Blow Drying To Kill Lice and Nits

child blow dryer

 

If you’re struggling with head lice, you want to get rid of it as soon as possible. You may have heard that blow-drying can kill lice, is it true? Learn how you can use a blow dryer to help you get rid of lice quickly and discover the answers to the following questions in this article:

Anyone who is struggling with lice today knows that it is no small feat. If you’ve tried a few rounds of treatments to get rid of lice and have failed, you are not alone. And it’s not your fault! The new strain of lice, called “super lice,” is challenging to get rid of.

Super Lice

A super lice bug at high magnification.

Super lice are the newest strain of head lice, and they are becoming increasingly common. This new type of lice is immune to the traditional pesticide treatments that worked on lice in years passed. The problem with super lice is that they have a gene mutation that is unphased by pesticides, so over the counter treatments don’t kill these lice or their lice eggs.

If you’ve tried treatments and still have lice, assume you’re dealing with super lice.

How Does Blow Drying Help With Super Lice?

Anyone struggling with head lice knows that one of the most challenging parts is trying to get rid of all of the lice eggs/nits in the hair. Most lice eggs today are completely immune to lice treatments, so if you don’t remove the nits from the head, they will inevitably hatch and reinfest your child with lice. But, you can kill lice eggs if you expose them to heat and high volumes of air. While blow-drying alone doesn’t get rid of head lice, it can be helpful.

Does Blow Drying Kill Lice?

father blow dryer 2

Blow drying is significantly more effective on lice eggs (nits) then it is on lice bugs themselves. A study of 169 children tested the effectiveness of a wide variety of blow dryers on head lice. The effectiveness of each blow dryer varied dramatically. The worst blow dryers only killed 10% of lice, whereas professional high volume dryers like the ones they use in professional lice centers killed about 80% of lice.

These professional-level dryers are not available to the general public, so the next best thing is a high-speed volume handheld dryer like this one

Does Blow Drying Kill Lice Eggs?

Blow drying, however, has a much more significant impact on lice eggs. The heat combined with high volumes of air dehydrates lice eggs, making them less likely to hatch. In the same study, a few of the high-speed volume blow dryers killed 98% of lice eggs, but even the not so good blow dryers killed about 89% of lice eggs. That’s significant.

What Kills 100% of Lice Eggs?

The only thing that kills 100% of lice eggs these days is to remove them from the head. The fastest and most effective way to do that is with a professional level lice comb.
I know what you’re thinking, “I’ve tried lice combs, and they don’t work.” That’s because you are not using a good lice comb. Combs that come in lice kits are a joke, many of those are so cheap that they’ll break off in hair!

The Nit-Free Terminator Comb is the best comb on the market. It puts every other lice comb to shame.

The teeth of this comb are spaced tightly together, but the real secret is that these teeth have small spirals that create a “barbed wire” effect on lice and nits. This “barbed wire” catches nits and drags them down the entire hair strand and out of your hair. The Terminator is the lice comb almost every lice professional use (myself included).

Can Blow Drying Spread Lice?

spread with blow dryer

Yes! Head lice can be blown off the hair and spread if you use a blow dryer. This was tested in lab experiments. Imagine, you’re treating your child for lice, but in return, the lice are blown off your child’s head and onto yours!

To avoid this happening to you, it is essential to kill lice bugs with a lice treatment that kills both lice and super lice before doing any blow-drying. Read more in the tutorial below.

Other Cautions

Burns

It is possible to burn your child with a blow dryer, so pay close attention to how your child is feeling.

Flammable

You should not combine blow-drying with a pesticide or alcohol treatments as these are flammable. Be very careful about this, as most over the counter treatments are pesticides. Listerine (mouthwash) contains large amounts of alcohol, so never combine blow-drying with a Listerine treatment.

blow dry one hand

How to Get Rid of Lice with a Blow Dryer Tutorial

Using a blow dryer to get rid of lice can be helpful, but it can not be a solution all by itself. Since blow-drying doesn’t kill lice bugs, any lice bugs left in the hair will continue to breed, and you will go around and around with lice. 

You’ll never get rid of lice by using a blow dryer alone.

To get rid of lice with a blow dryer you need to:

#1- Kill All Lice 

#2- Use a Good Lice Comb

#3- Blow Dry 

#4- Clean Your Home

#1- Kill All Lice

While blow dryers help with lice eggs, blow dryers are woefully inadequate at killing lice bugs (remember, as little as 10%).

DO NOT run to the store and pick up a “popular” lice treatment. Those are usually among the very worst at killing lice, so don’t be fooled by big name brands and hollow promises of “killing super lice and eggs” on the treatment box.

For years, the only places that you could find a lice treatment kit that killed the new super lice was at a professional lice center. But, fortunately, many of these professional centers have started selling their products online.

These treatments kill BOTH lice and super lice.

(A quick disclosure: these are affiliate links, and I earn a commission from qualifying purchases; however, all of my reviews are based on the quality of the products)

Best Over-All Kit

The Ladibugs Lice Elimination Kit comes with a serum that kills both lice and super lice. It also comes with an enzyme mousse that helps loosen lice eggs, making them much easier to remove. Ladibugs is a one-and-done kit, which means you have everything you need for one person in one kit. The enzyme mousse can be used multiple times over several days to remove lice eggs.

Easiest to Use Lice Killer

Lice Clinics Lice Remover Kit comes with an easy dispenser and is probably the most straightforward treatment to use. It kills all lice within 20 minutes. You’ll need to retreat in about 10 days.

