12 Natural Ways To Kill Head Lice (It’s Disgusting, But It Happens!)

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Head lice. Almost every parent on the planet will have to deal with it at one time or another. It has nothing to do with cleanliness; lice are tiny parasites that live in the hair. They are simply looking for a safe place to lay eggs and get a nice juicy meal of blood. They don’t care if your hair is dirty or clean, short or long, thick or thin.

You get lice from coming into direct contact with an infected person’s hair, sharing things like towels or hairbrushes, or wearing hats or scarves from an infected person. You cannot get them from contact with animals. Lice don’t like to live in fur; they are only interested in hair. Human hair.

The most typical sign of a lice infestation is an itchy scalp. On closer inspection, you might see the adults crawling around, eggs and babies (called nits) stuck to the hair shaft about ½ an inch from the scalp. Severe infestations will show red bumps on the scalp where the lice have been repeatedly feeding.

Lice eggs hatch about every 7 to 10 days, which is the key to killing them. Adults die 3 days after laying eggs and nits won’t breed for 10 days. So no matter which treatment you decide to use, you will need to repeat it once a week for at least 3 weeks to ensure that you have broken the lifecycle.

Another important factor is to use a good quality lice comb. These combs will help you to remove the nits and eggs from the hair much more easily than a regular comb.

In addition to the comb, we have 12 of the best remedies that can help you avoid using those pesticide-filled shampoos and creams.

You try to live a healthy life and feed your children natural, wholesome foods. Don’t subject them to pesticides applied directly to the scalp, which will send those toxins directly into the bloodstream. Try one of the natural methods below.

 

1. Cheap Hair Conditioner

Cheap hair conditioner that is really thick will coat the adults, suffocating them, and it makes it almost impossible for the nits and eggs to hold on to the hair shaft. This takes some time, but is amazingly effective. Saturate your child’s dry hair with a cheap conditioner. Use a lot of it to ensure that you are coating the scalp and hair shaft. This will suffocate the adults. Put on a shower cap and let it sit for an hour. Now, use the lice comb and comb out everything you can see. This might take some time, especially if your child has long or thick hair. Now rinse. Repeat every 6 days for at least 2 more sessions or until you no longer see any eggs or nits.

Continue to Page 2

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

2. Garlic

Lice don’t like garlic and this method will suffocate them. Grind up 8 to 10 cloves of garlic until you have a paste. Mix in three teaspoons of lime juice. Apply this paste to the scalp and hair, being sure that you cover every inch. Put on a shower cap and allow it to sit for one hour. Rinse with very warm water. You can also try saturating your child’s hair with garlic oil. Put on a shower cap and allow it to sit for 30 to 60 minutes. Run the lice comb through the hair, then shampoo. Regardless of the method you choose, remember that you will need to repeat this every 6 days to kill the eggs and any hatching nits that you might miss.

 

3. White Vinegar

Put your child on the floor with a rolled up towel under her neck so that her head hangs back. Put the hair into a large bowl. (You might want to put a towel under the bowl as well in case you spill.) Pour undiluted white vinegar over the hair and work it into the scalp. Vinegar dissolves the “glue” that is used to attach the eggs to the hair shaft. Allow this to work for 10 to 15 minutes. Now put your child in the bathtub and pour cheap conditioner over the hair and comb out the eggs and nits using a lice comb. This method smells bad, but it works remarkably well. Remember to repeat this every 6 days two or three times to ensure that you have killed all the eggs and nits.

 

4. Baby Oil

Although using petroleum products might not be your first choice, they are certainly better than using toxic pesticides. Baby oil will also suffocate the adults and make it easier to remove the eggs and nits. Saturate the hair and scalp with baby oil. Put on a shower cap and allow it to sit for 30 to 60 minutes. Use the lice comb to remove as many dead adults, eggs, and nits as possible. Shampoo as you normally would. Repeat every 6 days until you no longer find any evidence of lice.

 

5. Mayo

Mayonnaise is loaded with oils, which will suffocate the adults and make it easier to remove eggs and nits. Apply a full-fat (regular) mayonnaise liberally over the hair and scalp. Cover with a shower cap and leave on overnight for best results. Use a lice comb to remove as many dead lice, eggs, and nits as possible. Shampoo as you normally would. This method will not only kill the lice but it will also give you super shiny hair. Repeat every 6 days.

