How to Kill Lice (and a Few Other Unwelcome Critters While You’re at It)

Are you feeling … itchy?

The kids sure are scratching their heads a lot. And where did those little red bumps on the back of their necks come from?



The head louse (called “lice” when he’s got friends) is a tiny, translucent bugger small enough to climb down a hair follicle like it’s a tree branch. Except instead of sap at the base, this branch has got the goods these guys need.

Lice feed exclusively on human blood.

And once they’ve dug in they can survive up there, living it up on your scalp, for 30 days. That’s going to be one awful month if you don’t act fast.


There are many ways to get rid of these blood suckers. To really make sure you get the job done, we recommend using a combination of methods. Not to name names, but this is inspired by a recent experience in the home of someone we know (who may be writing this …):

Step 1 – Wash everything. Lice can live for up to 24 hours without a host (that’s you!), so the first step is washing all clothing and bedding your family has used since yesterday. Dry the pillows for 20 minutes on high.

Step 2 – Make a one part white vinegar and one part salt mixture. Put it in a spray bottle and douse your kid’s hair with it. Better do yourself, too, just in case. This dehydrates and kills “nits” (lice eggs), and may kill some adult lice as well. Let it dry completely and move on to Step 3.

Step 3 – Coat the hair in tea tree oil. If you don’t have any, you can use olive oil as a substitute. Cover the hair in a shower cap and leave the oil in for as long as feasible, 2-8 hours. This will suffocate the buggers who survived the salt and vinegar.

Step 4 – Run a nit comb through the hair. Hopefully by now all the lice and nits you find are dead, but don’t you want those carcasses out of there? It’s also a good idea to check for any surviving adult lice and clear out any nits that might still hatch.

Step 5 – Wash the hair. You’ll have to shampoo and rinse a few times to get all the oil out.

Step 6 – Vacuum and spray down furniture. Any surfaces bodies come into contact with besides bedding and clothing, where lice could still be living off the body, needs to be treated. What the vacuum doesn’t get, a good bug killer will. We recommend Claire because it’s safe for in-home use but strong enough for commercial environments like hotels, schools, and hospitals.


Claire is a Destroyer of Worlds for lots of critters, like bed bugs, fleas, ticks and even dust mites. You’ll be doing yourself a favor beyond your little lice problem by breaking out the big guns. For commercial environments with kids, it’s a must-have part of your cleaning supply arsenal.

Questions? We’re always here to help. (You know, to a point … you can run the nit comb through your own kid’s hair.)

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