray on gold Listerine every night for a week and the second night use vinegar. They won't hurt your hair but condition or use leave in or a dab of conditioner. The Listerine has alcohol and essential oils. Vinegar washes hair and loosens nits. Just rinse after two hours or more and condition. Best treatment and easy. When they are under control use half water half Listerine to repel. Or tea tree oil in water. Use tea tree oil in your shampoo and conditioner too. A few drops to a dollop. And ten drops to a bottle of water. 12 to a bottle of shampoo. Comb with conditioner in the shower. Some ppl do only that for a month. Denorex with tar a few times a week kills some. But usually takes ten minutes and California only put a cancer warning on it for tar. T gel doesn't work as well but helps. Some ppl like denorex with salicylic acid. But ask a doctor about denorex for children. Tea tree conditioner left in awhile kills too. Fifteen minutes to an hour.

Sue on September 05, 2014:

Sorry!!! I just want to add to my last post that the mayo and apple cider vinegar is also supposed to have 2 tsps of tea tree oil. It speeds up killing and respiration But if you can't afford it it may work without it. And can be left on all night or 2 hours. There's cheap tea tree and hair oil in the black hair sections of drug stores but are diluted. Olive oil and tea tree oil capped for an hour and washed 3x will kill many but not all sometimes. Re do in a few days and again. It seems with all treatments they're back in a few days or leave a few! So daily combing for a few weeks with a good metal comb is important! Clean it with alcohol or hot water.

And also I wanted to add they claim nit picking is not necessary with the cetaphil.

The rubbing alcohol should always have generous baby oil or creamy baby oil and should be washed out 2 or 3x after 15 or 20 minutes. (The baby oil gel is hard to wash out!) But one treatment won't do it .

I thought they were gone after the wintergreen alcohol and creamy baby oil, then generic cetaphil. But I stopped combing every day and they returned in a month! So I re did and now broke down and bought the electric Nix comb. It's not that expensive and easy to use and I'm using every day for awhile, and the metal comb, then will do a few times a week. I'm also consulting a dermatologist. We've had three years of bad bouts! They've been very stubborn this bout! My friend swears by the real Cetaphil. Please read my last two posts because they contain all the research I've done and our own experience!

I also want to clarify, the one cup vinegar or apple cider vinegar to a pitcher of water and rinsed or sprayed on the hair can be rinsed out then combed, or left in for the combing. Then rinsed if you want to avoid sun lightening. Wiki how says do this every few days (or every day), combing off the lice and nits with a metal nit comb. I would keep dunking in hot water and changing it. But when there gone keep combing every few days for a couple weeks to be sure. This is a non chemical treatment. Or simply wet or dry comb every day for 3 weeks with a good metal nit comb to win the battle! Good luck!

sue on September 04, 2014:

One last additional note to the above, my research shows many said the Cetaphil face cleanser works. I used a generic but followed up with something else. Use the real in case. A bottle goes a long way. Apply with tint bottle to the scalp like a touch up in thin sections and criss cross too. Then apply to hair. Hair should be detangled first. Then comb off excess, wipe on paper towel and dispose of them in a tied up bag. Then blow dry hair with heat all the way. Takes time. Then cap and sleep in it. Shampoo out in the morning. Always use a metal nit comb for nits. It doesn't lather and won't wreck your hair but re condition after. Re do in a week then another week.

Some ppl say only dying their hair worked. But that's obviously not good for kids. Others slept in a spiking gel.

Wintergreen rubbing alcohol kills a lot, but as I said, use a good spray bottle or your hand will tire! Always add baby oil to cut dryness. Always keep from flame and open a window. Creamy baby oil from the dollar store may have benzyl alcohol I noticed, which lice too, so you may want to add that to the rubbing alcohol. Doesn't mix easy though. Baby oil gel is hard to wash out! But gentler on little ones. You must re do in a few days then again.

