Flat Ironing to Kill Lice and Nits

You’ve heard that high heat kills lice. What about flat ironing, will that get rid of lice?


I have tried EVERYTHING to get rid of lice and it won't go away! What about flat ironing? Will the heat of the flat iron kill lice?

woman flat ironing for lice, close up

Answer from a Lice Expert:

Great question! Lice do die in high temperatures and a flat iron can get really hot. So, yes, flat ironing can kill a few lice bugs if you do it a certain way. But for most people flat ironing for lice can make things harder as opposed to better because they don't know what it takes to get rid of lice!


In this article and video I detail what you need to know about flat ironing for lice.

Let me introduce myself...

lice expert

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!

Flat Ironing For Lice

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….

problem #1

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. 

problem #2

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.

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Do You Have Super Lice?

A super lice bug at high magnification.

Most people researching flat ironing to get rid of lice have tried lots of other lice treatments that haven’t worked. This is an increasing phenomenon because of the newest strain of lice called super lice.

Super lice and regular head lice are pretty much the same bugs, except that super lice are immune to traditional treatments and very difficult to kill.

If you have tried regular treatments that haven’t worked, then assume you are dealing with super lice.

flat iron with steam

Can You Kill Lice with a Flat Iron?

A woman flat ironing her hair

The first question I ask is: What is your end goal?

Do you want to kill a few lice?

Or do you want to get rid of lice completely?

If your goal is to fry a few bugs in your hair, then a flat iron is capable of that. Lice and lice eggs die in temperatures higher than 130° F.  Most flat irons get up to 450° F, so if you happen to squeeze some lice with a flat iron, you can sizzle a few. But is that enough to kill most of the lice? No. Here's why...

Why Flat Ironing for Lice Doesn't Work

lice bug on the scalp of brunnette

#1- Lice Live on the Scalp More Than The Hair

Most head lice do not live in the lower part of the hair; they live directly on the scalp and right next to the scalp. They go to the scalp very frequently, because that’s where they feed on your blood. They aren’t usually hanging out in the lower areas of the hair.

To get a flat iron close enough to the head to kill most head lice, you will burn the scalp. And I’m talking, bad burns, 450° F of heat on the scalp causes severe burns and blisters. There have been multiple well-intentioned parents invested for child abuse for lice home remedies like this gone wrong. I don’t want anything like that to happen to you.

lice bug feeding on the scalp

#2- Lice Move Super Fast!

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

Have you seen how quickly lice move in the scalp and the hair? Lice have little claws that enable them to scurry from hair strand to hair strand with ease and high speed. That’s why it is so hard to catch them!

What is preventing head lice from moving around on the head while you’re flat ironing? It’s not like you can flat iron every strand of hair at the very same time. Are you planning on having 12 flat irons on the hair all at once?

Think about it, when you flat iron one area, the lice will move to the other side of the head. By the time you move to the other side of the head, the lice will have moved to the already flat ironed side. It’s impossible to catch them all.

What's the FASTEST Way To Get Rid of Lice?

The purpose of My Lice Advice is to help parents get rid of lice as fast as possible. And the fastest way to get rid of lice is to get rid of lice in one day, no re-treatments. This is how lice professionals like myself get rid of lice in lice centers. 

I created step-by-step videos so you can just follow along with them and be done with lice by the end of the day. Check out the videos here.

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Flat Ironing for Lice Eggs and Nits

A lice egg (nit) is attached to a hair strand. A finger in behind the nit and a white arrow points at the nit.

If you are new to lice: lice eggs and nits are the same things, I use the two words interchangeably.

Lice eggs are tiny (about the size of a poppyseed), and they blend in pretty well with hair. If you aren’t looking closely, you are likely to miss them. Lice eggs and dandruff are often mistaken for one another, but some of the key differences are that lice eggs are tear-drop shaped and glued to the side of the hair strand.

The tell-tale sign that what you are finding is a nit is that a nit cannot be flicked, blown, or brushed away. Aside from a high-quality lice comb, the only way to remove a lice egg from the hair strand is to squeeze it between two fingers and manually drag it down the entire hair strand.

A lice egg (nit) is shown on a hair strand. A woman tugs at the nit repeatedly, attempting to make it move.
Lice eggs are stuck on the hair strand.

