1. Wash and condition hair in hot water. Use products infused with essential oils, such as Tea Tree Oil. Giovanni's Tea Tree Triple Treat appears regularly in funky health food stores while moonlighting at select Walmarts. I dig it.
2. Blow dry hair. The #1 lice killer which I've encountered (and heard rumored online as well) is HEAT. It works on living lice and unhatched eggs/knits. In my experience, any amount of blow drying will make a positive difference. Use your judgement. For example, my 5 year old can tolerate less heat than my 7 year old, and both typically walk away with damp hair. I, on the other hand, dry it until there is no wetness left when lice come to boogie at the nape of my neck.
3. Gather all clothes, towels and bedding. Wash and dry these on high heat. Include much loved blankets and stuffed animals, but forget about the ones sitting on shelves. The lice don't want to live inside Mr. Cuddles. They want blood.
4. Vacuum carpet, couches, cars and fancy pillows which can't be easily laundered.
5. Use some form of deep conditioning treatment or leave-on spray. Some good leave-ons are Lice MD and Lice Freee Spray! (also available at Walmart, yet free of chemicals which don't work well & are illegal in California). After letting this soak, comb out the debris, wash hair, blow dry hair and put something on the hair before bed. The aforementioned products will work. So will olive oil mixed with a few drops of tea tree essential oil or rosemary oil (IF you're older than 10 & free of respiratory issues). If the essential oils freak you out, just plain olive oil will also do.
6. Be sure to REPEAT this routine until lice and knit free. In my experience it takes 2 - 10 days just depending on the severity of the infestation and how hard core you are about sticking to the plan. The thing to remember is that itching will stop when the living lice are dead, but knits will hatch and re-start the cycle unless you take them out too.
Here are some other notables thoughts on the issue:
- HENNA treatments allegedly work to smother lice. I love dying my hair with red henna anyway and am about to test this method now. :)
- You may want to throw away your old brushes and consider using easily cleaned wide-tooth combs for a while. Definitely, AVOID sharing your brushes with your family and friends.
- Making sachets with dried rosemary and placing them in drawers and couches can be fun and may help deter lice & other pests.