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What Are Head Lice?

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It is a very common hair problem that we face throughout our lives. Mostly it is related with the unsatisfactory hygiene and cleanliness regime, but in actual the causes vary. Head louse (lice is its plural) is a parasite, which feeds on the blood of the carrier, which can be human or animal. In case of humans, it is found in the head and it is transferred to the other individuals very easily. The color of head lice is usually grey or brown. An adult head lice starts laying eggs after it is 10 days old. These eggs are also known as Nits and usually hatch after one week. The eggs of head lice (Nits) are usually white or yellow in color and they usually look like dandruff that stick to hair. As nits/lice-eggs are attached to hairs, they are not easy to be brushed off.

How To Find If Your Kids Or You Have Been Infested With Head Lice?

The symptoms of head lice are very prominent:

  • The continuous itching of the scalp as if something is crawling on it
  • The development of sores
  • You can even spot the lice moving on the hair and neck when their numbers increases
  • The eggs are seen prominently on the scalp and combs
Image For What is Head Lice
Head louse (lice is its plural) is a parasite, which feeds on the blood of the carrier (Human or animals) – Image Credit:

What Are Causes of Head Lice

Following are some of the common reasons that can result in the head lice:

  • It is a contagious parasite which can infect anyone who comes in contact
  • Using the infected comb, pillow, scarf, hat or any personal belonging can trigger this condition
  • In some cases the poor hygiene is also one of the causes
  • Mostly school children and females are reported to have head lice

How To Get Rid of Head Lice With Home Remedies

A number of home remedies are available to get rid of the head lice. The lice need oxygen and damp scalp for infestation. You can block both by using oil based remedies.

1- Use Garlic+Limejuice To Get Rid of Head Lice Quickly

Garlic is an ancient remedy to cure the head lice issue effectively. Make a paste by crushing few cloves or garlic with limejuice. Apply it over the head and leave for half an hour. Rinse thoroughly with hot water and repeat it weekly until you get a clear scalp.

2- Olive Oil Massage Will Kill Head Lice Effectively

You can use olive oil too. Massage it in your scalp and leave it overnight so that the parasites die due to suffocation. Wear a shower cap while you sleep and use a clarifying shampoo in the morning. The dead lice will be cleaned easily.

3- Petroleum Jelly Massage Is Effective For Head Lice Treatment

Petroleum jelly can be used in the same way as olive oil. Though you have to use any mild oil to remove the jelly from the hair first and then shampoo.

4- Treatment of Head Lice Treatment Using Vinegar As Home Remedy

Vinegar is acidic in nature. When mixed with salt, its mixture becomes deadly for the lice. Combine both and leave it on for two hours. Wash and condition as usual and repeat it twice a week.

5- Did You Know That Mayonnaise Can Kill Your Head Lice?

Mayonnaise is an excellent and very easy home remedy, which does not require much effort. Apply a generous amount all over your scalp and leave it overnight. Wash your hair in the morning, preferable with a clarifying shampoo to notice that the scalp is nourished, clean and fresh.

6- Neem Oil With Shampoo Is Herbal Remedy to Get Rid of Head Lice

Neem or Indian lilac is known for its anti fungal and anti septic properties. Mix neem oil in your shampoo or use a neem based shampoo to keep you free from having head lice.

7- Use Fine-toothed Nit Comb After Oil Massage

Invest in a good fine-toothed nit comb. Apply a generous dollop of any oil of your choice on your hair. It is better to use mustard or taramira oil. Detangle with a normal comb and then use the fine-toothed comb to remove the lice easily. Repeat it on a frequent basis to have a lice-free head.

This condition is mostly common in children who tend to get them from their fellows at school. It is better to control it with home remedies, as the drugs may cause severe side effects in some people.

Home Remedies To Get Rid of Head Lice Eggs (Nits)

As mentioned earlier an the adult lice (7-10 days old) start laying eggs. These eggs are also known as Nits and they stick themselves with hair very strongly. After 7-10 days these Nits are hatched and new head lice are born. It is very important to get rid of head lice as well as their eggs, otherwise new generations of head lice will keep on producing. In this section, I am going to share some simple home treatments and remedies that will kill the head lice eggs (Nits).

1- Remove Head Lice Eggs/Nits Using Vinegar

The head lice eggs or nit eggs have special sticky like material around their bodies that help them to strongly stick with hairs. In order to remove them, it is necessary to break their bond with hairs. For this purpose, Vinegar is found to be very effective. The chemical properties of Vinegar help to dissolve the sticky material of egg nits and it becomes really to remove head lice eggs from head.

The remedy is very simple. Take equal quantities of vinegar and water and mix them to make solution. Now dip your head into this solution so that all of your hairs are completely dipped. Try to detangle your hairs with the help of a leave-in conditioner and a hair brush. Now you can use a nit brush to completely remove all of egg nits (head lice eggs) from your head hairs.

2- Listerine With Vinegar is Very Effective Home Remedy To Remove Head Lice Egg Nits

Listerine is effective to only effective to kill live lice but also useful to get rid of lice egg nits. This is due to the presence of high concentration of Alcohol in Listerine.

Step-1: Just wet your hair fully with Listerine.

Step-2: Cover your head with a shower cap. Cover for half an hour.

Step-3: Use warm water to remove the Listerine from your hair.

Step-4: Apply good/sufficient quantity of Vinegar to rinse hair.

Step-5: Now use a leave-in conditioner and a normal hair brush.

Step-6: Use a nit comb to remove all eggs from each and every part of your head hair.