Others say get a couple good metal nit combs and comb every day for 3 weeks to win the battle! There's a you tube video on it! No chemicals. I would keep dipping the comb in hot water and changing.

The one cup olive oil, one cup vinegar, 2 tsps tea tree oil; or mayo and apple cider vinegar to the consistency of cake batter, capped for 2 hours is a great treatment to kill lice and remove eggs and makes hair shiny and healthy. But messy. Have paper towels ready. Mayo less runny but get on scalp good. Comb with metal nit comb every day. (As with all treatments). You should repeat in a week and use tea tree shampoo and conditioner in between by adding a few drops to a dollop or 12 drops to a bottle. And to a spray bottle of water and use daily on hair to repel. For furniture too. Use rubbing alcohol on combs and furniture too but ventilate. But you must comb daily with a good metal nit comb and dunk it a container of hot water, changing often. Detangle first. Look closely for small black specks on scalp, they're babies, get them off! Combing itself will remove egg laying adults so you won't be contagious and breaks cycle. But do for 3 weeks. Remove any eggs. It's easier to cut single strands of hair that have nits with small manicure scissors then removing them all! An apple cider vinegar and olive oil treatment for an hour can help remove eggs. Tea tree helps speed up killing but not a cure. Avoid peppermint or eucalyptus on small children or pregnant women.

The electronic combs are not expensive and easy to use if hair is detangled and clean. But keep doing everyday till there's none then every few days for awhile to make sure.

You may want to see a dermatologist also. These are the best tips and treatments we found. Original Listerine, even dollar store brand can work left in two hours, but I'd add some tea tree or baby oil to moisturize. And Vaseline to protect skin. But the eucalyptus may not be good on small children or pregnant women. My friend loved Cetaphil. My last two posts are all the best treatments we and others recommend. You can also consult wiki how.

Sue on September 03, 2014:

This is our third year battling for months! 70% wintergreen rubbing alcohol works good, but fumes are bad and can dry out scalp and dull hair. Use a good spray bottle and mix in some baby oil to combat dryness and fumes. And make them slide off easier. Detangle hair first if you want to comb while it's in with a good metal comb. Shampoo a couple times. The wintergreen rubbing alcohol and baby oil gel worked nicely, but took like 7 times to wash out. 15 or 20 minutes should do it. 90% really dried out my scalp and I still itched! Definitely add some baby oil. If you use it straight get it off in 15 minutes. We had some success with cetaphil but must be dried with heat and left on all night. Then redone in a week or they return. A big bottle treats a few people. Apply with tint bottle to scalp and hair and comb off and dry. One cup olive oil, one cup vinegar and two tsps tea tree oil covered for 2 hours and have paper towels on neck and forehead does work well and removes eggs but must be repeated in a week. Or use mayo and apple cider vinegar to the consistency of cake batter and 2 tsps of tea tree oil to speed up killing. Less messy than the oil for little ones and can be left on over night. Both oil and vinegar and mayo and apple cider vinegar will definitely help remove all eggs after any treatment, for about an hour, and leaves hair very healthy! Remember if suffocating with mayo or olive or coconut oil even with tea tree or peppermint it takes over 8 hours to suffocate! I would not use straight vinegar it stings and is acidic and drying. Apple cider vinegar is milder. But you can use vinegar over oil or mayo after sleeping in it for 15 minutes to help kill more and loosen nits. Or use diluted apple cider vinegar as a final rinse. With one or two parts water, but may sun lighten. Makes hair shiny. You can also just do one cup vinegar or apple cider vinegar to a two quart pitcher of water and rinse or spray and comb with a metal nit comb dunking in hot water. Changing frequently. Then rinse if you want. Do every couple days or daily till they're gone. Combing with metal nit comb should be done after all treatments. You can add a splash of vinegar to the water. Clean comb with alcohol. Someone said they used thick conditioner on dry hair for an hour then combed them off into the hot water with some vinegar Then washed hair

