How To Get Rid of Lice

If you are reading this post it’s probably because you just found a louse in your child’s hair (or your own! Yuuuck!) or even worse, the school nurse just did.  Please take a deep breath.  When I found a louse in my hair I felt like setting my head on fire and running screaming down the street. Do not do this! Fight the instinct!

Lice are actually not a big deal. I know they seem like a big deal. You’re talking about live bugs! In your hair! Sucking your blood! It’s like a mini horror movie. But lice are not the end of the world. Nobody is going to die of the bubonic plague. You won’t get some horrid disease. It’s just embarassing. But you’re in good company. Most moms I know have been down the Lice Road and have nothing but empathy for you. But they still don’t want your kids coming around theirs. Nothing personal.

My seven-year-old brought lice home toward the end of the last school year and was kind enough to give it to everyone in the house. We battled it off and on all summer and into the fall and finally–FINALLY–we are lice-free several months later. We tried pretty much everything to get rid of it and I’m here to tell you everything I learned about how to kill the lice without killing yourself. Seriously, some days after picking the nits on six kids, committing suicide seemed pretty tempting. (Totally kidding! But if your kids have had lice you know what I’m talking about.)

So, you think your child might have lice? 

The first weapon in your anti-lice arsenal is this: a Licemeister comb. The traditional lice combs are completely worthless. Their teeth are much too far apart. You need a comb with strong metal teeth that are incredibly close together. Sometimes Walgreens or CVS will carry them (or something similar. Although they do carry them online. How dumb is that? Like you’re just supposed to live with lice for ten days while you’re waiting for the comb to arrive!). If you live in the Austin area they can be found at People’s Pharmacy. Or you can do a search here to find one locally. The combs are about $15 and completely worth it. Every parent needs one of these!

There are essentially three phases of lice: eggs (called nits), babies (called instars. Which is way too pleasant of a name. They ought to be called Baby Death Suckers or something similarly alarming), and full-grown revolting adult lice.

The good news is that lice can’t jump. The bad news is, well, everything else. Lice are sneaky bugs that move really fast. While they won’t jump from head to head, they can run from head to head pretty quickly. We all know not to share hairbrushes or hats. That’s good advice. Sleepovers are a really common place to pick up lice. All those lousy heads sleeping right next to each other . . . . My head is itching just thinking about it.

A nit looks like a super teensy little grain of rice. The one way to tell the difference between a nit and a regular old hair flaky is that a nit is really hard to get off the hair shaft. Like, almost impossible. You can get them off with the Licemeister or your fingernails or you can do what one of my friends does: she just pulls the individual hair out. If you’ve got a big infestation your child will probably not be too thrilled about that. Nits are usually found around the back of the head near the neck or behind the ears. Grown up lice live towards the crown.

If you’ve found a nit, you’ll want to check for live lice. This is my preferred method: Get your licemeister, a white bowl filled with warm water (the bowl doesn’t have to be white but that’s easiest for spotting lice) and a bunch of paper towels. I never let my kids touch my iphone or iPad normally, but I let them have a turn playing games while I’m on lice patrol. (Because of this whenever I hear the sounds for Arabella’s favorite game “Where’s my Water” I automatically get the heebie-jeebies. It’s my Pavlovian reaction since she never plays the game any other time.)

Brush the hair thoroughly. (Keep your hair brushes in the freezer during your infestation. Lice can’t live in frozen temps.) Pin up all the hair except for a section at the back of the head.


Starting right next to the scalp, pull the lice comb through a small section of hair.

After each pass through a section of hair, rinse the comb in the bowl of water. You may see some lice on the comb and that’s horrifying and depressing and strangely satisfying all at the same time. But they’ll come off the comb once you swizzle it around in the water. See all those teensy black dots? Those are baby lice. They’re like the tiniest little back grains of rice.

After you’ve rinsed off the comb, wipe it on a paper towel. The licemeister comes with a pick to clean out the tines, but I usually save that til the end. The white paper towel is an excellent way to see what’s come out of your child’s head. Repeat this across the loose section of hair then take another section from the hair clip. Repeat until you’ve gone through all the hair. Heaven help you if you’ve got daughters with long curly hair. If you have boys, lucky you. It’s about a million times easier. A nice buzz cut is a good idea too. Just make sure you pop the clippers in the freezer when you’re done. That’s the best way to kill lice. They can’t survive an hour in the freezer.


If you find a louse or nit: Please don’t be in denial. If you see something suspicious, just treat it. Lice isn’t like a cough where most likely it will go away. It’s only going to get worse.

Next thing is that you’ll probably want to do a search on the internet to find a method of curing it. Which is probably how you found this blog post. Your first thought was probably to go get some lice shampoo at the drugstore and that’s that, right? Au contraire. Lice shampoo is only about 10-20% effective. There are now lice in many states that are completely resistant to traditional lice shampoos. We happen to have a Brazilian strain here in Texas that chemicals don’t seem to effect at all. Isn’t that lovely?

My doctor recommended a new prescription shampoo that costs $195. That’s totally out of my budget but maybe you’re OK with that. If so, go talk to your doctor.

You’ll find lots of natural cures like mayonnaise, olive oil and tea tree oil. While tea tree oil is somewhat effective as a lice deterrent, it’s not going to get rid of the lice that are already living on your kids’ heads.  As for mayo and olive oil, they simply don’t work. I’ve soaked my kids’ heads with olive oil, wrapped them in plastic wrap all day, then rinsed off after 12 hours. There were still live lice after all that. Olive oil might smother some lice but all it takes is one pregnant louse to ruin your sanity. I have eight people’s heads to try out methods on (six kids plus mine and my husbands. Yes, we’ve all had it at one time!), so when I say something works or doesn’t work, remember that I’ve had to kill a lot of lice.  A lot.

After bewailing my pestilence-filled life over the interwebs, one of my favorite bloggers came to the rescue. Karen from SuburbanCorrespondent shared the news that changed my life. There is a sure-fire way to cure lice and all you need are a few bottles of Cetaphil cleanser and a blow dryer. Yes, Cetaphil cleanser. Not the lotion. You want the Gentle Cleanser for all skin types. It’s about $8-12 per bottle.

