Home Remedies for Lice Treatment and Do They Work?

wooden tray displaying many small bottles of essential oils

Home Remedies for Lice Treatment and Do They Work?

What are common natural remedies for lice removal? Why use natural treatments for head lice? Do natural lice remedies work?

Common Natural Ways to Kill Lice

Lice have mutated over the past several years and have developed a resistance to many chemical treatments. (search "super lice"). In addition, chemical lice shampoos carry the risk of side effects. For these reasons, many people search for ways to kill lice naturally.

As a head lice treatment service, we at LiceDoctors receive calls daily from people who have tried chemical head lice treatments that have not worked. The callers are still finding nits and in some cases are still seeing live bugs in the hair.  In addition, they are upset because they have applied chemicals to their child’s head, not realizing there were safer alternatives.

What is the Best Natural Treatment of Head Lice?

LiceDoctors Technician treating child

The best way to eliminate head lice is by using a high quality lice comb.  First you apply a viscous oil to the hair and comb through the hair to pull out lice and nits (eggs). Next step is to physically extract the remaining nits from each strand. While it is possible to try to do this on your own, the nits are small and blend in with the hair color, so they can be hard to see and identify, and it takes a lot of practice to get out all of the nits. You must remove all nits (eggs) from the hair or you have not ended the problem.

Tea Tree Oil and Head Lice

several bottles of essential oils

Tree oil can act to suffocate head lice and for that reason it may be helpful in killing bugs. There are some claims that lice are repelled by the scent of tea tree but there is no conclusive evidence to back up that claim. For an anecdotal experience from one LiceDoctors technician find out what happened when this client took advice Bad Advice on Graduation Day.  It is important to note that tea tree oil has no effect on nits. Nits have a hard shell that the tea tree oil can not penetrate

To eradicate a case of lice, you have to pull out all of the nits; leaving nits in the hair is a recipe for the lice hatching from these nits and the case continuing. Therefore, tea tree oil is not an answer to ending a lice problem. Furthermore, some people are allergic to tea tree oil so do not look at tea tree oil as a benign treatment for everyone.

Will Mayonnaise Treat Head Lice?

jar of Hellman's mayonnaise

Here’s the low down on mayonnaise as a lice treatment remedy: it is a huge mess and difficult to work with. The good news is that we have never heard of anyone having side effects from mayonnaise. Another good thing is that it can work to occlude the breathing apparatus of lice thereby suffocating the bugs.

The problems are that because lice can hold their breath for several hours, you would need to leave the mayo in your hair for that long. After a while the mayonnaise dries up and you will be left with a caked mess in your hair that is very difficult to get out. We were called to treat a family with head lice and when we got there the daughter had applied mayonnaise to her hair. It was one of the most difficult cases to work with because it took so long to get the mayonnaise out of the hair.

Another problem is that as mentioned above, nits can not be suffocated. If you apply mayo, leave it on, and wash it out a few hours later, you will likely still have stubborn nits that are still viable left in the hair. Keep in mind that each louse lays 6-10 eggs a day for 30 days. That's a lot of eggs to be left in the hair poised to hatch.


While the aforementioned products are likely safer than chemical products, they have drawbacks and without comprehensive nitpicking are incomplete at best. For a complete, safe, and guaranteed lice treatment program, call LiceDoctors at 909-266-2549 . We will put an end to your head lice woes!