3 Reasons Why Flat Ironing Lice Eggs is a BAD Idea

brunette flat ironing hair with blue flat iron

#1- Lice Eggs Are Next to the Scalp

A woman with lice eggs near the scalp. The lice eggs are likely new.

Lice lay their eggs within ¼ inch of the scalp because nits have to have the heat of the head to grow and hatch. Because being right next to the scalp is so essential for nits, female lice cement nits to the hair strand with special glue. This glue is powerful; lice eggs are stuck there and are not moving.

If you intend to flat iron those nits that are next to the scalp, you will burn your child’s head! Most flat irons get to 450° F, so expect severe burns with blisters. Again, a word of caution: I have seen many lice treatments gone wrong that end up looking like child abuse. Don’t do it; it’s not worth it.

#2- What about the lice eggs further down the hair strand?

A woman with lice eggs attached to her hair. The eggs are attached further down the hair strand (away from her scalp). These eggs are likely already hatched and the woman has likely had lice for a long time.

If you find a lot of lice eggs further down the hair strand that is easy to access via flat iron, you’ve likely had lice for a very long time. Lice eggs further down the hair are usually old and already hatched, meaning that lice have already left those eggs and are crawling in the hair. Flat ironing these already hatched lice eggs do not get you any closer to getting rid of head lice.

#3- Flat Ironing for Lice Makes Things Worse!

severe infestion of lice with multiple lice eggs/nits

When you flat iron lice eggs on the hair, it makes them significantly harder to remove.

As explained above, the only lice eggs you can flat iron without burning the scalp are the old, hatched eggs further down the hair strand. Flat ironing old, hatched lice eggs gets you no closer to getting rid of lice, those eggs are "dead" already, it's the lice eggs right next to the scalp that are still alive and have a bug inside them. But the intense heat from the flat iron actually “binds” these old eggs to the hair strand, making them even more difficult to remove and even more difficult to get rid of lice.

What to Do About Lice Eggs and Nits

single brown lice egg on hair strand

One of the biggest mistakes people make is not removing all of the lice eggs from their child’s hair. 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. 

If you try to kill lice eggs with a flat iron, you will fail, and you will get stuck in a never-ending cycle of lice.

Instead, you need to decide that you're going to take those lice eggs seriously and kill them AND get them out of the hair. (I know, you've tried!). Getting all of those lice eggs out does NOT mean that you need to do hours of nit-picking, I show you how to get all of the lice eggs out pretty quickly in my step-by-step videos.

Flat Ironing as Lice Prevention

woman flat ironing her hair to prevent lice

Flat ironing hair can be helpful for lice prevention in theory. In theory, if you just got lice and only had one bug in your hair, you could “get lucky” and run your flat iron over the bug before it laid any eggs. 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. 

But, 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. 19 essential oils repel lice, but I recommend buying a lice repellent spray that has is tested and proven works. You can find my top recommendations for lice prevention sprays at this article here.

If You Keep Getting Lice Back

woman itching her scalp, presumably because she has lice

If you keep getting lice back every month or two, you probably never really got rid of it. Most people leave lice eggs in the hair and assume that if they don't see any lice bugs, then they’re good to go.

The truth is that when lice first hatch from eggs, they are tiny, almost invisible. It takes a few months for those small lice to grow, lay eggs, and reinfest the hair again. If lice keep coming back every few weeks, then you are in this cycle. To “prevent” getting lice back, you have to get rid of lice first.

If you are in this cycle and you're finally ready to break free of it then flat ironing isn't going to help. You can learn more about the reasons why it keeps coming back in my article 7 Reasons You Keep Getting Lice and How to Stop it From Coming Back  or if you're ready to end the cycle for good then check out my Step-by-Step Videos.

Summing it Up...

Flat ironing the hair can kill a few lice, but if your goal is to get rid of lice, then flat ironing won’t cut it. Flat ironing the hair does not kill lice eggs because lice lay eggs so close to the scalp that you would get severe burns from the heat of the flat iron.

If you want to get rid of lice quickly, you should check out my Step-by-Step Video System and get rid of it in ONE DAY. 

All the best!

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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.

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