19 Effective Home Remedies For Head Lice

Head lice are insects/parasites that live on hair shafts and scalps where they can feed on blood. They can also be found in eyebrows and eyelashes.

Head louse is a common problem among school children. Lice often spread through close contact with other people. They are also common in close, overcrowded living conditions.

Head lice spread through; close contact with someone who has lice, touching clothes or bedding of someone that has lice; sharing of brushes, towels, hats, or combs of someone who has lice.

Head lice do not cause any serious medical condition other than intense itching.

Common symptoms of head lice include; intense itching of the scalp; small red bumps on scalp, shoulders, and neck; tiny white eggs or nits at the bottom of hair strand that is difficult to remove.

Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with head lice;

  • You should teach your kids not to share head gears and to avoid head to head contact while playing. Also, they should report if their scalp feels itchy.
  • You could wear a hat to protect your hair especially if your hair is long.
  • You could opt for medicated shampoo to help prevent lice on your hair.
  • Regularly clean and vacuum pillows, mattresses, furniture, rugs and other surfaces where one tends to sit or lay their head.
  • Endeavor to wash clothes and bedding, with hot water and detergent, when commencing head lice treatment.

Below are home remedies and natural treatments for head lice;

1. Tea Tree Oil

The insecticidal ability of tea tree oil helps in repelling and killing the louse naturally. It not only kills the adult lice but destroys their eggs too. For this remedy, take some tea tree oil and apply it to your scalp as well as your hair. Do this before going to bed. Place a towel on the pillow you are using. Comb your hair the next morning to remove the dead lice.

2. Salt

Salt dehydrates the body of the lice and kills them in a natural and inexpensive way. Simply take a 1/4th cup of salt and mix it with equal parts of vinegar. Let the salt dissolve completely and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray it on your hair and wear a shower cap. Let it stay for 2 hours before you rinse your hair with a shampoo. Don’t forget to apply a conditioner.

3. Garlic

The smell of garlic may cause a suffocating action on the lice killing them naturally. Take 10 fresh garlic cloves and grind it to obtain a paste. Then, apply the ground garlic to your scalp and let it stay for 30 minutes. Wash your hair thoroughly using hot water to get rid of lice.

4. Baking Soda

Baking soda interferes with the respiratory system of head lice when used along with a hair conditioner. For this remedy, combine 1 part of baking soda with 3 parts of conditioner and spread it evenly on your head. Then, slowly comb your hair and wipe the comb with a paper towel after each stroke. It will remove all the lice and their nits from your hair.

5. Petroleum Jelly

The thick jelly suffocates the lice and kills them effectively. Apply petroleum jelly on your scalp in generous amounts. Basically, cover your hair with petroleum jelly. Let it stay overnight. The next day, take a nit comb and apply baby oil to it. Then comb each section of your hair to remove the jelly as well as the dead lice.

6. Baby Oil

Baby oil affects the respiratory system of the insect and kills them through suffocation. Baby oil also makes your hair silky and slippery making it difficult for lice to attach their eggs to it. For this remedy, massage your scalp and hair with baby oil and cover it with a shower cap. Use a generous amount of the oil for effective results. Let it stay overnight and comb using a nit comb the next day. Thereafter, use a mild laundry detergent to wash your hair.

7. White Vinegar

Dilute some vinegar with equal parts of water and apply it to your hair and scalp. Wrap a towel around your head and wait for 30 minutes. Then comb to remove the dead insects and their eggs. The high acidic nature of vinegar makes it difficult for the lice to stay attached to the hair.

8. Sesame Seed Oil

The insecticidal properties of sesame seed oil are helpful in warding off lice from your scalp. Take sesame seed oil (1/4th cup) and mix it with 1/8th cup of neem oil and some tea tree oil (1 tsp). Also, add half a teaspoon, each, of rosemary essential oil as well as eucalyptus essential oil plus a little amount of lavender oil. After rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar, dry it and apply this mixture to your scalp and through the length of the hair. Then, cover your hair and let it stay overnight. Comb your hair carefully, in the morning, to remove the dead lice and shampoo your hair thereafter.

