HEAD LICE... Natural Remedies and Preventative Steps?


I got a nice, informative call left on my answering machine by the mother of a friend of my daughter’s who spent the night a week ago. They found some little bugs in her daughter’s hair. I did a cursury check and didn’t see anything, and told her to get any bedding that this girl slept on. I won’t have time to do a thourough check until this afternoon, as I need to leave the house very shortly for the rest of the day.

Any experience out there with headlice? A couple of my older kids had a small problem many years ago and I used a commercial shampoo that mentioned not to use it if you had an allergy to ragweed. I treated the whole family at the time, including myself, and I ended up later getting a severe allegy to ragweed where I had never had one before. I think using that shampoo might have triggered that. So, I want to find out if anyone out there has experience with this. Any recommendations? She may not have them, but a little preventative treatment might be a good idea.


When my little sister got it many years ago, my mother made us shampoo our hair with the head lice shampoo. We also had to wash all the bedding, towels, and clothing in very hot water, vacumn, etc. It was spring cleanig in one day. My mother was a bit of a clean freak back then. :smiley:

Anyway, I was thinking you could try T-gel shampoo. The shampoo has tar in it, the reason why it is so good for dandruff and other skin issues. Leave it on for about 10 minutes then rinse. Good Luck!


Rubbing Tea Tree oil in the head is supposed to help.


Oh my, we just went through this a couple of weeks ago!
Out of my 5 kids, only one had them little critters and it had to be my daughter with the thickest, longest hair. I did a thorough check of all the kids and hubby (don’t know why…he’s mostly bald) because I would only treat the ones affected. The school nurse wanted me to treat everyone, but why would I put chemicals on my kids heads if they didn’t really need it? Anyway, this is what I did. First I washed her head in lice shampoo. Then I went through with the lice comb and got out all the bugs. The lice comb doesn’t really get out the nits (eggs), so you have to pick them out by hand. Very time consuming, but worth it. Every day I washed her hair and picked out the nits. Every time I thought I got them all, only to go through her hair the next day to see more. They are very small and close to the head, so easy to miss. On the third day after the lice shampoo, I made a concoction of equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil with about 30 drops of tea tree oil and put that in her hair and wrapped it with plastic wrap. I left it on for about 5-6 hours. Then washed it out with Dawn dishsoap. Tea tree oil is supposed to be a natural repellent. Some people put it in the kids everyday shampoo to keep their chances of lice minimal. I haven’t tried that. The oil and vinegar is supposed to help suffocate the nits and any bugs that may have hatched. Then I did use the t-gel shampoo once after that. But the main thing is to every day pick out the nits. And every day I put her bedding in the dryer for 30 minutes on high.
Now my kids really understand why I tell them to NOT share combs and brushes and hats. :smiley:


[quote=Gwyn]Rubbing Tea Tree oil in the head is supposed to help.

:yup: We got head lice a few years back. (A women’s daughter had lice and brought her to the 3 year old Sunday School.) When I, the teacher saw it, I let the mother know. Her response was, “I know”)

You can just add tea tree oil to your own shampoo. We did rub it staight on the head too, but the smell can be a little overpowering. Small amounts work. There is also the brand Melaleuca. Naturals Melaleuca Oil Shampoo. I do not know if the formula has changed since I’ve used it, but it has the tea tree oil already mixed in.

For awhile, we just would rub a little on the kids heads about once a week. Paranoid I guess.

We got rid of it through the lice shampoo, RID, and prevented any reoccurance through the tea tree oil, but I do know a friend whose daughter could not use those chemicals and they got rid of lice with the tea tree oil treatment. The difference is the RID is a one time thing. The tea tree oil must be used every day for a couple of weeks.

God Bless,


Okay, now my head itches! Talk about paranoid:rotfl:


This was on NZ TV last night.

Apparently using ordinary conditioner and combing manually with a nit comb is just as efficient as special (expensive) treatments and has the added advantage of not using harsh chemical preparations.

Rub the conditioner into the hair and scalp, then comb through. It recommended doing this every 2 days until the infestation is over.

I also used to soak all combs and brushes in a solution of bleach.