We do really like the wintergreen rubbing alcohol with baby oil with aloe or baby oil gel for 20 minutes. The oil gel is nicer but hard to wash out. You should re do in a few days and definitely a week! But that's true for any treatment. Except pesticides And keep checking with the metal comb. My friend loved the Cetaphil. My daughter had success with original Listerine. Probably because of the alcohol and eucalyptus. Takes 2 hours and can peel skin so use Vaseline on forehead and shoulders. And cap. Eucalyptus may not be safe on small children or pregnant women. If you use the alcohol, mix with oil, ventilate, keep moving and stay away from flame! Wash out after 15 or 20 minutes. Pesticides killed many but I stll itched after . I would sleep in conditioner or oil after one. Or use a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse after, a spoon to a cup of water, unless you use Nix! I just bought a Nix electric comb. Cause no matter what these buggers seem to come back. I recommend two follow up treatments. The comb seems easy to use . My doctor only recommended over the counter treatments that didn't work! I do highly recommend the wintergreen rubbing alcohol with a good amount of baby oil in a good spray bottle for 15 or 20 minutes. 2 shampoos should get it out. But redo in a few days then again. Or try the electric comb. If you opt for essential oils and or olive oil or mayo, be prepared to leave on over 8 hours and repeat in a few days and again in a week. You can also use olive oil and burn them with a blow dryer for about 20 minutes. These are the best tips we have tried and have children of all ages so it's a night mare! But you may want to ask a doctor first. I heard there's new treatments. Another person swore by straight apple cider vinegar on dry hair for an hour or two. It's safe, gentle on hair and can remove eggs. I'd add just a little water to color treated hair. But apple cider vinegar is much less acidic then white and milder. Wash and condition and comb.

Angie on August 08, 2014:

Cetaphil face wash is mild and non toxic and worked for us when pesticides failed. Apply with tint bottle and cover scalp thoroughly then hair. Comb off excess and wipe comb on paper towel. Then you must blow dry all the way with heat and it takes time. Cap and sleep in it then wash out. That's it! May need to retreat but high success rate without nit picking! Google it.

Sue on August 08, 2014:

In conclusion, the wintergreen rubbing alcohol (70% or 50%) mixed in a cup with baby oil GEL, about half and half, and massaged in scalp and covering hair, for 15 minutes worked best! (Ventilate and keep from flame). Wash a couple times and condition and comb well with metal nit comb, dunking in a container of hot water and changing often. Must be redone in a week, or a few days if necessary. Check by wet combing with the metal comb and dunking in hot water. It won't hurt hair or scalp. So far this has worked best! ( You may cough a little or scalp feel a little cool. But not bad.) Without the baby oil gel it's drying to scalp and fumes are bad! And hair can look dull And it didn't work as well, even with 90%! And that burned a little!

My other favorite is the mayo and apple cider vinegar to the consistency of Elmer's glue,and 2tsps tea tree oil. Massaged in scalp well and coating hair, cap, and leave in two hours .Or one cup olive oil, one cup white vinegar, 2tsps tea tree oil, and cap and leave in two hours. Put paper towels on forehead and shoulders. It's runny. Keep out of eyes! Wash both 3x and condition and comb very well with metal nit comb. Dunking comb in hot water and changing often. These are mild and leave hair very healthy! And can remove the eggs. (I think the alcohol and baby oil gel may too.) But you must redo in a week to be sure. Or sooner. Or sleep with lots of conditioner, or olive oil or coconut oil on dry hair for over 8 hours in between. You can add some tea tree oil. These are also good treatments alone. Oils must be washed 3x to get out. You should always comb well with metal nit comb dunking in hot water and changing often. Bedding and towels can be dried on high. Wash clothes worn in the last 2 days . Mop floors. Vaccum rugs. Furniture should be vacuumed and can be sprayed with alcohol but watch fumes. Ventilate. Or make a spray of 10 drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle of water. Can be used on hair too to repel! Just a drop of lavender oil on the neck may repel. But never apply straight essential oils to the head!

