Four Vinegar-based Remedies to Naturally Combat Head Lice

05 September, 2018
Despite its strong smell, vinegar is the perfect ingredient for getting rid of lice and nits. You can also boost its power with other ingredients.

Head lice are a common problem among children. One child has them and then suddenly every other child inevitable catches them, too. Therefore, it’s important to take some preventative measures and have some natural homemade remedies at hand.

In this article, we’ll share some vinegar-based remedies to naturally combat head lice without using chemical products. We’ll combine them with other powerful ingredients like rosemary, tea tree essential oil, garlic, eucalyptus, and coconut oil.

I’ve Got Head Lice!

A girl itching her head because she has head lice

Head lice are such a common problem in schools because they spread so easily amongst children through physical contact. These small parasites invade the scalp and feed off blood, which causes a lot of itching. As a result, if you know that there’s a child with head lice at your child’s school, you should take some preventative steps.

There are a great many different products and shampoos to combat head lice. However, the majority contain chemical ingredients and are not always so effective.

On the other hand, there are many natural products that can help to get rid of them without any negative side effects for your scalp or your health.

Vinegar Remedies to Combat Head Lice

The base for all of these remedies is vinegar, a product which can be used for many health problems, as well as in beauty applications and cleaning products. The great thing about vinegar, however, as opposed to many chemical products, is that it stops the eggs from adhering to the scalp.

Furthermore, vinegar is a great disinfectant and pH regulator. Many people already use it as a homemade conditioner, since it keeps your hair shiny and soft. 

To combat head lice, you can use apple cider vinegar or other varieties. It’s best if it’s a natural, un-pasteurized vinegar.

One final thing to mention is that all of these remedies should be diluted in water.

A jug of vinegar which will be used to make natural remedies to combat head lice

1. Rosemary Vinegar

The first remedy, and also the most traditional homemade one, is rosemary vinegar. You can make it yourself by macerating some rosemary, a medicinal plant which has antiseptic properties. This way, when you need it you’ll have it to hand. It also never expires.


  • 2 glasses of vinegar (400 ml)
  • 2 to 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

How to Make It

  • Put both ingredients into a glass jar.
  • Seal it well and leave the ingredients to macerate for a month.
  • You can use it after a month, but you can also leave it to continue strengthening.

2. Tea Tree Vinegar

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a great natural product which you should always have in your cabinet. This powerful essential oil help to combat all sorts of pathogens: viruses, bacteria, and fungus.

As a result, it’s the perfect ingredient to add to a shampoo as a preventative measure, or even use as an instant remedy by mixing it with vinegar. However, we should warn you that the smell is quite special and very strong.


  • 1 glass of vinegar (200 ml)
  • 10 drops of tea tree essential oil

How to Make It

  • Mix both ingredients in a spray bottle.
  • Shake well just before use.

3. Vinegar, Garlic, and Eucalyptus

One homemade remedy which is always effective is garlic, a powerful natural antibiotic.

Meanwhile, because of its strong smell as well as its properties, garlic is an excellent head lice repellent. It’s also an ingredient that is nearly always to hand.

In this case, you can add some eucalyptus essential oil to reduce the smell a little and boost its effects even more.


  • 1 glass of vinegar (200 ml)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

How to Make It

  • Beat the vinegar with the garlic.
  • Strain the resulting mixture and pour it into a container. Add the eucalyptus oil.
  • Shake before use.

4. Vinegar and Coconut Oil

To finish with, with this homemade remedy, you can mix vinegar with coconut oil. This vegetable oil, which is becoming more and more popular all the time because of its properties, is able to get rid of pathogens from the skin and the scalp. It’s also great for hydration.


  • 1 glass of vinegar (200 ml)
  • ½ glass of extra virgin coconut oil (100 ml)

How to Make It

  • Pour both ingredients into a jar. It’s worth mentioning that coconut oil will solidify at anything below 23 ºC.
  • Mix well and shake before use.
  • Meister, L., & Ochsendorf, F. (2016). Head Lice. Deutsches Arzteblatt International.
  • Sangaré, A. K., Doumbo, O. K., & Raoult, D. (2016). Management and Treatment of Human Lice. BioMed Research International.
  • Chang, P., & Solares, A. (2013). Pediculosis. Dermatologia Revista Mexicana.
  • Johnston CS, Gaas CA. Vinegar: medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect. MedGenMed. 2006;8(2):61. Published 2006 May 30.
  • Takano-Lee M, Edman JD, Mullens BA, Clark JM. Home remedies to control head lice: assessment of home remedies to control the human head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae). J Pediatr Nurs. 2004;19(6):393-398.
  • Young-Cheol Yang, Hoi-Seon Lee, JM Clark, Young-Joon Ahn, Actividad insecticida de aceites vegetales esenciales contra Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae), Journal of Medical Entomology , Volumen 41, Número 4, 1 de julio de 2004, Páginas 699–704,
  • Di Campli, E., Di Bartolomeo, S., Delli Pizzi, P. et al. Actividad del aceite de árbol de té y nerolidol solo o en combinación contra Pediculus capitis (piojos) y sus huevos. Parasitol Res 111, 1985–1992 (2012).
  • Bayan, L., Koulivand, PH y Gorji, A. (2014). Ajo: una revisión de los posibles efectos terapéuticos. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine , 4 (1), 1–14.
  • González González, Emilio (2013) Aplicación topica del ajo (Allium sativum) en dos presentaciones (tintura y polvo) como tratamiento de pediculosis en gallinas (Gallus gallus) de traspatio en san Lucas Sacatepéquez. Licenciatura thesis, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala.
  • Burgess IF, Brunton ER, Burgess NA. Clinical trial showing superiority of a coconut and anise spray over permethrin 0.43% lotion for head louse infestation, ISRCTN96469780. Eur J Pediatr. 2010;169(1):55-62. doi:10.1007/s00431-009-0978-0.