We understand the kind of panic that grips onto parents immediately after discovering that their children have lice-infested heads. Usually, it isn’t about hygiene, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Unfortunately, no one is immune to louse infestation, including teachers, parents, friends, classmates, and even the school bus driver.
Before heading for the nearest pharmacy for some toxic hair shampoos and conditioners that promise a quick death to every single louse on you or your child’s head, maybe you should explore some natural options. These parasites have gradually become resistant to specific chemical and pesticide treatments. If you’ve suffered from bugs and nits infestation in the past, you probably understand how notorious they can be when trying to kill them off.
Here is a list of twelve of the best natural remedies that will help eliminate these stubborn parasites.
12 Home Remedies for Head Lice
1 – Essential oils
The use of some essential oils has long been used to curtail the parasites’ menace. Medical doctors recommend using:
- Tea tree oil.
- Lavender oil.
- Peppermint oil.
- Eucalyptus oil.
What do these essential oils do? Clinical studies suggest that a combination of specific essential oils may kill lice through suffocation. These are everyday essential oils found in regular homes and kitchens. They do not need to meet the safety manufacturing standards to kill the parasites.
For instance, tea tree oil has proven to have powerful antiseptic properties that can kill bugs within one hour. However, doctors recommend coupling the strategy with smothering the nits and live lice. The procedure used in suppressing these parasites may not be entirely effective with one session, and you might want to repeat the process.
Begin by combing your hair and removing any accessible nits and parasites. Follow by applying the essential oil of your choice in small sections. Cover your hair completely with a shower cap and let it rest for an hour before washing with your favorite shampoo.
2 – Petroleum jelly
An alternative method for petroleum jelly would be hair gel. This method also works through smothering and suffocating lice by applying thick and bulky layers of non-breathable materials. It is believed that petroleum jelly or hair gel creates minimal breathing space for the bugs, eventually killing them.
Separate your hair into small segments and coat your hair and scalp with the hair gel or petroleum jelly. Mask your hair in a shower cap for maximum smothering effects and let it rest overnight. Slowly comb out the nits in the morning and wash out the hair. You may repeat the process after week to enjoy maximum benefits.
3 – Nitpicking
You will probably not like the sound of this, but as it turns out, nitpicking is one of the most effective natural remedies for nits. You also don’t have to soak your head and hair into tons of chemicals and treatments. Nonetheless, nitpicking is recommended on scalps that haven’t suffered severely from bug infestation.
Nitpicking involves separating your hair into more manageable portions and the use of fine-toothed combs. You need to go through each hair strand one at a time removing visible nits.
You may also need a helping hand to help you catch every nit on your head. Also, shining bright light on your head as you pick out the nits should do the trick.
4 – Wet combing
This is yet another easy and natural home remedy that utilizes frequent washing of your hair while combing using a fine-toothed comb. Wash your hair thoroughly with your shampoo and conditioner before separating the hair into tiny sections. Using the fine-toothed comb, comb each section from the scalp to the tips repeatedly until there are no more nits and lice.
If you choose this remedy, you may need to repeat the procedure at least every four days for a few weeks. You could also combine wet combing with other natural methods such as the use of essential oils. According to clinical trials, this approach, when compared to the use of phenothrin (a chemical in lice shampoo) was found more effective.
So, why not?
5 – Coconut oil
Coconut oil is yet another commonly found product in our homes that you can utilize to kill these bugs. Use the smothering approach where you separate your hair, comb, and apply the coconut oil into your scalp generously. Cover your hair in a shower cap and let the coconut oil sit in your scalp for a minimum of two hours. The longer it sits, the better.
Nits are known to hatch after a week or two. Therefore, it’s vital that you repeat the process to ensure maximum benefit.
6 – Vinegar and salt
Mixing salt and vinegar turns out to be a practical and straightforward recipe for a louse killing concoction. The combination has a double effect where salt dehydrates the parasites while the vinegar eliminates the young nits.
Vinegar alone isn’t effective on an adult louse, although it’s believed to break the bond in the glue that enables the parasites to stick on to hair strands and make eliminating them problematic.
After mixing the solution, start the process by separating your hair into tiny sections and spraying it into the scalp and hair. Let it rest for about three minutes before combing out the nits. Repeat with the rest of the sections.
7 – Heat using a blow dryer
Heat isn’t a louse’s best friend. You can effectively kill nits and bugs by simply exposing them to heat. Fortunately, thanks to the technology used in hair and blow dryers, you can easily eradicate the parasite menace. According to statistics, using a blow dryer directly on your hair eliminates almost 100% of the nits and more than 80% of adult bugs.
Wash your hair with friendly shampoos and conditioners before using hot air on your head. Repeat the process after a few days. You may also incorporate this approach with other methods.
8 – Tidy housekeeping
You are probably wondering how this one made to the list, and here’s how. You can spend the rest of the days concentrating on ways to remove and kill these parasites in your head, but leaving a few traces of the nits on your pillowcases, headrests, and clothes could trigger another wave of infestation. Tidy housekeeping has a role to play in eliminating these parasites.
Wash everything that was in contact with your head and clothes at the time you discovered the parasites in your head or home. This includes pillowcases, dolls, headrests, pillows, bed sheets, clothes, and even your car seat covers. Sterilize these items by running them through your dryer on high heat for about twenty minutes. Extreme heat kills these bugs.
Wash all your clothing and fabric. You may also need to vacuum your house, carpet, seats, and rugs to avoid accommodating these bugs. A louse can only survive in the absence of a host for only 48 hours. There’s nothing to worry about, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
9 – Olive oil
Like coconut oil, olive oil offers similar benefits that potentially suffocate the lice in your head and prevent them from reappearing. Olive oil has potentially more benefits to the scalp and hair other than smothering these parasites. Apply the oil to your hair in generous portions all through into the scalp and cover with a cap. Give it time to work its magic before washing it with tea tree enriched shampoo.
10 – Complete head shaving
Lice stick onto hair strands and use that crowded environment to hide, reproduce and feed on its host. So, what if you eradicated the environment and left no other choice for the bugs and eggs to fall off and die? Genius, right?
Complete shaving is an ideal and straightforward remedy for fast bug elimination. Although it’s humiliating, especially for girls, hair is bound to regrow eventually. Shaving your hair to the scalp generally eliminates these bugs and further prevents re-infestation. Consider washing your scalp thoroughly with shampoo and discard the hair appropriately.
11 – Almond oil
Like olive oil, almond has proven to eradicate head bugs and nits. If you don’t have any almond oil in your home, consider manual extraction from a few almonds through crushing. The thicker your hair is, the more almonds you’ll need to extract enough oil for the bug-killing mission.
Add a few drops of lemon juice or rubbing alcohol into the oil to make the perfect paste. Again, divide your hair into smaller sections and apply the paste generously before masking it under a shower cap and leave it for two hours or more. Wash and rinse your hair. You may repeat the procedure after one or two weeks.
This approach works by suffocating the lice and killing the eggs. Almond oil aces the suffocation process, while lemon juice or alcohol kills the nits.
12 – Anise oil
As earlier mentioned, anise oil is one of the most effective remedies alongside olive oil and coconut oil. Reports show that children and adults who used anise oil to eliminate nits and parasites didn’t go back looking for additional treatments. The same reports reveal that a combination of anise oil and coconut oil is more effective compared to topical lice treatments. Other herbal remedies require consistent repeat treatments for desirable effects.
Final thoughts on natural remedies for lice
It’s important to understand that these parasites are highly contagious and are notoriously stubborn. However, with these above-discussed home and natural treatments, you should succeed in eliminating the bugs from your head and home.