Natural Remedies for Lice

| Modified on May 11, 2024
Posted by Ana (New Zealand) on 05/11/2024

Tapping skull (squashing lice) with fingers/fingernails rapidly

This is something that can be done at home or in private. It's easy and free. Just raise your hands and tap your skull rapidly in order to squash the lice. Do it where the itches are or areas you know they lay their eggs. Do this in addition to using a lice comb and any other product you like. (for me, I did this after using white kerosene (lamp oil). I haven't had any eggs for days/weeks.

Posted by Ana (New Zealand) on 05/11/2024

Persistent lice is very hard to get rid of and some over-the-shelf products don't actually work. I remembered the elderly people talking about using kerosene for hair lice. I googled it and it said to use white kerosene (lamp oil). I filled up a spray bottle with white kerosene and sprayed my hair, being careful not to get any in my eyes. I left it on for 2 hours, then put on eye googles so none got into my eyes in the shower. I used shampoo to wash it off. Then I used a fine-tooth lice comb to remove lice. This worked more effectively than anything else. I started on Friday night and by Monday morning, I was free of lice. Thanks kerosene!

Posted by Nona (British Columbia) on 05/26/2022

The Kerosene was indeed used medicinally in the past for various was Turpentine, which I still use today. It works for cleansing the body, food poisoning, and the good ol' seasonal deworming routine. I also mix it it in with coconut oil and it's the goto for skin bites, bee stings, rashes, head lice, etc....the kids ask for it. The biggest problem is finding the pure products as you don't want to purchase from Home Depot. I get Georgia Pine on the I'm not alone!

Posted by Deborah A. (Newton, MA) on 01/02/2022

Combing for lice missing from your info. It is the best form of screening, early detection, proper identification and safe removal.

Farm Ivermectin
Posted by Nivchek (Eastern Europe) on 12/07/2021

I made a gel out of agar agar using the package directions. When it was still a liquid, I added 10mL of 1% Ivermectin injectable liquid for farm animals to 70mL of the gel. Then I let it cool in the fridge. Applied liberally to roots, and let dry. Hair looked shiny and beautiful. After a day or two, washed as usual. I did this on my whole family at once and we have now been lice-free for at least 4 months!

This remedy kills nits and lice and does not require combing. They say that the nits might hatch out in small quantities, but not be viable because of the chemical treatment they received while developing.

No odor, no irritation, no problems!

I had tried EVERYTHING else, and because I was trying to treat myself and multiple kids, I simply couldn't make the other solutions work.

Posted by GertJr (Madison) on 06/08/2021

Back in the day, moms would slather mayonnaise on the children's hair if they had lice. The oiliness smothered the lice as well as kind of 'sticking' them so they couldn't jump off onto someone else. It worked. (They also covered hair with kerosene to kill lice, but that's not a great idea. And they would shave heads if it was bad.)

Posted by Mel B (PA) on 06/07/2021

I am African so combing for lice with a steel comb wasn't an option. I couldn't find anyone who was familiar with lice so I thought about what my ancestors did. We always greased the scalp after washing hair. So I pulled out Vaseline and put it from scalp to tip then covered it with a plastic bag and added a scarf for fashion. It drips a little and sometimes you see dead ones. But this process will smother them and kill them off in seconds. I had zero itching.

Also I washed it out in 3 days and reapplied and wrapped again for any eggs that will be hatching. They say they hatch within 7 days so I kept it on 4 more days. Washed hair as usual and no more lice.

For good measure I spray hair first with ACV and covered with scarf. I saw about 80% dead but some big ones were crawling around on plastic when I removed from head. I think the ACV made them run from my scalp?? One of my sons got lice from school and it only spread to me and my other son. My girls and husband were fine. I didn't treat any linen or go crazy around the house. I simply put Vaseline in everyone's hair so they have no source. We were all clear in a week.

Vaseline is cheap and simple if you can stay inside. If not put on a decorative scarf and hat/wig over it.

Posted by Christina (United States) on 10/14/2019

After seeing OTC products (Vamousse and Licefree) that kill both lice & nits that have an active ingredient of sodium chloride (table salt) since it dehydrates them, I make my own.