Best All Natural

The best natural treatment at killing super lice is Head Hunters Pro WipeOut (make sure you get the kit with the Pro-Lice Comb). Head Hunters is the best treatment for those with thick hair. It will leave your hair feeling and smelling amazing.

Best for Lice Eggs

Enzyme-based treatments can be the right choice as well. Enzyme treatments take a little longer to kill head lice and only work if used multiple times, but in exchange, they break down the glue that holds lice eggs in place. The best enzyme lice treatment kit is Fairy Tales Lice Elimination Kit because it comes with the Nit Free Terminator comb and a prevention spray.

#2- Remove Lice Eggs

DO NOT rely on the blow-dryer alone to kill lice eggs.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is not removing all of the lice eggs from their child’s hair. Yes, blow drying can kill a lot of lice eggs, but removing the lice eggs from the head will increase your success rate of getting rid of lice quickly.

(Also, you’ll find a lot of products advertising “kills lice eggs,” but don’t be fooled by these gimmicks. Some lice treatments may kill some eggs, but no treatment product today kills all lice eggs). 

The fastest, easiest, and most effective way to get rid of lice eggs permanently is with a Nit Free Terminator Comb.

Get one, it’s the smartest “lice” decision you will ever make.

#3- Blow Dry Every Day

Blow drying the hair every day or every other day for a full two weeks will ensure that even if you’ve missed an egg or two, they won’t hatch. The important things to do when blow-drying the hair are:

Pick the Right Blow Dryer

The best blow dryers for drying out lice eggs have a very high-speed volume. High-speed volume is more important than high heat. Avoid bonnet-style and diffuse hot air dryers. Go with a direct air dryer. 

The most important thing about the blow dryer is the wattage. This is the motor, which determines how fast and hard the blow dryer works.

For success, use a blow dryer with at least 2000 watts.

If you're ready for a new blow dryer, this is one of the very best blow dryers out there. It will kill lice eggs and leave your hair looking fabulous for the rest of your life.

Blow Dry-Dry Hair

Blow drying to kill lice eggs doesn’t mean drying hair from wet to dry. Blow-drying for lice implies that you are blowing hot air on sections of hair that are already dry for an extended period.

Section the Hair

Section the hair and focus the hot air in one area for a few minutes before moving on to the next section. Sectioning hair and blow-drying each area will ensure that you cover the full head. In the study, parents killed lice eggs when they spent around 30 minutes blow-drying the hair.

Focus Your Attention At the Roots

Lice typically lay their eggs within ¼ inch of the scalp because being close to the scalp is essential for them to hatch. When blow-drying, focus all of your hot air near the scalp and roots of the hair.

Use the Highest Speed Volume

Even more critical than high heat is the high volume of air. If your child can not tolerate high heat, sacrifice high heat for high speed. The blow-dryers that are most effective are those with high volume.

Use the Highest Heat Tolerated

Be careful with the heat on your child’s head. It is possible to burn your child’s scalp with a blow dryer. The higher the heat setting, the more likely it is to dehydrate lice, but if your child is uncomfortable, then turn the blow dryer to a warm setting at high speeds instead.

#4 Clean Your House

Don’t go insane with the house cleaning; this is the easiest step. 

Clean your house using the following principles as a guide (or check out the article Lice Cleaning Checklist to Get Rid of Lice in Your Home):

Think 48 Hours

Focus on cleaning items that have been in contact with the lice-infested individual within the last 48 hours. Lice cannot live longer than 48 hours on household items.

Do Not Use Lice Sprays

Lice sprays do not work on super lice at all. Multiple scientific studies have shown that almost all lice in the US are resistant to the pesticide found in lice sprays. The only lice sprays that work for killing super lice are enzyme lice sprays like LiceLogic Clear & Free All Purpose Spray.

Vacuum

You can vacuum surfaces such as couches and mattresses.

Clean Your Brushes

Soak hairbrushes, combs, and hair accessories (such as hairbands, clips, and headbands) used by the person with lice in hot water (135° F or greater) for at least ten minutes. (I do not recommend boiling brushes and combs, however, because they will melt.)

Items in the Dryer

Put items in the dryer for forty minutes on high heat.

Bag Items for 2 Days

Lice can’t live without blood for very long, so anything that could have lice on it will be safe to use again after 48 hours. If an item is something that you cannot run through the dryer, like a favorite stuffed toy or delicate clothing, you can seal it away in a bag for a couple of days.

Don’t Forget Carseats

Vacuum your car seats.

#5 Check Back

I recommend continuing to comb through the hair every few days for a full two weeks to make sure you’re not finding any lice in the hair. After 2 weeks of finding no lice or nits, you’re in the clear.

Blow-Drying as Lice Prevention

Blow drying hair can be helpful for lice prevention. In theory, if you get lice in your hair and are consistently blow drying, it may not turn into a full infestation. If you want to add that to your prevention arsenal, you can. 

But, much, much more effective at preventing lice is using a lice prevention shampoo or spray.

Lice have a keen sense of smell. They are so contagious because they smell human blood and instinctively move from one head to another. 

You can use lice’s keen sense of smell against them. There are certain scents that lice hate, and if you have these scents in your hair, then you are less likely to get lice. I recommend using a proven lice repellent spray that works. I’ve tested them all, and these are the best:

Summing It Up…

Blow drying can be helpful for killing lice eggs. For blow drying to be most effective at killing lice eggs use a high wattage blow dryer on the fastest and hottest setting your child can tolerate. Be sure to use a super lice treatment prior to blow drying the hair, because blow drying is not very effective at killing lice bugs.

Best of luck on your lice journey! (1)

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