How to Treat Head Lice Naturally and Avoid Re Infestation + Future Outbreaks
3 Tips if your child does get lice
This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission on products purchased through these links at no additional cost to you.
There are so many joys of motherhood that put smiles on our faces just at the very thought. Head lice is most definitely not one of them!! I get chills even saying the word lice.
The first time we experienced head lice my oldest was in kindergarten. I got the “dreaded” call from the school nurse that they found little bugs on her head and I needed to get to school to pick her up. Up to that point I always thought the worst call you can get from the school nurse is the “your kid vomited in the classroom” call. The vomit call definitely comes in second to the “your kid has lice” call.
What kind of Mother am I?
When I got to school I actually saw the bugs crawling around in my daughter’s head. The nurse showed me how to kill them by snapping them between my fingers. How did I miss this? I did her hair that morning in pigtails and I didn’t see a thing! I wanted to crawl into a hole as fast as I could… a hole that was free of bugs.
It turned out that my other daughter who was pre school aged also had lice also and my baby boy who was only 6 months old had it. This poor, innocent, little boy was already being tortured by his two big sisters.
And to top it off and make matters more interesting, I had lice!
This was a total disaster that was quickly spinning out of control. How did I let this happen? What kind of mother was I? Here I thought I was doing right by my kids, now our heads are infested with little bugs. This was a big ol MAMA FAIL!!!.
We went to a local lice lady whose phone number quickly embedded itself in my brain after calling her all day, every day with questions for the next month or six. She did treatments and comb outs on me and my daughters. I paid careful attention to what she was doing so I can go home and treat my son and hubby, whom I assumed had it also. My hubby didn’t end up getting it, thankfully.
I Plead Temporary Insanity
For the next 10 days I was a raging lice, LUNATIC. I scrubbed my house from top to bottom, vacuumed anything and everything, changed bedding, bagged stuffed animals, and froze hair brushes. I asked my husband if it was at all possible to get an additional set of washers and dryers. He gave me the I’m scared to say anything, and don’t know how to respond smile. I did this EVERYDAY for 10 days, in addition to treating and combing out myself and my kids which took hours. It was exhausting.
Did I need to go this extreme? No. Was I temporarily insane? Absolutely. I was having nightmares that bugs were crawling all over me and my kids in our sleep and I’d wake up in a sweat. Lice dominated every conversation I had when I did have conversations with the outside world. My sister recommended I seek professional counseling because this lice thing had me in a complete tizzy.
From that moment on I decided to learn as much as I possibly can about these creepy, little critters. I wanted to know who they are, who their mothers were, where they came from, what they want, and how to destroy them so we would never have to deal with this nightmare again.
Needless to say my kids got lice two more times after that, but I was nowhere near as crazy as I was the first time around. I was like a professional by the third time.
Your child has lice, now what?
I’m going to share with you my step by step plan I use on how to treat head lice naturally.
Get yourself your favorite adult beverage, download a “kick lice’s ass” playlist of your favorite jams and muscle up. The more positive your approach is the better off you’ll be and the better off your kids will be. Throw in some extra meditation sessions and an extra yoga class and get your head on straight. Mindset is everything. Click here for more on how to be a happy mom and lead a meaningful life.
Tip 1 – Don’t panic
You don’t need to become the crazy lice lady like I did. It’s a minor bump in the road that you will get through. I promise you will prevail. Think of it as extra special time to bond with your kids. It’s a good opportunity to spark up valuable conversations. Plus I’m sure your house can use a good top to bottom cleanse, right?
Tip 2 – Don’t internalize it
Your child getting lice is not a reflection of who you are as a mother. It’s not your fault and it doesn’t mean you’re dirty. Lice actually like clean hair so if anything you might be too clean. #momproblems.
Tip 3 – Don’t keep it a secret
Lice isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Do NOT keep it a secret. Pick up your phone and send a text message to the top 5 people that your child was with over the last couple of weeks. Early treatment and prevention is key and will avoid lice spreading any further than it needs to. It is your duty and responsibility to inform other parents so they can take the proper steps.
Step by step action plan on how to treat head lice naturally
Step 1 – Shampoo with targeted lice shampoo
I use and love Lice Logic Clear & Free Shampoo. It’s plant based, non-toxic, pesticide free, paraben free, formaldehyde free, vegan, cruelty free and IT WORKS.
- Dampen hair using water in a spray bottle
- Massage shampoo into the hair for 3-5 minutes getting every area of their scalp (behind the ears, nape of the neck, etc.)
- Comb the shampoo through to get the knots out. Then put the hair up in a clip and put a shower cap on for 1 hour.
- After an hour, rinse the shampoo out and condition hair. You can leave the conditioner in for the next step which is the comb out.
I use the lice logic shampoo every night for the week on every person in the house whether they have lice or not.
Step 2 – Comb Out using DIY Paste
Make a conditioner and baking soda paste using 2 tablespoons of conditioner to 1 tablespoon baking soda and 2 drops of Tea Tree essential oil (Use code SPM10 for 10% off your order)
Mix them together until it looks like a pudding. The paste acts like an abrasive to strip out the eggs and bugs easier.
If you’re doing the comb out right after the targeted shampoo in step 1, then your child’s hair may already be wet and have conditioner in it. If so give it a good spray with a spray bottle and comb out any knots. In my targeted lice spray bottle, I add 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar and 2 drop tea tree oil.
Start combing from the bottom of the hair fist, clipping the remaining hair up with a clip. Then keep letting more hair down making a straight line and combing each section until you see no more eggs.
