how to smother head lice

Here are some of the natural “suffocating” or “smothering” treatments that work reliably1 well—remember, they work best if you follow the instructions. And, it’s important to note that some experts believe that it is actually the combing that does the work—the “suffocating” treatments just stun the lice and make them slower and easier to catch on the comb.

Coat the hair with olive or almond oil. Some people suggest coating the comb instead of the hair—re-applying the oil as needed. You may have to try both methods to see which works best for you. Separate the hair into small sections, and use a hair clip to move them out of the way. Work under a good light so you can see what you are doing. Also, rinse out the comb often under running hot water as you go. Once you have completely combed your child’s hair, use his or her regular shampoo, rinse, and repeat! Make sure you wash all the towels used and clean out the lice comb—you can soak it in a 10% bleach solution or 2% Lysol solution for 30 minutes and rinse very well. As an alternative, you can soak the combs in vinegar for 30 minutes or boil in water for 10 minutes.

Follow this procedure every day for a week. Then, for the next two weeks, check (by combing) every night to make sure the lice are gone. (Vaseline and mayonnaise are not recommended—they are unnecessarily messy, and both can be difficult to wash out.)