Home Remedies for Head Lice That Work

Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

Head lice are small, translucent parasites that are transferred from person to person and infest the hair and scalp. These small bugs are difficult to see and can cause itching and other scalp problems. Lice commonly spread among young children, forcing schools and pediatricians to make strong efforts to limit a breakout at school. There are special shampoos and treatments to take care of lice, but there are also several home remedies that can help solve your problems.

Use Hot Water

Even if you kill the lice from your hair, you aren't safe if you don't kill the other lice living in bedsheets, clothing, stuffed animals and furniture. Even one remaining louse can get into your hair and cause a whole new waves of problems. Just as you wash your hair in hot water to help weaken and kill lice, you should also wash all upholstered and cloth items in hot, soapy water of at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or more. You then dry them at a high heat. Treat brushes, combs and other hair care items in very hot water for 15 minutes before use.

Suffocating Lice

After items have been washed -- or in order to prevent lice infestation of these products -- any cloth, upholstered items or other items that cannot be washed should be placed inside airtight, plastic bags and held for three to four days. This cuts off the air supply for lice and prevents them from accessing a food source, killing all existing lice and any newly-hatched lice that emerge from eggs.

Comb Your Hair Thoroughly

Even if you use chemical treatments to kill off lice, you must physically remove the eggs from your hair. Combing the hair is the easiest way to do this. The teeth of the comb rub down the strands of hair and pluck eggs out of the hair, helping eliminate the lice. This can be a tedious process, requiring a lot of patience, but the more you comb your hair, the easier it will become. You can get a special comb designed for nit removal to aid in the process. Also, applying vegetable oil or conditioner to the hair makes it easier to comb.

Other Treatments

There are natural options you can consider for the removal of lice. Wash your hair in vinegar, adding 10 to 15 drops of tea tree oil into your shampoo and use it daily. Coconut oil and camphor powder may be applied every night before bed, washing your hair in the morning. Other treatments include the application of cooking oil, vinegar, mayonnaise and petroleum jelly to the hair. However, even when left in the hair overnight, these treatments fail to kill or suffocate all lice in the hair.