How To Get Rid Of Nits and Head lice

Fighting a Losing Battle Against Nits

I hate Sunday nights. I hate that every week I have to pin my daughter down to comb her hair. I hate that my 8-year-old keeps getting nits. I hate that because she has thick hair the nit comb struggles to get through it. I hate having to fight and chase her with the nit comb. I hate that combing her hair leaves us both in tears and her scalp bleeding. I hate the cost of constantly buying expensive nit treatments. I hate trying to pull the nit comb through her hair whilst she screams and attacks me. I hate that I make her scream so loudly that I’m amazing my neighbours haven’t called the police, convinced I’m murdering her. Did I mention I hate nits and Sunday nights?

combing nits out of daughters hair with a nit comb

What Are Nits?

Head lice are a tiny, six-legged parasite that lives on the human head. They feed off human blood and are commonly found on children.  Adults are the size of a sesame seed and they vary in colour from grey to a reddish caramel colour.

Nits are the eggs of head lice. Nits are tear-drop shaped and the lice actually “glue” them to the shaft of the hair so they’re tough to remove. Female lice can lay three to five eggs per day and they can lay up to 200 eggs in their lifetime!

Head lice and nits are horrible and the scourge of schools up and down the country. But worst than that, Nit eggs and head lice are IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of! I have spent hundreds of pounds and hours of my life in what seems like a never-ending battle to rid my children of these pests.

Head lice in child's hair

Getting Rid of Nits

Over the years I’ve tried different brands of expensive chemicals, lotions and treatments. All of which boast they will get rid of the nits and the lice. Yet less than a week later, I would spot live lice crawling through their hair.

I’ve tried different nit combs and all seem to pull at their scalp whilst I try and run it through their hair. Although the nitty-gritty seems to be the best comb for getting rid of nits. It hurts because the glue the lice use is very effective.

If you spot nits or live headlice in one member of the family, the chances are everyone has nits. This means that the cost of buying enough lotion to cover everyone increases the cost.

Even just using conditioner and a nit comb is a nightmare as the nit eggs glue themselves to the hair follicle and the comb tugging them out tugs at my daughters’ scalps. It hurts them and creates a battle between us which leaves her hating having her hair combed with the nit comb. I’m also left reluctant to comb their hair because of the battle, the tantrum and the tears. I hate doing their hair. It seems like a losing battle. The constant washing and combing with the nit comb. Even though I know that combing with the nit comb is the only way to get rid of nits.

Nits in child's hair

White Vinegar

Then a friend asked if I had tried white vinegar.

As soon as she mentioned vinegar, I flashed back to when I was 10-years-old. I was on a week-long Brownie camp in Scotland. I came down with nits and my Brown Owl washed my hair in vinegar. Whether it actually got rid of the nits I don’t remember, all I remember is how I stunk of vinegar.

When I mentioned this to my friend she told me to give it a go and that as long as I washed it a couple of times afterwards I’d get rid of the smell.

Getting Rid of Nits with White Vinegar

So tonight I decided to give it a go and I used my 8-year-old as my guinea pig. She is the one who seems to catch nits the most. She is also the hardest one to treat because of her long, thick, wavy hair and her reluctance to let me do it I followed my friend’s advice and did her hair in the following steps

  1. Wash the hair with shampoo and then heavily condition the hair
  2. Whilst the conditioner is in the hair, comb it with the nit comb
  3. Wash the conditioner out of the hair
  4. Soak the hair in white vinegar
  5. Comb through the hair again with the nit comb, the acid in the vinegar will remove the stickiness from the nit eggs allowing the comb to remove them
  6. Wash the hair a few times to get rid of the smell of white vinegar

I followed all the above steps. My 8-year-old was really reluctant and I had to bribe her to sit nicely in front of me so I could comb her hair.

The Result

I was AMAZED at how well she sat there. No screaming. No crying. No trying to get away from me. No battle to move her hands away from her face. NOTHING. She actually sat there and let me comb it!

She even looked at me and said: “It doesn’t hurt!”

When I had finished I had more nit eggs on the comb than I had ever had before, even though I had combed it with conditioner already. The best thing was, no matter how hard I searched her hair, I couldn’t see any signs of nits or lice.

This was a difficult test as my daughter has long, thick, curly hair, which is why it’s always such a battle to comb her hair in the morning, let alone with the nit comb.

She even looked at me and asked “Do we have to do this again next Sunday” and when I replied just to make sure she hadn’t caught any more nits in school she replied “Ok” and ran off to play on her tablet.

From now on I’ll be using white vinegar all the time. It costs a lot less than the expensive nit removal treatments. Yet it’s better for her hair and the environment. Most importantly, it’s better for my daughters’ and it doesn’t hurt!

Have you tried using white vinegar before? What about other “Old wives tales” or “natural remedies” for getting rid of nits? What have you found that works and what hasn’t?

The only downside I can think of is that the smell does linger around the house. A squirt of air freshener got rid of it and it was worth putting up with the smell.

0 thoughts on “How To Get Rid Of Nits and Head lice

    • I’ll definitely use it again! My daughter went to school this morning telling everyone she didn’t have nits anymore! The vinegar even cleaned all the black off a pan hubby burnt yesterday as well (even if the house did smell like a chip shop!)

  1. I find it goes round in cycles for us, we will have a few months were the nits are rife and then nothing for ages! I will try and remember about the white vinegar though, cant smell worse than the chemical nit treatments, they’re revolting!

    • Same here with us, just when I think we’ve finally beaten them, they come back! I’ll definitely use the white vinegar again and my daughter was proudly telling everyone at the school gate this morning that mummy used vinegar in her hair and now her nits were all gone!

  2. Oh my goodness! I hope someone is able to give you some good advice on how to help get rid of nits! I remember hearing before that nits don’t like “dirty” hair so that some parents use different hair products (hair gel, hairspray, mousse) in their children’s hair so that they don’t attract them to begin with. I don’t know if there is any truth to this but it could be worth a try!

    Good luck!!

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