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Natural Home Remedies for Lice

Updated on September 7, 2009

We were battling head lice in our family last month. After sending my husband to the store for every chemical they had to treat it, I decided to look for natural remedies. After much searching online, I read that Listerine would kill lice. Having that on hand, I immediately doused my daughter's hair in Listerine and let her sit with a shower cap on for ten minutes. We could hardly stand this it burned our eyes so badly. It did do a great job killing the lice, but I wouldn't recommend this unless you are very pressed for time, which we were because we were leaving on vacation the next morning and we didn't discover the lice until after dinner.

When my husband got home we shampooed all the kids in lice shampoo. Lice shampoo is actually a pesticide and can cause all sorts of problems in humans. I wish I had known this before using the shampoo. Not only because it is so bad for you, but because it didn't even work. After following the instructions perfectly, when we combed through the kids hair, we were finding live bugs. The deadly lice shampoo wasn't even killing the lice.

What we found to be the most effective treatment for ridding the hair of lice was combing through it. You can buy lice combs at the drugstore, for around $10. Priceless in my opinion. After the hair is wet, you can comb through it small section by small section and pick out any bugs or nits. It is very tedious and time consuming, we spent hours picking through the kids hair. You have to pick through the hair repeatedly for 7-10 days to make sure that you have gotten rid of all nits. My theory on this is that when the eggs are first laid, they are so small you can't see them. As they grow you are able to see them and pick them out. The eggs are actually glued to the hair shaft and don't come off easily. We actually resorted to using tweezers and yanking the hair out to get rid of the nits and eggs.

Fast forward to our vacation and discovering my unfortunate sister's family had gotten the lice from my daughter before we ever headed to the beach. By this point I had been able to do more research and while not really wanting to have the kids sit for two hours with shower caps on their heads, that is what we opted to try. First we coated the kid's hair with mayonnaise. Not Miracle Whip, or light mayo or anything like that. It has to be regular mayonnaise. You need to coat the entire scalp very well and seal all the hair up in the shower cap. The lice are suffocated this way.

The mayonnaise treatment was amazing. When the shower caps were pulled off, we found numerous dead bugs. Remember when I used the lice shampoo, the bugs were still alive. Not with the mayo. We knew we had killed all the live bugs. Next you must go through the hair to pick out any nits that are stuck to the hair shafts. Unfortunately there is really nothing that will kill nits before they hatch.

After rechecking the kid's hair each day, we opted to do another natural treatment - this time with olive oil. This also worked very well, however it was messier. While it was easier to get all the hair and scalp covered with the oil, the oil tended to run out of the shower cap throughout the two hour wait. It burns when it gets in your eyes, so keep a paper towel handy to dab at places.

To sum up, we tried the chemicals and they didn't work. We then tried three natural remedies that all worked great. I think that hands down the natural home remedies work the best. Unfortunately the chemical companies would have you believe otherwise and actively claim that home remedies don't work. I disagree and hope that next time you are dealing with lice that you try a home remedy that is cheaper and much better for your child.


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    • profile image

      me... 4 years ago

      i have head lice and i was always told mayo dosent work and gets your hair really greassy for day so i havent tried it is this true ?

    • profile image

      ankitakutil 7 years ago

      Good Information. Regular application of Oil to the scalp keeps the scalp healthy(No Dandruff or Dryness) and also helps in nourishing/growth of the Hair.

    • profile image

      Beaker 7 years ago

      Take a look at this site:

      It goes into many natural treatments for lice that anyone can use. The poisons are so harmful and so useless that it's unbelievable that they are still sold at all. The poisons do very, very little because lice are now immune to them after so many years of use by the public.

    • profile image

      mrsmootou 7 years ago

      whats even cheaper but more thorough?

      Conditioner. any old conditioner a cheapy will even do. slap it on liberally concentrating towards the scalp first then when the whole head is covered, wrap in glad wrap. set timer for half an hour. Put bedding and teddies in Dryer while timer is ticking. Check other peoples hair, especially around the nape of neck and section behind ears. thats where they nest. if none sited and no eggs present. they should be fine, but precaustions is best cure.

      When timer goes off.stand child close to sink as you scrape the wrap and conditioner muck off into the bin with your hand.

      then coming back to the chair with with the child slightly lower that you on a stool or cushion, sit with your nit comb and a white towel/kitchen towel/absorbant paper on your knee, part the hair in the middle and start at one side at the fringe working downward, using the nit comb on small sections starting, you then wipe it on your towel. you will see the dead bugs against the white. then when each section is done flip it forward out of the way. work left to right going top to bottom. repeat other half. put a movie on for kid and it will take about 45mins.

      Repeat in 7-8 days. for the off chance you missed an egg.


      Nits prefer clean hair- so dirty kids,dirty hair rumour not entirely true. untreated headlice is how its spread not the body hygiene.

      lice crawl not jump. head to head contact is how they migrate.

      lice are camellions- they change to the hair colour to hide better

      lice cannot live without a blood source. they will die after 1/2 hour.

      lice cannot live in extreme heat. that's why you tumble dry the linen and teddy off the bed.

      lice solution may kill bugs but not eggs.

      a preventative solution of i squirt conditioner, 1 capful tea tree oil/eucalyptus oil added to spray bottle and topped with water used when brushing hair in the morning.

      then with boys, use gel/hairspray and girls, tie hair and spray with a layer of hairspray.

      How do i know all this? up until grade 2 my daughter got them a few times until a school grandma told me about conditioner method.

      Then the facts were gained over the years. We haven't been bothered by these pest since then.

    • profile image

      nelbo77 8 years ago

      Some great idea's there. With three kids at school this is an ongoing fight and if we use the chemicals it would cost us a small fortune. Another point is we can use all the treatments out there, but if other children at the school are not getting treated you can find yourself fightning a losing battle.

      Great Hub!

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 8 years ago from Central United States of America

      Haven't had a lice problem in many years, but keep hearing from others that the Mayo does work, as does the tea tree oil. Might even try a mixture so the oil doesn't run...Lice seems to be a timeless entity doesn't it! Thanks for good advice and explanations!

    • spiritdancerocean profile image

      spiritdancerocean 8 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA.

      My friends always used tea tree oil. Good to know olive oil and mayo works! Emailed this to my friend with five children. They have at times not been able to hug others because of this. I passed out when I saw them on a girl's head when we were in the fifth grade. We were in the choir and she was the girl right below me. It caused quite a stir and a need to be educated about lice.

    • pddm67 profile image

      pddm67 8 years ago from Queens, New York

      Great hub Jennifer. Only someone who's been there can feel your pain. We had a horrible bout with lice about 2 years ago after coming home from vacation - took us almot 6 month to get rid of it once and for all. After the 3 round, I almost lost it completely - hello funny farm! I finaly purged those little suckerd from my home. Aside from cleaning the house and it's contents from top to bottom, a perscription from the kid's doctor (for their head) was the icing on the cake. I believe it was called Ovid - worked better than any shampoo in the store or online. Thanks for the memories :-)

    • Ishavasyam profile image

      Ishavasyam 8 years ago from Leeds,United Kingdom

      Hello Jennifer..short yet to the point..hub has lots of pertinent information...