Home Remedies for Lice Prevention: Listerine, Oils, Etc.

Knowing how to get rid of lice permanently by home remedies can help you save lots of money on head lice prevention.

In this article, I outline the different home remedies for lice prevention that you can safely apply in your homestead. The remedies discussed here include lice Listerine and lice vinegar. First, let’s see what exactly is a head louse.

What are Head Lice?

Ever remember your head being checked for lice in your childhood? It is a common problem in childhood. Though not harmful, head lice are very annoying, uncomfortable, and itching to the head.

However, the truth is that most people have faced this problem and there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Head lice are very minute parasites that thrive well on hair shafts and scalps from where they can suck blood for survival. Head lice spread easily by from head to head contact and sharing of head items with infested children.

This may happen through playing, sleepovers sports.  as well as contaminated personal items such as combs and brushes and also clothing materials with infected persons.

In this regard, they are very common among school children aged between 4 and 10 years. Red bumps and head itching on the scalp are common signs of their infestation.

These parasites reproduce so quickly thus making it hard to get rid of them within a few days. You can also read my other article and find out what do head lice look like to check their pictures at different stages such as eggs, larvae, and adults.

Even though they are largely not dangerous and do not transmit any disease, head lice can be frustrating and irritating if left untreated for a long time. Below are the main characteristics of head lice:

  • They don’t jump, fly or swim
  • They spread but does not carry or transmit any disease
  • Head lice infest people only and cannot be found on animals
  • They die easily after being detached from your head and hair
  • They commonly spread through head to head contact
  • They can also spread through items like clothes, combs, and hats.
  • They have no preference for specific hair whether short or long, clean or dirty.

RELATED: Lice treatment for long hair.

What are Head Lice Nits? Nits are unhatched lice eggs attached to hair shafts from where lice hatch. Nits are tightly held onto hair shafts using special glue known as Chitin produced by head lice.

These tiny white eggs can be easily detected in hairs at the back of the neck and behind the ears.

Since they are strongly held on hair shafts, some lotions are used to dissolve them before combing to get rid of them from the hair.

Home Remedies for Lice & Lice Eggs

On whether home remedies can get rid of head lice, the answer is definitely yes; home remedies for killing lice are effective if used correctly. The process of using home remedies to get rid of head lice is simple.

However, it is also important to follow the procedure and instructions correctly.

Home remedies for lice

However, as stated above, eliminating head lice and nits can be very cumbersome and frustrating. This is because they are not only tiny to notice, but eggs remaining on hair shafts and scalps can also hatch after treatment thus reproducing new lice.

Furthermore, lice are known to reproduce so rapidly and spread very fast through contact with infected items hence a lot of caution should be taken if you want to obtain positive outcomes.

A variety of home remedies for lice do exist, but the question is: what works? Most home remedies for lice works. However, note that some things are critical when dealing with head lice.

  • First, although they spread rapidly, head lice do not carry any disease and hence do not in any way imply untidiness on the part of the infected person.
  • Secondly, a lice comb is a critical tool in the removal of head lice, nymphs, and nits from your child’s hair.
  • There is no need to panic if you realize that your kid has been infected with head lice. If discovered early, the chances are good to get rid of head lice by repeated combing for three weeks every morning and evening.
  • Thirdly, combing can also be combined with home remedies for head lice.

Most home remedies for lice work by smothering or suffocating lice to move slower and hence easy to catch on the comb.

Though some home remedies can be messy, it is vital to use appropriate and working home remedies for lice instead of exposing the head to some harsh chemicals.

The main concern these days is that most treatments and prescriptions including medicines and lotions contain harmful toxins and chemicals.

Some studies have also shown that some have mutated and have become immune to over-the-counter treatments due to overuse. The best alternative is nontoxic home remedies for head lice since they have fewer chemicals and are less costly [2].

Below are some reliable home remedies to get rid of lice fast and permanently – always follow instructions for best results.

Vinegar for Head Lice Treatment

Vinegar is a common home remedy for lice and nit treatments.

The steps to follow when using vinegar for lice removal at home are:

  1. Make a mixture of vinegar with water and apply the mixture thoroughly to your to make it wet
  2. Wait for a few before rinsing your hair in water to get rid of the vinegar. Spend some time to comb out dead lice and nymphs and nit cases from your hair.
  3. Repeat the process for two days to get rid of any hatched or surviving louse from your head.

Listerine for Lice Removal

The alcohol contained in Listerine is responsible for the lice-killing effect of this renowned mouthwash. However, spraying it on is not recommended due to the possibility of inhaling the fumes.

Massage the mouthwash gently into the hair and cover with a towel for a few minutes should be sufficient to remove the stains.

The steps to follow to effectively use Listerine for lice and nits treatment are:

  1. Wet your scalp and hair with Listerine generously
  2. Cover it using a disposable shower cap – always cautious to protect ears and face.
  3. Wait for two hours after applying Listerine lice treatment – you can wash out earlier if you notice irritation.
  4. Remove leftover nits and lice using a metal nit removal comb.
  5. Treat your hair with normal shampoo or conditioner

It is necessary to repeat this process after seven days to get rid of hatched lice. Ensure thorough scrubbing and cleaning of any items in the life of an infested child capable of providing shelter to the lice.

