17 Lice Treatments to Get Rid of It & Itch Relief Home Remedies (2024)

  • Treatment
    • How Do You Get Rid of Lice?
  • Symptoms
    • What Are Symptoms of Lice?
  • Transmission
    • Where Do Lice Come From?
  • Prevention
    • How Do You Prevent Lice?
  • Guide

17 Lice Treatments to Get Rid of It & Itch Relief Home Remedies (1)

Lice will not go away on their own and treatment will be required depending on the type of lice (head, pubic, body). There are a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription lice treatments available as well as home remedies to relieve itching caused by lice.

Lice are parasites that feed on human blood and can be found on people’s bodies.

Lice found on different parts of the body are different. There are three types of lice that live on humans:

  • Pediculus humanus capitis: head louse, lives on the scalp and in the hair
  • Pthirus pubis: pubic louse, also called “crabs,” lives in pubic hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, armpits, facial hair, and other areas
  • Pediculus humanus corporis: body louse, feeds on the body and can live in clothing (uncommon)
    • Body lice are the only type known to spread disease

There are treatments for the itching caused by lice bites but they do not get rid of the infestation. Lice will not go away on their own. The infestation needs to be treated.

How Do You Get Rid of Lice?

Lice infestations are first treated by improving the personal hygiene of an infested person. Clothing, bedding, and towels used by the infested person should be washed in hot water (at least 130°F/54.4°C) and machine dried using the hot cycle. After that, both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription shampoos and medications can be used.

Over-the-counter lice medications include:

  • Pyrethrins combined with piperonyl butoxide (A–200, Pronto, R&C, Rid, and Triple X)
  • Permethrin lotion, 1% (Nix)

Prescription head lice medications include:

  • Benzyl alcohol lotion, 5% (Ulesfia lotion)
  • Ivermectin lotion, 0.5% (Sklice)
  • Malathion lotion, 0.5% (Ovide)
  • Spinosad 0.9% topical suspension (Natroba)
  • Lindane shampoo 1%

Excessive scratching can lead to sores and infections which may need antibiotics.

It is sometimes recommended to apply oils, mayonnaise, or vinegar to the head or body overnight to suffocate the lice but these home remedies don’t always work and can be messy and time consuming. Talk to your doctor before using a home remedy to get rid of lice.

Natural home remedies will not get rid of lice but they can be used to help relieve itching caused by lice bites:

  • Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water
  • Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply to the affected area
  • Baking soda paste
    • Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with 3 teaspoons of water, apply paste to the affected area, and let sit for 10 minutes
    • Rinse and repeat as needed
  • Oatmeal paste
    • Make a fine paste with oatmeal and water, apply to the affected area, let sit for 20 to 30 minutes, rinse with water
    • Repeat for a couple of days
    • Or mix 1/2 cup of colloidal oatmeal into a bathtub filled with warm water and soak for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Lemon juice
    • Pat lemon juice on the affected area
    • Lemon juice can make the skin sensitive to sunlight so avoid the sun
  • Witch hazel
    • Soak a cotton ball in witch hazel, apply to the affected area and let sit for 10 minutes
  • Apply Aloe vera gel to the bites
  • Apply apple cider vinegar to the bites
  • Apply a cucumber slice to the affected area and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Moist, cool tea bags may ease swelling and itching
    • Cool a moist tea bag in the refrigerator, and place on the affected area for 15 minutes.

What Are Symptoms of Lice?

Symptoms of lice include itching in the area where the lice are. Other symptoms of lice vary depending on the body part affected.

Symptoms of head lice include:

  • Itching on the scalp
  • Feeling something moving or tickling in the scalp and hair
  • Problems sleeping: head lice are most active in the dark
  • Sores on the head from scratching that may become infected

Symptoms of body lice include:

  • Intense itching and rash on the body
  • Thick and discolored skin in areas infested for a long time
  • Sores on the body from scratching that can become infected

Symptoms of pubic lice include:

  • Itching in the genital area
  • Nits (lice eggs) or crawling lice visible to the naked eye

Where Do Lice Come From?

Lice are transmitted through direct contact with an infected person, or by sharing items from an infested person such as clothing, bed linens, furniture, brushes and combs, towels, pillows, and toys.

How Do You Prevent Lice?

Preventing a lice infestation involves:

  • Not sharing beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals of an infected person.
  • Cleaning clothing, bedding, and other items used by an infested person during the two days before treatment by machine washing in hot water (130°F/54.4°C) and drying on high heat
  • Vacuuming floors and furniture

Preventing a head lice infestation includes:

  • Avoiding head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play, sports, on the playground, at slumber parties, or camp
  • Not sharing care items such as brushes, combs, hair accessories, or towels
  • Not sharing clothing, especially headwear

Preventing a body lice infestation includes:

  • Bathing regularly and wearing clean clothes laundered in hot water and dried on high heat at least once a week
  • Fumigating or dusting with chemical insecticides as needed to control and prevent the spread of body lice for certain diseases

Preventing a public lice infestation (“crabs”) includes:

  • Avoiding sexual contact with an infected person(s) and their sexual partner(s) until everyone has been treated
  • Persons with pubic lice should be examined and treated for other possible sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)



17 Lice Treatments to Get Rid of It & Itch Relief Home Remedies (2024)


17 Lice Treatments to Get Rid of It & Itch Relief Home Remedies? ›

Smothering agents: There are several common home products that may kill lice by depriving them of air and smothering them. These products include petroleum jelly (Vaseline), olive oil, butter, or mayonnaise. Any of these products may be applied to the scalp and hair, covered with a shower cap, and left on overnight.

