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. 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. Blondie
    Reply

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t post this, but I hope you will! Lol. I still had a few small black specks a few days after using the apple cider vinegar and baby oil and creamy baby oil, so disappointed and frustrated once again, I was afraid of re infestation and before resigning myself to denorex shampoo with tar every couple of days for three weeks, not left on, and some combing; I decided to try my concoction that seemed to remove some nits fast and definitely killed the new bugs, again, but for a little longer:
    Half original gold Listerine, a drug store brand; half 70% wintergreen rubbing alcohol, and lots of Angel of mine creamy baby oil for the benzyl alcohol and a good amount of regular baby oil. I like the one with aloe. But any baby oil is good. Massage in a little at a time or pour on carefully protecting eyes. Keep from flame! This time I left in 25 minutes. The fumes are a bit bad at first, but subside. Then I washed a few times and conditioned and rinsed. Then I put a little bit of a cream leave in conditioner, to make combing easier.
    Then I combed over the sink. And to my happy surprise, I saw the usual dead little black or beige baby specks, but this time I saw a bunch of small clear specks I can only assume were the nits ! Yay!! ! The rubbing alcohol speeded up what the Listerine does, and the baby oil moisturizes and I think maybe helps with nits too, not sure. I know the alcohol does. And I think the benzyl alcohol in the creamy baby oil kills more too. Because we did rubbing alcohol and baby oil before and they come back quick. Without baby oil it dries out scalp and dulls hair and the fumes are terrible! I noticed once before when I used the creamy baby oil with the rubbing alcohol it worked better, in 20 minutes, but I did Cetaphil too so I wasn’t sure which one worked . It wasn’t the Cetaphil. I just did that and it didn’t work. Nothing did. Not Listerine two hours, rinsed, and vinegar on wet hair after for one. And it burned then stung a little. ( I’m sure if you get all the nits it works good. Other ppl comb off the nits easily with olive oil hair lotion after the Listerine for two hours!) And not coconut oil all night, or olive oil and tea tree and peppermint all night. Wintergreen rubbing alcohol and baby oil 15 minutes killed the bugs and removed most nits off my grandkids but they returned fast, maybe I missed some; olive oil and vinegar and tea tree oil 2 hours kept them away a few days, mayo and apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil 2 hours helped but they returned in two days. But on my grandkids I swore it killed all the bugs and got most nits off.
    I still think if you nit pick well, those last two will work if you get every nit. Rid failed, garlic tablets didn’t work. The wintergreen rubbing alcohol and creamy baby oil worked good, but I didn’t repeat. And the Denorex with tar for ten minutes worked wonders, but you’re not supposed to leave it on and babies returned in a few days. I was about to just use that every few days for three weeks and from now on I will if needed, but I will not leave on again. Maybe just like 30 seconds, because it’s not safe, they say. But again, t gel shampoo has less tar and may help too.
    Half water half vinegar all day stung and failed. And creamy baby oil, baby oil, and apple cider vinegar an hour, followed by washing the last time with Denorex a minute stung a bit the next day, and babies unfortunately started to show up! I hoped the baby oil and vinegar would kill bugs and remove nits and the Denorex would finish any off. And good combing.
    But, the last time I only left the wintergreen rubbing alcohol, original Listerine, creamy baby oil and regular baby oil in ten minutes, and saw some nits. But this time, I saw lots of nits, after leaving in 25 minutes, I never have before, so hopeful!!!
    You may not need the creamy baby oil but it’s only a dollar and easily found! I think it helps. The Listerine in the rubbing alcohol definitely did! As does the baby oil! Repeat in a week. For small children try mayo with a little apple cider vinegar and combing. Or creamy baby oil a couple hours and comb off nits.
    If I see babies all I can do is denorex every two or three days now, not left on! I’m out of anything to try, except neem oil ! Unless the doctor comes up with something.
    I apologize again for all the comments! It’s maddening, cause nothing works totally besides combing and nit picking every day! If you have someone to do it! I hope my trials and errors helps. I hope this last formula works! But thank God for denorex and t gel, in time with combing I think they work and are easy. Just stinks about the tar warning. Hope it’s exaggerated, but don’t leave on! Just three minutes the first time, no more than five, and don’t leave on again but use every two or three days for babies. And use sunscreen. But I will be thrilled if this concoction got the nits and I’m cured! I know many people are having same issues!
    One lady did say washing with coconut shampoo and combing with coconut conditioner in every single day cured her girls in about a week! I know we fail not nit picking enough too I think. I promise I’m done for awhile! :/

  2. Blondie
    Reply

    Well, sorry to comment yet again! But nothing was successful. I never tried the original Listerine for two hours as the lady before me suggested. But I would definitely rinse out, then rinse with vinegar and leave in two more hours capped, and rinse and condition and comb. Ppl like that. Or towel dry and use half water half vinegar two hours after the Listerine. An hour may do it, not sure! Ppl also like the olive oil hair lotion for nits after the Listerine.

    I used Denorex shampoo with tar again as it was the only thing that worked for me!
    I shampooed twice, just for a minute, just long enough to lather up good and massage in and rinse out. Then I squeezed out the water and poured white vinegar over my hair and massaged in and left in. It was very cold, I should have towel dried and used half water half vinegar. But I left in about an hour, then put conditioner over it and combed well with the metal nit comb. Then rinsed and used a deep conditioner. I used the vinegar for nits. The Denorex can’t kill them. You can just shampoo every few days it will kill any new babies. For 3 weeks. Again, Denorex says not to leave on! I don’t know how good T gel shampoo works but has less tar. There’s no warning for children on either. I don’t know how well the gel works. But may be safer on small kids. You need sunscreen the day after Denorex. I was fine.