Tea tree oil has the advantage of loosening the nits from the hair shafts. If you can stand to have the tea tree oil on the hair (not just on the scalp) for about ten minutes and then use the nit comb you have a much easier time of removing them.

But keep the oil out of the eyes. It stings.


When my cousin was little she had beautiful, long, thick hair. My aunt used vinegar to get rid of some little uninvited guests that showed up in her hair.


Don’t know how true this is but my mother always used a vinigar rinse on our hair. She said it helped prevent lice. I never had them and was at school with several kids that had them.


In addition to tea tree oil (it REALLY does work!), anything you might be afraid to wash can be put into a plastic garbage bag. Squeeze ALL the air out of the bag and seal it for 48-72 hours. And vac the rugs!!!


ITA with the Tea Tree Oil, we use it as a preventative. I have also read that they don’t like lavender scent, so I bought both essential oils and put them in my dd’s shampoo. So far, so good! :slight_smile:


My sister used an oil and vinegar mixture on her kids as well and said it was better than any commercial shampoo that she tried.


I am a hairstylist and have been for about14 years now so I am going to give you the run down I give everyone when I see them in the salon.

-the 2 best things to put on the hair is either mayo or olive oil, both will kill the little bugs by sufficating them then it makes it easier to pull all the eggs off the hair shaft. You have to go through the entire head to get them all off. Now I suggest leaving the mayo or olive oil on the head for as long as the little one will have it, you can also cap the head with a shower cap or plastic wrap.
-wash all bed clothing, vacum rugs and yes the best thing to do with stuffed animals or anything else is to seal in a plastic bag for 48 - 72 hours.

These steps should take care of the problem with no chemicals on your childrens heads. I just can’t stand the thought of putting that stuff on your kids. The one thing I would buy is some RID spray and I use that just on the carpet and around for good measure but that is it.

I hope this helps

Inkits :wink:


**This is too funny. I just got a phone call today from my son’s father saying that his wife and their 1 year old daughter picked up lice somewhere. So, I had to do a lice check on my son. EWWWW gross! I haven’t found any, but I will have him wash his hair in the tea tree oil shampoo that I use, which, until I read this thread, I did not know was good for dealing with/preventing lice. Thanks. **

**When I got that phone call, my head started to itch. Now it’s started again, reading this thread. :rotfl: **


i also send my vote for the vinegar - there was a HUGE outbreak at my elementary school when i was in fourth grade (the entire school - when you got to school you didnt hang your backpack in a closet - you put it in a trashbag and tide it shut, and all girls/people w/ long hair were “strong encouraged” to keep hair tightly tied up.) but i remember my mother washing our hair everyother night with vinegar. it was awful. :frowning:

i actually had the exact same thing happen to me - and somehow neither me nor my sister got the lice. bag EVERTHING, especially any stuffed animals or anything that has fuzz that they can hide in. i think the reccomendation is two - three weeks of tightly sealed bags will kill the things. thats wht we did anyways. good luck!! :thumbsup:


[quote=Inkitcresteds]-the 2 best things to put on the hair is either mayo or olive oil, both will kill the little bugs by sufficating them then it makes it easier to pull all the eggs off the hair shaft.

I had a Maori friend whose grandmother used to tightly braid her hair every morning before school, and then liberally spread olive oil all over it. It was washed out each night. She told me it worked for her.


Been there done that… many times. The last time was last year when my step came to the house with the worst case of headlice I have ever seen…this is what the dr said:
1/2 vinegar to 1/2 mineral oil
put on hair and cover with a plastic grocery bag for 30-60 mins
comb through hair with nit comb
rinse and wash with dish soap (trust me shampoo just won’t cut it)
then take all the bedding and stuff she had her head on and wash with the hottest water that it will take. Add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle and dry in the dryer at the hottest heat you can. After the emergency is over with you can prevent a reoccurance by using vinegar once a month in the rinse cycle and spray it on her hair once a month too. For things that can’t be washed like delicate stuffies… put them in a hefty bag and seal tight for 2 weeks. For carpet and sofas, use bedding spray. Lice don’t like the ph of the vinegar and won’t nest there. the oil is just to loosen the nits. I checked their hair everyday after I got the nits out for about a week. The only time I had a reoccurance was with my step because her mom didn’t do the repeat applications or wash her coat which I found out was where they were at. About 3 months into having to do her hair everytime she came to my house because her mom wouldn’t, I noticed her coat didn’t look any cleaner so I washed it and viola! no more lice after that!!!