Crys on August 07, 2014:

Wintergreen rubbing alcohol and baby oil gel 10 or 15 minutes works great! Regular baby oil or creamy is too runny. Without it it's too harsh and drying on the scalp and hair and the fumes are bad! And it's hard to apply and dries too fast. Wash it out 2 or 3x and condition. Invest in a metal nit comb! You should repeat in a week or a few days if necessary. It can make you cough a little.

But if you want to go milder route, (you should wet comb every day anyway!), You can mix one cup of vinegar to a 2 quart pitcher of water. Or about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water. Rinse or spray hair with it. Comb well with metal nit comb, dunking it in hot water and changing often. Then rinse it out if you want. Vinegar left in can sun lighten hair!. Repeat every day or every couple days till they're gone! You can kill them first with an ounce of shampoo, an ounce of olive or cooking oil, and a teaspoon of tea tree oil. Massage in well and cap and leave in about an hour. Then wash out. You can finish with the vinegar and water rinse. You also can coat the metal nit comb with tea tree oil and comb through and leave in. Or massage a little coconut oil in the scalp if not too greasy. But never apply essential oils directly to the scalp!

Sue on August 06, 2014:

Sorry to keep commenting, but we have had great success so far with the rubbing alcohol when mixed with baby oil gel! (Or even creamy baby oil, or regular). But gel nicer and thicker! About half and half. Mixed in a cup And it's much easier to apply, much milder on hair and scalp, won't burn and fumes more mild! (Open a window or put on a fan.) It also actually works much better than just alcohol did! Even with stronger alone! It liquefies and they fall off! Wintergreen smells better and the mint may help! 70 % but 50 works. 15 minutes, to 20 tops! If you comb with it on have a container of hot water ready to dunk comb in! But stay away from flame! Wash 2x and condition and comb with metal nit comb. Every day! Dunking comb in hot water. Spray furniture too but watch the fumes! Bedding and towels can be dried on high. And wash clothes worn in last 2'days. Repeat treatment in a week or a few days if necessary. Or smother with olive oil or hair gel or conditioner overnight in between. Comb conditioner always to knock them off! This is our third year battling them and tried pesticides and everything! They are resistant! The doctor only recommended over the counter stuff but didn't work! A few will prescribe something. This year my granddaughter is getting checked with a nit comb and water every week!! My daughter has used Listerine, even dollar store brand work's. But takes 2 hours and can peel skin. Need Vaseline on forehead and shoulders .It has alcohol and eucalyptus too, which isn't good under five or on pregnant women but good for killing lice otherwise. Tea tree oil helps and olive and baby oil. So if you go the Listerine route I'd add some baby oil for moisture. But the wintergreen rubbing alcohol and baby oil gel is now my favorite treatment I think! Easy and cheap! My friend had success with Cetaphil face wash the first time! But Google it! Must be applied to scalp and hair well, combed off and blow dried all the way dry which takes awhile,then slept in. But worked for her.

Sue on August 05, 2014:

