Do Home Remedies for Head Lice Work?

If you have a case of head lice on your hands and want to treat it naturally and cost effectively, you may be considering a natural remedy. Home remedies can be appealing because they don’t involve toxic chemicals and neurotoxins that are commonly found in over the counter and prescription treatments. Over the counter options also have a very low effectiveness rate as lice have developed resistance over the years to the chemicals in those products.

The goal of applying a natural solution to the head is to physically suffocate live lice, however most home remedies do not have the properties necessary to properly suffocate all live bugs.

  • Olive Oil- Olive oil is too thin to effectively suffocate and kill adult lice. It is able to enter the breathing apparatus of the louse, but the bug is able to expel it (spit it back out!) because of it’s thin consistency.

  • Mayonnaise- Mayonnaise is too thick to fully enter the breathing apparatus of the bug in order to suffocate it.

  • Mouthwash- Like olive oil, mouthwash is too thin to suffocate lice.

  • Cetaphil- Using Cetaphil cleanser to treat head lice can be effective in some cases but is time consuming and uncomfortable. The method involves applying Cetaphil cleanser to the hair, using a blow dryer to dry the lotion to the scalp, essentially creating a shrink wrap like layer. The dry lotion must remain on the head for 8 hours and the process must be repeated 3 times, a week apart.

    The most important thing to remember with all of these methods is that they have no effect on the eggs, which will eventually hatch if every single egg is not removed. Combing is a very tedious and time consuming process, especially on girls with long hair.