Natural Home Remedies for Lice

Head lice are common in children, who tend to congregate in close quarters and who may share combs, brushes and hats. Lice live in the hair and lay their eggs, called nits, along the hair shaft close to the scalp. The main symptom of head lice is an itchy scalp, ears or neck. Head lice reproduce and spread from person to person quickly. While commercial head lice removal shampoos and gels are available, many parents opt to try natural remedies for lice before resorting to chemicals.

Smother the Lice

One popular home remedy for killing head lice is to smother them with mayonnaise, oil or petroleum jelly. Spread the product in the hair before bedtime and wrap the head with plastic wrap. In the morning, wash out the oily residue. In theory, the lice are unable to breathe and die overnight. This treatment should be repeated after 7 to 10 days to kill any lice that have hatched since the first treatment. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that although this home remedy does not hurt the person with the head lice, it may not be effective.

Tea Tree Oil

Mixing tea tree oil into your daily shampoo may kill head lice. According to Healthy Oil Planet, scientists in Ireland identified two properties in tea tree oil that cause nerve death in lice. Some shampoos containing tea tree oil are available in health food stores. Those wishing to use their regular shampoo can simply mix a small amount of 100 percent tea tree oil into the hair while lathering up. This treatment can be repeated every other day until all of the lice are gone.


Before over-the-counter head lice removal treatments were widely available, a common way to treat head lice was to comb the lice and their nits, or eggs, out of the hair. Saturate the hair with oil or hair conditioner, and use a fine-tooth comb to come carefully from scalp to the ends of the strand. Wipe the comb on a towel after each stroke. Do this on every strand of hair, and repeat it daily until no more nits or lice are seen.