    You can also use half water half vinegar on damp hair after using Rid too, for the nits. Or straight apple cider vinegar on wet hair, both for an hour or two, then rinse and re condition. Diluted vinegar is safe but clarifies so use moisturizing conditioner.

    The only other thing may be to use olive oil and vinegar, half and half, with generous tea tree oil if you can, or mayo and apple cider vinegar and the tea tree if you have it, capped for two hours for bugs and nits, then wash three times, and the last time wash with Denorex. Apple cider vinegar with the vegetable or olive oil will probably sting less. They are runny, have paper towels ready! But don’t leave the Denorex on! It wll kill more. Or use it the next day. You can also use the oil and vinegar for nits for an hour after Rid and drying hair. It’s more moisturizing than water and vinegar, but of course requires washing a few times. Can be done the day after Rid, for nits and bugs. Comb well with a metal nit comb and remove the nits.
    Spray furniture with alcohol or Listerine. And use a tablespoon of the Listerine in a bottle of water to repel on hair.
    I’m going to take a couple garlic tablets a day too! And I’m gonna use the electric comb twice a day for three weeks. You should really do that after any treatment, and hopefully that will cure them! There’s the Robi and the Nix comb I have. PPL use that by itself but then you need to nit pick with it! But it’s worth $30!

    • Blondie
      Reply

      You should leave the Denorex shampoo with tar on two or three full minutes before rinsing and towel drying and using half vinegar half water two hours for nits. I’m doing that now. Cetaphil failed and Listerine two hours with vinegar on wet hair another hour failed. Someone said one hour original Listerine then rinse and one hour vinegar for nits, they slide off. Then rinse and condition. I guess if someone can check you for nits that works.

      As I said T gel shampoo has less tar and is safer to leave on, but you probably need to leave on five minutes. And do every two or three days for three weeks. The half water half vinegar after on towel dried hair can help loosen nits. Check in five minutes with t gel to see if they are dead. May need a few more minutes. Denorex has more tar and alcohol too and menthol so works faster. Conditioning too. Only leave that on two or three minutes the first time, then one or two minutes after, every two or three days for babies. Again the vinegar will help with nits as it can’t kill nits. And a good metal nit comb. Ppl recommend the terminator comb. If you can find it. You can try alternating with tea tree mint shampoo or conditioner and combing. Comb with conditioner in every day or two days too if you can. But don’t use the tar shampoo every day.

      Someone said shampooing using coconut shampoo and conditioner every single day worked in a week. Use a metal nit comb in the shower, detangle first. I’m using the denorex and t gel shampoo as nothing is working to keep them from coming back! I pray they find a better treatment. Kwell shampoo use to be good and they stopped it now nothings as good!

  3. Hunny
    Reply

    I saw someone ask on another site if olive oil, vinegar and Listerine works. No one answered but this seemed like a great combination, since Listerine has alcohol and essential oils to kill lice and remove nits, and so does vinegar, and the olive oil smothers and moisturizers! But I can’t find anything on it. I see someone else on here was mixing vinegar and Listerine. The olive oil would make it better! Anyone hear of it? I’d do 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup vinegar or apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup Listerine two hours. I have tried oil, vinegar and tea tree before, this would kick it up a notch with the Listerine. Never heard of it but sounds good. Has anyone used it? Also people said Head and shoulders and Selson Blue. I notice my daughters that use those don’t get lice.

    • hunny
      Reply

      Well, I tried it. But it ran so bad into my eyes that I took off the cap and let it hang but washed out in 45 minutes. The olive oil was hard to wash out! So try like this, if you want:
      1. part original Listerine, one part vinegar or apple cider vinegar (milder) and one part olive or vegetable oil. Pour on, massage into scalp, squeeze out excess in the tub! Put a towel over it or cap but it runs! Have paper towels ready! Keep out of eyes. Leave in two hours if you can! At least one. The Listerine and vinegar kills and loosens nits while the oil smothers and moisturizers. Wash a few times.

      I took it off too soon. I should have squeezed out excess! Hey, sprinkle in tea tree if you have it. At half oil my hair was healthy, but olive oil was hard to wash out, this is probably better and a bit stronger! Hope this helps! Olive oil is thicker than vegetable. Throw bedding in the dryer on high. Dry heat is better. Dry pillows on low and keep plastic on them. Idk if high heat on pillows is a fire hazard. Spray them and furniture with the Listerine!

      • Blondie
        Reply

        The only other thing I know worked for my friend and her daughter, and I thought worked on me for a month, but I didn’t re do and they returned was Cetaphil face wash. It’s mild but do it exactly! One bottle does three heads:
        Apply with a tint bottle in small sections to the scalp well and criss cross. Then cover hair with it. Then comb off excess and wipe in a paper towel and dispose in a plastic bag. Then you must blow dry all the way, with heat, leaving no damp spots! It takes time! Then cap, sleep in and shampoo in the morning. And condition and comb. It supposedly works even if you don’t get all the nits. Repeat in about a week, then again.
        I’m out of options. It’s that, or denorex every few days, and the electric comb every day for me for a month! Good luck!
        Have someone get all the bugs and nits off with a metal nit comb every day works too.
        Anyone else ever feel like trying hand sanitizer? It has alcohol, glycerin and I’d get the one with aloe! May work in a half hour or hour. But keep from flame., anything with alcohol!
        Sorry for all the comments going nuts. Hope the Listerine two hours works! That’s my last option to try! Thanks!