I'm sorry,the diluted apple cider vinegar (or white) with water did not kill all. You can use straight apple cider vinegar, someone said, (white is too harsh!) On damp hair, not dripping, for an hour then shampoo. Removes nits too! Or better yet, let dry on then smother and moisturize with coconut oil gently melted and cooled, or olive oil over night. Then wash 3x and condition and comb well with metal nit comb. Or mayo 9 hours with cap on then rinsed with apple cider vinegar then shampoo. Or, coat well with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap and warm with blow dryer and leave on 2 hours, then pour vinegar over it and massage in 15 minutes then wash a couple times. Always use metal nit comb I'm sharing these from wiki how and others. I always liked the mayo and apple cider vinegar to the consistency of glue and 2tsps tea tree oil, rub in scalp well and cover 2 hours ,then wash 3x and condition and comb well with metal nit comb. Or use 1cup olive oil and 1 cup vinegar and two tsps tea tree oil, 2 hours covered, but it's runnier. Have paper towels ready! Both can remove eggs and leave hair healthy. But you should comb every day and redo in a week. And maybe sleep with lots of conditioner or hair gel in a few days, which suffocates too in 9 or 10 hours. I did re ttreat however, with wintergreen rubbing alcohol and baby oil gel mixed in a cup, about half and half, you can use creamy baby oil or regular but the gel is better! You need lots! And massaged in scalp and hair and left in about 15 minutes, ( leave in no more than 20!) And that did work GREAT! Much less fumes, much milder and easier to use! Just coughed a little. Do not use without the baby oil or baby oil gel! It even works better and didn't burn or hurt hair! You can suffocate in between or next treatment with hair gel or olive oil , but remember that takes over 8 hours! Even with tea tree or peppermint! But hair gel is quite easy! Need a lot! Cover s calp and hair. Doesn't dry hard.

There's a Robe comb too for$30. I still itched after a pesticide shampoo .

Lee on July 29, 2014:

Most of the people posting here can't think any better than they type. Head Lice is not an experiment--Quit messing around and call a professional or cut the kids hair!

Sue on July 29, 2014:

The alcohol can dry out your scalp and burn slightly. And make hair dull Especially 91%! And I still itched! It shouldn't be on more than 10 or 15 minutes! I would definitely add some baby oil! Like 5 drops per ounce. Or a couple spoons to a spray bottle full But the baby oil gel is even better! You can mix in hands. With that, leave in 15 or 20 minutes. 70 % wintergreen is best. But comb every day with a metal nit comb, dipping in hot water, or they come back! And redo in a week, and in between if needed. Or mix with half shampoo and some oil, preferably tea tree, in between for ten minutes. But this is better! Add some apple cider vinegar to a lot of mayo till consistency of Elmer's glue. Add 2 spoons of tea tree oil. Rub in scalp and hair and cover. 2 hours. This is gentle and can kill all bugs and get eggs off! And leaves hair healthy! Comb well with metal nit comb, dipping in hot water! .Dry bedding and towels on high. Vaccum. Comb every day with water to check and get off any new ones. Keep rinsing comb in hot water. Redo a week to ten days. Or wer comb every day till they're gone! This is the only thing that works for me! You can use olive or vegetable oil instead and plain vinegar, but runny! It's great for hair too! Olive oil alone takes over 8 hours! Vinegar loosens nits. Tea tree speeds it up.

Sue on July 28, 2014:

The alcohol can dry out your scalp and burn slightly. Especially 91%! It shouldn't be on more than 10 or 15 minutes! I would definitely add some baby oil! Like 4 drops per ounce. But the baby oil gel is even better! With that, leave on 15 or 20. 70 % wintergreen is good. But comb every day with a metal nit comb or they come back! And redo in a week, and in between if needed. Keep rinsing comb in hot water! But this is better! Add some apple cider vinegar to a lot of mayo till consistency of Elmer's glue. Add 2 spoons of tea tree oil. Rub in scalp and hair and cover. 2 hours. This is gentle and can kill all bugs and get eggs off! Comb with metal nit comb. Dry bedding and towels on high. Vaccum. Comb every day with water to check and get off any new ones. Redo in a week to ten days. This is the only thing that works for me! You can use olive or vegetable oil instead and plain vinegar, but runny! It's great for hair too! Olive oil alone takes over 8 hours! Vinegar loosens nits. Tea tree speeds it up.

