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Safely Eliminating Head Lice

Safely Eliminating  Head Lice

A reader wrote in that a bad case of head lice inspired her to go to all sorts of toxic and non-toxic extremes to eliminate the pests.

The methods she used included using hormone-disrupting pesticides, gasoline, kerosene, all over-the-counter measures, olive oil, baby oil, mayonnaise, tea tree oil, bombing the home, shaving of the head and body of most of her hair, going away to Pennsylvania for weeks, along with the usual recommended environmental controls.

She said that most of these worked … for a while. She asked, “Do you have a solution that is not suicide?”

While this reader had been successfully killing the lice, she had been missing their eggs. A successful way of ridding the head—or in her case, her whole body—of lice and their eggs without poisoning yourself with dangerous pesticides and hydrocarbons, is as follows:

1. Lather hair with a coconut-oil castile soap. Add a few drops of tea tree oil and neem oil to the lathered hair. (Health food stores sell castile soap and tea tree oil.)

2. Rinse and rewash with this same mixture.

3. After rewashing, do not rinse, but wrap a towel around the head and wait for half an hour.

4. Comb with a nit-removing comb, strand by strand, until all nits are removed (this takes a while). Dampen hair as needed. To order a comb, click here..

5. Wash and rinse the hair. Once dry, check, thoroughly, for any missed nits.

6. Thoroughly clean the comb, hands, bedding, and clothing. Pillows can be placed in the freezer overnight. You can comb a lice-repellant essential oil through the hair. The best choices of repellent essential oils are tea tree, neem, rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, and rose geranium. Add 10 drops of essential oil to 1 oz. oil. Comb through the hair. Or make a tea tree oil shampoo by adding 10 drops of tea tree oil to 1 oz. of shampoo.

Alternative Lice Treatments
The fear of head lice resistance to the pesticides pyrethrin and permethrin has led many consumers to turn to alternative methods of treating head lice. Retail Pharmacy News offers an extensive list of, and a look at alternative treatments to toxic pesticides.

Not Nice To Lice contains no pesticides.
Ingredients: Filtered and purified water, and natural enzyme cleaners including
Protease, Lipase, Cellulase and Amylase.

LiceOut water-based gel contains no pesticides and is non-toxic. Click here.

Read more: Home, Children, Health & Safety

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


+ add your own
2:57AM PST on Mar 1, 2013

Diana, you are right. I saw a science show a couple of years ago where they tried various treatments for lice. Plain old hair conditioner worked best of all.

2:10AM PST on Mar 1, 2013


7:08PM PST on Nov 11, 2012

Thanks for sharing

12:02AM PST on Nov 11, 2012

from October 1999? the same applies, right. thanks.

12:53AM PDT on Jun 10, 2011

Good to know.

1:21PM PDT on May 14, 2010

I am praying this will also work for us--a child in the family brought these home to many of us now. It is driving me nutzo! SERIUOSLY

5:45PM PST on Feb 6, 2009

RM Barry is right on using Melaleuca Oil Shampoo Our daughter had lice. I used a spray of melaleuca oil and combed out the nits. After this we did a good washing using the Melaleuca Oil Shampoo. We continued to use the shampoo as a preventive.

11:17AM PDT on Mar 17, 2008

Hey Jayantika Sharma,

Please DO NOT SPAM this SITE!

Can u hear Moderator?

10:39PM PDT on Sep 2, 2007

I use a spray bottle with water and lavender or eucalyptus essential oils, spray my sons hair each morning and comb with nit comb, I do the same with my hair, and you can spray the linen as well.

12:17AM PDT on Jul 17, 2007

I use it condtioner with a nit comb just comb
comb te conditioner threwand this cleans out the eggs an lice

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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