  4. Blondie
    Philadelphia
    Reply

    Three months and off and on for three years battling them and this time nothing worked! My daughter used original Listerine in the past for her and the kids but I was afraid to. My hair’s lightened. I usually have great success with olive oil, vinegar and tea tree oil for two hours, then combing and using tea tree mint shampoo worked fast! Maybe because I usually used rid a day before. Idk. Or they’re more resistant! You have to kill all the bugs and remove the nits at once or more can hatch the next day or more will lay eggs! I’m sorry now we didn’t try Listerine! I would add some baby or tea tree oil to it for moisture though! And I’d only leave in ten minutes. I read you only need a few. Idk about for nits though. Ten should do it! You have to repeat anyway!

    We did rubbing alcohol, wintergreen, and I added lots of baby oil because it’s drying and fumes are bad! It can burn without the baby oil! Kills fast though. 15 minutes. Keep from flame. But they came back!

    But now finally I think the three year nightmare is over! I used Denorex shampoo with coal tar for only 10 or 15 minutes. And I combed off more dead babies when my hair dried then with anything! Like 30 I didn’t know I still had! And I just did rid again a few days ago! I thought they were nits at first but I don’t think so. The only draw back is California has a warning about tar shampoo and cancer. Maybe overly cautious. Ppl been using for years! And many use it on kids for lice as nothing else works as good, and is easy! Conditioning too! Stained my blonde hair slightly but a little vinegar in water rinsed out helped And it wasn’t bad.It’s gold. Some places pulled it but it’s on Amazon. They say keep using for new babies every couple days, but I won’t leave on long. And I may try Listerine IF I need to. But this is too easy! And gentle. So far so good!

    Another excellent tip from a couple ppl who had bad cases is African hair growth cream with petroleum jelly, or BB, in the drug store. Overnight kills all! And one treatment worked they said! And washes out easier than Vaseline!

    Other ppl say olive oil lotion after the Listerine works to make the nits come off easy. I guess they mean hair lotion in the black section. But then I suppose you must wash again. Half vinegar and water can be left in. And makes hair shiny! Straight vinegar is too acidic! Apple cider vinegar is a bit milder. But half white vinegar and water should be good to help remove nits too.

    • Blondie
      Reply

      I just want to add a word of caution, Denorex says it’s not formulated for lice and not meant to be left in! It could be dangerous used that way. So shampoo in and wash right out. And repeat. And she wasn’t sure about children under 12. I can’t find anything on the bottle. It can also make you prone to sunburn but I used sunscreen and had no problem! And leaving it in as I did can actually cause more itching and irritation to the scalp. So I recommend using it as instructed. She said it won’t kill nits. And nit picking every day is the key to success.

      However if you use Listerine it probably only takes a few minutes to kill the bugs. Maybe a little more to loosen nits. But either rinse out after 3 to 10 minutes then use the olive oil hair lotion in the black hair care section to remove nits easily. Then shampoo. Or wash it out and rinse towel dried hair with half water and half white vinegar and leave in for nits. Comb off nits after an hour. You can rinse. Vinegar itself washes hair so you don’t need to wash it out or the Listerine if you rinse it off in an hour or two!
      Try eating garlic or taking a couple garlic tablets. What could be easier? Put garlic in little ones spaghetti or pizza!

      Also try combing hair with conditioner on, small sections, root to ends and wipe on a tissue with every swipe! Dispose in a plastic bag.
      The African hair growth jelly seems excellent too over night! Around $3. Repeat in a week to ten days.
      Nit picking every day is recommended to beat them!

      You can also try sleeping with olive oil or mayo and rubbing in vinegar or apple cider vinegar for 15 minutes before washing a couple times. Can be repeated every few days. Or mayo and apple cider vinegar with some tea tree oil for two hours, or olive oil and white vinegar with some tea tree but that stings a bit. And none of those is a one time cure they just loosen nits and kill the live bugs usually. But must repeat. But it sounds like the original Listerine and the hair growth jelly works better!

    • Blondie
      Reply

      Well, as I didn’t want to use denorex every few days for 3 weeks, it’s very simple and good, but just slightly stained my hair, I decided to try the Africa’s best super gro conditioner overnight. Well, whoever said it’s easier to wash out then Vaseline, idk! It took me about 17 shampoos! And after about 5 I poured vinegar over it for five minutes and kept washing! I hope this works! I would massage some vinegar in before washing for 15 minutes! Or put dawn dish detergent over it before hitting with water! If this fails, I’m continuing with Denorex! But washing it right out, not safe to leave on. Idk if T gel shampoo with tar is as good, but it may be safer on kids. Less tar. Again, the one for stubborn itch has menthol too. Or you can dilute the denorex with tar with water for kids maybe. It works great, just has a cancer warning from California for large amounts of tar. Sigh, works great!

      Again, I had good results mixing half wintergreen rubbing alcohol, half original Listerine, and lots of baby oil from the dollar store, massaged in, but only left in ten minutes, and dead new lice babies and it looked like some nits came off! So I would leave it on a half hour! Keep from flame! Use a metal nit comb. The more oil the more you must wash. Angel of mine creamy baby oil from the dollar store has benzyl alcohol which kills lice, and is easier to wash out then baby oil. By itself may be good on little ones over night!
      Also, I did read ppl had success with the original Listerine with a shower cap for 2 hours, then rinsed, then used vinegar for another two hours!

      For my lightened hair, I would add a couple spoons of baby oil and some tea tree oil to the Listerine, I’d need two cups, two hours, rinse, then squeeze out excess water and pour on apple cider vinegar, or towel dry and use half white vinegar and half water two hours for the nits. Then comb and rinse. Vinegar diluted conditions and washes, but clarifies . So I’d deep condition. Or I’d try the olive oil hair lotion after the Listerine for nits. And rinse or shampoo! That should work!