Cetaphil for lice

The cetaphil treatment is actually patented. You can read all about it here. basically it’s 95% effective and the best part is that there isn’t the massive laundry overhaul that normal treatment requires (although I do that anyway since it can’t hurt. If you want to wash everything I high recommend using a laundry mat where you can get everything clean in one two hour period) and there is no nit-picking required (unless your kids go to school at a place with a no-nit policy).

Please go to the official website to read about the details of the treatment (yes, you first have to check a box saying you promise to read the directions completely). But here is the gyst: in an orderly fashion squirt an entire bottle of Cetaphil on your child’s head. it’s got to cover absolutely every hair. The first time I did this treatment I really skimped on Ada’s head because she has short-ish hair and it’s not terribly thick. It seemed like all the hair was saturated with Cetaphil even though I’d only used about a third of a bottle. Sure enough when I went to blow dry her hair, there were several areas that hadn’t gotten any Cetaphil on them. If you’re going to all this trouble, please follow the directions exactly! Consider this your #1 most important job!

Once the hair is throughly saturated with Cetaphil, use a comb to remove as much as possible. If your kids have fine hair you can even use the Licemeister. Wipe the excess Cetaphil on the towel. You’ll probably see little lice getting combed out. Die, lice, die!

Now comes the most trying part. You have to blow dry the Cetaphil-covered hair. The reason this method works is that the lice are essential trapped and smothered. They are not killed by the chemicals in the Cetaphil so there is no danger of building up resistance like lice previously have with the over-the-counter shampoos. And unlike mayo or olive oil, the lice are trapped and all air is cut off. There is no stopping a louse that wants to run for it when it’s merely covered with oil.

The problem with the blow-dry is that it takes forever. Like at least half an hour. My kids and I both sit down while I do it or my legs will start to get tired after a while. But it must be done. Once the hair is dry, send your kids to bed (it’s got to stay on overnight so do it in the evening) and rinse it all out in the morning.

This process must be repeated once a week, three times. Due to the louse’s life-cycle, three times one week apart is necessary. It’s a pain, yes. But so is starting the whole process over again. Commit to three weeks or you’ll regret it. I know after the second week you’re going to feel like the third week is overkill. It’s not. Just do it.

I would like to bear my testimony that the Cetaphil method really does work. I pity you if you have lice but there is help (besides shaving your kids bald or never leaving the house). May the lice gods smile on you!

116 thoughts on “How To Get Rid of Lice

  1. You are a better woman than I – if the boys get it, I buzz their hair right off. I am SO GLAD the Cetaphil worked for you, too. Thanks for spreading the word! And thanks for acknowledging that, even though lice are not the bubonic plague, they still have the potential to totally ruin your life, at least temporarily. I completely understand that impulse to set your own head on fire.

    I’m going to order my comb right now. Oh, and when I found a nit, I snipped the entire hair off with a pair of scissors. That way I could be sure of getting it.

        1. Ohhhhhh thank you for the tip. I work on a school bus and swear I have had lice for years!!! I thought I had tried everything. I’m sitting in my bed now with the shower cap on after dousing the cetephil and blow drying for about 30 minutes.Please let this be the charmer. They BITE my face..neck.. eyebrows. Next will be terpentine. Phil Robertson (duck dynasty)says it cures everything. Just joking.

        2. This process must be repeated once a week, three times. Due to the louse’s life-cycle, three times one week apart is necessary

          Im sorry can please explain this

          1. It means that there needs to be 3 separate treatments 1 week apart from each other.

      1. Mine too. Both of my girls and they have super long hair. All their friends have the same problem. It’s an epidemic.

      2. My grandaughter has it again too… third time this school season.. schooll is doing relatively nothing.

  2. WHERE WERE YOU IN JUNE!!!! My mother-in-law got the Brazilian strain of lice and spent 8 weeks trying everything you mentioned in this post, EXCEPT the licemeister (LOVE that name!) and the Cetaphil. She almost lost her mind AND her scalp. (Excessive brushing, picking, and blowdrying led to bleeding. UGhh!)

  3. Somewhere says throw all the items that have come in contact with the lice in the freezer for a few weeks. I’m sorry, but my freezer barely has room for the 2 year-old frozen mystery meat that I’ve forgotten about much less pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, mattresses, etc. We had to throw away the most favorite of all favorites stuffed animal to be sure we got rid of the lice. Luckily we found two more of this obscure toy and bought them for replacement and back up.

    1. We also have been fighting this since school was out. We are going to start the cetaphil treatment but does heat kill them on blankets and pillows? What about furniture?

  4. I am putting this in my back pocket because we both know I’ve dealt with this WAY more times than I think is fair! Love the testimony part!! No I’m going to go scratch my scalp!

  5. I read this yesterday. And had lice nightmares last night. I decided I’m going to order that comb and have cetaphil on hand, just in case. Do you need an entire bottle for EACH treatment??? Yowsa.

    1. Hello my name is Tracey. My youngest sons are literally going through this treatment as I speak. My 11 year -old, after spending the night, shares that the younger sister of his best friend, has lice. Wow! One would think they would want to keep others away, but here we are, yes we. Because of taking care and sharing endless amounts of hugs, I too, found nits , but no adults. Because of two heads needing treatment, we went with this form of treatment given its clinical trials. It is time consuming and our boys have 4 hours to go, but I want this gone! Also, because we had such a difficult time finding this brush, my husband wound up purchasing a Rid treatment. Since we had bought two big containers of the cleanser, I went with the Rid treatment for myself . To be honest, having thick long hair with the brush hurt like heck but because of the oily solution this is why I used Rid, and despite my sons being bored- I chose to do this in the morning where I would have more energy and have more time because bedtime is just too demanding of my time .They Are playing video games and hopefully the last hours go by quick, just have to do this two more times: 1/wk

  6. WOW! What a production! I knew you were fighting it when I moved from Austin, but I had no idea it had gone ON AND ON! And who would have guessed that treatment, let alone tried it? Only a truly desperate mother! But I’m so glad you wrote about it! I am not immune just because I live alone. I DO tend kids! I hope the world reads this.

    Question: After you rinse it all out, are the little nits still stuck to the hair? Do you still have to comb them out?

    Now tell us how to get rid of those little weevil bugs in the pantry – FOREVER! (Don’t tell me to move into an igloo!)

