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.


Julie W.
Julie W5 years ago

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.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran5 years ago


Kazue O.
Kazue O5 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Gysele van Santen

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

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

Good to know.

Karen C.
Karen C.7 years ago

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

Lynn M.
Lynn M9 years ago

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.

RMBarry Publications

Hey Jayantika Sharma,

Please DO NOT SPAM this SITE!

Can u hear Moderator?

AussieDebbra C.
Debbie C10 years ago

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.

Diana Yates
Diana Yates10 years ago

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