      But again, a few minutes with a Robi or Nix electric comb every day for a few weeks can help greatly after a natural or any treatment! Some natural treatments I mentioned that can help but must be repeated every few days if you don’t get all the nits or use the electric comb, are:
      Half vegetable or olive oil, (I like the vegetable it’s thinner, but runs more!), half white vinegar or apple cider (milder), some tea tree oil if you can, capped, an hour. I’ve done two hours, but needs repeating so one is good. Or, mayo and apple cider vinegar to desired consistency, and tea tree oil if you can, capped an hour. Wash 3x and condition and comb with the metal comb. Repeat in a few days then again. An alternative is sleeping with olive oil or mayo, then massaging in vinegar to the oil, or apple cider vinegar to the mayo, for a half hour before washing and conditioning and combing. Repeat every four days till gone also. Or alternate with the oil and vinegar and tea tree an hour. Use tea tree mint shampoo too if you can. Or add 12 drops pure tea tree oil to a bottle of shampoo or a few drops to a dollop. 12 drops to a bottle of water repels, and can be used on furniture. Listerine can be too. And a tablespoon of it to a bottle of water for hair to repel.
      Another natural treatment is spray hair slightly damp with water, then pour or spray apple cider vinegar over it and let dry. Then massage in slightly warmed coconut oil, only coconut it’s thick, and leave in all night or day. Then wash and comb. Supposed to work one time, idk!

      An electric comb is only about $30 and can help greatly, especially if you nit pick too. But takes diligence and time! I have the nix one, but by itself did not work in two weeks but I have no one to nit pick right now. But I’m sure it helps especially after another treatment like vinegar and oil for two hours! But vinegar that long can sting. Which is why maybe only an hour or the next treatment I would sleep in the olive oil and massage in the vinegar only the last half hour!

      I have not tried two garlic tablets yet, but a school nurse said it works. But how do you get small kids to take it? Maybe rub a cut garlic clove on the nape or put in food!
      I tried to condense my comments here, it’s been trail and error. Hope it helps! I will post if the African conditioner with petroleum worked! Once is supposed to do it!
      If not I’m continuing with Denorex shampoo!’

  5. Jamie
    NC
    Reply

    Unfortunately, having 2 kids and living in hippie Asheville, we have battled lice before. I have always eliminated it the first time with this cleaning method. The below Listerine method worked very well to kill lice and loosen nits – way better than the prescriptions I have used before. I only found 3 nits still attached to the hair shaft. All the rest (there were dozens) were detached and ALL the lice were DEAD! Yippee!! Lice infestations are essential to treat correctly to get rid of them. So don’t be lazy, be thorough and you can beat those bugs!

    IMPORTANT: You must check all family members and treat all that have lice at the same time! Otherwise, you can re-infest those who have been treated.
    1) Soak the hair and scalp in original Listerine (amber color). Do not get any in the eyes! Wrap hair in a plastic shower/treatment cap or plastic wrap. Leave on for an hour.
    2) After an hour, rinse well, retaining the water to gauge the infestation. You should see only dead bugs and some nits. If any are alive, repeat Listerine step. You can shampoo and condition but I just rinsed to leave some scent as a deterrent.
    3) THIS STEP IS CRUCIAL TO ELIMINATING LICE: Nit comb through the hair inch by inch, very carefully, removing ALL eggs and bugs. BUY A NIT COMB IF YOU DON’T HAVE ONE – regular combs will not remove the eggs. Rinse the comb in water as you go to remove the bugs and eggs, most of which should be detached from the hair shaft with this treatment.
    4) Wash all bedding, towels, and worn clothing in HOT water and dry on high. Pillows and stuffed animals can be dried on high heat for about 30 minutes, which kills lice and eggs. Stuffed animals and decorative pillows can also be bagged in plastic for 2 weeks. Put delicates in plastic for 2 weeks also.
    5) Vacuum everything you can, especially carpets around beds and furniture. I also vacuum mattresses and wipe down headboards and furniture. Vacuum the car(s), especially the seats and headrests.
    7) Repeat the Listerine soak and combing in 9 days. If any lice or nits are found, repeat every 9 days until they are eliminated.

    Many people don’t know how to properly treat lice and it creates re-infestations, which spread in schools. Hope this helps and good luck!

    • Blondie
      Reply

      Great comment. I have also heard ppl are using olive oil lotion, I assume the hair lotion in the ethnic section, after using the Listerine as the nits come off very easily! I guess you can just rinse the Listerine first and wash out the lotion.

      I also read someone else said you gently massage original Listerine in and put in a towel (for fumes) for a few minutes before washing. I’m wondering if that is enough. I suppose you could rinse and check as you said. But I wonder if it’s long enough for the nits? Maybe must be repeated. I’m just wondering how safe 2 hours of Listerine is on lightened or color treated hair? I add a couple spoons of baby oil to everything when in doubt and some tea tree. My daughter has used Listerine I have not.
      I also read you can wash and towel dry hair and spray half water half vinegar on and leave in. This is for lice and eggs. You can comb while wet after it’s on a little but leave in. The eggs are hard to attach with vinegar in. It won’t hurt hair diluted in half and on damp hair. It makes it shiny and soft. It just stings a little. The smell goes away. It’s just clarifying so condition later.

      Wiki how says apple cider vinegar on dry hair, but you can dampen with water a little, and let dry all the way. Then slightly warm coconut oil and coat hair and scalp with it and leave in all day or night, capped. Only coconut other oil will run. But all nits and bugs must be removed as usual. But this will loosen and smother.
      Nothing worked for me but Denorex with tar. But don’t leave in, you wash twice. Must be used every few days for babies. Only drawback use sunscreen because can incense sunburn risk for a day. And California has a cancer warning for tar. But worked like a charm. But I’m leaving some vinegar and water in for eggs, half and half. Stings just a little. Wish I had gotten the olive oil lotion! I’m going to rinse and condition tonight. Vinegar washes hair so shampoo not necessary!
      But here’s two great tips I will also try!