Caution Using Listerine

Listerine has higher concentrations of Alcohol. You need to use it with care so that it is not into contact with open wounds or eyes. You can get your eyes burnt and it can sting when into contact with wounds (that are open). Keep away from the reach of children or they may drink Listerine by mistake.

Precautions and Tips to Avoid Infestation or Re-infestation With Head Lice

You should take some preventive measures to avoid infestation with head lice. You should educate your children to apply these tips too.

1- Head-to-head Contact Must be Avoided

Head lice can move one person to another person through head-to-head contact. This practice is common among young kids at schools and during playing times. Ask your kids to avoid sticking their heads with other kids.

2- Don’t Share Products and Clothing That May Contain Head Lice Eggs (Nits)

Sometimes bed sheets, pillows, towels, clothes, combs, hair brushes and hats may contain the live lice or eggs of lice. Using them can cause infestation or re-infestation with head lice. It is advised not to share these products and clothing with others. Before using, you should disinfect these objects by soaking them in hot water for around 15 minutes.

3- Keep Your Carpets and Floors Clean To Avoid Infestation With Head Lice

Sometimes the live lice or their eggs are present in the carpets or flooring. There are chances, although very little, that lice may move to the head from there. As a precautionary measure always keep your carpet and floors clean.

Some Frequently Asked Questions About Head Lice, Lice Egg Nits and Their Treatments

Q1: How long can lice live in your hair?

Head lice can live in the human head (hair) for around 1 month. Please note that head lice cannot live off the human head hair. They usually die after 1-2 days when removed from hair.

Q2: What is the life cycle of head lice?

The life cycle of head lice can be divided into 3 stages called Nits, Nymph and Adult Lice.
Stage 1 is head lice eggs or Nits. Adult head lice (7 days older) start laying eggs. These eggs have sticky material around them and are firmly attached to hair follicles. After 7-10 days Nits hatch and they release Nymphs. Nymphs are head lice but they are usually very small in size. Nymphs keep on growing during next 7-10 days and they transform from 1st Nymph into 2nd Nymph and then into 3rd Nymph stage. After around 10 days Nymphs are fully transformed into Adult and fully grown head lice. The adult female head lice are now ready to lay eggs after mating with male lice to repeat the life cycle. Usually adult head lice die after 30 days.

Q3: What is the Food of Head Lice?

The meal of head lice is human blood. They need to take their meal (blood) many times a day. Without blood they die with 1-2 days.

Q4: How do head lice breed?

Adult female head lice can lay about 10 eggs or Nits every day. Nits are hatched into Nymphs or young lice. These nymphs take 10 days to become fully developed adult head lice.

Q5: What Do Head Lice Look Like On A Comb?

Checkout this photo to see how do head lice look like on a comb:

Image showing how head lice look on comb
This is an enlarged image showing the head lice on a Nit Comb  – Image Credit:

Q6: Can head lice go away on their own?

Normally an adult head louse will die itself after 30 days. But issue is that during these 30 days each louse will lay around 90-100 eggs and will keep on multiplying. So, practically head lice will  not go away from your head hair on their own. Also simple washing your hair will not work. You need to kill and get rid of head lice with their eggs using remedies listed above in this post.

Q7: Can head lice survive on pillows?

Head lice need human blood to stay alive. When they are removed from hair they can only survive for 24-48 hours without their meals. It means head lice can survive on pillows for 24-48 hours and after that they will die. But during these 24-48 hours head lice may be transferred to another person.

Q8: Is head lice contagious?

Head lice can spread from one person to another person by head-to-head contact and using infected clothing or cleaning products (like towels, hair brush, pillows, bed, hats etc). But head lice cannot fly or jump to move from one person to another.

Q9: Whether head lice like to live in clean hair or dirty hair?

Head lice can live and survive on both clean and dirty hair. Their meal is the blood that they can suck from human head no matter your hair are clean or dirty. You cannot remove head lice by simple cleaning your hair or using shampoos.

Q10: Can head lice make you sick?

Head lice only suck human blood from head and there are medical or scientific observations/proof that they may make any person sick. However, head lice can cause itching and some people can get scalp (head skin) infections due to severe scratching.

Q11: How to use vinegar to kill head lice?

You need to fully dip and rinse your head hair completely. Allow 15 minutes so that head lice are fully killed by vinegar. After that use nit comb to remove head lice from every part of your head. Repeat this process after every 7 days till your head is completely free from head lice and Nits.

Q12: What Are Types of Lice That Can Live on Human Body?

There are 3 types of lice can actually live or survive on different parts human body. These lice suck the human blood to stay alive. The names of these 3 lice are:

Pediculus Humanus Corporis: These are body lice and can live on any part of human body

Pediculus Humanus Capitis: These are head lice and live in the head hair.

Pthirus Pubis: These lice live in the pubic hair of human beings and are very contagious.

Q13: Why Listerine Kills Head Lice and Nits?

Listerine has higher concentrations of Alcohol. Due to this property it can kill the live adult head lice. Listerine also removes the Nits from hair follicles by breaking their bond with hair.

Q14: Do Lymph Lice Lay Eggs?

No, lymph lice cannot lay eggs. Lymph nice are immature head lice and they need 7-10 days to become fully grown adult lice. Female Adult lice can lay 7-10 eggs every day.


  • How to Remove Nits From Hair:
  • Head Lice and Nits:
  • Life Cycle of Head Louse:




Are You Worried About Head Lice? Get Rid of Them Using These Home Remedies
Article Name
Are You Worried About Head Lice? Get Rid of Them Using These Home Remedies
Checkout 7 effective natural home remedies to kill head lice. These remedies are very easy to use and anyone can apply them in their homes. Many people have tried vinegar as the best remedy for head lice. You should try this first.

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