9. Olive Oil

Massage your hair with a generous amount of olive oil. Then, use a shower cap for covering your head and let it stay overnight. In the morning, remove the lice by combing your hair slowly.  Rinse your hair with a shampoo formulated with tea tree oil thereafter.

10. Hair Dye

Hair dye contains chemicals that can be deadly for the lice present in your hair.  So if you use hair dye to color your hair, it may easily kill the lice too. However, hair dye has no effect on the eggs, so use it only if eggs are not present. It is recommended not to use hair dye on children as it could have adverse effects on one’s natural hair.

11. Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise will suffocate the lice present on your head and kill them effectively. Take a generous amount of mayonnaise on your fingertips and apply it to your scalp working through each strand of your hair. Then, put on a shower cap to make it stay on your hair overnight. The next morning comb your hair to remove the dead parasites and rinse your hair with a mild shampoo.

12. Coconut Oil

Applying coconut oil will not only help in nourishing your hair but also make it difficult for the lice to move around easily. Start by rinsing your hair thoroughly with apple cider vinegar. Then, dry your hair completely and apply coconut oil. Cover your hair with a shower cap to make it stay overnight. In the morning, carefully comb your hair to remove the lice and use a shampoo to wash away the oil thereafter.

13. Listerine

The presence of thymol and eucalyptus in Listerine can be devastating for lice thriving on your head. This mouthwash would kill them in a natural way. Apply it to your hair and let it stay for 2 hours. Afterward, rinse off, thoroughly, using an everyday shampoo. Then, comb your hair to get rid of the remaining lice. You may repeat this remedy after a week to get rid of the lice completely.

14. Eucalyptus Oil

The essential oil is known to kill lice with a high rate of success. Take 2 ounces of olive oil and add eucalyptus oil (15-20 drops) to it and mix well. Then, spread the mixture evenly over your scalp and through the entire length of your hair shaft so that it covers your head completely. Now wear a shower cap to make it work overnight. In the morning, simply comb your hair to clean off the dead lice. Shampoo your hair and repeat the remedy if any lice are left.

15. Alcohol

Alcohol may help in suffocating the lice and kill them easily. Put benzyl alcohol in a spray bottle and spray it over your scalp as well as hair. Let it stay for 10 minutes, then, wash it off your hair. Use a comb to remove the lice that do not go by washing. Benzyl alcohol can be used for children who are above the age of six months.

16. Neem Oil

Another effective remedy for head lice is neem oil. It has an insecticidal action which kills the lice and the nits. Just add a little amount of neem oil to your shampoo and wash your hair with it. Don’t forget to comb your hair with the help of a nit comb to remove the dead lice from your hair. Repeat this remedy until you get rid of all of the lice.

17. Wet Combing

Combing your hair when it is wet may help in removing the lice in an easy way. Wet hair makes it difficult for the lice to get attached to the hair shaft. Comb through each section of your hair from root to tip twice in one session to bring the lice out of your hair. Avoid being too harsh while wet combing your hair as it may cause hair breakage. Repeat this remedy for several days to remove lice from your hair.

18. Almonds

Almonds can be an effective remedy for head lice. Simply crush a few almonds and add some lime juice to make a mixture. Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp and wait for 30 minutes. Then, rinse your hair with a shampoo. Repeat this remedy, as needed, until you completely get rid of the lice.

19. Vegetable Oil

If no other oil is readily available in your house, you may use vegetable oil to kill the lice. It will effectively cause suffocation resulting in their death. Take a generous amount of the oil in your fingertips and apply it to your scalp and your hair. Then, cover your hair and let it stay overnight. In the morning, wash your hair, thoroughly, with a shampoo and repeat this remedy daily until you notice the lice diminishing.