How to survive head lice – a handy guide

My kids have just gotten head lice for the second time in their lives.  The first time was a few years ago and I’m still in therapy over that one.  This bout of head lice caught me completely by surprise.  I thought we’d never get it again.  I assumed it was like surviving a plane crash.  I mean, what are the odds it would ever happen again?


Emerson refused to pose in a shower cap for this picture

But since we’re now two-time lice survivors, I thought I’d share some basic techniques and tips I’ve learned along the way.

Forget all your plans for the day — or the week, or the month, or the year, for that matter.  All you need to concentrate on is killing head lice, so you might as well kill your hopes and dreams at the same time.  A Biblical plague has descended upon your family.  So put on a burlap sack, pick up a rock and a staff and start fighting.

Get ready to do a few loads of light laundry


I’m just kidding.  What I meant to say is take everything you own and put it outside your house for an undisclosed period of time.  Wash all sheets, curtains and clothes.  Hey, you haven’t worn that bride’s maids dress in ten years?  Put it in the wash!  I suggest making a clay oven and baking all pillows.  It’s really the only way to get the lice out.  Once all the rugs have rotted and become hideous and unsightly, you may bring them back into your house.

Put all stuffed animals in garbage bags — Head lice love to inhabit your child’s favorite stuffy, so you have to pretend you’re some kind of stuffed animal serial killer and shove them all in garbage bags.  This will be your kid’s most traumatizing childhood memory, so remember to take pictures.


Get familiar with a shower cap — Just because only one of your kids has lice, doesn’t mean only one of you has to do the treatment.  Head lice is a family affair.  I start out with a shower cap treatment of coconut oil, olive oil and Neem Oil.  After that is washed and rinsed, we move onto a head full of mayonnaise.  After that is washed and rinsed, we do a head full of Listerine (it actually works).  After that is washed and rinsed, we finish with a vinegar head wash, followed by a thorough brushing with a nit comb.  At this point whatever lice haven’t died already just kill themselves.

Admit you’re white trash — Deep down you’ve always known it.  The lice are just here to force you to admit it publicly.

Blame someone — Hey, someone gave your kid lice.  They didn’t just sprout out of your kid’s head by themselves.  Make a lot of harsh judgements about what filthy family gave your kid head lice and then hate them forever.  It will make you feel better.



It’s really the only way to survive.

Good luck.  I have to go do some laundry now and put some more coals in the clay oven.  The pillows don’t seem to be charred enough yet.


  • steph says:

    Tea Tree oil diluted with water in a spray bottle and hit them with some every morning before school. They’ll never bring head lice home ever again.

  • Clare says:

    Only the second time? They’re not trying hard enough!

    Looking forward to your handy guide to worms next.

    • Holly Hester says:

      Oh, boy! Could I write a post about worms! August has gotten pin worms a record amount of times! Maybe I should wait a bit and have some distance from the lice post though — the gross factor is through the roof!

  • vicki says:

    Oh Holly, this is spot on….brilliant!! Miriam and I were both applauding your awesome ability to find humor in the face of disaster!! My daughter’s 3 youngest (Lola now 7, Ruby now 10 and Harris now 13) had lice a few years back and she and I sobbed like babies with tears running down our cheeks as we combed for hours on end thru strands of the blondest heads of hair God ever made!! After we did everything you talked about it hit us that we hadn’t done anything about the seats and headrests in their vehicles!!…more crying!!…more cursing that filthy child they caught them from!! hahaha!!

    • Holly Hester says:

      I’m sorry you had to go through that! I’m still doing laundry. And I took Buck to this lice hair salon yesterday and he still had a few nits in his hair despite all my efforts! And the car seats are the worst. They should be baked in a clay oven too!

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