Scratch, scratch, scratch. Dandruff? Or could it be the dreaded lice? A recent outbreak at school has me obsessing. My kids haven’t had it yet, but I am sure those buggies will make their way to my house sooner or later. My issue isn’t so much the bugs—gross as they may be. Instead, I want to know how to get rid of the lice without using chemicals, such as lindane, malathion, or pyrethrin.
So I've done some research to prepare myself for chemical free lice avoidance/removal.
According to Adie Horowitz, owner of Licenders, you can take the steps below to avoid lice in the first place.
- Use peppermint scented shampoos and conditioners to deter the lice.
- Throw backpacks, hats, and jackets in the dryer for 20 minutes once a week.
- Teach your child not to share hats, combs or brushes, hair-bows, helmets, etc.
- Check your kid’s head for lice occasionally. Look around the ears, the back of the neck and where the hair is parted. (It is much easier to get rid of them if you discover it at an early stage.)
If your family does get lice, here are some steps to handle the outbreak:
- Buy a fine metal lice-remover comb. (Click here for instructions on removal techniques.) You can use a nontoxic product to make it easier. Alternative treatments include mayonnaise or olive oil to smother the lice.
- Put bed linens, pillows, stuffed animals, and any hats or jackets in the dryer for 30 minutes on high heat to kill both live lice and nits.
- Vacuum all upholstery, mattresses, and carpets to remove any bugs that have escaped.
- Keep checking hair daily by using the lice removal comb until you are sure that all lice and nits are gone.
As a last resort, you might consider calling a professional in your area to come and help you get rid of the lice. Make sure before you hire someone that they do not use chemicals in the process of removal.
Scratching yet? I am sure you are.
Francesca Olivieri is co-founder of sage baby, an online eco-friendly baby store offering everything from organic clothes and skin care to furniture. She also runs a green consulting business; blogs for The Family Groove and Scenic Hudson; and contributes to Daily Candy Kids, YogaCity, Citiscoop, and NRDC’s Simple Steps. Please visit her website at FrancescaOlivieri.com.