 

6. Olive Oil

Thick olive oil will also effectively smother adult lice and make it easier to remove eggs and nits. Apply a generous amount of olive oil to your hair and scalp. Cover with a shower cap and allow it to sit overnight. Comb out the parasites in the morning using the lice comb. Shampoo as you normally would. Be sure to repeat again at 6 day intervals two or three more times to ensure that you have killed all the lice.

 

7. Sesame Seed Oil

This oil has anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic compounds, which make it perfect for killing head lice. Mix ¼ cup of sesame seed oil with 1/8 cup of neem oil. Add one teaspoon of tea tree oil. Apply this mixture to your dry hair and scalp. If you have very long or very thick hair you might need to double this recipe. Work the oil in well, paying attention to the scalp. Cover with a shower cap and leave on overnight for best results. Comb your hair in the morning using the lice comb, then shampoo as you normally would. Repeat every 6 days to ensure that you have killed all the eggs, nits, and adult lice.

 

8. Salt

Salt is also an effective method of killing lice through dehydration. Mix ¼ cup of plain salt and ¼ cup of vinegar in a spray bottle. Be sure that the salt has dissolved. Spray this solution over your hair and scalp. Be sure that you saturate the hair near the scalp. Put on a shower cap and leave on for 2 hours. Use a lice comb to remove as many lice and eggs as possible. Wash your hair as you normally would. Repeat every 3 days until you find no more evidence of lice, eggs, or nits.

Continue to Page 3

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

9. Coconut Oil

Like other oils, coconut oil will suffocate the adults while make it almost impossible for the eggs and nits to stay stuck to the hair shaft. Saturate your child’s dry hair and scalp with coconut oil. Put a shower cap on their head and leave on as long as possible (overnight if you can). Comb through your child’s hair using a lice comb, then shampoo as you normally would. Repeat every 3 to 6 days until you are certain that all the lice have been killed and removed.

 

10. Petroleum Jelly

This is another way to suffocate adults and manage the eggs and nits. Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly to the scalp and hair before bedtime. Cover with a shower cap and leave on overnight. Use a bit of baby oil to help remove the petroleum jelly. Then use a lice comb to remove the dead lice, eggs, and nits. Shampoo as you normally would. Repeat every other night until the lice problem has been resolved.

 

11. Tea Tree Oil

Many people find that this is one of the most effective methods of all, since tea tree oil is a natural insecticide. Mix 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil into 1 ounce of shampoo. Then add 3 tablespoons of coconut or olive oil. Rub this solution into the hair. Cover the hair with a shower cap and leave on for 30 to 60 minutes. Comb out the parasites using a lice comb, then shampoo as you normally would. Repeat every 6 days to ensure that you have killed all the lice. Never apply tea tree oil directly to the scalp, as it can burn or irritate the skin.

 

12. Blow Dryer

Lice like to be warm and comfy but not overly hot. After using any of the above methods, you can blow dry the hair, paying attention to the scalp, to try to kill off any nits, lice, or eggs that might have lived through the treatment or that might have been missed by the comb. This won’t take care of them by itself, but in addition to the other treatments, this is another powerful tool.

 

Extra Tips:

  • Be sure to section off the hair while you comb it, especially if the hair is long. This ensures that none of the eggs or nits hide or get missed while combing
  • Use white conditioners as it makes the eggs easier to see
  • Be thorough when combing. This can be time consuming, but is worth the effort
  • Lice cannot live long without a human host, so although you don’t have to wash everything in the house, be sure to wash towels, pillows, blankets, scarves, hats and bedding in hot water, and dry them in the dryer or in direct sunlight.

 

READ ALSO: Scratching Your Head but Not for Ideas? 12 Ways to Stop an Itchy Scalp

 

Prevention Tips:

  • Spray the hair with hairspray before going to school or other places where your child might come into contact with lice. Apparently, lice don’t like hairspray and the eggs can’t stay stuck to the hair
  • Add about 20 drops of tea tree oil to 8 ounces of your favorite shampoo. Regular use will kill any adult lice that your child might have picked up that day
  • Wash hairbrushes and combs in very hot water with soap and tea tree oil. Dry them with a blow dryer or put them in direct sunlight
  • Instruct your child to not bump heads or touch another child’s head
  • Instruct your child to never share combs, brushes, hats, hair ties, or towels.

 

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org