Getting Rid of Lice, Naturally

It happened.

You know what I’m talking about. It’s one of those things you dread from the moment your precious little one starts regular interaction with other children. That thing you lay awake at night terrified of…

Okay, that last bit was an exaggeration but I’m telling you, I was terrified when I noticed the itch.

Oh no! It can’t be! Bum…Bum…Bum… (zoom in for dramatic effect with each scratch).

My mother senses were correct, our precious little one had come home with lice.


Of course I can’t be sure of what your experience with lice is, but I had a horrible experience in sixth grade which led to kerosene and the shaving of a lot of my hair. It was not a pretty sight and, justifiably, left me scared and terrified of these monsters.

After the initial shiver of terror that ran up my spine upon realizing that our daughter had brought them home I decided to do what any level-headed parent would do, I called my mother in a panic. More like texted her, but you get the picture. Her advice was sound and probably what most people would advise in this situation; head out and pick up the most popular brand of lice and nit killer on the market and douse those bad boys in some chemical warfare. Put everything you own in a trash bag for three weeks and vacuum every room in your house twice daily.

The problem? Our daughter has extremely sensitive skin and chemicals just weren’t going to happen. Plan B: Google.  Through my research I found a ton of helpful suggestions for not only ridding yourself of lice, but preventative measures. Below I am going to lay out what we’ve done, hopefully you’ll find it useful.

Things you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Shower cap
  • Blow dryer
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • METAL lice comb (you can purchase these at drug stores)
  • Towels

*Before starting with hair: Place all bedding in washing machine and wash on highest heat. Place pillows, without the cases, and any stuffed animals that may be kept on the bed into the dryer, on highest setting, for 30 minutes.

Step one: Douse hair in olive oil, from scalp to end. Note – Do this in a bathroom or your kitchen so that you have tile and good lighting. This will get messy to placing a towel on the floor may be preferable. After hair is thoroughly oiled put it up in the shower cap.

Step two: While researching I learned that lice and their nits cannot live in temperatures over 140 degrees. After the hair is secured in the cap, blow dry the head on the highest heat setting for at least 15 minutes.

Step three: Remove shower cap and use metal comb to comb out hair. You will remove not only lice but their nits during this time. Be sure to check over the comb after each brush through. Note – Sectioning hair is beneficial at this time. This process can be lengthy, but should not be rushed.

Step four: Hot shower. Wash hair thoroughly in water as hot as can be handled. Once hair has been washed, blow dry once more on highest setting.

For the next three weeks repeat hot showers, blow drying, and using the metal comb each day.

Vacuum your home, and furniture, daily to help avoid the spread to other family members.

*Repeat these steps until the hair has been lice and nit free for a minimum of one week.

The Tea Tree Oil is a wonderful preventative measure, as lice do not seem to like it. You can either dilute it with water and spray your child’s hair with it daily OR you can put a few drops into their shampoo (we went with this option).

Be sure to check with your child’s school so that you understand their policy on lice and whether or not your child should be attending school. Also, notifying the school will allow for other parents to check their children to help control and prevent more infestations.

This process taught me something very important, lice is not the end of the world and it can be handled with a bit of patience and consistency.

Has your child come home with lice? How did you handle it?

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3 Responses to Getting Rid of Lice, Naturally

  1. Summer (@TBmama) January 31, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    Great article!

    Olive oil works great. We have had two experiences with lice all in the same year. We fostered a little girl our daughter’s same age for almost two years. When we picked her up the first time my husband and his mom stayed up till late in the morning picking out individual nits after using the medicine on her. Then about a week later there were more – they must not have gotten them all. At that time she had already been hanging around our daughter for the week and my daughter got it as well. We had to do everything you said as far as wash everything in hot water and put all stuffed animals in plastic bags etc. We also did the olive oil thing and tried mayonnaise too. We found olive oil really worked the best. Another thing I did was in addition to olive oil treatments and picking each nit out individually every day twice a day for over a week, I also had read the idea about heat. I used my flat iron to flat iron their hair as close to the scalp as I possible could without burning (I used a comb in between the iron and scalp). Between the olive oil and flat iron we never had another issue.

    Another thing I learned is to always keep your children’s hair up or braided. When kids wear their hair down to school that is what makes the chances of catching it easier. Now, I almost always instinctively keep my daughter’s hair braided or in a pony tail. And hairspray helps too. When they have their hair in a pony tail, spray they hair with hairspray as a preventative – because the lice won’t stick to it. We work with a lot of kids through church, many from not so good situations at home and we’ve had kids that come in with their heads shaved, and I feel bad for them. It can be treated so that hair doesn’t have to be shaved or cut, it just takes patience and determination. It was one of the most stressful few weeks I’ve had as a mom.

    Tea Tree shampoo is good for prevention too. Glad to see another mom who made it through!

  2. Christina Newman (@FlourishOutloud) February 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Thanks for reading!

    We used a flat iron a couple of times during this process and kept her hair put up at all times until we were clear of the lice. Our eldest likes her hair braided before school but our little one is a hair fashionista and does all kinds of crazy things with her hair in the mornings.

  3. Bernadette C @Aimless Moments February 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Coconut oil is another really good option. And it can be used for other things as well. We had to deal with it a few years ago and I thought I was going to go insane. It went on for about 3 weeks. I finally tried olive oil (at the time I was unaware of coconut oil) and I left it on my daughters head for hours. I used Dawn (the blue original one) after to wash her hair with. We haven’t gotten it back (KNOCK ON WOOD).

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