The short answer? Yes. But you will drown the human first.
If you try to drown lice, you would need to keep them submerged for more than 8 straight hours in order to ensure they have indeed drowned. No coming up for air. Adult lice can “hold their breath” for up to 8 hours - they close their air holes and stay where they are until they can breathe again.
Then, you would need to repeat the process a couple of days later when the nits hatch, because while you were drowning the adults, they were cozy in their hard-shelled eggs, impervious to everything, even lack of air.
So, the realistic answer is “No, you can’t drown lice.”
The best treatment for lice is to get them picked out by a professional - Lice Services Canada, for example - using the right comb. Even over-the-counter shampoos and products aren’t as effective as a well-trained professional wielding the proper comb.
Our experts have over 50 years of combined experience in lice removal. While it may take anywhere from 5 to 10 hours for you to remove lice from your child at home, it only takes us 2 hours. We use an effective enzyme-based treatment (safe for all ages), our specially designed Lice Services Canada Lice Comb and our unique combing technique to remove and eradicate lice and eggs. You can also buy our lice comb and shampoo to treat everyone at home.
It only takes two visits with us to be lice free - the initial treatment and a follow up 3 to 5 days later. All without having to turn your child’s scalp into a prune trying to drown a louse.
Want to learn more about lice prevention and treatment? Check out this free handout.