These include pillows, bedsheets, car seats, toys, and hats. These items should be sealed in tight plastic bags for two weeks after sterilizing, washing, and bleaching to ensure that any surviving lice have died.

How long do you leave Listerine on hair to kill lice? You need to leave Listerine on your hair for 16 to 24 hours to ensure that all of the lice have been suffocated.

Listerine and Vinegar for Lice

You can also use a combination of both Listerine and vinegar as one of the effective home remedies for kill lice infestation control. You would have to first apply the Listerine on your hair, then apply a weak vinegar solution.

Listerine, known for its great dental health benefits, kills lice because of the alcohol it contains. After the hair has been coated with the weak vinegar solution, the glue holding the nits in place may be loosened and the nits are easier to remove.

Olive Oil for Head Lice

Using Olive oil for head lice is also an effective smother for these hair bugs. The oil can be used as an effective remedy through the following steps:

  1. Generously apply olive or almond oil to your head prior to going to bed to sleep.
  2. Cover your head with a towel or a shower cap to hold the oil overnight
  3. Comb your hair in the morning using lice comb to remove parasites and nits
  4. Wash your hair in brand shampoo or conditioner.

You may also use this alternative procedure:

  1. Mix your hair conditioner with olive oil on an equal measure and add liquid soap.
  2. Apply the mixture to your hair to wet and eave for about one hour
  3. Cleanse your and apply normal condition
  4. Comb your hair thoroughly to remove dead lice and nits

Repeat this process after one week to kill any hatched and surviving lice.

Tea Tree Oil for Lice Treatment

Does Tea Tree Oil Kill lice? Yes, Tea tree oil is one of the natural and effective home remedy for head lice, whose effectiveness increases when used in combination with lavender oil.

How do you use tea tree oil to kill lice? Well, the steps to follow when using tea tree oil for lice eradication are:

  1. Make a mixture of one teaspoonful of tree tea oil, three tablespoons of olive or coconut oil, and one ounce of shampoo.
  2. Wash your hair gently using this mixture to wet your hair and cover it with a towel or shower cap to hold the solution for about 30 minutes
  3. Use hot water to rinse your hair
  4. Comb your hair thoroughly while still wet to remove dead lice.

Caution: Do not apply tree tea oil directly onto your scalp or hair.

Kerosene for Lice Treatment

Long ago kerosene was used as a treatment to remove lice. However, we strictly DO NOT advise you to go the kerosene way because there are many safer alternatives out there [1].

Anyone who is interested in the procedure used to kill lice using kerosene, here it is:

  1. You need to use it for the whole head of hair, to kill any eggs or nit on the scalp so it’s important that you don’t just put it in one place.
  2. Start by saturating your hair with kerosene and then using either a towel wrap or shower cap to cover your shoulders to give time for the kerosene molecules to penetrate into your scalp.
  3. Leave this on overnight and then wash out the kerosene in the morning.

For safety reasons, make sure you take precautions before doing this procedure including not smoking or having an open flame around whilst you are performing it, but overall if done correctly this should be effective at making your infestation.

Baby Oil for Lice Removal

Baby oil is a natural and easy home remedy for head lice; It is used together with white vinegar and laundry detergent to smother head lice.

Steps to follow to get rid of lice using baby oil are:

  1. Apply baby oil to your and start combing for some lice to fall off the head.
  2. Wash your hair in hot water with laundry detergent
  3. Apply white vinegar to your before going to bed and cover with a towel or a shower cap for the whole night.
  4. Wash your shampoo in the morning and apply some conditioner.
  5. Repeat this course for 3-4 days to obtain positive results.

Kerosene and baby oil for lice treatment

While you may be tempted to use kerosene and baby oil to make an effective anti-lice remedy, please note we strictly discourage that. Do not use kerosene for lice removal at home!

Home Remedies for Lice: Salt

Salt has desiccation properties make it a good home remedy used to get rid of head lice. The steps to follow when using salt for lice and nits removal are:

  1. Make a solution using one–quarter cup of salt and an equal amount of vinegar
  2. Spray this solution gently to your hair to make it slightly wet and cover your wet hair with a shower cap for about two hours
  3. Wash and condition your hair to remove dead lice
  4. This process is repeated for three consecutive days to kill any survived or hatched lice.

Petroleum Jelly for Lice

The stifling property of petroleum jelly affects the roaming of head lice making them easy to catch on the comb. It is also effective for pubic lice.

The steps on how to use petroleum jelly for head and pubic lice removal are:

  1. Coat your scalp with a thick layer of petroleum oil before going to bed
  2. Use a towel or shower cap to cover your head overnight
  3. Remove petroleum jelly using baby oil in the morning
  4. Comb through your hair to remove head lice in the morning
  5. Repeat the process for a number of consecutive nights.


There are many home-based solutions for lice and lice eggs (nits). However, If you have a chronic history of head lice, then professional treatment is strongly recommended.

If you need help for lice infection among school-going children, reach out to your child’s school nurse or seek guidance from a pediatrician.

Head lice are easily spread between children and can be an ongoing problem in some daycares and schools. In addition, head lice treatments may not be as effective on adults with long hair who have lots of hair around their ears and neck.

READ MORE: Get rid of lice using mayonnaise.

Featured image credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, bugwood.org | slight edits were applied | licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Avatar of Martin Miller
Latest posts by Martin Miller (see all)