What is the best home remedy for lice? ›

Lice Treatment at Home
  • Wet combing. Simply wet the hair and use a fine-tooth comb to remove active lice and their eggs. ...
  • Essential oils. Plant oils such as tea tree and anise may suffocate and kill lice, but it's not clear how well this works. ...
  • Smothering agents.
Jan 30, 2024

How do you treat lice ASAP? ›

Smothering agents: There are several common home products that may kill lice by depriving them of air and smothering them. These products include petroleum jelly (Vaseline), olive oil, butter, or mayonnaise. Any of these products may be applied to the scalp and hair, covered with a shower cap, and left on overnight.

Does vinegar and baking soda kill lice? ›

Natural products such as essential oils, vinegar, baking soda, and other oils have insecticidal or suffocating properties that can kill lice and their eggs, also called nits, however, as you will see below we do not endorse the use of most of them.

Does Dawn dish soap kill lice? ›

Alternative Head Lice Treatment Strategies

The alternative treatments listed below are referred to as suffocants. When applied, the treatment may suffocate and/or create a habitat unfavorable to the head lice. Mixture of equal parts of: baby oil, dawn dish soap, and listerine. Leave on for 10 minutes.

What absolutely kills lice? ›

Nonprescription products
  • Permethrin (Nix). Permethrin is a synthetic version of pyrethrin, which is a chemical compound extracted from the chrysanthemum flower. Permethrin is toxic to lice. ...
  • Ivermectin (Sklice). Ivermectin is toxic to lice. The lotion is approved for use in adults and children age 6 months or older.
Apr 30, 2022

What kills lice and eggs instantly? ›

No methods have been found to instantly kill lice, though tea tree and lavender oil combinations in carrier oils have proven to be effective and time-efficient.

Do dead lice fall out of hair? ›

The female louse secretes this glue-like substance when she lays her eggs to protect them until they hatch. The glue hardens upon secretion and does not dissipate when a nit dies. For that reason, dead lice remain cemented onto the hair shaft until you manually or chemically remove them or the hair grows out.

How to get rid of head lice permanently? ›

Store-bought treatments to get rid of head lice permanently
  1. KP24. This is a medicated lotion and foam that provides fast and effective treatment. ...
  2. Moov Head Lice Solution. Moov is another popular choice. ...
  3. NitWits Absolute Head Lice Solution. ...
  4. Banlice® Mousse. ...
  5. Tea Tree Oil. ...
  6. Vinegar. ...
  7. Mouthwash. ...
  8. Olive Oil.
Feb 11, 2019

Does hydrogen peroxide kill lice? ›

Remember, the ingredients needed to kill most head lice are ammonia and peroxide. Applying these harsh chemicals to sores and scratched skin on the surface of your scalp will most likely cause a very uncomfortable experience. Professional, chemical-free lice removal should be your top priority.

How to stop itching from lice bites? ›

Natural home remedies will not get rid of lice but they can be used to help relieve itching caused by lice bites:
  1. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply to the affected area.
  3. Baking soda paste. ...
  4. Oatmeal paste. ...
  5. Lemon juice. ...
  6. Witch hazel. ...
  7. Apply Aloe vera gel to the bites.

Will rubbing alcohol kill head lice? ›

While alcohol can kill live lice, it may not eliminate nits. Nits are firmly attached to the hair shaft and may require manual removal with a fine-toothed comb to eliminate the infestation. There is concern that lice will develop resistance to alcohol over time, making it less effective as a treatment option.

What can I spray on my bed to kill head lice? ›

Apply a cleaning solution to the mattress to kill any remaining lice and their eggs. You can use a commercial lice treatment spray or make your own solution by mixing equal parts water and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle.

Does mayo kill lice? ›

The theory behind mayonnaise is that it will help “suffocate” the lice so that they die off. However, there's no solid proof that this method works. If anything, you might see reduced activity in your scalp temporarily, but the lice will likely come back.

Can olive oil kill lice? ›

These treatment days have been carefully timed to coincide with the life cycle of the louse. Olive Oil smothers and kills active head lice, making nit removal easier and moisturizing the hair and scalp. Part hair and apply the oil directly onto the scalp. Massage into the entire scalp making sure to saturate the hair.

How to remove lice from hair permanently at home? ›

Neem Oil

Armed with a pungent smell and antibacterial properties, neem oil is one of the most effective home remedies on how to remove lice from hair permanently. Apply neem oil to your hair and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Use a nit comb to remove lice and then rinse hair thoroughly.

What can you spray to keep lice away? ›

Lice Sprays
  • Nix Daily Lice Prevention Spray for Kids (6 fl oz ) Nix. ...
  • Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Conditioning Spray (8 oz ) ...
  • Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Shampoo (12 fl oz ) ...
  • Nix Ultra Lice Treatment & Prevention Kit (1 set ) ...
  • Walgreens Lice, Bedbugs and Dust Mites Home Spray (5 oz ) ...
  • 1 coupon for "Lice Sprays" See more coupons.

Is mayonnaise effective for lice? ›

Home remedies often include attempting to suffocate head lice by applying products such as mayonnaise or petroleum jelly to the scalp. This approach is rarely effective.

What scent gets rid of lice? ›

Coconut, tea tree oil, lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon grass, and peppermint are scents popularly believed to repel lice. Using any coconut scented shampoo and conditioner is an easy way to increase your defense. At 1% concentration, tea tree oil killed 100% of head lice after 30 minutes.

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