child with lice

We have heard from several readers that Listerine can be helpful in preventing lice infestations. We recently received this testimonial from a reader:

“The best way to prevent head lice is old-fashioned Listerine Antiseptic Mouthrinse. We were in the Army 33 years and moved a lot, but my kids never got lice.

“Teachers asked me why my children didn’t get lice when all the others did. I used to put Listerine on their hair and scalp a week before school started and also put a tablespoon of Listerine in the rinse water when I washed the clothes and sheets. You have to be careful to keep the mouthwash out of eyes.”

Another reader writes:

“My quick remedy to prevent this problem is Listerine. I have tried it and am convinced that it works. Put Listerine mouthwash in a spray bottle and spray it all over a child’s head. It will smell strong until it dries and then there is no smell. Do not rinse the hair. My child even slept in the same bed with another youngster who was later discovered to have lice. My child was unaffected. I spray their hair every Sunday night before the school week starts on Monday. I think you will find that it helps.”

Listerine Antiseptic Mouthwash contains essential oils including thymol, eucalyptol, menthol and methyl salicylate. It also has 26.9 percent alcohol, which may kill lice. An expert in lice treatment confided to us that alcohol does seem to be toxic to lice, so that may partially explain your success in using Listerine for lice control. Breathing in the mist may not be safe, so anyone who tries this technique should be extra cautious to protect a child’s face from the aerosol spray.

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  1. angie
    Chicago, IL

    I have a 3 yr old and a 2 yr old both girls. I have tried everything and still cant get the lice out of their hair. I havent tried listerine yet but before I do I was wondering if the alcohol in the listerine would be dangerous for their health?

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