While head lice infestation is annoying and can make you uncomfortable, it is completely treatable. Today we look at the various home remedies for head lice that work. As you will see, most of them use easily accessible household ingredients that you probably already have or can be acquired cost-effectively.
Head lice are minute whitish, rice grain-like, parasitic insects that live on human scalp where they lay even smaller eggs called nits. Head lice tend to be more common among schools. According to the Medicine Net website, 1 out of 10 children of school-going age get head lice infestation at some point in their lives.
Head Lice Treatment Home Remedy
They are transmitted through contact with contaminated scarves, combs, pillows, hair ribbons, and hats. You can easily fight an infestation using a head lice treatment home remedy from the following list:
Tea Tree Oil for Head Lice Treatment
Extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, tea tree oil has insecticidal properties that make it an effective head lice treatment home remedy. It is powerful enough to kill head lice, yet gentle enough for use in adults as well as children. You may also hear it referred to as melaceula oil.
Here is how to use tea tree oil as a head lice treatment home remedy:
- Pour 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil into 1 ounce of natural hair shampoo.
- Add 3 table spoons of olive oil, almond oil, or coconut oil.
- Stir thoroughly and then work it throughout your hair before covering it with a shower cap or towel
- Wash it off with warm water after 30 minutes
- Finish off by combing throughout your head with a fine-toothed comb. Do this while your hair is still wet.
- Repeat this at-home treatment once daily until those pesky parasites are no more.
Alternatively, mix the tea tree oil with shampoo as described above and use it to wash the hair and scalp, this time washing it off immediately as you normally do.
Petroleum jelly has a stunning effect on head lice and constitutes a very effective treatment option for those annoying little creatures. Here is how to get rid of head lice with petroleum jelly:
- Before bedtime, slather generous amount of petroleum jelly such that your entire scalp is covered.
- Now put on a shower cap or place a towel over your head to keep heat in.
- Remove the petroleum jelly with mineral oil or baby oil the next morning and then comb through your hair to get rid of the dead and stifled head lice that are trapped in there.
- Finally shampoo your hair. Keep in mind that petroleum jelly is quite messy and relatively harder to shampoo.
- Repeat this process every day till the problem is no more.
Baby Oil for Removing Head Lice on Babies
Baby oil has a similar effect to petroleum jelly and is a fabulous home remedy for head lice. Baby oil does the trick alone, but some experts suggest using it alongside white vinegar as outlined below:
- Massage a generous amount of baby oil into your hair and scalp and then comb through your hair to flush out the head lice
- Wash the baby oil off with hot water and laundry detergent
- Next, apply enough white vinegar to your hair to make it went without being excessively drippy and then put on a shower cap hair overnight
- Shampoo a d condition your hair normally in the morning
- Repeat the process daily until you get positive results. This typically takes 3-4 days.
Salt is one of those seemingly simple remedies that nevertheless do a great job in combating head lice. It work by desiccating the head lice out of their life so to speak. Here is how use salt for head lice removal:
- Mix a ¼ cup each of salt and vinegar.
- Apply the mixture into you r hair and scalp and then put on a shower cap.
- Wash it off after 2-3 hours and finish off by conditioning your hair as you normally do.
- Repeat the process on intervals of 2-3 days until the pesky little creatures that are head lice are no more.
White Vinegar to Get Rid of Head Lice Fast
White vinegar is yet another one of those cheap and easy to use, yet very effective home remedies for head lice.
It is rich in acetic acid which is touted to help kill the lice and loosen the nits in your scalp and release the nits contained in it, but as Dr. Alan Greene, a natural treatments specialist, white vinegar is not a self-sufficient treatment as you still need to use a comb to remove the nits.
- Mix vinegar with water in the ratio of 1:1, say ½ cup each of water and vinegar.
- Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp before wrapping your hair all around with a towel. Allow the solution time to work through your hair, 2 hours are enough
- Now comb your hair through with a metal comb that has been dipped in white vinegar. Try to focus on one area of your head before moving on to the next and so on until you are down with the entire head of hair.
- Finish off by washing out the vinegar to get rid of the pungent smell
Alternatively, shampoo your hair as you normally do and then finish off by rinsing your hair with a solution of white vinegar prepared by mixing equal proportions of water and white vinegar as described above.
Listerine to Kill Head Lice
Listerine contains various ingredients that are toxic to head lice yet safe to use for human beings including eucalyptol, thymol, menthol, alcohol, and methyl salicylate. Listerine also helps to loosen the lice eggs, nits, by breaking their bonding agent. This makes it easy for you to comb them off.
- Wash your hair and then pat it dry with a towel.
- Now apply generous amounts of Listerine into the hair, taking care not to accidentally have it enter the eyes.
- Comb your hair thoroughly, working on one section at a time, to remove the lice and eggs in it.
- Repeat the treatment once a day for a couple days for best results.
Mayonnaise Remedy for Head Lice
The oily and viscous nature of mayonnaise makes it yet another very handy head lice treatment home remedy. It works by “suffocating” the lice and usage of at least 8 hours is advised for the best results.
- Slather generous amounts of full-flat mayonnaise into your entire scalp
- Put on a shower cap or leave and leave it on for at least 8 hours. You may consider using it overnight.
- In the morning, (or after 8 hours), shampoo your hair and finish off by combing through it thoroughly to remove any remaining lice.
- Repeat this process once every day for about a week and those pesky lice and nits will be gone.
Head Lice Treatment While Pregnant
Conventional medical treatment of head lice comprises using over-the-counter shampoos and creams to which insecticides such as Malathion have been added. Unfortunately these contain harsh, toxic ingredients that are either not be ideal for use during pregnancy or some parents simply aren’t comfortable using.
