10 Tips To Get Rid Of Lice Naturally



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LICE! It’s the “other” dreaded four letter word. It always sends people running away like no body’s business and leaves you wanting to itch ALL.OVER. There are few things I dislike more than lice. Why, because I have treated it more time than I can count. Like last fall for example, 7 girls with long gorgeous dark hair all that the same time. Yes, nightmares do come true.

Needless to say I treated more than what I consider my fair share of lice, though I have yet to get them. (I have a theory about that by the way.)* I’m also happy to say my household has been lice free for almost a year. YIPPIE!! Do the happy dance….

Next time you hear that your child has been exposed to/has lice please do me a huge favor.



Really that is what you are doing folks, spraying and rubbing pesticides all over your little kiddos’s heads. It doesn’t sound so nice when you put it that way does it? In my opinion if something is so strong that you can only use it once every 2 plus weeks because it is so toxic it you shouldn’t be using it. That stuff can burn your hands, your head, your eyes… If you do accidentally swallow it you are supposed to contact poison control immediately.

There are so many things that the medical world will tell you about treating lice that I am sorry to say that I bought into for years. I used the shampoo like whole bottles of it on one girl’s head. I used the spray, the gel and whatever else they might throw at you but no more.

I am so thankful for friends and research that showed me that those things aren’t necessary.

If you are a “naturally minded” person or on your way to being one then you may already have almost all you need to treat lice at home.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to lice:
  • Lice can live for up tp 30 days.
  • Nits (the eggs) are affixed to the hair shaft with a “glue” making them difficult to pull off.
  • Once a louse (singular for lice) it will not start laying eggs until it is 1o days old.
  • Lice actually prefer clean heads.
  • Lice suck your blood, they can’t live off of the host (person) for more than a day or so.
  • Take a deep breath, you can do this! 

Call me a bit of an extremest but this is what has helped my home stay lice free.

Herbs and Essential Oils to Treat and Prevent Lice
  • Lavender
  • Tansy
  • Rosemary
  • Tea Tree Oil


10 Tips to Get Rid of Lice Naturally

1. Make A Hair Mask

Mix a cup of coconut oil with the some or all of the essential oils listed above. Lightly coat the entire head with the oil. Leave on for at least 8 hours to suffocate the lice. Lice can hold their breaths for that long. Who would have thought. I generally do this at night and cover each head with a shower cap before they go to bed. Wash the hair in the morning. One of my readers Denise suggested washing the hair out with a grease cutting dish soap. I personally don’t mind leaving the hair a bit greasy for a few days till the treatment is done.

2. Make a Herbal Lice Spray

Lice hate this spray! Not only does it kill the nits but it helps keep them away as well. This lice spray over at Modern Alternative Health is great for spraying on heads that have lice or have/will be exposed to them. It is made from apple cider vinegar and herbs/essential oils.

3. Get a Good Comb

Those cheapo plastic combs you find in boxes of poison (traditional lice shampoo) are worthless. Most metal combs I’ve used including flea combs (I was desperate) don’t to a bit of good. A lice or two may come out but that does nothing for the nits. The Nit Free Terminator Comb  (affiliate link) is the only comb I have found that actually removes most of the nits. It is worth the higher price. This comb’s teeth are closer together and have tiny grooves running down them that pull out the nits. I still go through with my hands to be sure I have gotten all the lice and nits.

4. Carefully Hand Pick Out The Nits and Lice

Say what? Have you eve heard of the expression “Nit Picking”? I used it for years before I realized that it truly ment. Divide hair into sections and clip. Leave a tiny section down. Plus nits from hair with the tips of your finger nails. Place the nit between your thumb nails, pressing together. If you hear a pop the nit is still alive, if you don’t it is get an empty shell.

5. Heat 

Heat is a sure way to kill lice. After taking a shower blow dry the hair before combing out the lice and nits. You can also run a flat iron through your hair. This kills the lice, helps loosen the glue on the nits or “fries” them. All brushes, hair things and combs used need to be placed in hot water for 20 minutes. You can add rubbing alcohol if desired.

6. No Sharing

Sharing is one of the easiest ways to spread lice. When you you have lice it is very important not to share combs, brushes, anything cloth for your hair, hats, cloths or beds. I’ll had lice spread like wild fire because of this one thing.

Divide the hair into sections and meticulously comb through the hair. Keep a bowl of hot water by you so you can dip the comb in to kill any live lice. This can take a couple hours to do to a through job.

7. Add Essential Oils to Your Shampoo

I also add a couple essential oils from the list above to everyone’s shampoo as a treatment and preventative.

8. Dry, Dry, Dry

It’s important to have bedding and clothing that has been used dried in a dryer on  for 20-30 minutes everyday. Some people will tell you to wash everything in hot water and dry it but really only drying it is needed.

9. Freeze

If you have some things that can’t be dried put them in your freezer for two days. The lice will be dead.

10. Bag It Up

If you can’t dry something and you don’t have room in your freezer bag everything up for a week. This works great for extra blankets, stuffed animals and things like that.

*When I was reading around some site there were some that suggested that blood type can have some effect but there is little evidence. I wonder if there is something in some people’s body chemistry that repels lice. I’ve been frequently exposed to lice since I was little and have never gotten them even when I wasn’t following all of these preventive measures. Really, who knows!

Here are some tips from readers! 

How about you? What are your best tips on treating lice naturally?