      A school nurse said she hands out garlic tablets! Another lady said 2 made them disappear! Dollar store has them.
      And lastly two ppl with very bad cases said Africa hair gro or BB cream, they have petroleum jelly and oils. Cover hair with it and cap and leave in all night! Then comb. Once did it they claim! I’m doing that next as the babies came back in a few days after the denorex with tar. But it killed more than the pesticides or anything else did, quickly and gently. Some places no longer carry. But you are not to leave it in!

      My friend swears by Cetaphil face wash. But you must apply to scalp well with a tint bottle and then cover hair. Then comb off excess and wipe on a paper towel. Then you must blow dry all the way with heat, leaving no damp spots! Takes time. But it seals them. Cap and leave in all night. Wash out and comb. Supposedly you don’t even have to get the nits off but try. Repeat in a week then again. A bottle goes far. Treats a few heads. It’s mild. But I’m trying the Africa hair gro jelly next. Wastes out easier than Vaseline and only cost a few dollars!

    • Blondie
      Philly
      Reply

      Sorry, I just want to report that I shampooed, towel dried, and sprayed my hair with half water and half white vinegar, left it in; and I combed with the metal nit comb in about an hour while wet, it was easy and slippery, root to ends and rinsed each swipe; then combed again a few hours later when totally dry with the vinegar still in, and some leave in conditioner over it, there were dead lice in the sink after rinsing the comb I sprayed with alcohol! Then I went through it again with the electronic Nix comb and I think more came off. The Nix comb itself didn’t work in two weeks. You still must remove nits I guess! But I’m leaving the vinegar in all day my hair is shiny I just put some leave in conditioner over it. But eggs have a hard time attaching to it! This can be done every few days.
      Or you may want to follow up with the electric comb after the Listerine . Or Africa hair gro jelly all night. They seem to be the best treatments. And Denorex with tar shampoo, which I love! Does not kill the eggs though and just slightly stained my hair gold, I thought. I left it in a little you aren’t supposed to, not safe! Rinse out, repeat and nit pick. May remove some nits, not sure. Ppl claim it does but I got babies in a few days. Very easy to use though, just wash every few days with it for a few weeks. And use sunscreen. Next day at least! And try two garlic tablets. I’m going to!

      • Blondie
        Reply

        (Half water half vinegar stings a bit.) You may want to dilute it with 2 parts water if you’re leaving it in all day. Or rinse out after two hours and combing. Rinse and condition. No need to wash.

        • Blondie
          Reply

          I’m happy to say this worked great! Better than the usual oil and vinegar or mayo and apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil for two hours I usually swear by! It was messy, but helped remove nits and made my hair healthy but it didn’t work this time! I don’t know why, maybe because you shampoo first? Strange. But my scalp did sting all day. I only combed maybe one small one off when I got home when I combed my hair over the sink with my metal comb to check. This is how you check, or on a child spraying with water and combing and dunking in hot water. My hair was insanely shiny but a little limp and a bit “overly clean” feeling so I would deep condition.

          But I want to adjust it a bit since it stings. Shampoo and towel dry hair. Mix half white vinegar and half water and spray it in hair. Let totally air dry, leave in 2 or 3 hours then comb off nits and dead bugs. They should be partly disintegrated. Then put lots of inexpensive moisturizing conditioner over it, and cap another half hour or more to smother any that may be left. Rinse well, no need to shampoo again. Or simply rinse out the vinegar after combing, towel dry, and leave a nice moisturizing conditioner in, capped for a half hour.

          A tea tree mint or rosemary mint or coconut oil one is good! This will help suffocate if any are left. And reconditions hair. (The sight I got this off of never said how long to leave in the vinegar and water, so I assume all day but it does sting a bit. It’s fine after rinsing and conditioner.) The site which was how to kill lice with vinegar, also has a method of one cup vinegar and one cup baby oil and leave in all night. And do every night till gone. But this is easy and cheap! Can be redone in about four days.

          My friend online is saying he’s having better luck with T-gel shampoo, and he got his at the dollar store, then Listerine. But he was using mint Listerine. Neutrogena has T-gel shampoo, they have one that says intense itch that has menthol, and less tar then the Denorex shampoo and I googled it, it is safe for kids.

          They said California went over board with the cancer warnings for tar shampoos. They are the bomb for lice! Kill more then pesticides but don’t leave on. Wash twice. They won’t kill eggs though, I had babies after three days which is why I did the vinegar. But you can just keep using the shampoo. But the vinegar and water will probably knock them out faster cause it can remove nits! But I was wondering why my daughter never gets lice, guess why? She uses T-gel shampoo, from the dollar store!
          And yes, vinegar and water is safe on processed or dyed hair, it actually improves color, just clarifies which is why you deep condition. This has been a three month battle for us, my daughter resorted to Vaseline on the kids!

          The name of the conditioners with petroleum jelly is Africa’s Best Super Gro, the other one is BB. In the ethnic section at CVS and Walgreens. You smother them over night which will be my follow up when I have time to wash my hair in the morning! Suppose to work wonders! You can also do the T gel shampoo or Denorex with tar twice, (again, don’t leave in, can irritate and not meant to be left in awhile) and leave a vinegar rinse in of one or two parts water and one part white vinegar for two hours after, for the nits, rinse and re condition. Works great! Sunscreen recommended after Denorex, the next day.

