How to Get Rid of Head Lice Naturally

Mayonnaise will suffocate lice and hatched eggs. But to be extra sure, rinse with vinegar, and comb through the hair with a special comb and check the hair.
How to Get Rid of Head Lice Naturally
Mariel Mendoza

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Mariel Mendoza.

Written by Ekhiñe Graell

Last update: 03 August, 2023

At school, in the playground, and in daycare are just some of the places a child can get head lice. Also known as pediculosis, its infestation isn’t exclusively associated with poor hygiene or families with financial difficulties. Today, we’ll show you some home methods to get rid of head lice naturally.

According to experts, Pediculus humanus capitis, Pthirus pubis, and Pediculus humanus are the only species that can infest humans. All of these are transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact, and symptoms appear at around four weeks of age. Since these parasites often resist regular treatments, you can opt for natural alternatives as a complement.

3 remedies to get rid of head lice naturally

With mayonnaise

Lice can be killed quickly, easily, cheaply, and safely with mayonnaise. Just get a jar of mayonnaise from your kitchen shelf or the grocery shop.

  • Take some mayonnaise
  • Cover all of your child’s hair with it, making sure to also cover behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.
  • You can cover the child’s head with a plastic shower cap to prevent the mayonnaise from dripping or getting on your furniture.
  • Leave the mayonnaise on the hair for two hours to suffocate the lice and the eggs that have developed.
  • Then remove the shower cap and throw it away.
  • Wash your hair thoroughly with shampoo.
  • You can shampoo twice or more to thoroughly clean the hair.

With petroleum jelly

If you don’t want to use mayonnaise, you can use petroleum jelly, with certain extra requirements, as mentioned here.

  • Keep in mind that the only way to remove petroleum jelly from the hair is to spray the hair with baby oil and rub the hair all over, then squeeze out as much as you can. Then wash the hair three times with shampoo and warm water.
  • The petroleum jelly can be left on overnight if desired.

With a natural shampoo

A woman showering.

If you don’t trust mayonnaise or petroleum jelly to get rid of lice, you can also make a natural shampoo to kill lice.

Ingredients:

Procedure:

  1. Add all the oils to an olive or coconut oil base in the amounts explained above.
  2. Add a small amount of regular shampoo to the mixture and put it all on your hair.
  3. Leave it to act for an hour under a towel or a tight-fitting shower cap to avoid drips.
  4. Rinse your hair and don’t use a conditioner.

Notes:

  • Breathing in an infant or child under 5 years of age can slow or even stop if peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil is too close to them.
  • In addition, high blood pressure can be raised by peppermint essential oil.
  • On the other hand, peppermint or rosemary can be harmful during pregnancy. Just use the recipe without the oil that may be harmful in each case.

What to do to get rid of nits

  • After using your regular shampoo, rinse your hair and scalp with vinegar. This loosens the glue that holds the lice on the hair shafts.
  • Rinse with warm water but not so hot that it burns the child.
Some vinegar.

Mayonnaise may not kill the youngest nits, as the lice may not be developed enough to need air still.

Comb all tangles out of the hair with a regular comb, then comb the hair with a dedicated nit and lice removal comb. This can be purchased at the drug store or pharmacy, along with lice shampoos.

Check the hair

When you think you’re done, use good lighting to thoroughly check the hair once it’s dry (nits are easier to see in dry hair). Nits are usually found on the hair shaft.

  • You’ll need to check the hair in certain sections, especially around the edges of the hair, on the neck, and behind the ears, although they can be anywhere.
  • If you find any nits, you can pull them out with your fingernails, comb through with the comb or cut each hair that contains a nit.
  • Be sure to put each nit or hair in a container of vinegar or hot soapy water with ammonia added.

Another rinse

Some vinegar.

If you see more than a couple of head lice, you can use a vinegar wrap to further clean the hair.

  • Dampen a towel with a mixture of half vinegar and half water.
  • Wrap the towel around the child’s head and leave it on for an hour.
  • Let the hair dry and then check for nits again.

Eyebrows and eyelashes

If there are head lice on the eyelashes or eyebrows, you can coat these with petroleum jelly. This should be applied four times a day.

Check again

Beware of head lice.

You will need to check the hair every day for stray nits. Pay attention to those that have now become large enough.

If even one head louse remains, it could lay eggs and you’ll have to start the whole process all over again, as a single louse lays about eight new eggs per day.

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The contents of this publication are for informational purposes only. At no time can they serve to facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult with your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.