About Katie Mae Stanley

Katie Mae Stanley is the writer at Nourishing Simplicity, where the focus is on nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living and faith. Ethnic and Mid-west foods are always a favorite in her kitchen and on her blog. She is also the author of the book Steeped: Simple Nourishing Teas and Treats. Katie Mae spent 10 years as a missionary dorm "mama" for a gaggle (almost 40) of amazing deaf girls at a school for the deaf in Baja California, Mexico. Now she finds herself state side ready to embrace God's next adventure. A cup of tea or coffee and a bit of dark chocolate make an appearance at some point in any given day. You can connect with the Nourishing Simplicity community on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


  1. My daughter has lice. It’s not fun trying to get rid of those dumb little bugs, so thanks for the great ideas. I hadn’t thought to stick things that can’t be dried in the freezer! Anything to kill the lice is fair game.

  2. I can see how spraying pesticide on my kid’s head isn’t the best lice treatment option. So, thanks for the great tips here on preventing and getting rid of lice. I never knew what “nit picking” actually meant until now!

  3. You have some great tips here for dealing with lice. I had never heard to dry bedding and clothes every day, but that sounds like it should work. We are dealing with lice as we speak, so I will have to try all this, thanks!

  4. Natalie Johnson says:

    I’ve had trouble with lice for years! I have very thick and dark hair and it is a pain to take out, Will this stop it for good?

    • Katie Mae Stanley says:

      Not necessarily, proper care and maintenance will help. The best solution is still to remove all of them but these tips have really helped my girls and I over the years. Most of them have long, thick, dark hair. It helped them stay lice free for over a year at a time.

  5. I don’t know if I got lice I seen these bugs and my head itches and I live in a group home and one of the other kids had and or might still have it so my head itches a lot so do i have lice? And how doo u get rid of it with out and chemicals

    • Katie Mae Stanley says:

      I would have someone check for you who knows what the lice and nits look like. The 10 tips I suggest in the post are a great place to start for getting rid of lice.

  6. Annonomys says:

    My mom found a bug on me and freaked out and rushed to the store to get treatment for everyone in the house (we have 4 people including me) is she overreacting or is she doing what needed?

    • Katie Mae Stanley says:

      Your mom is doing what she thinks is best for your family. I tend to treat them naturally hence my post but at the frist sign of lice I treat everyone in the household, wash our clothes, wash our bedding, and vacuum.

  7. put apple cider vinegar on hair for 10 to 15 mins and use a comb with teeth close together to comb through. to get rid of lices.

  8. Enedina Walters says:

    With exposure towards the sun you can make the enviroment better for lice to survive in. They are quite likely seen among children concerned with the ages 3 and 12.

  9. Hi i kinda discover that i have one a week ago and i bought this comb but i didnt see them tho i kinda have a few dandruff and that made me comftable that the louse wont enjoy my hair, but just now i just saw one again and it gives me chill and i cant really differentiate the itch im feeling if its from the dandruff or the louse. But i still hope that its a dandruff. Thanks btw and i have a question, is it possible for a 1 year and 9months to have lice? Thank.

    • Katie Mae Stanley says:

      It’s possible to have lice for many years. Dandruff generally falls off the hair shaft if you flick it with your figure, where as the nits won’t move. I hope that you get rid of them soon!

  10. I have lice..my mom is freaking out..what should I do?

    • Katie Mae Stanley says:

      I would try the suggestion that I have in the post. I’m so sorry, lice are not fun! 🙁

  11. Grapefruit seed extract works on fleas and lice. Safe for internal and external use. Add it to your regular shampoo.

  12. Can I spray my furniture with the oil and vinegar mixture or will it stain?

    • Katie Mae Stanley says:

      I would test it on a small spot first. You can also vacuum furniture. That’s what I do more often.

  13. I have lice I found one while I was showering >~< how do I treat myself without my parents knowing?

    • Katie Mae Stanley says:

      Honestly they need to know. If you have it there’s a chance that they might as well. If you are in school you be lice and nit free before you can return to school. You aren’t allowed to be in school with them. If you have a flat iorn, that is a good place to start but you need to treat it, your bedding needs washed as to your cloths. It’s not something you can keep to yourself. They will be more frustrated later if you don’t tell them and it spreads to others. There is nothing to be ashamed of when you have lice. The sooner you get rid of the lice and nit the better.

  14. Thank you so much!!! I’m excited to try these things. We’ve never delt with lice here, so this is all new. Excited to have natural alternatives that are effective! I so appreciate you!

  15. I have a questions, I am 25 weeks pregnant. I have found an egg on my head and two on my daughters hair. We have six children. Are all these remedies safe for a pregnant woman? All the essential oils safe. I just found out all of this in the past hour. Would you recommend me treating all my children?

    • Katie Mae Stanley says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry! That is horrible! I’m going to update and add the safety information for the herbs and essential oils. On the positive side you are found this very early which is a good thing. A few nits and lice are MUCH easier to get rid of than a whole head(s) filled with them is.

      Tea tree oil not safe for children under 2.

      Lavender essential oil and the herb is safe for everyone, it should be very diluted for babies under 6 months.

      Tansy can not be used in any form during pregnancy/nursing or for children under the age of two.

      Rosemary essential oil is not safe for children under the age of 6 or for pregnant/nursing women. The herb is fine in small amount for cooking for in an herbal hair treatment.

      I hope that help!


  17. rose gauthier says:

    put vinegar on hair for 10 to 15 mins and use a comb with teeth close together to comb through.


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