Sue on July 25, 2014:

Another excellent treatment is one cup olive or vegetable oil, or mayo,; and one cup vinegar or apple cider vinegar, and two tea spoons tea tree oil. Mix and pour carefully over head, with towel over their eyes. Rub in scalp well. Cover with a cap and have paper towels ready, it runs. Keep out of eyes! It takes 2 hours, but can kill all bugs and remove eggs. Wash 3 times and condition. Comb with conditioner in if you can. Then rinse, towel dry, and comb very well with metal nit comb. Dunk comb in hot water with a splash of vinegar. It's messy, but one treatment may do it! And it leaves hair healthy and shiny! Wet comb every day with metal nit comb to check. If you smother with olive, coconut oil or mayo, it takes over 8 hours! Even with tea tree or peppermint sometimes! Essential oils must be mixed! Now I see Rid has an electric comb I heard is good!

Sue on July 25, 2014:

Apple cider vinegar diluted in half with water for an hour works great too! And loosens nits. Or use 2 parts water but may not be as effective. You can add a little tea tree oil or baby oil to help moisturize. Cover eyes with a towel and spray on well especially on scalp. Or use a tint bottle. Put a cap on. Leave on about an hour then wash and condition. Comb well with metal nit comb. Dunk comb in hot water with a splash of the vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is a lot more mild than white. And it helps get eggs off! Repeat in a week to ten days. A teaspoon of it in a cup of water as a final rinse once a week makes hair shine! But may sun lighten. We used wintergreen rubbing alcohol with a little baby oil, sprayed on well, especially on scalp, for ten minutes, then washed and conditioned. And combed with metal nit comb. First. That worked great too. But I prefer the apple cider vinegar and half water! Check every day with water and a nit comb. Or wet with a mixture of a cup of apple cider vinegar to a pitcher of water. And comb well. Dunking comb in hot water. You may find a few dead babies the day after a treatment. Always repeat a treatment in a week or ten days.

Sue on July 25, 2014:

Yes, he's taking about rubbing alcohol. You can wash it out in ten minutes. But always comb well with metal nit comb after. And you can add a little tea tree oil or baby oil to moisturize if you want. Use a water bottle and cover eyes with a towel.

Gina on July 08, 2014:

Yup. 91% alcohol! It's the only thing that worked to get rid of lice.. I sprayed my whole house down and car with it too

alli on July 07, 2014:

Any rubbing alcohol will work as long as its 91% the 70% doesn't kill everything and just aggravates the ones it doesn't kill

brandi on July 02, 2014:

Wintergreen rubbing alcohol kills lice instantly. Not knits though.

Ashb on July 01, 2014:

I just tried rubbing alcohol then conditioner with a metal comb. The lice were falling out. I hope they stay gone.

Mastermind on June 24, 2014:

This is a great solution to lice, it kills them really easy and saves a lot of morey but sometimes the alcohol gives burns that really stings. B

Sprinkles on June 24, 2014:

Do you put the rubbing alcohol in before you take the shower or take the shower then put it in? And how long do I leave it in before I can rinse it out?

Monica on June 16, 2014:

MMy mom used this method while I was a child. I'm now turning 26and. my 6yr old brought lice home from school. I have 4 children ages 4mos to 6yrs and only my oldest 3 and myself caught it. I shaved my boys heads 5 and 6 yrs... and my daughters hair is soaked in mineral oil at the moment (I WILL NOT USE HARSH CHEMICALS ON HER DUE TO HER AGE!) I myself have alcohol in my hair and a shower cap on. after I wash this out I will have my husband soak my head in olive oil tonight and sleep with it in and when I wake tomorrow morning I will wash it out and use a METAL nit comb and our infestation will be gone! :-)

why on June 14, 2014:

i am just saying this the last two posts r mine i just taught of it and i feel that only

i am sorry

and i dint use/ try alcohol bye!!

why on June 14, 2014:

comb your hair with lice comb everyday

and dont cry after using any onther things and lose ur har

why on June 14, 2014:

anything best way is cut your hair ie bald if it wont works what u will do if it is not a perfect ones cut your har fully .

