Can You Drown Lice?

Is drowning lice a good alternative lice treatment?


I've treated with lice kits TONS of time and lice keeps coming back! Is it possible to drown lice? 

featured image drown lice

Answer from a Lice Expert:

Anyone struggling with lice today knows that it is extremely difficult. The latest stats say that most parents that use over-the-counter kits still have lice even after multiple treatments! 


So, let's talk about other ways to get rid of lice, including whether or not you can drown lice and how long it takes to drown lice.

Let me introduce myself...

Lice nurse helping others

Hi there! I'm a lice expert, lice coach, Registered Nurse, and the creator of My Lice Advice. I help people with lice every day in my lice treatment center, in school districts, and in government work. But the thing I love the most is empowering parents to get rid of head lice in ONE DAY at home! 

You can eliminate lice in one day using the same proven professional technique I use in my lice center on your child. Follow along with the Step-by-Step Video System, and when you're done with the videos you're done with lice. PERMANENTLY!

Drowning Head Lice

man soaking with head lice near by, presumably trying to drown lice
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Why Is It So Hard to Get Rid of Lice?

Now that you know what you're looking for I want to talk briefly about your biggest worry (that your child actually has lice) and the question I get asked by parents around the world that have been battling lice….

picture of lice bug under a magnifying glass

Parents around the world are all asking me the same question…. "Why is it so much harder to get rid of lice now?"

Lice have become immune to everything that used to work in the past. Perhaps you remember your mom using a typical lice treatment or mayonnaise and that doing the trick. The new strain of head lice is no longer killed by those treatments, that’s why lice today are termed by people, “super lice,” because they are immune to those treatments. 

I’ve cured thousands of people of lice in my lice center and let me tell you, I don't do it with over-the-counter lice treatments. 

magnifying glass looking at lice eggs and nits in brown hair

Most people struggle with lice because they focus all of their attention on killing lice bugs and not enough attention on GETTING RID OF LICE!

If you want to get rid of lice you have to address all 3 of the problems of lice:

  1. Lice Bugs
  2. Lice Eggs
  3. Getting Lice Back

The best way to get rid of lice is to tackle all 3 of these problems at the same time, which is what I teach in my step-by-step video system.

So, if you discover your child HAS lice, don't panic. Just head over to the video system. Follow along with the videos and you'll be done with lice by the end of the day.

lice bug under a magnifying glass
A super lice bug at high magnification.

First, you should know that if you have struggled with head lice, you are not alone, and it is not your fault. The current strain of head lice is immune to pesticides found in over-the-counter treatments and most prescriptions.

An over-the-counter pesticide treatment won’t kill lice, no matter how long you leave it on.

A recent study shows that about 98% of lice today have some immunity to pesticide lice treatments


Over 98% of lice have some immunity to pesticides!

Can Lice Drown?

drown lice featured image

Yes, you can drown lice, but not usually in water (keep reading to find out what drowns lice).

When you submerge lice in water, this is what you’ll usually see…

Water is not toxic to head lice, but lice have developed ways to survive prolonged periods in water.

As soon as lice come into contact with water, they close up their breathing holes so they won’t drown, and within a minute, lice go completely immobile and appear to be dead.

lice bug face with claws

After about 10 minutes of being immersed in water, lice will go into a “hibernation- state.”

This “hibernation- state” protects lice, making it so that they can conserve energy, and no water will penetrate their breathing holes. This is a common phenomenon, often termed as “playing dead” by researchers.

When people attempt to drown lice for prolonged periods, they are likely to see lice in hibernation-mode and assume that lice are dead.

A lice quickly crawling through a woman's blond hair.

But, most of them are not….

Within an hour of being removed from water, most lice “resurrect” back to life.

When lice resurrect, they are at full strength and capable of breeding just as they did before being immersed in water.

How Long Does it Take To Drown Lice in Water?

timer, indicating that you must wait after a tea tree oil lice treatment

Some sites say that lice can not survive more than 6 hours immersed in water, which is NOT true. 

