Kids Home > Home Remedy for Head Lice

People who are concerned about the pesticides in traditional treatments may be interested in a head lice home remedy. Options include white vinegar, tea tree oil, and oil-based products (such as mayonnaise and olive oil). Pesticide-free treatments are also available over-the-counter. Home remedies can be just as effective as traditional methods for head lice. Your healthcare provider can help you determine which one is best for you.

Home Remedy for Head Lice: An Overview

A wide variety of head lice treatments are available -- some can be bought over-the-counter; others require a prescription. Some people worry about these traditional treatments because a number of them contain pesticides. Although these treatments can kill lice on contact, pesticides are toxic products, which, if used improperly, may cause side effects. Furthermore, current research suggests that some lice have become resistant to common pesticides used in treatment. For this reason, many people are interested in home remedies to stop head lice.
 
Several home remedies are available. These include:
 
  • White vinegar
  • Oil-based treatments (mayonnaise or olive oil)
  • Vaseline®
  • Tea tree oil.
     
A couple of pesticide-free treatments have been developed and are available over-the-counter. These include:
 
  • LiceOut™
  • HairClean 1-2-3™.
     
With any of these products, it is important that nit-picking be part of any head lice treatment. Without it, treatment is not going to be successful (see How to Get Rid of Head Lice for step-by-step instructions for nit-picking). Also, if you are going to try any of these head lice home remedies, you should keep in mind that most of these have not been studied sufficiently to determine their effectiveness or possible side effects.
 
Make sure to discuss with your healthcare provider or school nurse any alternative treatment that you may be considering. He or she is in the best position to discuss your individual situation. In addition, do not mix head lice treatments without first talking to your healthcare provider.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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