alchohol burns u u cant go and beat that person who suggested u to do like this because he/she is sme where got my piont

t on June 14, 2014:

dwcbyg hfcggafh

Chrissy on June 03, 2014:

My daughter has very long hair. She got head lice from school and my sister who is a nurse told me to put mayonnaise on her head and a shower cap for at least 3 hrs( i just leave it on over night) when I rinsed her hair there were dead bugs floating in the water. Mayo is good for your hair and helped with getting the nits out.

hi on May 26, 2014:

We used wintergreen alcohol and some babyoil mixed and saturated the hair. Let it sit for 20 minutes in a towel and then combed through. It does kill the lice. I then rinsed and then used white vinegar to help loosen the eggs. I saturated the hair and combed again. My daughter then rinsed it with very warm water and then shampoo'd with tea tree and conditioned. We will do again in 7 days if we have to. But next time with Listerine. We hear that works great too. Been barreling for a

PS on May 21, 2014:

The bestest way......CUT YOUR HAIRS!!!!!!!!!

hey on May 09, 2014:

this works I just used in on my hair I used 91% proof rubbing alcohol and the dead lice were just falling out before I even started combing it out.. I have long thick hair so I had to buy two bottles of it but it works!!! And for my daughter who is two I didn't use it on her I covered her hair in baby oil and combed it out with a metal lice comb...and that worked also !!!

PLEASE HELP!!! ASAP on May 03, 2014:

Are u talking liquor or only rubbing alcohol. Not comfortable with using rubbing alcohol in a 2.5 year olds head. And if liquor what kinds works best.Need help ASAP Please!!Nicole

Cindy on April 18, 2014:

Does my hair have to be dry

Joyce on April 04, 2014:

Hi i am here to tell you that YES wintergreen alcohol works on killing these nasty things! I just tried it after i tried everything else and they were falling out dead, but to get rid of the smell you have to wash your hair twice after you use it.

helen rose on March 30, 2014:

Adwhat kind of oil rubbing oil do you use?.

hey on March 25, 2014:

can i use my shampoo after putting alchol on hair

melonio on February 24, 2014:

My daughter got headlice once again from another child.. besides for the shampoo, does the baby oil really wrk?

Harsh but works on February 10, 2014:

Kerosine works wicked. U dilute it heaps in a buck of water and just poor it over your hair then wrap it in a towel for about 15 min then wash out. It eradicates lice and eggs ,(as long as the solution is strong enough), only down side is if itt leaves your hair smelling like kero for a while . Although tying it up seems to keep it from smelling too strongly.

OMG! on February 06, 2014:

it works ! i have clean , lice free hair ! yaaaaaaay my hair hasn't had lice for a week now ! your tha best ! SMART AND CHEAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

secret on February 06, 2014:

i hate it , i tried it and now i'm BALD! ugh!

veronica dungan on January 27, 2014:

i used dog lotion for itch and it nearly burned m y scalp i was in great pain for a few min ut s had to use calamine lotion i will never never use dog medications again

lollipop on January 25, 2014:

Does it cure eggs?

sun on January 04, 2014:

How to get nits out easier

amartin on December 30, 2013:

I have very thick hair I need to now how to get rid of these things. My 3 year old caught them from a girl from school and gave to me because I have thick and long hair im having hard time getting rid of them... I need advice and help please.

app on December 23, 2013:

it is not dat safe so it shld not be used

uest on December 12, 2013:

What kind of alcohol?i no this sounds daft but normal plain alcohol

dadof3girls on December 01, 2013:

What's the ratio of alcohol and oil gel, is half and half

yuvia on November 27, 2013:

Alcohol works. I used it, waited 15 minutes and comb out my hair with a comb and they fell out dead. I recommend washing your hair with a bit of conditioner so your hair won't smell like alcohol.