    1. Weevils are definitely disgusting! You do need to throw out the flour, rice,etc and clean your current containers. However it is easy to prevent future infestations. They hate bay leaves. Just 1 dried bay leaf in a container, even the big 10 gallon storage containers has kept my house weevil free for over 10 years. Good luck!

      1. Also, wipe down all the shelves with warm soapy water to kill any eggs. And store your grains in plastic containers where they don’t get any air circulation. It keeps it fresh and keeps them from getting in or out. 🙂

      2. My mom always had those big buckets of flower, rice and sugar and I remeber she anyways had a bay leaf right inside on top. Worked like a charm.

  7. Oh, your timing couldn’t be better. Here I thought with a family of boys that I was off the lice hook. That was until last week. Thank you for saving me from buying every lice removal product that Walgreen’s sells. Cetaphil, here we come!

  8. Reading this post totally gave me the heebie jeebies and now I can’t stop scratching my head!

    I had lice twice, once in high school and once in collage while living in India. The baffling thing is that in India, my hut-mate, who slept on a mat 2 inches away from my mat, under a mosquito netting, and we both had waist length hair, did NOT get them and I did! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? Anyway, even thinking about finding those horrible things in my kids’ hair makes me want to cry. I think it took me 3 years after the 2nd lice incident to stop constantly feeling my hair roots for nits! EEEEEEWWWWW!

  9. I wonder if instead of using a hair-blower for 30 minutes, if you could get one of those old perm-dryers. You know, the old plastic bowl that goes over you head at the salon thing? I swear I’ve seen a couple of those at Goodwill. Then again, that just might be where lice come from.

  10. Was your daughters hair still super sticky after it was dried? I applied it to my daughters head about 7hrs ago, dried and dried and dried then gave up and put it in a shower cap to give her a break. Just went back to dry and every louse I found (and pulled out)was dead but her hair was still super, super sticky. So we dried for another 45 mins, put it back in the cap and sent her to bed.
    This is my first go around with lice as a parent; I’ve been lucky for 14 years. I’m really hoping that we get rid of it right away as we have 4 kids!

    1. Once the hair had dried it felt fine. Maybe a little stringy but nothing too strange. I had combed a ton of cetphil out of it first, though. If you dry it and there’s still too much cetaphil maybe it will be super sticky.

      Also, make sure you are using Cetaphil Gental Cleanser for all skin types. The bottle looks just like Cetphil cleanser for normal to oily skin and also like the cetaphil lotions. Maybe that’s the problem.

      Good luck!!!!

  11. I got lice (I think from a trip to S. America — I’m pretty sure I could ID the hotel) when I was preggo and that comb saved us. My dh would comb every night while I tried not to vomit (I was in the morning sick stage).

    My head itches now.

  12. p.s. Another way I’ve seen/experienced to test if they are nits vs. dried skin flakes is that they ‘pop’ when pushed between the flat-ish parts of your fingernails. I know it’s gross, but it helps to know if you have never seen one.

    Thanks to my mission companion for that knowledge. I was fortunate to never get them on my mission (don’t ask me how).

  13. Cetaphil TOTALLY works! We had the distinct pleasure of headlice while on vacation in Florida. Bought the cetaphil and voila’ it worked!

  14. I have very long and thick hair and once had lice. Using the comp was very painful until I put a lot of hair conditioner on it. Since it is often white, you see the nits and lice very good and it does not hurt. I highly recommend the conditioner!

  15. i put cetaphil,and its been 14 hours,but i still can feel them.what to do?keep longer,or wash?and still do 2 more treatments if this failed?

    1. My daughter has experience hope you washed it out but if I was you do it every 7 days 2 more times . Make sure you use that comb.Faithfully . Really only thing that you will make sure the infestation totally is gone.

  16. I did cetaphil last night about to wash it out and I got them from my grandkids. It makes me Ill . Worst part is I think I have had them for up to 5 months I never thought about that I just thought it was my new medication. And Trust Me I Am Now Flipping Out.I Also Have big sores exactly where you said. I’m great full you said what size live where huge sores behind ears lymph nodes totally swollen. But I have some form of leukemia so that’s natural for me. My whole head is full of sores this is scary not even thinking about lice I will be freaking out till my head Heals I bought 3 bottles of cetaphil guess I’m fortunate they sold the metal comb. I feel so gross just knowing it is lice. It sickens me to my very core.

    1. Disclamer: I’m not a doctor, but even with leukemia, the sores sound more like you might have an infection of scabies, instead of lice! Or you may be allergic to an ingredient in the Cetaphil. Might want to check with a dermatologist…

    1. I was wondering if the bonnet dryer would be strong enough to be successful. So you were successful with the Cetaphil method with the bonnet dryer?

  17. I’m so glad to hear these testimonials! I found the Nuvo website earlier today and used the Cetaphil cleanser on my daughter. I have a professional hood dryer and used that. It was dry in half an hour. I did my own hair too, just in case. I didn’t have that fabulous comb you’re talking about though. I had to use the one that came in the Nix kit I bought over the weekend. I only got two baby lice with that comb. I ordered the ‘good’ comb from Amazon today. It’s supposed to come tomorrow. Maybe I’ll use it on my daughter tomorrow after I rinse the Cetaphil out. School starts next week Wednesday and I’ve got to get rid of these! At least she will have had two Cetaphil treatments by then.

  18. Yes. Heaven help me. I’ve got two daughters with long, curly hair, along with two sons with curly hair and one daughter with straight hair. I’ve been a mom for nearly 17 years, and like you, have been able to avoid lice. I guess our number was up because yesterday patient zero, my thirteen year old son asked me, “Mom. Can you check my head? I think I have lice.”. As soon as I parted his lovely blond curls, I saw a wiggling louse. OH EMM GEEE. That’s not a good sign. This child was INFESTED. He received a buzz cut. So sad. Then I spent all morning picking nits our of my kid’s hair before applying the Cetaphil and blow drying. It took all day. I had found this method the first time the dreaded notice of lice in the classroom came home, but never needed it. I’m glad to hear it worked for another mom of many. I’ll be spending the next two Sundays doing the same thing. If it gets rid of these little demons, it will have all been worth it. Thanks for the post.

