Anyone who has just discovered a raging head lice infestation might wonder how to get rid of head lice without chemicals.
Fortunately, there are options, so read on to discover the top natural ways to become lice-free.
There are several natural, at-home methods that help remove and kill head lice, including salt, eggs, aloe vera, oils, and more. Natural lice treatments are gentler on the scalp and hair, relatively inexpensive, and may be safer to use on small children with lice due to the lack of strong chemicals.
If you are looking for a safe, natural remedy to treat a head lice problem, check out the substances listed below.
In this article, you will also learn how to use each chemical-free substance to gain the maximum lice-removal effect.
How To Get Rid Of Head Lice Without Chemicals
Head lice are tiny, blood-sucking insects that spread from person to person via direct contact and can cause scalp infestations, also called pediculosis.
Dealing with head lice infestations is challenging, but there are home remedies for head lice that do not require you to douse your head in chemicals.
These alternative methods potentially save you from various side effects.
So, what are some natural ways to get rid of head lice?
Check out the options below to find the right chemical-free head lice treatment for you (source 1):
Salt is at the top of the list regarding the best natural remedy for head lice.
This common household item may effectively dehydrate head lice, causing them to die.
If you are curious about how to get rid of head lice with salt, read on!
To use salt as a head lice treatment, create a saline solution by mixing salt into water. Apply the mixture thoroughly to the scalp, leave it on for two hours, and rinse.
Fatty egg yolks may help smother head lice when applied to the scalp.
Egg yolks are full of proteins and fats that will suffocate lice.
Apply egg yolks directly to the scalp and hair to do this treatment method.
Leave the substance on for a few hours or more before rinsing it out of the hair thoroughly with water.
If you need a home remedy for head lice, vinegar may help.
White vinegar or apple cider vinegar may help kill lice, note that they do not necessarily kill nits (lice eggs).
This method may also dry out the hair, making it more difficult to use lice combs.
Even so, it may help decrease the severity of lice infestations while you use other methods to kill nits.
Apply vinegar to the scalp and hair and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out to kill some of the lice.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a common home remedy for burns, but it also helps relieve the itchiness that comes with lice infestation.
It is tempting to scratch the scalp continuously when head lice are present, but that can damage the scalp and lead to further irritation.
To soothe your scalp during a lice infestation, apply pure aloe vera gel to the scalp.
This substance conditions the hair, calms the scalp, kills lice, and even helps remove nits.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil may be an effective natural treatment for lice among children.
Using tea tree oil to remove lice is a bit controversial, and further research is necessary to prove the effectiveness of it as a home remedy for head lice.
The antiparasitic qualities of tea tree oil may kill lice and help treat infestations, especially when combined with peppermint oil.
It must be mixed with a lighter carrier oil and then applied directly to the scalp. Leave the mixture in the hair for a few hours before washing it out (source 1).
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil, a much heavier oil than tea tree, helps suffocate lice.
It is also naturally hydrating, so it can improve the condition of the scalp and hair while treating lice infestations.
This oil may also help lice eggs become dislodged from the hair shaft.
Use coconut oil by warming it up so the substance turns into liquid. Apply the melted oil to the scalp and the full hair length.
Leave it in overnight and apply a shower cap or hair wrap to assist the lice-smothering process.
Coconut oil, with its natural hydrating properties and dense consistency, works well as a smothering agent.
It can suffocate lice and help loosen nits from the hair shafts.
7. Olive Oil
Olive oil gets rid of lice in a similar manner to coconut oil.
Applying olive oil to your hair and scalp will suffocate the lice while nourishing the hair, so it is a win-win home remedy!
To use olive oil as a lice treatment, warm it up and apply it generously to the scalp and hair.
Cover the hair in a wrap or shower cap and leave it in overnight before washing it out.
The mayonnaise method requires 100% mayonnaise, not fat-free or low-fat varieties.
This thick substance helps suffocate the lice and makes removal easier.
Note that mayonnaise is not usually completely effective at removing every single louse from the hair.
It may need to be supplemented by another, more effective method.
To use mayonnaise as a lice treatment, drench the whole scalp with it. Then apply it to the hair from root to tip.
Next, leave it on for several hours before shampooing and rinsing thoroughly with water (source 1).
9. Lice Comb
Are you wondering, how do you get rid of lice in babies naturally?
If so, lice combs are one potential method.
These are tools designed specifically for manual lice removal, also called mechanical removal.
Using a comb to manually remove lice and nits from the hair is good for children six years or younger.
This practice can also supplement the other natural home remedies on this list.
Start by sectioning off the hair into small areas.
Gently scrape the lice comb against the scalp and follow through the entire hair length.
The process requires patience and time to comb through every square inch of the scalp, but it is an effective way to remove stubborn nits.
Use the lice comb daily for two weeks or until the lice are gone for best results.
Continue combing a few days after all of the lice seem to be gone to be sure there are no lingering eggs.
10. Anise Oil
Anise oil comes from the star anise fruit and is an ingredient in some lice shampoos, used to effectively get rid of lice.
This type of oil naturally treats head lice with a little help from a carrier oil (use olive oil).
Anise oil smothers and kills adult lice.
There are anise oil sprays available that work to reduce head lice infestations.
Why Are Head Lice So Difficult To Get Rid Of?
Although they are tiny creatures, head lice are stubborn and prove difficult to eradicate completely.
Below are the top reasons head lice are so challenging to remove:
Nits are lice eggs. They are highly adaptable and hardy, making them tough to kill or remove.
They have durable shells that help them survive formidable chemicals or environmental factors.
Even if all the adult lice are killed, live nits will cause the infestation to continue.
Lice are very efficient at reproducing, allowing them to multiply quickly on the scalp.
Female lice lay up to six eggs daily, and they live up to thirty days, so they may lay around 180 eggs during their lifetimes.
Newborn lice only take a week to develop before they can begin reproducing.
Over time, lice have become more resistant to standard lice treatments. It is similar to how bacteria begin resisting antibacterial treatments, given enough time.
Some lice are now more resistant than ever before to over-the-counter lice products.
Lice spread by direct contact, so they jump from one infested person to a new victim.
This contagious nature makes environments like schools or homes susceptible to outbreaks.
Lice can transmit by sharing brushes, hats, scarves, or headrests.
Lice are tiny creatures that move quickly and blend in with hair, so they are quite difficult to find.
An infestation may get out of control over a short period because the human host is unaware of their presence until the infestation becomes severe.
Lice is, unfortunately, a touchy subject in many social settings, and developing an infestation can lead people to cover up the issue or avoid seeking proper treatment.
No Evident Symptoms
An itchy scalp is typically the key indicator of a lice infestation, but not everyone experiences it.
When a lice infestation is just beginning, lice spend time breeding and multiplying without the host knowing they are there.
Adaptability In Harsh Environments
Lice survive in harsh conditions and can even survive underwater for several hours.
Their ability to withstand harsh conditions allows them to survive many forms of lice treatment.
Head lice infestations are upsetting, but with several home remedies for lice and nits up your sleeves, you will be able to use a gentler approach than harsh chemical treatments.
Using natural substances like egg yolks, mayonnaise, and tea tree oil may help effectively get rid of a lice infestation and leave the hair clean and parasite-free.