Mommaof3girls29 on November 12, 2013:

u leave it on while ur combing out the head lice and eggs and then you go wash there hair and then repeat it all over again a couple of days later for a week and let me tell u it works wonders i did it and now my kids dont have it no more nor do i..... i would recommend it to anyone who has this nasty problem

Carrie on November 06, 2013:


How long do you leave on the alcohol baby oil combination?

Mommaof3girls29 on November 06, 2013:

Wintergreen rubbin alcohol does in fact kill head lice. I have a 9 year old and a 5 year old girls that got head lice and got a phone call that my children got head lice and I had to pick them up from school now I've been battling this for almost 2 years with different treatments all from the lice killing treatments to the doctor giving me something for them and it didn't work til today I used wintergreen rubbing alcohol and baby oil gel and it worked wonders I mean wonders what the alcohol and the gel does is it loosens the glue on the nits so it's easier for u to comb them out and I would use the metal comb just my choice of comb and go to town on there hair. And I've even treated my hair too. Now u have to do it again a couple of days later to catch the ones that hadn't hatched yet and get those ones but when I did that wintergreen and the baby oil gel the nits and bugs were falling out my kids hair and I was amazed as to it working cuz I didn't believed it would work but it did. Lice don't like greasy hair cuz they can't latch on to the hair so I would tell anyone who needs advice to use this it works wonders. Also tell ur kids not to share anyone's combs brushes or hats anything that can come in contact with getting lice again cuz u will be soon it all over again. I hope this helps someone else in the future. :)

Maria on October 18, 2013:

Be very careful as this can lead to dangerous burns, alcohol is very flammable. Lice won't medically harm you but the burns kids get from this can - that's probably why they don't recommend it.

mtl4 on August 25, 2013:

Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol absolutely does work and should be used on anyone in the house when lice are first found on a family member's head. Have the person lie down and pour the entire bottle into the hair and let it sit for 10-15 minutes (be careful of the eyes, stings badly). Rinse off in the shower (dead lice will pour out of the hair) and then towel dry the hair. If nits (eggs) are found on the hair, you'll want to use a lice treatment (often sold as Nix but look for 1% permethrin on the bottle, it is definitely more effective than pyrethrin treatments). Focus your efforts on getting it to the scalp area, wait 10-15 mins and then rinse again. Comb out the nits with a metal nit comb if you can find one. Don't wash the hair for 1 day after the treatment. Spray everyone's head (use a spray bottle) with alcohol nightly focusing at the roots of the hair and allow to air dry to ensure any nits that hatch are dead before they can lay more eggs. Yes, it's bad for the hair but believe me lice are far worse than dandruf or split ends. Continue to use the alcohol to disinfect surfaces in the house, sheets/pillows/clothes should go in the dryer (does not need to be washed too, dryer heat and lack of humidity will kill the eggs) every day for at least a week. Recheck family members daily until no sign of lice or nits are present anymore.

Irma on August 06, 2013:

we use alcohol 70 0/0 .It did not word.

BabyGirl120032001 on August 06, 2013:

Yes rubbing alcohol works I'm using it right now yes it may burn the scalp due to bug bites and scratching I put it on at bedtime and wake up the next morning to comb then wash ur hair another thing lice don't like is strawberry shampoo... the best thing to use to prevent lice is take a bottle of strawberry shampoo and put alcohol in it and use it daily also use pink conditioner u can buy it at any dollar stores or some type of oil like baby oil to prefer it because it makes the hair oily for the bugs to stay in the hair

umm... on February 06, 2013:

does this make an efect on your hair affter wards?

n.barber on February 03, 2013:

How long do you leave it on your head

d on September 11, 2012:

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krystal on July 23, 2012:

rubbing alcohol does not kill them just irritates them

me on July 10, 2012:

any specific alcohol?

jaime on June 23, 2012:

I wanna no if rubbing alcohol is the same as wat ur saying

L***** on June 07, 2012:

Does Rubbing Alcohol work as well?

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