Lice - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Lice. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Vodka With Essential Oils

Posted by Mary (Boston) on 11/21/2017

My children have never had lice until my youngest was 9. I tried several of the over the counter treatments however they were pricey and although they killed the lice there was some doubt that they were effectively killing nits. I was also concerned with the chemicals they contained. So I started to research for the best treatment. What I found was Vodka. Vodka contains ethanol which kills both lice and nits. I decided to use 4 oz of vodka mixed in a squirt bottle with 25 drops of tea tree oil (tea tree oil was shown to kill 100% of lice within 30 minutes of application) in a govt study. I also added 25 drops of lavender oil which was shown to kill nits when combined with tea tree oil. I used these in addition to the vodka just as insurance that I was covering all my bases. I soaked my daughters hair with the mixture put a shower cap on and had her sleep in it. In the morning I washed her hair with tea tree oil shampoo and then rinsed it with water then did an apple cider vinegar rinse. The apple cider vinegar actually dissolves the glue that holds the nit to the hair, for easy removal. I then put a tea tree oil conditioner and proceeded to comb her hair with a nit comb, section by section. Then I blow dryed the hair with high heat (heat also kills lice and nits). She went to school and didn't have a critter or egg on her.

I also took 6 oz of rubbing alcohol, with 25 drops each of tea tree oil, lavender, clove and eucalyptus oil and sprayed all my furniture, rugs, mattresses daily. I washed all our bedding, pillows clothing with hot water and 20 drops of tea tree oil in addition to laundry detergent. Dried all clothing on high heat. All bedding was washed daily to be on the safe side. When making our beds, the mattresses, pillows, sheets bedspreads were all sprayed daily with this alcohol/essential oil spray. I also made small spray bottles for us to take to work and school so we could spray our hair throughout the day as a precaution. Worked like a charm, cheap, not messy and safe.

Borax and Peppermint Shampoo

Posted by Teena (Aus) on 07/14/2017 233 posts

My boys also had recurring lice problem. Since I made my own borax shampoo and added several drops of peppermint oil to the liquid, I have been pleased to note my kids no longer have lice and my sometimes itchy scalp (I suspect hereditary psoriasis but have been in denial) had also cleared. We use the shampoo everyday. Oh and from top to toe also.

I used an old shampoo bottle with the pump and put in about a cm of borax, filled with hot water to dissolve, didn't dissolve well but doesn't matter. Added few drops peppermint oil for scent. Now this doesn't foam, and is very watery, maybe you can thicken with Aloe vera? So when using I shake, pump out some and apply to all areas of my scalp, it easily runs down hair to coat. Can use on entire body. To rinse out you make a mix of 1/4 tsp citric acid to about a liter water and as required.

To specifically address lice I would add tto, maybe clove eo, and not use the rinse for about a week (this is what I did as I was waiting for empty conditioner bottle). Might also consider making a thicker paste of borax to apply and leave in. I just used the shampoo as is and my children are now happily lice free.

Hope this helps.

Neem Oil

Posted by Cameron (Brisbane, Australia) on 04/05/2010

Like so many others I've had such success with remedies from this site I thought it was time to provide some feedback and maybe help others.

My little girls had not gone to school yet but now had their second case of headlice, I watched my sister in law go through hell with these creatures with 5 kids and now it was our turn. I tried the horrible Mayo and plastic bag idea but it was revolting firstly and secondly ineffective, that time I enede up using an OTC product from the pharmacy.

The second time I came straight here again and decided Neem was the go, I mixed 1 part Neem Oil to 2 parts Olive Oil and left the mixture in the girls hair for an hour. We combed all the dead lice out and the eggs, we never retreated them it was a once only treatment that was 100% successful, we now use a Neem Shampoo that has allowed my little school girl to survive 2 school headlice outbreaks nit free even though her best friend got them both times.

As others have said you could simply mix some neem oil into your usual shampoo, it will however leave a nasty ring around your bath but its a small price to pay for nit free kids.

Thanks to all who take the time to post here it makes others lives that much easier.


Posted by Haley (Ann Arbor, Michigan) on 12/15/2008

I got lice after taking care of my friends sisters children, and she failed to inform me her little girl had lice. A week later my scalp was so ITCHY! I heard from my friends mother who lives on a farm to apply MAYONNAISE to your hair! So I went to the refrigerator, grabbed the already opened jar of MAYONNAISE, dipped my hand into the pungent condiment, and applied it to my scalp. I soaked my hair and if you've ever dyed your hair you'll know how to apply it. Do the scalp first and work to the ends, make sure to saturate your hair and if you have a hair net wear that. I kept it in for about ten minutes and washed it out. The lice were dead!

A year later my little sister got lice, and we used the same remedy. Except hers came back because with the split visitation her father didn't wash the bedding at she contracted the bug again. But it works! Using it a second time for her did the trick! Best of luck!

Tea Tree Oil

Posted by Chris (Denver, CO) on 12/07/2006

Tea tree oil works great. My son had lice last year that he brought home from his tennis class (he also had gone swimming a lot). We mixed tea tree oil with olive oil (about 50:50), rubbed it on his head and then used a lice comb. We did several more applications of oil and combing, but after the first combing we only found one more dead louse. We kept combing the nits out and after one day everything was gone. As a side note, weâ€TMve always been using shampoos containing various essential oils and a few years ago, my son's whole class got lice, except for him. I think that last summer all that time in the pool had eliminated all the essential oils from his head, so it was "inviting" to the louse population. Our neighbor wrestles as a sport, and he said his coach told them to put a few drops of tea tree oil into their shampoo to avoid lice.