Roughly 3/4 table salt and 1/4 liquid dial hand soap (I would assume any liquid, even water would work since the salt is the key ingredient)....just enough liquid to make a spreadable paste out of the salt. I then saturated my daughter's head with it (mine too just to be sure even though a quick self check didn't turn up any lice or nits) and put a shower cap on for four hours.

Then the salt & soap got washed out.

My daughter's school has a "no live lice" policy but not a "no nit" policy so while I wanted to get rid of nits (alive or dead). I slathered our heads with conditioner and combed for a couple hours with a fine-tooth rat tail comb. I'm sure she had lice for at least a couple weeks since I got hundreds of nits out of her hair during that first comb out (none out of mine).

I continued the conditioner / comb out 1 - 2 times a day until I saw no nits come out. It took over a week to get them all out (in that time I never combed out any live lice so that confirmed that in all likelihood the salt mixture had indeed killed the nits as none of them hatched). More than once it was tempting to give her a pixie cut (wouldn't "get rid of them" but would make the comb out process a bit easier in shorter hair than her shoulder-length hair--I have very short hair and my comb out, combing thoroughly in all directions took me under 15 minutes, hers took 1 - 2 hrs-- and she would love the cut for any reason, but I didn't feel confident enough in my hair cutting abilities to do a good cut and I couldn't take her to a salon with nits in her hair, even if they were dead, so I just had to be thankful she didn't have long thick hair to work through).

Since getting rid of our infestation, I've taken preventive measures and added spraying our hair with tea tree oil & water every morning before we leave home / she goes out to play.

So far no new lice.

Posted by Sandy (Il, Usa) on 09/02/2020

Growing up in India, whenever I had lice my mom applied kerosene and it worked well. Kerosene also helps any pain in the leg and knees. I always used to massag my grandma's legs with kerosene. It works.

Posted by Notyouneek (Tacoma, Wa) on 12/22/2018

I'm a grandma of 3 and have dealt with the lice plague numerous times. I've spent thousands of dollars over the decades on lice treatments. Then I discovered the mouthwash cure. Generic is fine. It works like a charm. I make sure that the eyes are covered, spray full strength amber mouthwash to soak the hair and cover the head with a plastic bag (using a hair tie to secure in the back). After two hours I rinse the hair and hten go through with a high quality metal nitcomb. Bugs are dead and nits are easier to remove. Best most effective treatment I've found!! I've done tons of research on the cons of this treatment and the best they can come up with is that its flammable, the kids might suffocate on the bag, and that the alchol may absorb into the scalp. Some of the perscriptions shampoos can cause brain damage if used too often. No open flames or smoking while treatment is in progress and watch them so they don't try to eat the bag. BE SURE not to let it get into the eyes.

Selsun Blue, Vinegar, Essential Oils
Posted by May (Australia) on 07/24/2018

Hair Lice - I found this formula on internet - worked like a charm in 1 application

You require a bottle of Selsun Blue shampoo, any conditioner, vinegar, tea tree & eucalyptus essential oils

  • 50 ml of the bottle of Selsun Shampoo
  • 100 ml of any conditioner
  • 3/4 cup of vinegar
  • 25 drops of Tea Tree plus 25 drops of Eucalyptus essential oils

Mix and shake well in a bottle.

Dampen hair slightly, apply the solution and rub in well as if you are shampooing hair.

wrap in a shower cap & leave on for 1hr if possible.

rinse hair - blow dry hair on heat - go through hair with a fine knot comb.

Posted by Paracelsus (Orlando, Fl) on 06/20/2018 47 posts

That sounds like a very crazy and dangerous idea. I doubt the Germans added diesel to booze. That can literally kill you.

Posted by Tom (Boynton Beach, Florida) on 06/20/2018

I live in a 55+ community. An old WW2 vet (in his 90's) told me that when he was in Germany after the war, him and his friends would make homemade booze and that they added a touch of diesel fuel into the final product for TASTE!

Enzyme Shampoo
Posted by Ruta (Il) on 04/09/2018

What kind did you use?