  19. Thank you, Hildie. I just found the link to your post on the Cetaphil method website. We’ll be doing this with all three children and my husband and I tonight. My pediatric nurse recommended the Cetaphil after I told her I found live lice in my kid’s hair the morning after the Nix treatment. So crestfallen after all of that tedious work. Anyway, I’m going to try to stop dwelling on how labor-intensive the treatment is and focus on getting the house in order! Cetaphil technique tonight.

    Btw, yesterday was one of the strangest days I’ve ever experienced. And I had premature twins with health issues! I endured a horrific potty training experience with my son! This was different. I’m grateful my kids are relatively healthy right now, but I nearly lost it twice yesterday and then cried like baby this morning when my mom called. It is STRESSFUL as heck to a) overhaul entire house; 2) endure the labor of nit-picking, and 3) (and possibly worst) Not know when the kids are going to be allowed back in school. It is utterly disruptive to life as we know it. And yet it really poses no health risk to anyone. Grand.

    Once again, thank you for this post! You saved me from the loony bin today.

  20. I did the cetaphil the first sight of lice in both my little girls. It’s been two days since I rinsed out the cetaphil, I’m still finding nits. Is this normal and do I comb and pick them out every day for three weeks? My poor girls are miserable 🙁

    1. No, you don’t need to pick the nits out unless you go to a school that won’t let the girls attend if there are any nits. Here’s the deal: the nits will hatch. There is no known nit-killer. But the thing about doing cetaphil every week is that the lice will be killed after they hatch but before they can lay additional eggs. Which is why it’s essential that you do cetaphil for three weeks. Eventually you will kill them at the phase in their life cycle before they can reproduce. Stay strong!

  21. So glad I found this! I am getting ready to do this on myself, my husband, and my two year old son. We ALL have LONG thick curly hair. We have done two nix treatments with no luck. Do you wash normally in between the cetaphil treatments?

  22. I have been there. More times than I would like. I was given similar advice from the school nurse. Question is, nurse said to use the lotion. I was given almost the same instructions except I wasn’t given the repeat three times or the let it sit overnight part. I am glad to know that this treatment is worth the time. I am now going to try to find your comb because you are right, the other comb is terrible and I can’t get the little buggers out of it once they are in the comb. I even tried the water trick and the towel before I read it here so I am happy that I was right about something! Thanks!

  23. Hi Hildie,
    Guess what I am doing today?! I started to see these very little white things on my daughters hair and she had been scratching. I obviously didn’t want to believe what I was seeing but after talking to a nurse on the phone, I had to admit that they are nits. I guess and maybe this doesn’t really mean anything, but there are not a lot of them. That is why I wasn’t sure if it was just dry skin or nits. But these suckers are sticking to the hair shaft so… they are nits. The nurse suggested the Cetaphil route so we are at the drying stage. I just read your last post about the nits actually hatching. That was a little surprise for me.
    So even after doing this I should expect to see lice? I’m scratching my own head now!
    But as you said this will be the first treatment of three so I’m in it for long haul I guess.
    Thank you for posting this!

    1. Good luck, Debb. Yes, there might still be some live lice after the first treatment if they hatched after you did the cetaphil (nothing will kill the eggs so your only choice is to let them hatch or to cut the individual hairs that have eggs stuck to them). But you will kill the live lice with the second treatment of Cetaphil before they are old enough to reproduce. The third and last dose will make sure everything is dead, dead, dead. Hope this is your last bout with lice EVER!

  24. Is it the blow drying that kills the lice because I kinda skimped on it but i still want the same result- to get rid of these damn headlice!!

  25. Question……do you recommend everyone in the family have their head done with this procedure even if we are not sure if everyone has lice or not? My stepdaughters have lice and their mom was treating it for 10 days before they came to our house, using over the counter lice treatments and the mayo trick. We checked our heads and my 2 daughters and didn’t see anything questionable. My step daughters came over 2 days ago and we have been taking precautions so hopefully none of us get it but I am unsure if we are being successful or not. We are going thru their hair everyday and I think I found nits on one of them. I just itch all the time thinking about it but I can’t stop thinking about it and obessing about it. I suggested to my husband that we should all do the treatment and his ex to have their family do it too….just to be on the safe side. What are your thoughts?

  26. OMG!!! This is the third time we have had live since last summer! I have all boys so I don’t understand how they keep getting it! I will try your method as soon as I get off of here. I live in Florida so perhaps that is the problem. In any event thank you for sharing this!!!

  27. Thanks for your post. My daughter came home with lice a couple of months ago. We tried the Nix treatment recommended by her pediatrician’s office and were horrified two days later to find lice still alive on her head. After talking with a friend I then made my poor baby sleep with her head coated in mayo and wrapped up in a shower cap. Still upon close inspection I found a survivor. At the end of my rope, I sought advice from a different nurse who encouraged me to look up the Nuvo method. It was a little time consuming, but not nearly as time consuming as trying to pick out each individual nit, which I wanted to do anyway because eeeewwwww I was so completely grossed out by the whole thing. The nuvo method worked well for us. Some tips I learned (my daughter has very long wavy/curly hair): use hair clips to pin up the top and sides of the hair into sections. Apply the cleanser according to the instructions on each individual section. This makes it much easier to apply it to the scalp without causing crazy tangles of hair. Combing and drying the hair in sections was also much easier to manage.

    Good luck everyone! Die lice die!

  28. I have been battling these things sense July. I think they are gone and then both of my boys come up with them again, and now I HAVE THEM!!!! I have bought the comb and used it on myself and both boys and I got more of them little buggers out then I have ever got with the little plastic combs. I am going to go out and buy some of the Cetaphil as soon as I get off of work today. Hope and pray this will end this cycle before I drive myself crazy!