If you are such parent or would-be-mother, then you will delight to know that most of the home remedies included in these list are safe to use during pregnancy. You will in particular want to try using vinegar, mayonnaise, coconut oil, or petroleum jelly, all of which are detailed in this guide.
You should however seek medical attention if your condition doesn’t improve, or even worsens.
Natural Remedies for Head Lice
There are as well many natural remedies for head lice for those among us who prefer keep things as close to nature as possible. Here are some of them:
Garlic ranks among the top natural remedies for head lice. Its strong smell helps to suffocate and stifle lice, making it easy for you to comb them off of your hair.
- Grind 10 garlic cloves using mortar and pestle. Add 2-3 teaspoons of lime juice to the resulting paste and mix the two ingredients thoroughly to attain a paste of fine consistency. Apply it to your scalp and allow it to stay on for 30 minutes before washing it off with hot water. Repeat the process once every day until you have attained positive results.
- Combine freshly ground garlic paste with a little cooking oil, lemon juice, green tea, shampoo, and hair conditioner. Work the mixture through your hair and then put on a shower cap to trap in heat and air. Finish by shampooing your hair with normal shampoo 30 to 60 minutes down the line. Repeat this remedy once a week.
Coconut oil is one of the best natural household remedies thanks to its sticky texture that traps lice and restricts their movement, effectively making it easy for you to comb them out. To use coconut oil as a head lice treatment remedy, follow the following steps:
- Wash your hair with apple cider vinegar and give it time to dry
- Slather generous amount of coconut oil all over your hair, massaging it well so that it reaches your scalp. If you have anise essential oils, you may consider adding a few drops for an even more effective at-home head lice treatment.
- Put on a shower cap or drape your hair in a towel for 6-8 hours, or overnight if you like.
- Work a metal comb through your hair and then finish off by shampooing.
- Repeat once daily until the problem goes away.
Sesame Seed Oil
Sesame seed contains natural insecticidal properties that qualifies it as an option among natural remedies for head lice. You may however want to make it even more effective by throwing some essential oils to the mix as explained below:
- To a small basin, add ¼ cup of sesame seed oil, 1/8 cup of neem oil, 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil, ½ teaspoon of eucalyptus oil, ½ teaspoon of rosemary essential oil, and 10 drops or so of lavender essential oil.
- Rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar and allow it some time to dry
- Apply the mixture prepared in step 1 throughout your scalp and then cover your head with a shower cap overnight.
- Comb through your hair the next morning and finish off by shampooing.
- Repeat the process each night for a week or so and those lice will have cleared.
Olive oil is also known to help get rid of head lice. It works by suffocating the head lice, consequently making it easy to comb them off.
- Apply generous amount of olive oil into your hair and scalp
- Put on a shower cap or wrap a towel around your head overnight
- Comb through your hair the next morning to remove the head lice
- Finish off by shampooing your hair, preferably with a shampoo product that contains tea tree oil.
- To ½ cup of hair conditioner, add ½ cup of olive oil followed by a little liquid soap.
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly and then apply generous amount of the resulting onto your hair and scalp.
- Wash the mixture off an hour or so later before combing your hair thoroughly to get rid of the head lice.
- Repeat this head lice treatment once a week until you have achieved positive results.
Home Remedies for Head Lice Eggs
It is possible that after getting that initial treatment for head lice you still have tiny lice eggs, referred to as nits, in your scalp. Head lice eggs are oval-shaped and yellowish white in color.
They are usually attached to hair shafts at an angle and are easily confused with dandruff. They however differ with dandruff in that they hardly drift away from your hair shaft; a common characteristic of dandruff.
So, what are some of the best home remedies for head lice eggs? Well, most of the home remedies listed in the previous section will work for both live head lice as well as their eggs. The idea here is to loosen up the nits so that it is easier for you to remove them using a comb.
White vinegar is in particular very handy for this purpose and so is mayonnaise, and petroleum jelly.
Pick the Eggs off Your Scalp
Head lice deposit tiny but visible white nits on your scalp and with a little effort, you may effectively have someone pick them off. Just ask your partner, friend, or you know who to scout through your hair slowly with a metal comb looking for lice eggs (nits).
This is an especially great head lice treatment option for babies and children. You will want to use TV to distract your child and have her stay put as you do the job. It is advisable to have an emery board or a Popsicle stick for this purpose to ensure that you don’t carry the eggs with your fingers.
Extra Tips for Head Lice Eggs Removal on Furniture and Household Items
In addition to all the home remedies for head lice and their eggs detailed throughout this article, you will also want to consider the following tips:
- Disinfect all combs and brushes with a bleach solution prepared by mixing household bleach with water in equal proportions.
- Wash any towels used during head lice treatment with hot water immediately. This will help to get rid of live head lice – as well as any eggs – that remain in the combs.
- Lice prefer to stay on human scalp, but they occasional fall off on furniture, car seats, and beddings. While cleaning and vacuuming the furniture won’t have drastic results since lice survive for no more than 24 hours off of human scalp, it may help to control the spread of lice from one person to another. Sealing stuffed animals for 2 weeks or so also helps.
As you have likely noticed, there are way too many home remedies for head lice, most of which rely on “suffocating” these pesky parasites while loosening their nits off of hair shafts.
Some experts however think that most of these at home treatments don’t actually kill the lice but make them sluggish and easy to catch on the comb. It is thus necessary to finish off by disinfecting the combs with bleach solution.
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