7AM - MIDNIGHT | 7/365

Can You Use Mayonnaise To Kill Lice?

Can You Use Mayonnaise To Kill Lice?
Created on 
April 9, 2017
Updated on 
June 2, 2022

Can You Use Mayonnaise To Kill Lice?

Good old mayo – the hero of countless recipes and a staple in nearly every kitchen in America. Diverse in its abilities beyond sandwiches, mayonnaise can be used for many things around the house, but does mayo kill head lice, will mayo kill lice, and can mayonnaise get rid of lice? It can, but there are better options!

How Does Mayonnaise Kill Lice?

You may have heard that mayo kills lice and is an effective remedy for head lice. Some people have tried to use, in an attempt to get rid of lice, mayonnaise. Does mayonnaise kill lice? Well….you have the right idea! For those still wondering – does mayo work for lice, and can mayonnaise kill lice, the answer is yes, but it is nasty to use, and we do not recommend it!

How does it work? Mayonnaise kills lice by way of suffocation. Head lice need to breathe, and mayonnaise and some other oils are thick enough to coat their airways and suffocate them if left on the hair long enough. This can be an effective treatment method, but it is cumbersome to execute as the mayo dries quickly, and it is challenging to get a comb through it. How long to leave mayo in hair for lice? Since lice can hold their breath for 6 hours, 8 hours seems to be long enough.

Suffocation of head lice is becoming a more common method used by families because lice have mutated over the past several years, developing a resistance to many chemical lice treatments. Because of this, these resistant strains of head lice have earned the name “Super Lice.” As a head lice treatment service, we at LiceDoctors receive several phone calls a day from parents who have tried chemical head lice treatments that have not worked. The majority of these parents tell us that they used the chemical shampoos and that they are still finding nits and, in some cases, are still seeing live bugs in the hair. In addition, they are upset because they reluctantly applied chemicals with undesirable side effects on their children’s heads, thinking that these treatments were their only alternative. Side effects of chemical treatments can be extreme, so why take chances when safer and more effective treatments are available?

lice mayonnaise

Mayonnaise Lice Treatment Instructions

You’re probably wondering now how to get rid of lice with mayo. Even though it is messy, in theory, as a treatment for lice mayonnaise can kill the bugs. When using mayo to kill lice, be sure to remove everything from the hair, including all eggs and bugs, following the below steps:

  • Apply the mayonnaise for lice thoroughly to the hair. You just want to keep applying it and ensure that every single strand of hair is coated, all the way down to the tip of the hair. Use a regular comb to run through the hair with the mayonnaise to ensure the strands are fully saturated.
  • Comb out all of the lice eggs with a professional-grade nit comb. This usually involves sectioning the hair and combing each section until no more eggs or bugs remain in the hair. You may ask: does mayo kill lice eggs? No - they have to be removed.
  • Apply more mayonnaise lice treatment work into the hair to supplement any that was combed out during the egg and bug removal process. Live bugs can hold their breath for 6 hours, so you will need to leave the mayonnaise on the hair for at least eight full hours to ensure any bugs that may have been missed are suffocated (this is where problems arise; see next section).
  • Throughout this process, you need to ensure you supplement the mayonnaise as needed to make certain that the hair stays wet with the mayonnaise and remains completely saturated. As with any lice treatment, follow-up is necessary to address the entire life cycle of lice being cut off.
  • The problem you will encounter is that the mayonnaise will dry faster than you can work, and it will become extremely difficult to get the comb through the hair. This is why we do not recommend mayonnaise.
does mayonnaise kill lice

Cons of Using Mayonnaise for Lice Treatment

While mayonnaise does not have chemicals, using mayo for lice can be fraught with problems. It can make the hair hard to comb, is difficult to identify lice in, has to be left on the hair for a long time, and does not kill lice eggs.

Mayonnaise Makes Hair Hard to Comb

LiceDoctors was once called to treat a girl who, unbeknownst to us, had applied a mayonnaise lice treatment to her hair before we got there. Unfortunately, mayonnaise dries quickly and becomes very caked. Once that happens it is impossible to get the lice comb through the hair. This is what happened in this case and the girl ended up washing out the mayonnaise and drying the hair so that we could start with dry hair to do a thorough lice treatment. The good news is she did not use chemicals so she did no harm to herself.

Mayonnaise Is Opaque

Another challenge with mayo and lice is that mayonnaise is opaque. That means if you comb the hair quickly before it dries, so that you can get the comb through, you will pull out mayo and you will have a hard time identifying the bugs and eggs. Other oils that are used for head lice treatments are thick enough to suffocate the bugs but clear enough so that you can actually see the lice and nits. Since mayonnaise is not clear, it is especially difficult for those not experienced with head lice removal and identification to be able to tell if they have gotten all of the eggs and bugs out of the hair. No matter what product you use to suffocate bugs, it is also important that you pull all of the nits out of the hair. If you leave even a couple of nits in the hair, the case will perpetuate.

It Takes a Long Time to Suffocate the Lice

Lice can hold their breath for 6 hours, so treating lice with mayonnaise requires 8 hours of treatment. The problem is that leaving mayo in the hair for 8 hours turns the mayo rancid and it smells rotten. This is another reason why it is not practical to use mayo to kill lice.

Mayonnaise Can’t Kill Lice Eggs

If you are still considering using mayonnaise to treat head lice, keep in mind that one treatment will not eliminate the problem. Mayonnaise does not kill or get rid of lice eggs without combing, so the treatment must be combined with the removal of the eggs and a follow-up plan to address any straggler eggs in the hair.

mayo for lice

What to Do If Mayonnaise Didn't Help?

Treating lice with mayo likely seems to be a low-cost, easy lice treatment. While the steps mentioned above may seem straightforward and simple, getting rid of lice is a process; you cannot take shortcuts in order to win the battle with head lice. If you aren’t successful in using mayonnaise to treat lice, the good news is that there are other treatment options available that do not dry as fast as mayonnaise. You will just need to find one that suits your family’s needs the best.


Maybe after reading this you have decided to try some other home remedy besides mayonnaise. We agree that all-natural treatments can be effective, but there are many other non-pesticide and natural treatments that can be used to treat head lice without the headache that comes with using mayonnaise to treat head lice.

Before you start messing with remedies, like mayonnaise, we suggest you to give LiceDoctors a try. We will eradicate your lice case safely and efficiently in just one visit to the privacy of your home. Contact us today at 800-224-2537.

We provide a friendly in-home lice removal service

Book your appointment today


How to Use Lice Comb: Wet Combing Step-By-Step Instructions
Updated on 
November 25, 2022

How to Use Lice Comb: Wet Combing Step-By-Step Instructions

The best way to remove lice is by using a lice comb. Read this to find out how to comb out lice and nits and how often to use a lice comb to get rid of lice.

Read more
Updated on 
November 22, 2022


A natural treatment for head lice, and ways to rid the home of head lice, is the use of heat, by way of a hair dryer, straightener or hot water. Does it really work?

Read more
Updated on 
November 21, 2022


Due to the rise of chemical-resistant strains of lice in the United States, parents will often start with over-the-counter lice treatments, then find them to be ineffective. After a few failed treatments and home remedies, parents start to get creative (read: desperate) and try all kinds of things of questionable value and safety in an attempt to just kill the darned lice already. One such option is bleach (as in all kinds of bleach). Sound familiar? Sound tempting? We will explore below the answer to the question: “Does bleach kill head lice?”

Read more