Home Remedies for Head Lice: 5 Simple Steps You Should Follow

If you want to get rid of nits and hair lice there are some home remedies that you can try, that are easy to make at home and can be used on children. These include: washing your hair with vinegar and water, applying a mixture of essential oils, and using a fine-tooth or electric lice comb (available at most chemists and supermarkets). 

To complete this treatment, we recommend you wash all clothes, bedsheets, soft toys, brushes and hair accessories belonging to the person with head lice in hot water (temperature over 60 degrees) for around 30 minutes. This is to remove any eggs and any nits or lice that may be hidden on the surfaces. 

The five steps you should follow for getting rid of nits and head lice are:

1. Wash your hair with vinegar

Home Remedies for Head Lice: 5 Simple Steps You Should Follow

The first step is to wash your hair with a mixture of vinegar and warm water. Vinegar contains properties that kill and get rid of nits and lice. This mixture should be applied directly to the whole scalp.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of warm water

Preparation method

Mix a cup of vinegar with a cup of warm water. Next, spread this mixture on your scalp and cover your hair with a hair cap, and leave it to work for approximately 30 minutes. Then, wash your hair normally with your usual shampoo.

2. Use a mixture of essential oils

Home Remedies for Head Lice: 5 Simple Steps You Should Follow

The second step is to apply a mixture of essential oils directly on your hair, put a hair cap on and leave the mixture to work for 20 minutes. 

Ingredients

  • 50 mL of coconut oil;
  • 2 to 3 drops of essential tea-tree oil;
  • 2 to 3 drops of ylang ylang essential oil;
  • 50 mL of apple cider vinegar.

Preparation method

Mix all the ingredients together and apply directly on hair. Leave it in for 20 minutes and then wash it out with your usual shampoo. 

3. Comb your hair using a fine-tooth comb

Home Remedies for Head Lice: 5 Simple Steps You Should Follow

The third step is to run a fine-tooth comb through your whole hair, going through each section carefully in order to make sure that every part of your hair gets combed properly.

Instead of using a fine-tooth comb, you could also use an electric lice comb on dry hair, which is even more efficient in detecting and eliminating lice. This comb makes a continuous sound while it is turned on and a more intense and higher-pitched sound when it detects a louse. The electric comb emits an ultrasound frequency that is not sensed by the person but is lethal to lice.

4. Wash your clothes in hot water

Home Remedies for Head Lice: 5 Simple Steps You Should Follow

Lice can be transmitted through brushes, combs, hats, pillow-cases or bed sheets and so, it is very important to wash these objects frequently, to avoid a new infestation or even spread the parasite to another person.

Therefore, all objects that have been in contact with your hair, such as bed sheets, blankets, clothes, soft toys, hair bands and ties, hats, caps, carpets, pillow cases and sofa covers need to be washed in hot water with a temperature over 60 degrees in order to kill the lice.

5. Repeat all the steps after 9 days

Lice have a life cycle of 9 days and, therefore, nits that were not removed in the first treatment can end up developing into lice in nine days. Therefore, nine days after the first treatment we recommend you repeat all the steps. This will ensure that all lice are eliminated.

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References

  • BURGESS, Ian F.; BRUNTON, Elizabeth R.; BURGESS, Nazma A. Clinical trial showing superiority of a coconut and anise spray over permethrin 0.43% lotion for head louse infestation. Eur J Pediatr. 2010 Jan;169(1):55-62. . Vol.169, n.1. 55-62, 2010
  • ASENOV, André et al. Efficacy of chemical and botanical over‐the‐counter pediculicides available in Brazil, and off‐label treatments, against head lice ex vivo. Int J Dermatol. vol.49, n.3. 324-330, 2010
  • TAKANO-LEE, Miwa et al. Home Remedies to Control Head Lice. J Pediatr Nurs. Vol.19, n.6. 393–398, 2004
  • WEBBER, Elaine; MCCONNELL, Sherry. LICE UPDATE - Management and Treatment in the Home. Home Healthcare Now. Vol.36, n.5. 289-294, 2018
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