Researchers tested “Drowning” lice in two separate studies. In one study, five hundred head lice were removed from individuals and treated differently. Some immersed in water, others in dimethicone oil, and others not immersed in anything. Of the lice immersed in water here are the results:

6 hours in water = 100% of lice survived
24 hours in water = 50% of lice survived

The lice were initially in “hibernation mode” when removed from the water, but 50% of lice were alive and active within an hour of being removed from the water.

Even more alarming is that the submerged lice survived longer than the lice not submerged in water!

Can You Drown Lice Eggs/Nits?

brunette with lice and several lice eggs, with a magnifying glass looking at lice eggs. Arrow pointing to lice eggs

To start off let's get something straight... Nits and lice eggs are the same thing! Don't make this more complicated then it needs to be. The two words (nits and lice eggs) will be used interchangeably in this article.

Lice eggs have a thick waxy coating on them, making them pretty much impossible to kill. You absolutely can’t drown them!

In a study, of lice eggs submerged in water for a very long time, they still hatched, even in the water.

Suffocation Methods Won’t Work

lice can't swim

Many sites say that lice can hold their breath for no more than 6-8 hours, which is NOT TRUE! As shown in the previous research, lice can hold their breath for more than 24 hours! So, trying to “suffocate” lice with just any oil will not work. 

Common “suffocation” methods that do not kill lice are olive oil and mayonnaise.

Some claim that if you leave olive oil or mayonnaise on the head for 8 hours, it will drown lice. That is not true. Here are the stats for how many lice were killed by common “suffocation” methods in a study 

If you use a “suffocation” method like this, you’ll see lice go into “hibernation-mode” like they do when you immerse them in water. And, you rinse the home remedy out of your kid’s hair, the lice will resurrect back to life and be at full strength. 

 The Never-Ending Cycle

Most people that use lice kits and home remedies get caught in the horrible "Never-Ending Cycle of Lice"

Three arrows pointing down

First- You Have Lice

lice eggs, baby lice, and adult lice with arrows labeling them

When you first discover lice you have adult lice bugs, baby lice bugs, and lice eggs (also known as nits)

You Think You've Gotten Rid of It.

arrows pointing to lice eggs left in hair

After using an over-the-counter treatment or a home remedy, people think they've taken care of the problem because they aren't finding lice bugs for a while.

But the bigger problem is the lice eggs that are left in the hair. Lice kits and home remedies don't kill eggs, and each of those little lice eggs has a bug inside just waiting to hatch and re-infest your child again.

Then- Those Eggs HATCH!

baby lice bugs with arrows labeling them

Just like lice eggs are tiny, when lice first hatch they are teeny-tiny. In fact, they are almost invisible to the naked eye! So, it typically takes a few weeks for them to grow big enough for you to see them.

And by the time you notice your head is infested all over again!

And Lice Is Back Again!

full lice infestation representation with lice eggs, baby lice bugs, and adult lice bugs

How to Avoid the Never-Ending Cycle

If you want to avoid this never-ending cycle and get rid of lice fast then check out my Step-by-Step Video System. Follow along with the videos and you can be completely done with lice in ONE DAY, no retreatments necessary.

How to be lice-free by the end of the day...



Get rid of lice the same way the experts do. Your personal lice coach walks you through each step of doing a professional lice treatment at home in a series of videos.



Follow along with the videos on your child in your home. No lice kits or toxic chemicals involved!



When you're done with the videos, you're done with lice. And it's gone permanently!

Summing It Up…

Lice can not be drowned with water because when lice come into contact with water, they can hold their breath for a very long time. Even if you were to soak your head in water for 24 hours, many head lice would still survive! When you immerse lice in water, they go into hibernation mode, appearing dead, but resurrecting back to life within an hour at full strength.

If you want to get rid of lice quickly then follow along with my Step-by-Step Video System and get rid of it in ONE DAY.


All the best,

lice expert

Theresa is a Registered Nurse and lice expert with years of experience curing children of lice. She owns a lice treatment center in the US which is where she perfected the Step-by-Step Video System proven to get rid of lice. She also works with government agencies and schools helping those with the worst head lice cases in America.

Her greatest passion is empowering parents by teaching parents online how to do a professional lice treatment on their child at home. She is the Lice Coach for the My Lice Advice Step-by-Step Video System.

woman soaking hair in water, presumably to drown head lice
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