Removing nits from hair

Treatment with a medicated lotion, shampoo, gel, or cream often works very well to kill both lice and eggs (nits), but no treatment is 100% effective. It is possible that if some eggs survive treatment and are not removed from the hair, they may persist or spread to someone else.

You may wish to remove eggs for cosmetic reasons. Also, some school districts have a "no nits" policy that requires that children be free of eggs before returning to school.

Eggs stick to the hair and can be difficult to remove.

  • Rinsing hair with a mixture of distilled white vinegar and water and combing hair with a fine-toothed comb that has been dipped in vinegar can help remove eggs.1
  • After applying medicine to the affected area, you can remove the eggs with a fine-toothed comb. The combs are often packaged with over-the-counter lice shampoos.


  1. Mathieu ME, Wilson BB (2005). Lice (pediculosis). In GL Mandell et al., eds., Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 6th ed., pp. 3302–3304. Philadelphia: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.

Last Updated: November 24, 2008

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