7 Powerful Home Remedies for Head Lice

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Some of the best home remedies for head lice include the use of baby oil, olive oil, salt, tea tree oil, meticulous combing, peanut butter, mayonnaise, thorough cleaning, and white vinegar.

Home Remedies for Head Lice


Although it might sound like quite a disgusting option, spreading mayonnaise all over your hair can be one of the fastest and strangest ways to eliminate head lice. The mayonnaise successfully smothers the head lice due to its thick, colloid nature. If the lice aren’t suffocated, they are at least stunned, which can allow you to remove all of the lice with a fine comb. Follow this by thorough shampooing and inspection for at least one additional week. Peanut butter is a similar solution that can be applied in the same way for the same effect. [1]

Olive Oil

If you apply olive oil or baby oil to your hair, the thick, viscous oil will suffocate the head lice. The best strategy for this technique is to apply the oil at night, wear a shower cap to bed, and then remove it in the morning. You should then be able to comb through your oil-slicked hair and remove all of the head lice. Follow this by thorough shampooing and inspection for at least one additional week. [2]


Although there aren’t many oils in garlic, the overpowering smell of garlic can also suffocate head lice. You should grind approximately 10 cloves of garlic into a paste and apply the very smelly mixture to your hair. Leave this in your hair for approximately 3o minutes, effectively suffocating the lice. With a fine comb, the dead lice can then be removed quite easily. Follow this by thorough shampooing and inspection for at least one additional week. [3]

Baby Oil

The unique recipe for this head lice removal technique includes baby oil, laundry detergent, and white vinegar. You should first wash your hair thoroughly with baby oil, followed by washing it with a small amount of laundry detergent. Apply white vinegar to your hair under a shower cap that night before going to sleep, and all of your head lice will be gone by morning. Shampoo your hair and condition it before combing thoroughly. Problem solved! [4]


Mix salt into vinegar and apply the combination to your hair for fast results and a lot of dead head lice. This is a strong combination, so not much is needed. Apply the mixture with a spray bottle and then wear a shower cap to bed. In the morning, shampoo and condition your hair and comb our your hair with a fine comb. No more lice! [5]

Petroleum Jelly

Although the slimy, viscous jelly is not meant for the head, use it if you have head lice, because it is one of the quickest and most effective home remedies. Leave the petroleum jelly on overnight and then rinse it out with baby oil, followed by a thorough shower. Petroleum jelly can easily clog pores, so avoid putting too much on the skin, except for the scalp. Comb through your hair to remove all the dead lice. [6]

Infographic on home remedies for head lice

Easy and effective home remedies for head lice. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Tea Tree Oil

For a less intense experience, but a similar result, you can turn to tea tree oil. This essential oil is already a natural insecticide, and is less harmful to your skin then excessive vinegar or garlic paste exposure. It is slightly pricier, but only a small amount is needed to get the job done. Mix the tea tree oil with some coconut oil and regular shampoo for a powerful hair-cleansing combination. Sleep in a shower cap, shampoo and condition normally in the morning, and then comb thoroughly to remove any remaining head lice. [7]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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