Does Washing Your Hair Every Day Kill Lice? (Answered)

Lice in your hair can be incredibly annoying, especially if you constantly feel like something is crawling through your hair. You are tempted to wash your hair almost daily to see if the head lice will die. Although it seems like a brilliant idea, you are not sure if it will work. But does washing your hair every day kill lice?

By reading this well-researched article, you will learn whether washing your hair every day will kill lice. Additionally, explain what lice are, how to determine whether you have them, and the various ways you might have gotten the lice. We tell you whether applying a conditioner, hair dye, or a hot shower will help eliminate lice. Ultimately, we reveal what can instantly kill lice.

What are Head Lice?

Small, wingless insects known as head lice are parasites that live on the scalp of your head and feed on your blood. Although rare, they can also be found in your eyebrows and eyelashes. The eggs (nits) laid by head lice cling to the hair shaft. An adult louse is the size of a sesame seed and has six legs. The nit(egg) is the size of a tiny dandruff flake.

A glue-like substance holds the nits in place, making it even more challenging to see them. Infestations of head lice, also known as pediculosis, are common. Although an adult louse can stay in your scalp for more than 30 days, it cannot survive outside your body for longer than two days.

While head lice can affect anybody, children between 3 and 11 years are most frequently affected. The most exposed are children, who are more prone to share items that have come into contact with their hair, which is where head lice live.

Will Washing Your Hair Get Rid of Lice?

Washing your hair without medicated or prescription shampoos will not eliminate lice. Having head lice has nothing to do with cleanliness or personal hygiene. There is no evidence to suggest that head lice prefer clean or dirty hair. Any human hair, whether clean or oily, will be attractive for head lice.

Human hair is the only place where lice might be near their food source since they only feed on human blood.

When completely submerged in water, head lice can survive for more than 6 hours and maintain a tight hold on the hair shaft. Hence, continually washing your hair won’t get rid of lice. In addition, adult female lice can produce up to six eggs each day. You must eliminate lice eggs and kill the adult lice to get rid of them.

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Nits from head lice are especially difficult to remove because they are firmly attached to the hair shaft. Even when you pour water on your head, their feet, designed to hang on to human hair, won’t let go. 

The adult female lice attach each egg to an individual hair shaft. Then releases a sticky substance to keep the nit fixed to the hair shaft even after repeated washing. Most treatments don’t eliminate nits; thus, they will eventually develop into nymphs( young adults).

How Can You Tell If You Have Head Lice?

You won’t feel at all comfortable if you have head lice. How can you tell if you genuinely have head lice, though? The following list of symptoms and signs will let you know if you have head lice:

  • Itching in areas where head lice are likely to live, such as the neck, the area behind the ears, and the back of the head.
  • You will develop sores from constant scratching, which can promote other infections.
  • You feel like something is crawling inside your hair
  • Since head lice are most active at night, getting any sleep is challenging.
  • Tiny or tan dots on the hair shaft are probably head lice nits or nymphs.

How Did You Catch Head Lice?

When two people are in close contact, head lice crawl from one to the other and spread. By making direct contact with the head of someone who has head lice, you can be infected.

Sharing personal items like combs, hairpins, and other objects can also spread head lice. You are likely to get head lice if you use a garment (such as hats, sheets, or towels) right after someone with head lice has used it.

However, it is extremely uncommon for head lice to spread through inanimate items. Near head-to-head contact is where the majority of head lice transmission occurs.

Since head lice are spread by contact, it is possible that the rest of your family members also have them. You should check everyone in the house for head lice every few days.

Does Hair Dye Kill Head Lice?

Hair dye can eliminate head lice because it contains chemicals such as ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. However, hair dye does not kill nits, and they will hatch. No research has been done to back up the theory that hair dye can kill head lice; thus, it is only based on anecdotal evidence. Permanent hair dye is the most effective type.

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One of the reasons head lice cannot survive a hair dye treatment is that they are sensitive to ammonia. Ammonia is a common gas that is unpleasant, harmful, and corrosive. A powerful disinfectant, hydrogen peroxide, makes head lice lose their structure, eventually resulting in death.