Hi all this is what we distribute to the schools in our area. I work for the Health Department as a secretary I hope it helps.
WHAT ARE HEAD LICE? They are tiny six-legged parasitic insects approximately 1 – 3 mm in length. They are greyish in colour, but become reddish or brown when swollen with blood. LIFE-CYCLE The female louse lays 6 – 7 eggs per day and in her lifetime of 30 days or more, may lay well over 100 eggs. THE EGGS ARE KNOWN AS NITS. They are laid very close to the scalp, glued to separate hairs, where they find the warmth required for hatching. The colour of the eggs is similar to the scalp and therefore may be difficult to detect. As nits mature, they become shiny and yellowish in colour. After 7 – 10 days they begin to hatch, and after only a few hours will begin to feed 3 – 5 times a day on the blood of the scalp. Empty shells change to a clear, shiny white colour. After a further 2 weeks, the now mature lice become highly mobile, and can be found on as many as 5 heads per day.Damaged nits and those exposed to treatment eventually turn black or brown. As the hair grows, the nits move away from the scalp.WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF INFESTATION? The first sign is usually intense itching of the scalp. If investigated carefully, the eggs will be noticed, especially behind the ears, at the nape of the neck, on the crown and under the fringe. Dandruff cannot be mistaken for nits. Dandruff is dull flaky and loose enough to fall out, whereas nits are firmly attached to the hair. If lice are not treated at this stage, further infections and skin diseases such as dermatitis and impetigo may follow.
TREATMENT ORDINARY SHAMPOO DOES NOT KILL LICE OR NITS. Crude oil, kerosene, paraffin etc. effectively kill lice BUT NOT NITS.
1.A suitable preparation is obtainable from your local chemist in the form of aerosols (e.g. PARA), lotions (e.g. QUELLADA, GAMBEX, LYCLEAR) or powders. Instructions to be followed carefully. All preparations are poisonous and can be absorbed by the skin, therefore again, please use carefully and only according to instructions. Resistance to lice may develop as well if treatment is not according to instructions. Preparations used are designed especially to kill any lice and nits in the hair. They do not remove nits from or out of the hair. No product appears fully ovicidal (i.e. there is a possibility that not all nits are destroyed) therefore it is essential to remove all nits from the hair.
2.After completing the treatment, rinse hair with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water plus ½ teaspoon of baby oil. This will make it easier to remove nits.
3.A fine-toothed metal comb will remove most nits. Those remaining nits must be removed with your fingers. When you run your finger along a hair with a nit stuck on it, it feels like a little piece of grit, which will not dislodge or come off.
4.In strong light, go through the hair, strand by strand and slide remaining nits between your fingers, out of the hair.
5.Your child MAY NOT return to school until completely free of lice and nits. THIS IS A PROVINCIAL AND EDUCATION REGULATION AND A CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE MUST BE OBTAINED FROM YOUR LOCAL CLINIC or General practitioner.
6.Although not proven, fomites (i.e. clothes, hats, bedding, mattresses, pillows etc.) may transmit lice. All bedding and clothing must be changed and then washed and ironed with a hot iron. Seams of mattresses and pillows need also to be ironed.
7.After 7 - 10 days of the initial treatment, it may be necessary to repeat treatment to kill any newly hatched lice. Treatment is necessary ONLY if lice are visible / demonstrable.
*Check your child / children’s hair daily on returning from school.
*Explain to your child / children that they should not share toilet articles such as brushes and combs.
*Spread is by direct contact only – Boys’ hair should be reasonable short and girls’ long hair should be tied back, not left hanging loose.
*Brushing hair regularly may damage or dislodge lice. Encourage this practice in your child/ children.
9.If parents do not accept this responsibility in assisting schools to control this intolerable problem, outbreaks will continue to recur.


Don’t forget to vacuum the car seats, especially where the one with the infestation sits. Also vacuum any upholstered furniture that the person uses. Good Luck!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.