  29. First of all I’d like to say a huge thank you. I can’t wait to get and try this today after my kids get home from school! We have been battling lice since after thanksgiving. Like you I thought I had really lucked out having a 7th grader and 4th grader and never having to deal with it. When my 7th grade daughter started itching her head I thought just the cold weather had brought on dry scalp on closer inspection and a little denial I found lice. Not total infestation but enough for it to trickle down to the 4th grade brother and lastly the 2 yr old. The 2 yr old most generally sleeps with my husband and I so throw us in too!! After spending over $100 to date on sprays, shampoo, combs, gels you name it we are still treating and still seeing a bug here and there!! I have sheets in the washer as we speak bc of this!!
    I just had a couple questions first being I have washed sheets pillows stuffed animals everytime I’ve treated and not that I mind but is it necessary?? I didn’t see it mentioned maybe my excitement over the actual treatment I missed that part. My second question is do you use the whole bottle one every hair length? I have two boys with really short hair, not buzzed but a clippered crew cut, and I just wasn’t sure if I could maybe split a bottle between them?? Sane with husband? Seeing as we will all be getting treated with this method hoping to eliminate them FOREVER!!….or at least until the next time it comes home!!
    Thank you again for the article. I live in Oklahoma and that’s close enough, if I could, I’d just HUG you!!

    1. Hi Kristi,
      Hopefully you don’t need this reply anymore! But just in case: I do wash the sheets and pillows every time I do a lice treatment. Just because, why not? But I draw the line at stuffed animals.

      I don’t use a whole bottle of stuff on the boys. I usually cut their hair REALLY short with clippers ahead of time (throw them in the freezer for an hour afterwards to kill of any bugs that may be stowing away. The clippers, not your sons.) Then I only need maybe a third of a bottle of Cetaphil per boy.

  30. I just did my second Cetaphil treatment, and I’m Still experiencing some “movement(s)” on my scalp. Am I not putting enough on? I have long light blonde hair, that’s more than halfway down my back and I’m using 8 ounces at a time. Should I use more? I got these darn blood suckers from my 56 year old neighbor, whose had them “unknowingly” for Over 4-5 months, she thought she had fleas.
    Thanks for your tips & for sharing!

    1. Margie, You really need to use an entire bottle. I know it seems excessive but if there is just one single louse that doesn’t get killed it can sabotage the entire thing. Although there is the possibility that you’ve just had some eggs hatch. In that case, you’re second dose of cetaphil should kill them before they have eggs. It’s so important to use an entire bottle and do the treatment three times one week apart. Good luck!

      1. Hildie,
        Thank you for answering my question so quickly, I appreciate it. I’m going to wait 5-6 days and buy 2 more bottles of Cetaphil and do it by the book!
        Again thank you!

  31. My step daughter has been battling lice off and on (mostly on) since September! We are getting rid of it and then she goes back to her moms house and gets it again. Everytime she gets it we are never told about it. I just do routine checks and eventually find it. This last time she was home for 4 days and I had no clue she had it. I have it now and our 4 yr old has it now. Last night I tried the Olive oil method. All the lice I removed seemed to be dead but I still couldn’t get the eggs out. I read an article that said Apple Cider Vinegar will dissolve the sticky stuff around the eggs and allow them to be removed easily. Have you ever heard of this method and/or tried it? Our main issue is that she is with us for 7 days and then with her mom for 7 days. I know if we mention the treatment she won’t use it. And she will continue to get them again and again! What do you recommend for furniture? I have vacuumed thousands of times and washed sheets, sprayed pillows, washed pillows. This seems like a nightmare that will never end! If I do the treatment today, will I be defeating the purpose if I do it again on Sunday? I wish I would’ve found this post last night. I could’ve treated her hair and then did it again before she went back to lice land. We bought some of that shampoo that claims to prevent lice if you don’t have it. Have you had any experience with that? I really enjoyed the post, it was very helpful! I am at the end of my rope here. This has gone on so long and I just don’t understand how someone can neglect their home and children in such a way that it continues to come back time after time. Hopefully you can answer some of my questions?

  32. Helo Hildie, we are in day 13 of trying to manage headlice. We did every over the counter product for 12 days unsuccessfully. We had also daily combing and individual nit picking, all house washed daily and clothing, bedding etc. We have spent a fortune and I have found it hard to concentrate at work with the tiredness and distress when can feel the buggers in my hair. We did cetaphil completely by the nuvo instructions last night,and I was so hopeful. I disappointingly can still feel the lice crawling around my head today. I have booked a specialist tomorrow but it is another cost adnd 4 hour drive to get there. 1. How can I help protect my child getting these again. 2. Any advice as to why cetaphil may not have worked for me. 3. My son and husband have a buzz cut, beeen treated also with cetaphil, I can’t see anything on them, i intend to do the other two treatment on them, are they clear. 4. I have been wearing a shower cap and tights on head at night, how can I prevent my husband getting them from me. The kids love jumping into bed in the morning, and how can I protect them from getting the lice also from me? Would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

  33. Thank you so much for all your advice! I’ve been a mom for 11 years and I have three kids. I’ve never had to deal with lice before. I’ve never had it and neither have my kids….until NOW. I’m realizing now how stressful it is!! My oldest daughter was on her first overnight camp trip with her 5th grade class when my husband and I received a phone call at 11:00 at night on my daughter’s first night away from her teacher saying that we needed to come pick her up because she had lice! They were found as they were helping my daughter brush and dry her hair before bed. We had to go pick her up at midnight from camp and she was devastated! My heart broke for her. My daughter has very long and very thick blonde hair. It’s very well past her butt! So, I went to Walmart that same night and bought the Rid lice treatment kit. As long as her hair is, you can imagine how long that took…I spent over three hours treating her hair. She was able to go back to camp the next day after she got a treatment done, but of course the next day I checked my other two and they had lice too! My oldest daughter obviously contracted them first as she had a bad case of them while my other two didn’t show as much as an infestation. I did the Rid treatment on them as well. My oldest daughter had so many lice and nits come out during the combing process. It’s been four days and I noticed her scratching a lot. I checked her again and found more live lice! We did a combing session again and again, I combed out many baby lice and more nits! It’s so frusterating!! We have found out that there is a lice breakout at school and several girls were sent home from camp due to lice. After I treated the kids, I bagged and washed EVERYTHING as I was told. Including spraying….Now that I’m finding more lice, am I supposed to rewash everything? It took days to get everything washed! Not to mention all the detergent I went thru…oh geez! Now my husband who was checking my hair, found a bunch of nits in my hair!!! He wasn’t able to find any live lice as my hair is also very long and very, very thick! My hair is down to my butt and real dark brown. So I’m sure the nasty little parasites are in there, it’s just hard to see them. So, my wonderful husband bought a box of Rid treatment for me and treated my hair. However, it was real hard and frusterating for him to do the combing step. My poor husband tried, yet my hair is so thick it kept knotting up. I had him stop so I haven’t had my hair combed out. Any suggestions? My head won’t stop itching! I want to get rid of these stressful bugs!!

