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Home Remedies for Head Lice 

How effective are they?

In practice, most home or natural remedies are not going to be as effective in treating head lice as a thorough treatment from a professional nit nurse. While they appear to be quick and easy solutions, head lice and nits are resilient little insects, and their short life-cycle means you usually need more than one thorough treatment to make sure all the eggs have been removed too. Otherwise, they will be back again before you know it.

Does hair dye kill head lice and nits?

The idea is that chemicals contained in hair dye might kill both lice and nits. However, this is not a scientifically proven method for lice treatment.  Even if hair dye kills some lice, it doesn't address the root of the infestation.  


While hair dye might kill some of the lice, it's not guaranteed to be effective against all lice and especially not against nits (lice eggs).  Hair dye is not a suitable method for everyone, especially not for young children. The chemicals in hair dyes are not recommended for use on young scalps due to their sensitivity.

Does hair dye kill head lice and nits

Will a hairdryer kill head lice and nits? 

Some people believe that heat from a hairdryer will kill head lice and nits.

Using a hair dryer on its own is generally not considered a reliable method for killing head lice.  While heat can desiccate and dehydrate lice to some extent, it will not be sufficient to eliminate them completely. Head lice are quite resilient, and their eggs (nits) are especially well-protected.  Care must be taken to avoid burning the scalp.

Will a hairdryer kill head lice and nits

Do essential oils kill head Lice?

Oils like tea tree, lavender, and eucalyptus are sometimes used as natural remedies. You could mix a few drops of the essential oil with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) and apply to the scalp and hair. Leave it for several hours before washing out. However, essential oils can be potent and are not suitable for everyone, particularly young children and those with sensitive skin. Always patch test before full application.

Do essential oils kill head lice

Does vinegar kill head lice and nits?

Vinegar is another popular home remedy thought to kill nits.  A mixture of equal parts water and vinegar is believed to dehydrate and kill lice by applying the mixture to the hair and scalp and leaving it to dry under a shower cap before washing out.

Apple cider vinegar is believed to help dissolve the glue that holds nits to the hair shafts, making it easier to comb them out. It's not a lice killer, but it may aid in nit removal.

Neither of these remedies has been clinically proven to be effective.

Does vinegar kill head lice and nits

Can you drown head lice?

Drowning head lice is not a practical or effective method for treating an infestation. Lice can survive underwater for several hours, making it unlikely they will drown during regular washing, bathing or swimming.

can you drown head lice

Does coconut oil kill head lice and nits? 

While some people find success with coconut oil to kill head lice,  it's essential to note that scientific evidence supporting its efficacy as a standalone treatment is limited. The idea is that these thick substances can suffocate and kill the lice.

If you are dealing with a head lice infestation, you could try coconut oil as a lubricant when combing with a nit comb to remove both lice and nits.  If you have concerns about head lice please get in touch. 

Does coconut oil kill head lice and nits

Take care when using home remedies to treat head lice.  In the UK, it's always recommended to check with a healthcare provider or a pharmacist before trying home remedies or natural head lice treatment, especially for children. While these remedies are commonly suggested, their effectiveness can vary and they are not necessarily backed by scientific evidence.

It’s very easy for head lice to return if they are not treated properly, that’s why I recommend at least two treatments, a few weeks apart, to make sure all the lice and nits have been removed and nothing new has hatched.

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Can you get rid of lice overnight with natural remedies?

Getting rid of lice completely in just one night is usually not possible no matter which remedy you use. Here's why:


Lice Life Cycle

Lice lay eggs (nits) that take about a week to hatch. Most treatments kill the lice but not the eggs. So, you will need a second treatment after a week to catch any new lice that have hatched, maybe more depending on the severity of the infestation. 

Super Lice

Some lice don't die from regular treatments because they've become resistant to them, so one quick treatment might not work.  For best results always use a metal nit comb to comb out lice and nits. This will need to be repeated every other day for up to 2 weeks. 

Time to Comb

Getting all the lice and eggs out of the hair with a metal nit comb takes a lot of time. Doing this properly usually can't be done in just one night.  This will need to be repeated every other day for up to 2 weeks. 

Safety First

There are strong treatments that might kill lice fast, but they might not be safe, especially for kids.

Cleaning Up

Besides treating the hair, you also need to wash bed sheets and remove hair and debris from hairbrushes and hair bands etc to make sure all lice are gone. This also takes time.  Alternatively you could just bag it up and leave it for 48 hours as lice will not survive without a human host. 


If you want to get rid of lice quickly, it's best to talk to a specialist for advice on what to do.

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