Remedies to Remove Lice Eggs From Hair

Inspecting childs head for lice
A fine tooth comb pulls the hair back on a child's scalp exposing a louse. (Image: JohanLenell/iStock/Getty Images)

Although most people want head lice cured as quickly as possible, removing lice eggs from the hair is no easy task. It requires plenty of patience, persistence and a methodical approach. However, properly removing the lice eggs from the hair decreases the likelihood of a lice reinfestation and is an important part of the overall treatment process.

Comb and Water

A simple remedy to remove lice eggs from the scalp is by simply using a comb and water. The infected person should thoroughly wet her hair with water, then ask a family member or friend go through each section of hair and use her fingers, a fine-toothed comb or a nit comb to remove any nits she sees. Nit combs are sometimes available at drugstores, but may be found more easily online or in pet supply stores. Medline Plus, a publication of the National Institutes of Health, suggests dipping the comb in beeswax or olive oil may make the egg removal process easier. In addition, the organization notes that some dishwashing detergents may dissolve the substance that makes the eggs stick to the hair, which also makes them easier to remove.

Oils, Mayonnaise and Margarine

Some people believe using mayonnaise, margarine, tea tree oils or olive oil can treat head lice. This method includes thoroughly coating the hair with the oily product, leaving it on the hair overnight while wearing a shower cap, and then washing the hair with shampoo in the morning. The theory behind this is that eggs and lice will wash away with the oil when the person shampoos. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that the effectiveness of these methods has not been scientifically proven, but they are not harmful and may work for some.

Petroleum Jelly

Coating the hair with petroleum jelly smothers and kills lice and nits, explains Susan Scott and Craig Thomas in their book “Pests of Paradise.” However, it can be difficult to remove the petroleum jelly, dead lice and nits from the hair because they will not wash out with regular shampoo. It may require washes with detergent to clean the hair, and this can cause irritation to the skin and scalp.

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