Getting Rid of Ukus

Now that children are back in school, there’s more opportunity for them to get something many parents dread – head lice, or ukus as we call them in Hawaii.

If your child has ever come home with ukus, you know the anxiety this four letter word can cause. They make your head itch just thinking about them. After my first and only experience with these uninvited guests, and after trying almost every suggested remedy I could find online, I can confidently share what I found to be an easy way to get rid of these itchy buggahs.

We tried it all: over-the-counter medicines, prescription medicines, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, mayonnaise, and even Vaseline®. After 24 (I’m not exaggerating) unsuccessful washings to get the Vaseline out of my daughter’s hair, I finally stumbled on a method that worked.

What you’ll need:

         1. LISTERINE® – This kills the ukus. I use the Original formula.

         2. Vinegar – This helps dissolve the “glue” that sticks the uku eggs to the hair shaft.

         3. Spray bottle – This is usually in the travel size section in stores.

         4. Plastic shower cap – The kind your grandma may have used.

         5. Uku comb – I used the metal comb, but you can also use plastic or bamboo.

What you need to do:

         1. Pour Listerine in spray bottle and spray hair from root to tip until soaked.

            

         2. Cover hair with the shower cap and wrap in a towel. 

            

         3. Wait one hour, remove towel and shower cap. Shampoo and condition hair.

         4. Pour vinegar in spray bottle and spray hair from root to tip until soaked.

         5. Cover hair with the shower cap and wrap in a towel.

         6. Wait half an hour, remove towel and shower cap. Shampoo and condition hair.

         7. Use the uku comb on small sections of hair and comb from root to tip.

         8. Make sure to comb every section.

         9. Wash all bedding and clothing in hot water and use a clothes dryer.

Using the uku comb will pull all the nits away from the scalp. Nits use the heat from your scalp to incubate and hatch. If they’re too far from the scalp, they won’t get the heat they need and will eventually fall off. Wait a few days, and repeat the entire treatment, just to be sure. And if you want to be extra sure, do it again a week after the original treatment.

Technically, that’s all you need to do. It sounds easy and if you’re like me, you’ll want to hand pull out all the nits from your child’s hair under sunlight outdoors. Nits are clear, light brown, and shine just a little. They’re very different from dandruff. You can tell what they are because you can’t just dust them off. You have to pull them all the way down the hair shaft.

One more word of advice: make sure you don’t repeat the treatment too often. Your scalp will become dry and you won’t be able to tell if the itch is from dry scalp or from ukus. Good luck!

***Disclaimer: it was just brought to my attention that the Listerine bottle says that it should not be used by children under the age of 12. I think this is becuase there is alcohol in it. Please take this into account if you're treating a young child.