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How to get rid of head lice: treatment at home

We cover all the key tips and tricks when it comes to how to get rid of lice in your home.


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Key steps

  • Look for symptoms like scratching or spotting lice and eggs.

  • Use a detection comb in wet, conditioned hair until there are no lice left.

  • Try a homemade deterrent like adding lavender oil to your shampoo.

  • Try medicated lotions.

  • Wash items used two days prior to treatment on a hot wash.

If you’re looking for how to get rid of lice naturally and how to prevent these itchy inmates from returning, you’ve landed in the right place. Below, you’ll learn everything from how to recognise the warning symptoms to home remedies and prevention. For further advice on pest control, take a look at our guide for how to get rid of bed bugs.

Remember to wash and dry any bedding and clothing used in the two days leading up to the initial head lice treatment using good quality detergents like or Surf.

Getting rid of lice: identifying an infestation

Before we show you how to get rid of lice at home fast, learn how to spot the tell-tale signs they’ve set up home in your hair:

  • An itchy scalp, leading to scratching of the skin.

  • Feeling like you have something moving around in your hair.

  • Did you know? Adult head lice can grow up to 3mm long, so you may be able to spot them in your hair.

  • Noticed white or brown specks in your hair? These could be nits (head lice eggs!).

  • Are you unsure if you or a family member has head lice? Invest in a special lice detection comb.

How to get rid of lice: removing these pests from your home and hair

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Spotted some of the early signs of head lice? Here are a few remedies for how to get rid of lice with household items and commercial products available:

  1. Wet your hair. If you apply conditioner it could help with the next step.

  2. Use a detection comb to comb through your hair every day until there are no signs of lice or their eggs left.

  3. Looking for homemade head lice deterrents? Mix water or your usual shampoo with essential oils such as tea tree or lavender oil.

  4. Your local pharmacy or supermarket will have a number of medicated lotions and sprays which you could use to treat head lice. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

  5. Don’t forget! You should always test any product whether homemade or commercial before performing a full treatment. This will prevent you from having an allergic reaction.

  6. Always remember to wash any clothes, bed linen and towels etc., which you came into contact with in the two days prior to head lice treatment.

Getting ahead of the pests: head lice prevention advice

Whilst it’s unlikely you’ll get rid of headlice forever, especially if you have school age children at home, you can reduce the risk with these prevention tips:

  • Try to avoid head-to-head contact with anyone you are aware has head lice.

  • Consider wearing a cover, cap or hat to protect your hair.

  • Tie long hair back. Braids work best to prevent head lice being able to get into your hair!

  • Thoroughly clean clothes, bed linen and other fabrics around your home if someone in the household has headlice.

    • Use high temperatures to wash and dry.

    • Use good quality products such as or Surf.

Whilst it may be impossible to show you how to get rid of lice permanently, you now have all the steps you need to spot them, treat them, and try to prevent the critters from returning any time soon!

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Originally published