However, it is not recommended to treat lice by applying hair dye to children’s hair. Due to the delicate nature of their hair, the dye’s chemicals are more likely to harm it. Chemical reactions in the eyes, scalp, airways, and hair are also more common in children.

Can Showering With Hot Water Get Rid of Lice?

No, showering with hot water will not get rid of lice. For lice to die, it has to be exposed to hot water with temperatures above 53.5°C for more than 5 minutes. That water is too hot and will scald you and damage your hair. You can only use hot water on items that can withstand high heat.

You can only use hot water with items that can tolerate high heat, such as scarves, beds, hats, garments, and towels. Washing them in hot water eliminates adult lice and stops their nits (eggs) from hatching. The remaining adults and eggs will be destroyed by ironing after being washed in hot water.

Does Conditioner Suffocate Head Lice?

Yes, the regular conditioner will suffocate head lice as well. The spiracles on the sides of head lice’s bodies are what they use to breathe air. When you use a conditioner on your hair, lice cannot breathe through the spiracles. Additionally, acting as lubricants, conditioners make removing nits from the hair simpler.

But the conditioner won’t work until you can keep it on your hair for more than six hours. 

Additionally, the conditioner won’t work unless the lice are covered, and the spiracles are fully blocked. However, you should know that using a conditioner won’t eliminate a lice infestation. To get rid of head lice, you must mix nit combing with other treatments.

The following is a simple approach for applying conditioner to suffocate head lice from your child’s head: 

  1. Apply a good amount of conditioner to the palm of your hand. Working your way down, massage the conditioner into the scalp, starting at the roots.
  2. To make it simpler to use a nit comb safely and without hurting your child, use an ordinary comb to remove all the tangles. You should use boiling water for ten minutes to sterilize a flea or nit comb.
  3. Take a portion of hair and part it, then comb the hair with a nit comb from the scalp to the ends.
  4. Using white tissue paper, wipe the conditioner out of the nit comb. You can see if you are removing anything from the hair by looking at the white tissue paper. Through the whole head of hair, repeat the process.
  5. To remove the conditioner, wash your kid’s hair. Until all the nits are gone, you must repeat this procedure daily.
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What Kills Lice Instantly in Hair?

Medicated or prescription creams, Shampoo, and lotions containing pyrethrin or permethrin can instantly kill head lice in hair. The only way to get rid of head lice is to adhere to the instructions properly. So make sure you do that. You can comply with the instructions to learn how to apply the treatment, how long you should let it sit in your hair, and how often you should do it.

Use the steps below to ensure the lice in your hair are immediately destroyed with the medicated or prescription shampoo.

  1. Apply the treatment to your scalp and massage it through your hair after reading the instructions on the treatment label.
  2. How long you should let the treatment stay in your hair can be found in the instructions. After the suggested amount of time, rinse your hair.
  3. After rinsing, remove any remaining lice and nits with a fine-tooth comb. After that, soak the comb in hot water for up to 10 minutes.
  4. Reapply the treatment as recommended in the instructions. 

It is important to remember that it will take multiple treatments to entirely get rid of the lice and nits from your hair. It can take up to three weeks to eliminate head lice and nits. Ensure everyone in the household is checked for head lice and treated if one person has them to prevent reinfection.

Should You Wash Your Hair Before Lice Tretment?

If you have lice and haven’t started any treatments, you can still wash and condition your hair every day. However, you shouldn’t use a shampoo or conditioner before using a treatment to kill the lice if you intend to do so. Because the conditioner will coat the hair, the lice treatment will not work.

You shouldn’t wash it again one to two days after removing the lice treatment from your hair. Not washing guarantees that the medication will have adequate time to work. After the lice treatment, avoid using an ordinary conditioner or shampoo for at least ten days.

Conclusion

You now know that having head lice should not worry you too much. Medicated shampoos, creams, and lotions can instantly kill lice if they contain permethrin or pyrethrin. It appears pointless to wash your hair daily to get rid of lice. But you can use conditioners and hair dyes to eliminate lice gradually.

About Stephanie

Stephanie is fond of doing all backyard-related work at her home. She loves to take sunbathe and do a barbecue in her free time. She often shares practical tips and friendly expert advice on everything relating to home and yard on this blog. When she is not writing, she goes camping with her husband and little kids.