When you reach the top section, start combing down near the center part line and near the ears and sides while constantly sectioning the hair in different directions.
Comb forward, and sideways in one front to back motion while keeping the lice comb close to the scalp.
You want to take a lot of hair into the comp in order for it to pull out the eggs. Examine the comb and see if there are any lice or eggs.
Sometimes they get stuck in the comb and must be removed.
For every 1-3 combs, wipe the comb off on a paper towel. Analyze the paper towel for louse bugs or nits. If you see brown oval specks or larger sesame seeds with 3 legs on each side that is a lice bug or egg. This is where spectacles come in handy. #crazylicelady
Be sure and comb that same spot numerous times, alternating directions, until you don’t see any more egg activity in that area.
Do this over the entire scalp, covering every area.
Spray the hair with water and add more conditioner, baking soda or both as needed. Thinner hair may need more baking soda.
Combing removes the eggs, the nits that hatch and then removes any baby bugs aka nymphs before they can reproduce.
You want to continue the lice comb outs every other day for the next 1-2 weeks. This is the only way to break the lice life cycle.
You must have two free comb-outs with no egg activity to be considered lice free. If you shorten the time, your child could become re-infested.
Step 3 – Rinse out
Rinse hair out with warm water in the shower or bath. Comb out any knots or tangles
Step 4 – Sterilize lice comb
Boil lice comb for 3 minutes or clean it with rubbing alcohol and let it sit for 5 minutes. You can clean the comb with a toothbrush, nail brush or toothpick. You want to do this after each use and in between uses.
Step 5 – Delouse your house
The fun just doesn’t end when you have lice in the house. Now it’s time to delouse your house. In other words clean like a crazy person to make sure these creepy critters don’t spread throughout your house.
The good news is lice bugs need a host to survive so they can’t live longer than 24-36 hours after they have left a head.
But you do need to take the proper steps to clean your house and get rid of any nits.
- Vacuum – Hairs with eggs/nits fall off people and vacuuming picks them up. Vacuum floors, furniture, couches, chairs and rugs for the first 24 hours.
- Put bedding, blankets, comforters, stuffed animals, coats, hats and backpacks in the dryer on high heat for 20-30 minutes. The high heat kills them off.
- Bag stuffed animals for 48 hours.
- Clean hair brushes and accessories.
- Clean brushes, combs and all hair accessories with soap and water and then pour boiling water over them.
- You can also put hair brushes in the freezer overnight.
- Put hair accessories – hair ties, bows and headbands in a zip lock bag for 48 hours.
Step 6 – Recheck within 5 to 7 days to be sure lice is completely gone
Do a visual check to be sure the lice is completely gone. I like to err on the side of caution and do another comb out to play it safe.
Congratulations you made it through lice. Now for the rest of your mom life your eye is going to twitch when you see one of your kids, or any kid for that matter, scratching their head.
As a cruel joke by kids will all scratch their heads at the same time and just stare at me waiting for my reaction. Then they all laugh hysterically. I don’t find it too funny.
As long as you take preventative measures, you can avoid your child contracting head lice. I have a lice prevention system that I have put in place that’s all natural, safe and simple.
Preventative measures to avoid lice
Essential Oil Diy blend
I spray my kids with an essential oil blend everyday before they leave the house. I spray their hair and back of their necks as well as their backpacks.
Essential Oil Lice Prevention Blend
fill with water
1/2 teaspoon of fractionated coconut oil
add 10 drops tea tree oil
3 drops lavender oil
3 drops peppermint oil
Shake and spray on your kid’s hair daily.
If you purchase essential oils through the above links at Revive.com, use code SPM10 for 10% off your order.
Put backpacks in dryer on high heat
Lice can spread on clothing, especially winter gear – hats, gloves and scarves, and backpacks. Putting these items in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes will kill off lice.
Don’t wash hair every day
Lice like to set up shop in clean hair so if you can get away with it, don’t wash your kids hair every night.
Incorporate an all natural targeted lice shampoo as part of your hair washing routine. Once a week my kid’s wash their hair with Lice Logic Shampoo
Use hair products
Lice do not like products. Use (non-toxic) hair gel, conditioning spray and hair spray in your kids hair.
Blow dry hair
Routine lice checks and comb outs should be part of your lice prevention plan. I do monthly comb outs on on my kids and I treat them as if they actually have lice. Once a month each kid will sit in the “lice chair” for a comb out. They get to go on a technology device and they get a special snack or candy of their choice. Using my head lamp and spectacles, i do what i do best, turn into the crazy lice lady.
Pin hair up
Putting your kids hair up in a ponytail, pigtails or buns is another way to prevent your kids from getting lice.
The more proactive you are at lice prevention, the better off you will be. Make it your life long mission to prevent your kids from ever getting lice again. In addition to all of your other mom missions. #warriormom
May the only call you get from the school nurse be the vomit call. Just kidding, that one sucks too.
I hope you found this post valuable. Please share it with other naturally minded mama’s who’s kids are of “lice age” and can benefit from learning how to treat head lice naturally on their own children.
What are your thoughts?
What was your biggest takeaway? Are there any strategies that you learned for the first time? Any lice strategies that you are currently using with your children? Leave me a comment below.
Hi there! I'm Danielle, mom blogger, visionary and dreamer.
I'm on a mission to help moms create a Simply Pure life of Joy + Balance + Optimal Health & Wellness for ourselves and our families.
My goal is to un-complicate life and provide moms with the tools and strategies to make informed decisions so you can live your best mom life. .
Read more about the girl behind the blog here
Want to live intentionally? Click here for my FREE Intentional Living mini course