    1. Tracy I feel your pain. I live with a gentleman and help him take care of his kids when they are here. Their mom and he are divorced and because of recent health issues of his, are in another custody battle. The kids have had the lice for about 2 months. Their mom told us and said she was treating it and taking care of it. When the kids were here I saw scratching but didn’t think much of it because mom was treating it. A month later I find one on me. My worst fears are realized. I find out nits were never combed on kids and no follow up from mom. I combed eggs and bugs for hours from 1 afro, 1 long curly poof, and the easy one (relatively short straight hair). I have incredibly long thick hair (past the top of my butt when this started). It is also dark brown. My mom is physically handicapped and is surprisingly awful with the pinning and combing bit. (I find myself questioning if she was really the one who braided my hair all those years as a kid). I don’t even think my strain is drug resistant, but without someone to help me I will never be able to effectively treat my own hair. I’ve already cut off 7 inches and it looks like there is a lot more to come. =/.

  34. Lice are horrible. I tried to get rid of them on the kids and I. I wasn’t successful. I ended up paying a lice expert to come to our house and get rid of them. It worked- worth every penny.

  35. Hi,

    We found two live lice and nits in our daughter’s hair. We’ve just completed the first NUVO treatment on her and her younger sister. I am exhausted! My question is, does the second and third application have to be exactly one week apart? Is it possible to do it on the 5th or 6th day from today instead of 7? The reason I ask is we have a very important event to go to on the 7th day, and so it’ll be impossible to do it on that day.


    1. Helen, I would do it a day earlier. The lice are killed on the second round before they can lay any eggs. So earlier is definitely better than later.

  36. We are dealing with this as we speak, So I need to know do I buy the bottle of Cetaphil per child, We have 5 kids and 2 adults and that could be a little pricey?? I just think lice really like my kids bc we deal with this more than I would like to admit, Nasty little critters….

  37. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been fighting lice with my two daughters for over 6 months, and have seriously considered shaving their heads. (Just kidding, kind of) In turn, I have also gotten lice. My hubby gets his hair cut so short, so he fortunately hasn’t gotten them. Every time I think they are gone, pow…another batch appears. I had no idea that the NIX and other “lice killing” products were so ineffective or that the lice build up an immunity! I have spent so much money on that crap. I cannot wait to try this on the girls (and me) tonight. Thanks again!!

  38. Hi,

    Found a few live lice on my son on Monday and promptly treated with Nix, per pediatrician advice. Found slow moving lice over 24 hours later so I did the cetaphil method last night. My question now is, do I abandon the idea of the second Nix treatment and move forward with just two more Cetaphil treatments? Can I continue with the second Nix treatment as well as the remaining Cetaphil treatments? I am washing sheets and towels every day since and cannot sleep over this and it has only been three days!!

    Thanks for the great article!

    1. Hi Amy,
      I would quit with the Nix. You don’t even know if the lice are the kind that are susceptible to Nix anyway. Stick wight he three cetaphil treatments a week apart and you should be fine.

  39. Been battling lice for 8months spent lots of money for my granddaughter I have used shelf products to no avail I have given her 2 treatments from the doctor prescription and still finding a few I have wept over this and very angle at those bug devils

  40. Hildie,
    Thank you for your very helpful information. I have three beautiful granddaughters 7, 5, 3 with different hair types from very thin to med thick to thick. Their parents and myself are having a hard time controlling the little critters and they seem to affect the smallest one the worst. The two oldest share the same room so it is a little confusing. The smallest child has the med thick hair but has the worst bugs.
    Also if you can put sheets, blankets, pillows in the dryer could you also do the same with the stuffed animals. Is it necessary to steam clean carpets, mattresses, soft furniture etc.
    I know you are extremely busy with your large family but I am at my wits end. I am going to purchase the necessary products to use this process but I would appreciate any input you could give me.
    Thanks again for the time and effort you have devoted to this subject that has affected so many people. God Bless You.

  41. Hi Hildie!

    Today, I tried the Cetaphil method but I didn’t use the comb before it. Do you think that the lice were killed? Also, my daughters have long dark brown hair and I eventually gave up on trying to blow dry their hair. Is the blow drying the main thing that will kill the lice? Because, I just put a shower cap on their heads with the Cetaphil still wet and sent them to bed and I don’t think they went away! I don’t know, should I have blow dried their hair and used the comb to get rid of them? I am desperate and I just want those blood suckers out of my hair and my kids hair!

    As well, I used RID, a drugstore head lice removing shampoo. If I follow the instructions on the package, do you think that it will work?

    thanks, Geselle

    1. Geselle,
      You absolutely 100% MUST blow dry their hair, otherwise there is no point in using Cetaphil. It’s only when the Cetaphil dries and shrinks are the live trapped and smothered. It’s going to take a really long time to dry their hair (about 40-60 minutes), but it must be done.

      Rid tends not to be as effective but you are welcome to try it.

  42. I am exhausted, We treated my kids hair w/ nix, licefree and went to a dermatologist who gave us a script for sklice. Thank goodness forminsurance because it normal is $300. Have you heard of this product before & the outcome? Also all I feel like I am doing is vacumming, laundry, freaking out about ever small black or white thing on furniture, cothes etc. Totally feel like I am OCD on this but it is waering me down. How often do you recommend cleaning? I mean I usually vacuum everyday anyway ut the laundry is driving me mad. I wash all bedding, pillows every day. Praying sklice is the answer!

  43. I’ve been fighting with Live in my daughters hair for months… Only thing that has worked best is Gin… Saw a YouTube video about gin and tried it out…. It did about 75% good but not good enough… Headed to the store inn the morning to get the product you recommend… The comb as well… QUESTION.. Do you comb the hair first while dry then add the product? Also do you comb out the next morning after you wash? Our do they just fall out?