        • Blondie
          Reply

          I feel annoying to keep commenting, but you know how you think something works then you itch or feel crawling? And I comb over the sink so I see if lice babies are back in a few days, though I think dead ones can still be in the next day. But the all day half water and vinegar did sting and though hair was shiny and bright, over stripped. So again only leave in two hours then comb then smother with conditioner on top (I didn’t have time) for another hour, add five drops of tea tree oil if you can, or cheap hair oil in the ethnic section with olive oil and coconut, if you can then rinse and comb again.

          I combed off more tiny lice babies before a party last night, (even though a co worker found no nits or bugs), so I did this instead of using Denorex again, though I will!:
          Half original Listerine, half wintergreen rubbing alcohol and lots of baby oil and some creamy baby oil from the dollar store. (I found angel of mine creamy baby oil has benzyl alcohol which kills lice, and moisturizers and washes out easier than baby oil.) The more oil the more you need to shampoo though! I only had ten minutes but you can leave in 20 or 30, it does not burn, it makes hair shiny. I washed 4 x .I rushed out. This morning I combed off more very small dead lice babies. I can tell they’re dead cause no longer black from eating!
          Just a way to speed up Listerine!

          Again, if you use half vinegar or apple cider vinegar (less acidic and less sting then white) and half olive or thick vegetable oil, or mayo and apple cider vinegar to desired consistency; with some tea tree oil if you can, for two hours, you can kill a lot and remove lot of nits, it is messy though but makes hair healthy, it’s not a cure all but daily use after of an electronic Nix or Robi comb may get the rest! Fairly simple and cheap. Use it twice a day for two or three weeks! You can also do this after a Listerine treatment, sleeping in olive oil or mayo then massaging in vinegar (or apple cider vinegar with the mayo) for the last half hour before washing, or the apple cider vinegar on damp hair and let dry then smother in slightly warmed coconut oil all night or day. (Supposedly once works, idk!) As you would have killed live bugs and got many nits off! Just a thought. And all are natural and moisturize.

          Another bonus would be washing those oil treatments out the third and final time with the Denorex! Just don’t leave in! Or the T gel shampoo it has less tar and safe for kids and the stubborn itch has menthol too. Denorex is better though. These kill bugs but not the eggs. Listerine and oil and vinegar treatments help remove nits. Vinegar can sting a bit. And don’t forget to try the Africa’s best super gro conditioner or BB brand overnight! It’s only$3. I’m doing that in a couple days if any more babies. And definitely as a re treatment when I have time in the morning to wash out!

          I did see what I think were nits today in the sink after the Listerine and alcohol and baby oil last night, hoping. But the Listerine sounds great too, I’m sure with the essential oils it’s pretty mild. I just didn’t want to chance it yet. I’d add some tea tree oil or baby oil on me, two spoons. But ppl rave over the Africa and BB creams over night, if I saw that sooner, I’d have done that first and I highly recommend trying that first! Praying it works! After all summer, they’re the best tips I’ve seen! Sorry for many comments but these buggers are tough! Nit picking every day is still the best!

          • Blondie
            Philly

            I’m happy to report I’m not combing off a thing today! So so far, that combination worked for me! (A drug store brand of original Listerine, wintergreen rubbing alcohol, and dollar store creamy baby oil with aloe and some baby oil with aloe (you only need one, for moisture and suffocation, the Angel of mine creamy baby oil is less greasy than regular baby oil, and has benzyl alcohol, which helps). For only ten minutes! But you can leave in 20, keep from flame. I had to washed 4x.

            I know the added Listerine did it, because we did the rubbing alcohol and baby oil several times! It kills fast but they come back. And alcohol by itself dries your scalp and hair! So do this or do the Listerine two hour soak. I would just like to know how it affects colour treated blonde hair? I would still add a couple spoons of baby oil and some tea tree, but that’s just me. Just for moisture and the tea tree for a boost. There’s a cheap Hollywood beauty brand but it’s diluted with other oils but would do fine, ethnic section.

            But if any come back I think I’ll do the straight Listerine just for a few minutes and wash and condition, but I’ll have to see. Maybe just a spoon or two of oil to it for ten minutes, depending on if any return! So forget the vinegar and water!

            But I will probably just sleep in the Africa’s best super gro conditioner! I bought it. And it will deep condition! :) They have an excellent deep leave in or rinse out conditioner I bought cheap at the beauty supply. Has silicone and that helps too!
            But remember it’s Africa’s best super gro hair and scalp conditioner with petroleum, or BB brand, not the hair gel! Has other oils. Overnight capped. But Listerine does work well!!! Thanks for the excellent posts. This has been a nightmare of trial and failures, including a brand of Rid three times! Listerine, and Denorex also, worked much better! But the Listerine works on the eggs too I think!

            They claim once with the hair and scalp cream with petroleum overnight with combing cured bad long term cases! Be blessed!

          • Blondie

            Dang my comments are confusing, even for me! Lol. I’m so, sorry, fourth time around and the worst! For me and my daughter and grandkids. The usual cure for me of oil and vinegar and tea tree oil did not work. Maybe cause I normally do a couple days after Rid, so I get off nits? Idk, but let me group and summarize the best we have tried or googled!:
            The original Listerine, even from the dollar store, massage in a little at a time rather than spray because of fumes! Two hours as the person above me stated, you can check in an hour but comb off nits and bugs with a good metal nit comb. Ppl are recommending Olive oil hair lotion in the ethnic section to do this easily after the Listerine! Rinse I suppose.
            Dry everything on high, you don’t have to keep washing. Wash anything worn in the last two days, vacuum and mop and bag stuffed animals two weeks. Spray furniture with Listerine! Add some to a water bottle and use to repel.

