head lice

Head lice

Although head lice are not dangerous and don’t carry disease, it is certainly not a pleasant experience when you or your children suffer an infestation. Dealing with lice can be difficult and frustrating, but there are several home remedies you can use to effectively rid yourself of these little pests without resorting to using toxic chemicals on your family.

If you’ve discovered lice on one member of your family be sure to check everyone before you try any of these remedies. You’ll need to treat everyone at the same time in order to get rid of them and prevent re-infestation.

Almond Oil & Olive Oil

Both of these oils have the power to smother and suffocate lice. They should also make it easier to remove eggs.

Application can be done by coating the hair with oil as if you were applying conditioner, or you may prefer to coat your comb with the oil and then comb it through the hair. You should comb through the hair in sections, keeping them separated with hair clips, and rinse the comb frequently with hot water as you go. After combing, shampoo and rinse the hair twice.

When finished you should thoroughly clean the comb and any towels you’ve used. You should repeat this process daily for about one week.

Essential Oils

Some essential oils have been shown to have a toxic effect on head lice and their eggs. These include tea tree oil, anise oil and ylang ylang oil. Nerolidol, a compound that is found in many plant oils, has also been shown to be effective.

To apply these, simply add 15 to 20 drops of the essential oils to about 2 ounces of olive oil. Apply the mixture to the hair and scalp and cover with a shower cap. Let it sit overnight, up to 12 hours if possible. To finish, comb out the hair and shampoo twice.

Neem Oil

Neem oil contains a natural insecticide that will kill lice and their eggs. You may be able to find shampoo that already contains neem oil, or you can add a few tablespoons to your regular shampoo and use that.

Neem oil is often used to keep small insects off of plants. So, if you have trouble finding it in your local supermarket, try the garden section.

Garlic & Lime Juice

The strong smell of garlic can actually suffocate lice. To use this remedy you’re going to make a thick paste by grinding eight to ten cloves of garlic and mixing with two or three tablespoons of lime juice.

Once you’ve got your paste, apply it to the hair and scalp and let it sit for about thirty minutes.  After the time has elapsed, rinse the hair thoroughly with warm water.

Baby Oil & White Vinegar

Baby oil is another substance that will basically drown and suffocate head lice. You’ll just need to coat your hair and scalp well with the baby oil, let it sit for a few minutes, and then comb it out. You should get most of the lice out with the comb. When finished, wash your hair with hot water and shampoo.

To follow up, before you go to bed apply white vinegar to your hair and cover with a shower cap or towel. Leave this to sit overnight, then wash your hair as normal with warm water and shampoo.

Be Persistent

One of the most frustrating things about head lice is their tendency to return after you think you’ve gotten rid of them. Most often this occurs because adults have been eradicated, but unseen eggs were left behind. They, of course, hatch and the entire process starts all over again.

You should repeat these treatments a few times, at least once or twice after you seem to have rid yourself of the lice. When you believe the infestation is gone, carefully comb your hair with a fine tooth comb, or better yet — a nit comb, for several days and check for signs of the lice or their eggs. If you see anything at all, continue with the treatments until there’s no sign of their return.


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