  44. I second the recommendation for the Licemeister. Some years ago, we had a hey – day trying to get lice out of my children’s hair for YEARS! I have 8 children and at the time, they ranged in age from 1yo to 14yo. We tried EVERYTHING!! My kids, my husband and I all have thick curly Polynesian hair, which we learned to keep very short for both the boys and girls. I was skeptical about the Licemeister… but I once I saw what it could do w/out ANY chemicals, I was hooked. I bought several. Had my older children and hubby use it every time they showered. Had them condition their hair and then thoroughly comb through it in the shower. Then they could clean the comb and themmselves off in the shower as well. It minimized the clean up for me. They were diligent with the combing, bc they were just as tired of the lice as I was. I did the same thing for myself and the younger children. We did this for a month… and finally the lice were gone! I had them continue to do it once a week, then once every other week and then once a month. If we suspect a visiting family member or friend has it, we pull out the combs and use them in the shower just to be safe. And then I purchase one for the visiting member and gently approach, confront and instruct… they come back grateful and happier… and that makes us happy!! I still have a few Licemeister combs on hand, just in case. Lice are not dangerous…. just extremely irritating and require diligent work to get them out and keep them out! Highly recommend the Licemeister. Every home should have one (or more :)…. Good luck!!

  45. I’ll testify to the cetaphil method. Exactly a year ago, my then 13 yr old daughter was laying with me on my bed and while I was stroking her head she asks, “Mom, my heads been itching a lot. Can you check me?”. Being a school nurse and consistently telling my kids since birth not to share hair items, I had no need to worry. Boy was I wrong! She was full of live lice and knits. Thinking I was going to “nip this in the bud”, I sent my husband to walmart to buy 6 bottles of Nix for all of us. Mind you this was at 9pm on Monday!!! Thinking Nix was going to work I wasn’t too concerned until the next day, those little buggers were still moving. Then I lost it! I researched and read and finally discovered the Cetaphil method. Guess what my husband bought on Tuesday night? 6 bottles of cetaphil at $5/bottle at Walmart! It’s too expensive elsewhere!
    The few things I will say that helped me through that week was knowing the life cycle of the lice and how cetaphil works with wiping them out. Also, not having to do de-knit my kids hair. They will eventually come off either through routine hair brushing or getting haircuts. I only had 2 of my 4 kids have them at that time.
    Now, exactly a year later the other 2 kids have them now! I was fortunate to partner with an organization that has developed a new lice product called Vamousse. It uses sodium chloride to kill the bugs and the eggs by dehydration. I have been using this on my kids and it seems to be working. It sells at Walmart and online through the website and amazon. It’s $20/bottle but it seems to be doing the trick. Also Vamousse offers a preventative shampoo that has less % of the lice treatment to hopefully kill any wandering bugs. I still used the cetaphil “Lice Identification Test” on myself to make sure I didn’t have them along with my other kids. It is really hard to see those bugs since they move quickly through the hair. Lice are gross, a big headache and not something I would wish on anyone! Especially this time of year! Good luck!

  46. I am trying this first thing in the morning. My daughter has had lice for almost a month. Nothing seems to totally get rid of them and she passes them to me 🙁 I have even contacted with her doctor who suggested leaving treatment in over night and that did not work! if this does you may be my life savor. What do you suggest as far as washing bedding?

    1. I’d suggest washing their sheets and pillowcase on hot, but you don’t need to worry about comforters and stuffed animals or anything.

    2. I wash the sheets as hot as I can then dry them as hot as I can. But as far as comforters and non-hot-water-friendly items, I just throw them in the dryer even though they are dry. This shouldn’t make them shrink. If it’s hot weather, put them in a black garbage bag and put them in your car parked in the sun for a whole day. Your car should get hot enough to kill them!

  47. Please reply! Panicky lice mom here! I’ve done two of these treatments on my daughter. This weekend will be the third one. I noticed a lot of nit’s though in her hair still. I hadn’t been paying too much attention to them, because I know you don’t have to pick them out with this process. I was kind of alarmed at how many though. (Not a ton. But definitely there) Are they still normal after two treatments?

    1. Hi Betsy,
      Don’t panic! Yes, there may still be nits after the second treatment. The thing you don’t want to see are eggs. The third treatment should kill the last few nits before they have a chance to lay eggs. Just make sure you’re not combing out too much cetaphil before you blow dry the hair. Just take out enough so that it’s not longer drippy. If it makes you feel better you can comb through your daughter’s hair with a metal lice comb (not the crappy one that comes with lice shampoo) and get out some extra nits. Make sure you keep the hairbrush you use for your daughter in the freezer when you’re not using it. This kills any little lice that can reinvest the hair. Good luck!!!

      1. I think it’s eggs. 🙁 They were brown in color. I possibly did comb too much out. What would you recommend if they are in fact eggs? I combed out as many as I could see, section by section. Thanks for your help. Planning on doing the 3rd treatment tomorrow as scheduled.

        1. Nits are the eggs. They are nearly impossible to remove as they are cemented to the hair shaft. Even after they have hatched. Sometimes you can slide them off all the way to the end of the hair shaft with your fingernail (maybe the comb work would do that, didnt have one of those when I was battling lice 30 years ago with 3 sons). But that would be very tedious. They will either be cut off as the hair grows or may fall off after time from regular brushing and shampooing. (too bad they cant market the glue that holds those darn things on – its fantastic!)
          I think what Hildie meant was you dont want to see MORE eggs/nits than you did on your previous inspections.

  48. I can attest that this method really and truly does work! I first used it about 3 years ago for our first lice infestation. We have 4 children, so it does takes a bit of work to get everyone done. We HAD been lice-free since that first episode but with this new school year, the lice is back! We just did the first of the three treatments last week. Even though its a pain, I know if works and I recommend it to all my friends whenever anyone mentions they have a lice issue to deal with at home. This treatment is worth its weight in gold! <3

    1. No, not at all. We only clean the bedding on days when we do her hair. We keep her hair brushes in the freezer, though, to kill all the lice.

  49. did you find that this method dried out the scalp like the over the counter treatments do? My daughter is prone to dry skin and we are finding her scalp is getting dried out. I only just found your method after doing three treatments with over the counter lice shampoo. I’d like to try your method as it seems like the way to go. Just curious about dry/itchy scalp.