            I did not use this because my hair is lightened and long. My daughter has and I guess it worked. IF I ever try it, I would add some tea tree oil and spoon or two of baby oil. Or hair oil with tea tree, for moisture and a boost. It’s a little bottle in the black hair care section and cheap. It’s not pure tea tree oil though.
            I read two ppl with long term bad cases said he only thing that worked was Africa’s best hair and scalp conditioner, or BB brand, they have petroleum and other oils and wash out easier than Vaseline. They said over night and capped worked first time! Use nit comb after or before washing. I’m doing that next!

            Two ppl said two garlic tablets made them leave or die. One is a school nurse and hands them out! I have not tried yet.
            Denorex shampoo with coal tar works wonders. I used it, but I was bad, I left it in about ten minutes. You aren’t supposed to! For some ppl this is the only thing that worked! It killed more for me than anything. But won’t kill nits. Wash with it twice, don’t leave on. You must use every few days for babies for several weeks. So I would maybe spray on half water half vinegar or apple cider vinegar, it’s milder, onto towel dried hair after washing with Denorex. Leave in an hour or two for nits, then put a moisturizing conditioner over it for another half hour to smother more and moisturize. The diluted vinegar doesn’t hurt but clarifies. Or, try combing off nits with Olive oil hair lotion in the black section and rinse out. Or just keep washing with Denorex with tar every few days for three weeks. Denorex is excellent but the draw back is, it has a cancer warning from California for tar. But you can dilute a little for kids, or try Nuetragena t gel shampoo, the stubborn itch has menthol. This is safe for kids I read. Someone online I know said the dollar store version worked better than the Listerine. But he was using the mint. My daughter uses dollar store t gel shampoo and never gets lice. She uses pink oil spray too.
            Use sunscreen for a day after the denorex. It stained my hair slightly but hair oil left in awhile and washed out removed it. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water rinsed out helps too after shampoo and conditioner and adds shine.

            Wintergreen or plain rubbing alcohol kills fast, but dries out scalp and hair in 15 minutes and they still came back! I squirted in some baby oil or creamy baby oil from the dollar store, less greasy, left in 20 minutes. Worked good, but they came right back! You must remove nits. You can try adding the original Listerine to wintergreen rubbing alcohol with some baby oil for 20 minutes. Always keep alcohol from flame! I just tried, it killed the new babies but don’t know how effective it is yet. If you can get all the nits off it is! Try the olive oil lotion for nits after or do the original Listerine soak two hours to be sure. Then the olive oil lotion.

            My friend loves Cetaphil face wash. Apply to scalp very well with a tint bottle,like a touch up, then coat hair. Comb off excess and wipe in tissues. Diispose. Blow dry ALL the way and leave no damp spots! Takes time. Cap and leave in all night. Wash and condition and comb. Supposedly you don’t have to get all the nits. Repeat in a week then again.
            Some natural treatments that help but must be repeated every four days or so unless you get all the nits and bugs are:
            1 cup olive oil, 1 cup vinegar or apple cider vinegar (milder), ,OR mayo and apple cider vinegar to desired consistency, add two spoons of tea tree oil to both, cap 2 hours and have paper towels ready, it’s runny! Can kill all and get most nits off. Makes hair healthy. Wash 3x, condition and comb well with the metal nit comb. It only works if you get all the nits off!
            The alternative is sleeping in olive oil or mayo, at least 8 hours. Then massaging in white vinegar or apple cider vinegar with the mayo, for about 20 minutes before washing. And combing.
            This is supposed to work after one time, never did it:
            Spray hair with apple cider vinegar. I would spray a little damp with water first. Let dry on hair. Then warm coconut oil slightly and massage in scalp and cover hair. Cap and leave in all day or night. Use only coconut oil. Others run! Wash and condition and comb off nits.

            Another site said vinegar and baby oil, half and half, all night every night till they’re gone.
            Someone else said neem oil kills bugs and eggs. Mix with olive oil. Google it.
            But I would definitely try the Africa’s best super gro conditioner or BB brand overnight first! Wish I had.
            Continued use of Denorex will work for 3 weeks. Every few days. Don’t leave on! T gel may too and less tar, might be better on kids, not sure how good it is. You can maybe dilute denorex on kids, but not sure. Other ppl use it on kids. There’s no warning. But use sunscreen next day.
            But you can’t go wrong with the black hair conditioners with petroleum over night! Washes out easier than Vaseline and can be used as needed. I’m doing tonight. I itch a little. I’m going to use Denorex again if needed but hopefully won’t be. But I won’t have on.

            The electronic Nix comb did not work in three weeks but maybe after one of these it will, or the Robi comb. But I was dying other treatments with it. The doctor was no help. I’ll try garlic tablets too if I find them at the dollar store! I may have tried Listerine on all of us sooner had I read this! Hope this helps! Sorry for so many comments. I condensed to help, hopefully! God bless

  6. Kat
    Florida
    Reply

    I have a 6 year old daughter and an 11 year old daughter. Last year my oldest daughter brought home head lice for the first time and OMG WHAT A NIGHTMARE. I bought all the over the counter and even purchased Clearlice. Nothing worked.

    Everyday for 6 months when the girls came home from school I would check their hair. I was beyond frustrated.

    Well thanks to Grandma she found out by using old fashioned Listerine it kills these little annoying bugs. The nits are easier to pull out and every week I spray their hair for the week starts for school. Try it, it worked for me and my girls :)

  7. Tina
    Reply

    My daughter recently came home with lice and then I’m HOPING this Listerine treatment works. I’m going to do my hair as well, my only concern is I’m pregnant so being that Listerine has alcohol in it, is it safe to use on myself?

