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How to Get Rid of Head Lice

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Six to 12 million kids in the U.S. get head lice each year. Head lice are a common occurrence and NOT an indication of poor hygiene.

Head lice are wingless insects, just 1.6 millimeters long that live close to the scalp, laying their eggs (called nits). Head lice need blood from the human scalp to survive, which is why they do not survive for long after they fall off a person’s head.

Though head lice infestation can occur in anyone irrespective of age or gender, it is most common among children ages three to 14.


It spreads easily from one person to another through with contaminated hair, brushes, combs, clothing or bedding. Common symptoms of head lice are a feeling that something is crawling on the head, an itchy scalp and sometimes red bumps on the scalp.

If you or someone in your family develops head lice, you must take care of the problem immediately. Nit picking and combing your hair with a nit comb can help a lot.

But these methods can take a long time and are most effective when the problem is caught early. Fortunately, there are many natural home treatments to get rid of head lice.

how to get rid of head lice


Here are the top 10 ways to get rid of head lice.

1. Vinegar

A very easy and effective treatment to eliminate head lice is vinegar. The high amount of acetic acid present in vinegar can successfully kill head lice. Plus, the vinegar helps dissolve dead nits.

  • Mix equal amounts of vinegar and mineral oil. Apply this mixture to your scalp and hair before going to bed. Cover your head and hair with a shower cap and leave it on overnight. The next morning, wash your hair with your regular shampoo.
  • Alternatively, dilute vinegar with an equal amount of water and use the solution to rinse your freshly shampooed hair. Leave it on for 10 minutes, and then wash your hair again with fresh water.

Use either of these treatments two or three times a week for two months. Also, comb your hair thoroughly with a nit comb after using these remedies.

2. Mayonnaise

Another popular home treatment for head lice is mayonnaise. Mayonnaise can successfully suffocate the little monsters and eventually kill them. The Minnesota Department of Health even lists mayonnaise as an acceptable method for treating head lice.

  1. Coat your hair thoroughly with mayonnaise.
  2. Cover it tightly with plastic or a shower cap. You can even wrap a towel over the plastic.
  3. Leave it on for a minimum of five to six hours.
  4. Wash your hair well with your regular shampoo.
  5. Dry your hair using a hair dryer as the hot air ensures the lice are dead.
  6. Use a nit comb to remove the lice and nits.
  7. Repeat once a week for about two months.

3. Coconut Oil

This kitchen staple is an excellent smothering agent and also good for your hair. Coconut oil will suffocate the lice and eventually kill them.

natural remedy to get rid of head lice

  1. Warm up three tablespoons of coconut oil and add a little camphor to it.
  2. Apply this oil all over your head, and massage it into your scalp.
  3. Cover your head and hair with a shower cap and leave it on overnight.
  4. The next morning, wash your hair with shampoo. When dry, comb it with a nit comb.
  5. Use this treatment daily for five days to eradicate lice.

4. Onions

Onions can be used as a natural remedy to treat head lice. Onions are high in sulfur that kills head lice.

  1. Grind four to five onions in a blender or food processor to make a paste.
  2. Put the paste on a sieve and press it with a spoon to extract the juice.
  3. Massage your scalp with the juice, and cover your head with a shower cap.
  4. Leave it on for at least two hours.
  5. Shampoo your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water.
  6. Dry your hair and use a nit comb to remove all the head lice.
  7. Repeat this treatment for daily for three consecutive days, and then do it once a week for two months to completely eliminate head lice.

5. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a natural insecticide that can effectively kill head lice and help soothe the itching.

  • Mix together three to five drops of oil for every one ounce of shampoo. Use the mixture to shampoo your hair. When dry, use a nit comb to remove the lice. Use this mixed shampoo for at least two months.
  • Alternatively, mix three tablespoons of olive oil and one teaspoon of tea tree oil. You can also add one teaspoon of eucalyptus oil. Apply the solution on your hair and scalp thoroughly. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes, and then shampoo your hair. Use this treatment twice a week for one to two months.

Note: Be careful when using tea tree oil as it is quite strong.

6. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice can also be used to remove lice and nits from the scalp due to its acidic nature. It’s also very effective at preventing an infestation if your school or daycare has told you that lice was found on other children.

  • Apply some fresh lemon juice to the scalp. Leave it on for 30 minutes, then rinse it off with vinegar and then with lukewarm water. Use this treatment once a week to prevent a lice problem.
  • To eliminate lice, add one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to a fine paste of four large garlic cloves. Apply this mixture on the head and massage thoroughly around the scalp. Wrap the hair in a thick towel and leave it on for half an hour. Then, rinse it off with water and then wash with shampoo. Repeat for five consecutive days to kill head lice.

