Natural and Home Remedies

Head Lice Home Remedy

Signs and Symptoms of Head Lice

Head lice are wingless insects that live on the human scalp and feed off of human blood. They are different from fleas (which often infect pets) in that they spend their entire life on a host. Related species of lice can also infect other parts of the body. For example, body lice often live on clothing, while pubic lice mainly live on hair in the pubic regions. An infestation of lice is also often referred to as pediculosis.

Head lice develop in the following phases:

  • Head Lice Eggs (Nits): These are firmly attached to the hair shaft, and are difficult to see (they can easily be mistaken for dandruff). They are oval shaped and usually yellow to white.
  • Nymphs: After about a week, a nit will hatch into nymphs which are young head lice. At this stage they begin feeding on blood from the scalp.
  • Adults: After 7 days, a nymph matures into an adult, which is about the size of a sesame seed with a greyish-white color. The adult lifespan is about 30 days.

The most common symptom of lice infestation is frequent itching, which occurs as a result of a lice's saliva entering holes in the scalp when they feed. Note that excessive scratching of the head can result in sores, which may become infected, so it is best to get treatment as quickly as possible. Although a louse bites into the skin to feed, the reaction to the bite is difficult to see between the hairs. However, bites can often be seen on the neck of individuals with long hair.

Causes of Head Lice

Head lice are usually spread through direct head-to-head contact with an infested person, but they can also be spread by sharing combs or towels. Children are often the most affected by head lice, particularly those between the ages of 3 and 10. Additionally, females often get head lice more than males, possibly due to having longer hair. Pets are typically not affected by human head lice.

Home Remedies and Natural Treatments for Head Lice

Use Tea Tree Oil Shampoo

Shampoos containing a small amount (5%) of Tea Tree Oil are often very effective at getting rid of head lice. An excellent shampoo is Nature's Gate - Tea Tree Calming Shampoo.


A quick home remedy for head lice is to create a rinse using an equal part of water mixed with an equal part of kitchen vinegar. One-half cup usually does the trick. After you've created this mixture, do the following:

  • Take a shower and leave shampoo in your hair for 5 to 10 minutes. Tea Tree Oil shampoos (described above) work well.
  • Rinse the shampoo.
  • Apply the vinegar rinse to your hair and rub it into your whole scalp.
  • Leave the rinse in your hair for about 2 minutes, then rinse it out.
  • Repeat this twice per day (morning and evening) until the head lice disappear.

The active ingredients in the shampoo kill head lice as well as penetrate into the eggs that they hatch. The vinegar then helps to dissolve the dead lice and wash their remains away.

Eliminate Head Lice with a Nit Comb

Although shampooing is quite effective at getting rid of head lice, many nits usually remain firmly attached to hair strands. Therefore, after shampooing and drying your hair, it is good to invest in a quality nit comb to remove the pesky nits. A recommended nit-comb is the Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb from NitBusters. A natural peppermint oil repellent such as Nit Free Mint Spray can also help to loosen nits before using the nit comb.

Shaving your Head to Remove Head Lice

One of the easiest and most effective ways to get rid of head lice is to simply shave your head, although many women would prefer alternative methods. Note that a short haircut usually isn't sufficient, since head lice typically cling to hair only a quarter-inch from the scalp.

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  1. on said:

    Mayonnaise is an amazing treatment for lice. My family just recently had a problem with them and my pediatrician recommended it. You need to use a lot of mayonnaise on your head. Make sure to use a large jar if you have long or thick hair. Leave it on for 8 1/2 to 9 hours, with a shower cap covering your head. If it's not left on long enough or you don't use enough it won't work. Trust me the dead lice will literally be falling out of your hair when you wash it out.

  2. on said:

    Do not use any animal products on children ever! This is simply a safe practice and common sense. The shampoos that are sold at stores are effective and when used as instructed and often, are very successful. I personally use a product called Roboicomb. This is simple and is truly miraculous. I have been able to successfully treat my daughter for over five times and brought her to a completely lice free point each time. Each time I used the shampoo and the Roboicomb, within 1 to 2 days I was very pleased with perfect results. I repeat, do not ever use animal products on children!

  3. on said:

    I tried Kwell shampoo. It killed all the nits and lice in my daughter's hair 😊

  4. on said:

    I never had head lice but I know mayonnaise can get rid of it.

  5. on said:

    Hi everyone, I also have had the lice problem for about 5 months now. I have tried everything. Even went to the dermatologist and they at first tried to tell me it was dandruff till I told them that I'm pretty sure dandruff is not contagious as this has spread from my daughter to her dad's house who then also got it. Doctors gave me some pills to help. But all it did was make my 14 year old feel like she was going to have a heart attack. I combed her hair everyday with a Licertain comb. Nothing worked! Until I saw on the news that over the counter medicine don't work. There is a heat treatment which is 170$ . Well that is too expensive for me so I decided to try it myself with a blow dryer and also used the Licertain combing. I got Tea Tree oil and some Tea Tree oil shampoo and Coconut oil and mixed it together. I left it on their heads for about an hour or so and then rinsed it out and blow dried, and combed the hair. And yes, yes it is helping. Only10 or so nits are now visible from close to a thousand. Yep you heard it right, thousands!!!!! What a miracle! Now I'm still in the process with this being my 3rd day but what a difference. Seems to me that this is the only, yes, the only way these days to get rid of lice.

  6. on said:

    To avoid head lice, use Dove bar soap or Dove body wash, I have a two year old and a nine year old who uses it regularly, for every single shower, as shampoo now. We leave it in a good five minutes, condition, and were done! I scrub it from their scalp to the tips of their hair. No more pesky lice. I tried everything! washed weekly! but no luck. Dove works!

  7. on said:

    To treat head lice, can I spray vinegar and water on the mattress as well to be on the safe side?

  8. on said:

    Hi, how long do I leave the shampoo on for my little one who has lice. I bought dog flees shampoo and I'm afraid to leave it in for long.

  9. on said:

    There's a shampoo called lice shield. It's about $10 (Canadian) - I've seen it at pharmacies and Walmart. It might help!

  10. on said:

    Garlic also is a great remedy for lice treatment. The anti-bacterial property of garlic is very effective to get rid of lice. Adding lemon juice to Garlic paste works great for head lice. Here is an illustration on how to make garlic mixture for lice treatment.

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