First of all, I’m so sorry that you are reading this. It means that someone in your house has lice, probably your kid. We hate lice. Hate them. Our daughter has brought them home two times. We did a bunch of research and reading and figured out the following plan of attack. I hope it helps you.
(thank you CJ for compelling me to finally write this up)
Basically nothing replaces sitting and picking and picking and picking. Put all stuffed toys and soft things that can’t be washed in trash bags for at least 2 weeks. Any bugs on them will starve and die (or hatch, starve and die) by then. Wash bedding and towels EVERY DAY. It’s is a terrible pain, but if you sit and pick for an hour and then tuck your kid into a bed with bugs, it totally defeats the purpose. We take away the comforter and “nice” things (wash once and them put in trash bags) and use 1 pillow and blankets we don’t love so the laundry is do-able.
We haven’t bought any of the chemicals. My reading suggests that they are more toxic to you than to the bugs because they are resistant. Mix gross yellow (original) listerine with vinegar, douse the hair and put on a shower cap or saran wrap for at least a half hour (let your kid watch a show or two). Wrap a towel around your kid’s shoulders to catch drips and give him/her a wash cloth to blot with. I’d suggest getting the shower cap because the saran wrap has a tendency to open. Also, you might find dead lice in the cap when you take it off, which is satisfying. The listerine kills bugs. The vinegar dissolves the egg glue.
Rinse in the shower or sink. You might see bugs, but they’ll probably be dead. If possible, I’d suggest not getting your whole kid wet because eventually they will be naked, cold, wet and doused in conditioner for the pick-a-thon. It works out better if only the head is wet.
Wash the hair and then douse on a TON of conditioner with dimethicone, preferably something with coconut oil in it. Dimethicone is the main ingredient in LiceMD. I had originally thought that it smothered them. Now it seems that it just lubricates the hair so much that they slide out super easily. It doesn’t matter, it’s good stuff. I don’t know if lice really don’t like coconut, but several sites have said this. We bought coconut white rain at the dollar tree and it was perfect. It’s a $1, so seriously, douse the hair in it. The conditioner really helps you see the eggs and slows down the fast adult lice.
Sit the kid down where you can see really well and work your way around. I’d suggest entertainment for your kid because you’ll be a while (especially the first time), but put on music instead of a TV show, because you’ll need to turn his/her head all different directions and you don’t want them to be looking at something that is only in one spot. I’ve had NO luck with a comb, but it may be great for you. I just keep parting and sliding the little egg sacks (and occasional live lice) out with my fingernails. Egg sacks will be ~ 2 or 3 mm from the head. If they are much further than this, then you’ve probably had lice for a while and the hair has had time to grow.
Whatever you pull out, smush the sucker between your fingernails so you know they will NOT come back. It will make a tiny popping noise that causes you to throw up in your mouth every time. Also pop them because you hate them and want them to die. Also do it because you are sick of standing there and your feet hurt and it gives a sense of accomplishment. If it doesn’t pop, it has already hatched (which is sad) or sometimes it is just dirt or a skin flake from the scratching. Prepare yourself for the emotions you will feel when the bug you just popped leaves your baby’s blood on your fingernail.
Go through the hair until you have made a complete pass without finding an egg or a bug. Do the treatment and pick every other night until you stop finding them — then continue to spot check without the treatment. You will probably do 3 treatments. Your kid will smell like the listerine, but our kid liked the smell (weirdo) and it seemed like it was probably protective against them.
Continue washing bedding and towels every day until you go a week without finding any. Keep the stuffed animals and such in quarantine for a while longer.
Oh wait, I lied about the toxic chemicals. We did buy an aerosol can of stuff from the drug store that we use on the car seats. We spray it on in the evening when we can leave the car windows open for a while so it can air out.
I hope that this process can make lice removal as simple as it can be for you.