7. Neem


Neem, also known as Indian lilac, is a natural insecticide that can be highly effective in the treatment of lice. It can also heal the scalp irritations caused by constant scratching on the head. Plus, it has moisturizing properties so it will not dry out the scalp.

  • Apply a paste of neem leaves on your hair and scalp. Allow it to dry, and then rinse your hair. Do this at least twice a week for two months.
  • Alternatively, massage some pure neem oil onto your hair and scalp. Leave it on for at least one hour. Wash it out with shampoo. When your hair is dry, use a nit comb to remove the lice and nits. Use this treatment three times a week for one to two months.
  • You can also grind neem seeds into a fine powder. Mix one tablespoon of the powder with enough groundnut oil to make a thick paste. Apply it on your scalp and leave it on overnight. Wash it out the next morning. Do this once a week for two months.

8. Rubbing Alcohol

rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol, a solvent containing 70 percent isopropyl or absolute alcohol, can effectively kill lice and nits. This powerful disinfectant is safe to use.

  1. Bend over a tub or basin and pour a little rubbing alcohol onto your hair.
  2. Use your fingers to spread the rubbing alcohol around your scalp and throughout your hair.
  3. Leave it on for a few minutes.
  4. Now rub some conditioner onto your scalp.
  5. Use a long-toothed comb to brush out all the lice.
  6. Then shampoo your hair.
  7. Use this treatment once a week for one or two months.

How to Get Rid of Head Lice was last modified: August 14th, 2018 by Top10HomeRemedies
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76 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Head Lice”

  1. Head lice are epidemic in the schools. We now have super lice that have built an immunity to the otc treatments.I have used alcohol before and it worked except it dried out my scalp. I used it again a week ago. The alcohol hit the bottom of the tub and the fumes flew in my face. My eye were already closed but the skin all around my eyes burned like fire and I couldn’t breathe. I completed the treatment and killed all the lice but I got alcohol poisoning. I did great damage to my mucous membranes and I am still sick. This can result in coma, liver or kidney damage or a heart arrhythmia. I had no idea. My niece is a nurse practitioner and she said, ” You inhaled it, you absorbed it and you left it on your head for 15 minutes! ” It is dangerous stuff. I used skin so soft on my granddaughter, rinsed it out and then a vinegar rinse. It worked but vinegar till has fumes. Be careful.

  2. My daughter has longish hair n very thick n im struggling for the past 2 months now with her hair n it spreads btwn her n my son n now i think i have them? iv tried OTC kit’s n iv tried olive oil aswell which helped a lil then boom theres another one.. im goin to try the vinger ones thanks to everyone for their input n info.. its such a mission just to get rid of these buggers..

  3. I tried the vinegar one today it is very helpful it almost removed all my nits
    First I took a cup of Apple cider vinegar applied it to my hair and scalp for a Long time and then I took a cup of coconut oil and did the same
    Go I covered my hair with a shower cup over night and next morning I removed the shower cup and combed my hair with the nit comb.Almost all my nits and lice were gone after combing
    Then I shampood my hair as usual.!!
    B4 I tried many products containing chemicals nothing helped me I tried the vinegar one nd I’m so Glad with it.Hope my review helps u?

  4. Vinegar and Coconut oil did it all!!
    I tried the vinegar one today it is really helpful.Those who have a lot of hair nits and lice should definetly try the vinegar one
    First I took a cup of Apple cider vinegar and applied it on my hair and scalp for a Long time and after 2 to 3 minutes I applied coconut oil the same way
    Then I put on the shower cap and left it overnight. Go morning after removing the shower cup I combed my hair with a nit comb
    And then i shampood my hair
    After combining I felt that most of my nits and Lice were gone
    I tried many chemical products prescribed by Doctors or my own but all that did not work
    It increased my hair fall and I got more dandruff
    I m very Glad wit this home remedy those who r suffering from lice problem should definetly try it.
    Hope my review helps u all☺️

  5. This is going to sound strange.. my kids and I got lice I got rid of them by rubbing Vicks vaporub and mayo mix in all of our hair, just the off brand.. I rub it in and we sleep with it through the night, and I let them keep it in until the next night.. it’s hard to wash out leaving greasy hair, but it kills all the lice completely.. 7 days later u do the same thing to kill any lice that had hatched..

  6. A friend of my recommended this: get some cetaphil from the drugstore, apply it to the entire head, blow dry the hair, leave it on overnight.(wear a shower cap to sleep). The next morning rinse hair with warm water, and wash yourhair normally. The cetaphil after being blow dry, suffocates the lice and die. After washing your hair. Use the fine comb to remove any dead bugs. Repeat every other dayfor a week, once a week for a month. It really works!

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