Posted by Blossom (France) on 12/27/2017

For head lice I use vodka. Any 40 percent alcohol is good. Put on head wrap scalp in plastic bag. Leaving no room for air in or out. They get killed by the alcohol fumes. Wait 40 minutes. Wash off.

This kills lice, not their eggs, so repeat in 1 week to kill the lice that will have hatched out.

I'm happy to treat with non toxic things for my girls. Lice free house. Works without fail.

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.

Cedarwood Oil
Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 11/03/2017

Dear Elle,

Yes, a carrier oil. Olive or coconut or castor oil are good. 20 drops cedar oil to 1 Tablespoon carrier. Massage into scalp. Carefully as this can really tangle longer hair. Leave it in for an hour or so.

Yes, wash it out. It may take two shampooings.

Rinsing with apple cider vinegar (diluted 1/2 with water) can help, too.

~Mama to Many~

Cedarwood Oil
Posted by Elle (Uk) on 11/03/2017

How do you use cedar oil? do you use w/ a carrier oil? how many drops? and then do we rub on the scalp? and leave it on for how long? and then shampoo it?

Eucalyptus Oil
Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 08/07/2017

Yes, I think she means Eucalyptus essential oil.

For a child I would not use more than 5 drops each of tea tree and eucalyptus per 2 Tablespoons of olive oil (then mix with dish soap). That will still be plenty strong. Essential oils are very concentrated.

~Mama to Many~

Eucalyptus Oil
Posted by Nigelle (Texas) on 08/06/2017

Is this just regular eucalyptus oil? Like the essential oil type or is there a certain one?

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 Stuman (Oceanside, Ca) on 12/30/2016

About 15 years ago my daughter had lice. We first tried combing my daughter's hair for days - it worked but the lice and nits were still popping up. We didn't want to use Rid with Piperonyl butoxide (4%) and Pyrethrum extract.

We read about undiluted Neem oil and it worked great with one application. Cover the entire affected area with the undiluted neem and leave it in the hair for 15 minutes or longer. Shampoo the oil out of the hair. The undiluted oil smells nutty, my daughter found it offensive. It will take time and several washes to remove the odor.

15 years ago there weren't many vendors selling neem oil. Now there are many health products with neem. Some say neem shampoo will prevent re-infestation after the undiluted treatment.

Neem Oil
Posted by Stuman (Oceanside, Ca) on 12/30/2016

I noticed your post is seven years old and things have changed. Yes, wiki does mention neem may be toxic to pregnant women and children when consumed. However, for topical applications there are many over the counter soaps and shampoos available. On a side note the OTC toothpaste do not have neem oil. It is neem leaf and or neem bark.

Flat Iron
Posted by Angela (Wyoming) on 10/23/2016

My girls and I had lice. I tried the lice md, tea tree oil and coconut oil. We still found lice. I decided to cook the lice with a flat iron. I got as close as I could to the root. I did this 2x's a day for 3 days. I also combed with the flea comb 2x's a day. We never reused anything during this time. New towels, clothes, coats, and we threw out hair ties. We wore shower caps to bed and I put all bedding in the dryer ever morning. I also vacuumed a lot! Over kill probably but I hear people have these for years. Once I used the flat iron I haven't brushed out or seen any bugs. I swear this works. I see the professional lice people use a hot dryer to heat/kill lice. Why not a flat iron? I hope this helps you all.

Posted by Loreley (Jacksonville, Fl) on 10/07/2016

We used kerosene to treat head lice when we were kids and never experienced any undesirable side effects. Sure, it smelled bad and the skin felt a little warm but you get used to it. It killed the lice AND EGGS with one treatment. We used cotton wool balls dosed in kerosene and wiped the hair, covering everything. Wrapped the hair in an old towel. We would stay like that for a few hours, then washed it off.

The hair grew strong, thick and shiny so I don't call that a bad deal. We were a large family and everyone got treated. It works. This is a remedy my great-grandmother passed on -- and say what you will about old wives tales, they often got things right!

My mum tried a modern treatment once, didn't kill the eggs and the lice returned with a vengeance. One other thing, rinse with diluted vinegar to help remove the eggs.