Natural and Effective Home Remedies For Head Lice
These Home Remedies to Get Rid of Lice Are Gentle Enough for Children
Anyone with school-age children knows the value of having a few home remedies for head lice. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting that note from the school nurse or from your child’s teacher that informs you of the presence of those irritating little nits in your child’s hair. While head lice aren’t exactly dangerous, they can cause plenty of irritation and can even lead to minor infections in children with depressed immune systems if they scratch their heads long enough. (And let’s face it: the idea of having bugs crawling through my son’s hair just isn’t something I’m comfortable with.)
Most conventional over-the-counter and prescription treatments for head lice are very often made with toxic insecticides, and in many cases, aren’t effective. These treatments are actually neurotoxins that work by poisoning the central nervous system of the insects. Humans can have some pretty serious side effects from these treatments, including difficulty breathing and skin rashes. In addition, some of the conventional chemical treatments for head lice have been found to affect estrogen levels in women, which can lead to increased risk of breast cancer.
In addition to the worries about chemical side effects, new studies have shown that head lice are becoming resistant to over-the-counter chemical treatments, requiring stronger concentrations of insecticides and longer treatment times. Just more reasons why I have always preferred to use home remedies for head lice with my son: because they’re safe, gentle, and effective at killing head lice. Home remedies for head lice may take longer to work than the conventional over-the-counter remedies, but they are safer and definitely more pleasant-smelling to use.
Home Remedies for Head Lice: Simple Hygiene At Home
One of the best home remedies for head lice that I know is just simple hygiene at home. Combing your child’s hair and washing daily with a gentle shampoo or with a few drops of essential oils are easy ways to control and eliminate head lice.
Nit Comb – These fine-toothed combs are available at most grocery stores and pharmacies, but any fine-toothed comb will work. Comb through your child’s wet hair thoroughly with a nit comb to help remove eggs and lice, preferably after a bath or shower using an herbal shampoo or a few drops of essential oils. Use the comb twice a day every three or four days for up to two weeks after you stop seeing lice and eggs.
Always clean your combs thoroughly after using them to comb for head lice. You can either soak them in hot water and white vinegar or disinfect with tea tree oil before using them again. (Tea tree oil is also on my list of effective home remedies for lice, so using it as you comb your child’s hair will help to keep the nit comb clean while removing any unwelcome pests from your child’s head.)
Cleaning Bedding and Furniture – Head lice won’t live for more than a day without feeding on someone’s scalp, you don’t have to worry too much about lice and eggs living in your sheets and blankets. Still, as a precaution, you can wash all bedding that has come in contact with your kids in the last two days by using hot water and a cup of white vinegar in the washing machine. Vacuuming your house thoroughly will also help prevent re-infestation.
Head lice don’t affect indoor or outdoor pets the same way that they affect people, so you don’t need to worry about treating any pets or livestock on your property. Head lice treatments are not the same as chicken lice treatment and your child’s head lice won’t affect your chickens, so don’t worry about it!
If you’re worried about rodents like mice and voles bringing head lice into your home, fear not. Another common misconception about head lice is that they’re brought into the home by mice and rodents. While mice and rodents are very often infested with lice and other pests, these lice do not cross over to infect humans. So keep using your favorite natural ways to get rid of mice in your home, and don’t worry about calling the exterminator.
Home Remedies for Head Lice: Essential Oils
Many essential oils are effective at killing head lice and can be used safely as long as there are no allergic reactions in your kids. Choose from any of the following essential oils to use in your home remedies for head lice.
- Tea tree oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Neem oil
- Ylang ylang oil
- Clove oil
Use 15 to 20 drops of your preferred essential oil (or a combination of oils, but not more than 15-20 drops total) in two ounces of olive oil. Massage this mixture into the scalp at bedtime, and cover with a shower cap to prevent staining pillowcases and sheets. Allow the mixture to sit on the head overnight, then shampoo in the morning to remove any remaining oils. You can repeat this every other day until you stop seeing eggs and lice in your child’s hair.
Home Remedies for Head Lice: Diatomaceous Earth
One of the many diatomaceous earth uses that I know of is to make it up into a great flea powder for cats and dogs, and I was surprised to find out that it works on human head lice as well. Caution should be taken when using diatomaceous earth for treating head lice, and if your child suffers from asthma or any other breathing disorder, don’t use it at all. Make sure that you use only food grade diatomaceous earth, as any other type may contain microscopic particles of silica that can cause respiratory distress in children and adults.
Mix a few tablespoons of food grade diatomaceous earth with a teaspoon of lavender powder and gently massage it into your child’s scalp at bedtime, taking care to avoid getting it in the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. You can have your child hold a bath towel up to his face while applying the diatomaceous earth to prevent inhalation and irritation. Once you’re finished, cover your child’s head with a shower cap and let the powder sit in the hair overnight or for up to 12 hours. Shampoo hair thoroughly in the morning to remove all traces of the powder, along with any dead eggs or head lice.
You can repeat this treatment every three or four days for up to two weeks. Obviously, if any irritation of the scalp occurs, discontinue treatment and try another option.
As always, remember to wash any towels or other bedding that come into contact with your child’s hair with hot water and allow them to dry thoroughly to prevent re-infesting your child with head lice.
Do you have any other home remedies for head lice to share? Leave a comment here and tell us about your experiences using home remedies for head lice.