    • Blondie
      Reply

      The eucalyptus might not be. Try taking two garlic tablets. They leave, a nurse said! Other ppl said only African hair gro with petroleum jelly, or BB, worked. Overnight and capped It smoothers them and once should do it! These things are a nightmare! Washes out easier then Vaseline. Comb with metal nit comb.
      Denorex is the only thing that worked for me, with tar. But I left it on ten minutes, you shouldn’t. Tar has a cancer warning in high amounts. You should just wash it right out twice and use every few days. But I wouldn’t if you’re pregnant! But I swear my nits came off. But you really shouldn’t leave it on. Try the Africa hair grow jelly or by BB. Have a healthy baby!

  8. Sandra
    Canada
    Reply

    Head lice is a nightmare….my kids one year came home from school with lice from wearing hats a teacher had as extras…..at same time was battling fleas on our dog….I was at wits end…well for the head lice I tried everything..nix ect ect…got reading some stuff on line how listerine kills lice and Dawn dishsoap kills fleas….well out I went and bought both products…soaked all in our house with listerine on our heads…we sat watching a movie with plastic bags on our heads….removed bags couple hrs later went thru heads…all was dead…and did not return…I think the alcohol in listerine killed the lice…combed thru hair and nothing….IT WORKS…BUT ORIGINAL LISTERINE…..As for the Dawn dish soap it worked on our dog…the stuff Dawn is made from took care of them….they say use the BLUE Dawn……so now we have a good amount of both Dawn and Listerine on hand… :)

    • Blondie
      Reply

      Thank you! Great advice! And it doesn’t dry your hair out after two hours? I’d add a little baby oil to mine and tea tree cause I worry about that! Can’t hurt! Just a spoken or two. And Vaseline or baby oil around the skin cause heard it can peel. And some baby oil in it may help with any scalp inflammation on little ones. Just a thought! Thanks for the info! Fourth and worse time for us! I’ll keep this in mind should they return.

  9. C.F.
    Reply

    After treating my daughter with a name brand home remedy treatment for head lice… and the hours of trying to get everything from her hair and spray the aerosol for bedding and such… and dealing with the fact that I myself was getting physically sick due in part that I’m putting flea spray on my daughter’s items and items that cannot throw into the wash. (Seriously look at the active ingredient in that can is the exact same that is found in flea and tick spray.)
    I threw everything into the trash. I searched the internet and saw that Listerine kills Head lice….. I thought to myself if you can put it into your mouth your why not in your hair? So I went out bought the biggest bottle and getting our results that very next hour… it was killing the adults and releasing the glue for the nits.
    So I swear by the original Listerine hands down never will I go back to the name brand or any lice treatment, as a matter of fact, ever again. Besides it also leaves your hair refreshed and minty smelling…

  10. Ed
    Reply

    My story is a VERY long one, so I won’t lay out all the details. It spans about 13 months, although the word “lice” did not even enter my mind until I was about 8 months into the situation. When it was all over I must have spent about $1,200 dollars on prescription drugs, doctors/dermatologist appointments, and home remedies. During the last 3 weeks with the “problem” I spent about 5 hours per day dealing with the apparent head lice problem. I finally got so fed-up and discouraged that I went to a head-lice-removal salon, even though I had to drive about 90 miles to get there. Much to my surprise the salon did not find ANY head lice on me! When I described to them all that I had been through over a very long period of time, I was told that the symptoms that I had early on could NOT have been caused by head lice.
    A few days after visiting the head-lice-removal salon when I saw my dermatologist for about the 4th time concerning my “head lice problem”, and I told her what happened at the head-lice-removal salon, we both came to the conclusion that I probably NEVER had head lice! It probably all started with a case of scalp eczema. Then somebody, who was trying to be helpful, put it into my mind that I might have lice. After researching lice on the Internet it seemed to me that that is what I had. All the symptoms seemed to fit perfectly. From then on I saw everything and analyzed everything through the lens/belief that I DID have head lice. However, in reality I probably had some scalp eczema at first. That probably healed but then I was scrapping with the nit comb, and later with a dog comb, dandruff onto my shoulders. This was mistaken for head lice.
    The bottom line is, if you have not dealt with head lice before, don’t assume that you have it. Put some samples of what you comb out of your hair in a clear baggie and take that to a dermatologist and insist that those scalp samples be examined by him/her under a microscope or by a lab. In lieu of seeing a dermatologist, if you are fortunate enough to have a head-lice-removal salon nearby, visit one. You could be saving yourself a LOT of time, money, worry, and stress. I wish that I had taken one of these two actions a LLOOOOONG time ago! Thank God that there are people who are willing to work in a head-lice-removal salon!

  11. Michelle
    Reply

    Low and behold, I have a 10 year old who brought lice home from a friends house and gave it to her 5 brothers and sisters and myself:( We have always used Lindane until we found out it’s no longer made!! The doctor gave them Permethrin which didn’t work. So, we are all sleeping in plastic caps with Listerine soaked heads!!! Hope this works:)))

  12. Lori
    Reply

    Hi Kelly…our family is living in Cambodia, and interact with lots of village children, who have LOTS of lice. Two of our girls got lice – 8 and 10 years old – and we tried the listerine treatment on them with no adverse side effects other than smelling like listerine for the next several days. But…the lice were dead!
    I just discovered tonight that I have lice too, so here I sit with my head covered in listerine. =( I’m going to wash my hair with vinegar too. Another helpful thing is looking up the life cycle of a louse. It kinda helps you have an idea of when you should be retreating, etc. And don’t forget to pick through their hair! It takes a long time, but it’s important and worth it in the long run. There are helpful videos on Youtube about how to effectively pick the nits out. Best wishes!

  13. kelly
    Reply

    My 9year old daughter as nits, gave them to me and her younger brothers 3yrs and 1yr. I’ve been reading about listerine and it says avoid on children under 12 as it contains alcohol. I’ve bought some but now I daren’t use it on them. Has anyone used it on their children of these ages? I’ve been using headrin but it’s useless!!

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