How to use a nit comb in 10 easy steps
If your child has come home with head lice or nits, it can be daunting knowing where to start with getting rid of those pesky invaders. Removing the lice doesn’t need to be tricky but having a nit comb to hand is key. Wet combing lice is the ideal solution to removing them. A nit comb is a fine toothed comb that glides through the hair and picks up lice and nits. It is better to use a metal comb as metal combs won’t glide over lice and leave them behind like plastic ones can. Maybe this is your first time wet combing or maybe you need advice on how to clean a nit comb after getting rid of them. We are here to help! With our step-by-step guide you will be able to get rid of lice from your hair or your child’s hair in no time.

What you will need

Before you can start the nit combing process there are a couple of items you will need:

  • Nit comb
  • Hairbrush
  • Clips or bobbles for sectioning the hair
  • Shampoo
  • Head lice treatment
  • Conditioner or detangler (if necessary)
  • Tissues or paper towels

It usually takes around 10 minutes to comb through short hair. If you are dealing with longer, curly or wavy hair then it will take around 20-30 minutes to complete the process.

Step 1. Make sure you're in a room with good lighting

When you are ready to start looking for lice and nits, find a well lit area such as a bathroom or if it’s bright and sunny outside, it might be a good idea to use the natural light. Before you start the head lice removal process, ensure that you can see properly. If you need glasses, put them on. You can also use a magnifying glass to help you find a live louse or eggs.

Step 2. Wash the hair

Before you can even begin to comb the hair, the first thing you need to do is wash it so that you are starting the process with wet hair. Wet combing is the most effective way to remove any crawlers from the hair. It is a good idea to use a specialist nit treatment like Lyclear shampoo or a natural alternative like tea tree oil when you are washing your hair. Starting with freshly washed hair is ideal so that you are not looking through dirty hair and mistaking eggs and nits for debris or dandruff. 

Step 3. Apply plenty of conditioner or detangler

Once the hair is washed, you should apply a generous amount of conditioner or detangler so that you are able to easily get the nit comb through. Ensuring that there are less knots to get through will prevent any breakage or damage to the hair when wet combing.

Step 4. Place a towel around their shoulders

Make sure that you are prepared by placing a towel around your child’s shoulders. This will stop the lice getting onto their clothes or skin. Once you have removed the lice you can wash the towel. It is important to do this straight away because lice can still survive once they are no longer in the hair.

Step 5. Comb the hair with a regular brush

If the hair still has tangles in it once it has been washed, use a regular hair brush to remove them. It is important to wash the hairbrush the same way you would a nit comb before you use it again to make sure that there are no live lice on it.

Step 6. Separate the hair into small sections

It is important to start the removal process by splitting the hair into small sections. Use a bobble or hair clip to hold the hair that you are not treating. When you treat the lice, take one section of hair at a time. It will allow you to be able to thoroughly check for live head lice, ensuring that you don’t miss them!

Step 7. With the nit comb, wet comb lice from top to bottom, getting as close to the scalp as possible

Using a high quality metal nit comb, start by gliding it through the hair. Start at the roots, getting as close to the scalp as you can. Pull the comb down from the root, right the way through until you reach the ends. Repeat each section of the hair with this process, wet combing lice until you have completed the whole head.

Step 8. Wipe the contents of the comb onto a piece of paper towel each time you wet comb lice from the hair

Once you have reached the bottom of the hair you must wipe the comb on a paper towel. Wiping the comb will remove the nits and lice and prevent you from putting them back onto your child’s hair. It is important to check the teeth of the comb when you are wet combing lice. Checking the comb will ensure that you have removed any nits or lice left on it.

Step 9. After combing, wash the hair again to remove any treatment or lingering lice or eggs

Once you have finished removing the lice and eggs you should wash the hair again. Washing the hair will get rid of any treatment still left on the hair and will remove the lice and eggs that have been missed. After washing the hair you should begin cleaning any lice combs that you have used. To clean your nit comb after wet combing, soak in hot soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes. You should also check over any hairbrushes, hair straighteners, hats, or anything else that has come into contact with the hair recently to make sure they are free of lice.

Step 10. Repeat in a few days to ensure all lice and nits have been caught

This is the final, most important step. The last thing you want to do is stop once you have done the treatment. You need to check the hair again and repeat the process to make sure that you have removed all of the lice and eggs.
Olivia Malone - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 09 October 2023
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