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How do I Choose the Best Head Lice Comb?

By J. Beam
Updated May 17, 2024
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Head lice is a pesky problem in any household, especially when children are present, as they are especially vulnerable to infestation due to exposure at school or daycare. Eliminating head lice is time-consuming, but not especially difficult if diligence is exercised. There are a number of ways to treat head lice, but the most effective means requires combing. A head lice comb is more effective than a regular comb and you should look for one with metal teeth designed for nit removal.

Many people prefer not to use harsh chemicals and pesticides, especially on their children. While over-the-counter lice shampoos do contain pesticides, they are more effective than home remedies. Adult lice don’t drown or suffocate easily and the eggs they lay are equally difficult to kill without the use of pesticides. Regardless of whether you opt for a chemical treatment or not, the only way to remove the nits is with a head lice comb. There is no safe chemical that will dissolve the glue-like substance the adult females use to attach the eggs to the hair shaft, so combing is necessary.

There are a variety of combs made for removing nits. The most effective types are those with metal teeth. Unlike plastic, which is flexible, metal will not bend easily and therefore is more effective at “catching” lice and pulling them off the hair. If you purchase a head lice kit from a drugstore or pharmacy it will include a head lice comb. Check that the comb has metal teeth before purchasing.

You can also purchase a head lice comb separately from a pesticide treatment kit. If you opt to not use pesticides, you will need to be thorough and patient with combing. Again, be sure to purchase a comb made for removing lice and one with metal teeth. The type of head lice comb you use is not as important as the attention you give to the removal process. Young children are impatient, which can add distress to the process. Be patient and thorough in the combing. If you use an over-the-counter or prescription pesticide shampoo, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely and repeat in the time frame indicated. Though combing is the only way to effectively remove all stages of lice, remember that the comb you use is only as good as the job you do. With time and diligence, you can safely and effectively remove all traces of lice with most any metal nit removal comb.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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