  50. We are dealing with this at the present moment , my boys , in their first round, have a little more than two hour to go. Because bedtime is always a little demanding this first treatment started at 8 o’ clock this morning. Just a few days ago, our son, age 11, candidly shares that, after spending the night with his best friend, the younger sister has head lice. So now that we have it- yes we, I tried this because I have faith in Clinical studies. My husband went everywhere looking for this brush but end up purchasing a Rid kit . So by using this brush I was able to help my sons prior to the drying and will after rinsing with water/vinegar mix. Remember we? Yes me, too. With the endless amount of hugs ol’ mommy got this also. Because of having long thick hair, I opted to use the Rid which made it a little easier because of my hair knotting after treatment, but I am hopeful, if not, I guess I’ll use the cleanser next Sunday when my boys get their second treatment. Today? The hardest thing was them wanting to go outside and play. Next Sunday it will be at night.

  51. Hi
    I’ve been battling with this for years and tried everything so I am willing to give this a try but I’m confused about the three week thing. Is it that you do it 3x a week or do it once a week for 3 weeks . And if there is a why to send me the link to the page with directions step by step on how to do it properly I would appreciate it so much.. if you can please reply I would really appreciate it ..

    I hope this works and is a life saver lol

  52. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I’m so excited to get home and use Cetaphil on both my daughter and myself.

  53. so the second I got the call from the school nurse that BOTH of the twins had lice I turn d to Pinterest for what to do!! Your post was one of he first I stumbled upon. Sent my husband to the store for Cetaphil, he of course thought I was crazy! His first reaction was to schedule an apt at the Lice Clinic at $189 apiece!! That’s right almost $400 to rid ourselves of the little pests!!!

    So, I thought why not try something less expensive first and have that as a fall back! I followed your method to a T. Just to appease my husband, the next day I took the twins to the Lice Clinic. I figured they had heard of EVERY home remedy under the sun, so I proceeded to tell that what treatment I tried! Surprisingly he had never heard of using Cetaphil! They were each checked thoroughly before they started the $189 treatment just to make sure they had lice. Believe it or not, both twins were completely clear!!! NOTHING…no nits, eggs or live lice anywhere!!! They couldn’t believe it and begged me not to tell anyone about the Cetaphil!!

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing this AMAZING secret!!! And by the way, I will be telling every mother I talk to about the Cetaphil secret!! $189 is highway robbery!!

    1. Ashley, I’m so happy to hear that! Cetaphil is a pain but it’s still cheaper and easier than any of the other alternatives out there!

  54. This is one of my worst nightmares. Just found nits in my daughter’s hair yesterday and I’ve been stressing out on how to get rid of it since then. Found this post on pinterest and Im dying to try it out tonight when I get home. Do I have to start this on dry hair? or should i wash her hair before using the cetaphil treatment

    What should I do in between the treatments to help out with itchiness?

    1. Yes, start on dry hair. The hair will be clean as a whistle when you’re done. You may need some conditioner after it’s all rinsed out, but that’s about it. The itching shouldn’t be a problem because there won’t be any lice biting her; at least not for several days, about the time that another treatment is due.

  55. Thank you for this post-so real to what we are dealing with and very clear.I am sorry you had to deal with your own lice troubles but thank you for sharing your story and this post. We just did our first treatment and I feel hopeful in a very frustrating deal.

  56. What happens to the nits (eggs) that you don’t have to get out? Do they wash away in time? Do they stay? I’ve done the Nuvo method three times and did as recommended and did not comb out the nits. I took my daughter to get hair cut and they wouldn’t cut because her hair was feel of nits!! What happens if I do not comb them out? If I leave in the nits, are they still a threat to hatch? I’m desperate here? Help!

  57. I am so glad I found this. If this last treatment doesn’t work, Cetaphil here I come. My daughter got held back three years ago because of this. She is close to having to do the same thing. Seriously thinking about homeschool. She has missed so much already this semester.

  58. How do you recommend applying it? Any tips? I also have to treat myself and I have really thick hair.

  59. Hello, I have a question about nits. I’m trying to decide if I do this method or go to lice centers of america. They use this dryer machine with the diffuser type thing on the end. Do you know if that machine kills the nits? That’s the only reason that I would consider doing it. It’s so expensive! If you don’t believe so, I’ll just try this out.

  60. Hi,
    I am old, very disabled and infested with these buggers for almost 3 months. There is no one to help me go through my hair. After 4 Nix treatments and lots of combing I had a horrible physical reaction to the Nix treatment. So I gave up and got a buzz cut. Still infested. So, after a month I bought a shaver and have been shaving my head once a week for over a month. Then they were getting in my eyebrows and lashes and were on my face. So I included shaving my face, neck and ears along with my head and just trying to pick them off brows and lashes. I thought they were gone and have been letting my hair grow back for about 5 days now. Still completely infested. After every shave I went to the laundromat with my bedding: sheets, pillow cases, blanket and comforter. Also towels & washcloths plus my clothing. The first 2 months, going to laundromat, I was washing everything in hot water and drying on high heat. Unfortunately, the laundromat has front load washers only and I don’t think the water is all that hot. Now I’m only washing towels and washcloths in hot water. For 2 months I have been using a clean towel every time I shower. Most of my clothes aren’t meant to be washed in hot and dried on high heat and are getting ruined. I’ve had to throw away most of the socks and underwear plus some shirts and pants.

    Still I’m completely infested. No hair, lost most of my clothes. Bedding isn’t holding up very well either.

    I even bagged up most of my tops for 2 weeks. Bagged my pillows for 12 days then washed the pillows.

    I really can’t comb my hair myself. I have no way to see the back of my head nor around my ears. What can I do?

    How can I still be infested?

    What am I missing?

    What am I doing wrong?

    Do I need to have my back, neck and head waxed?

    I’m willing to try your method but I can’t comb what’s left of my hair myself.

    This feels so degrading. I’m constantly scratching my Eyebrows, face, rubbing my eyes and head. Plus everyone that sees me thinks I have cancer because my hair is gone.

  61. hello, i just want you to know that lice can either fly or jump, not sure witch, my grown daughter was helping me with getting the netts out and we went outside to see better, we started sectioning and looking and one flew right off her head onto my other daughters shirt, we both saw it. then a couple days later sitting on the soffa i was looking and it happened again, and yes she has the classic netts. thanks for reading this.

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