How to Treat Head Lice With Olive Oil?

olive oil for head lice

Being infected with head lice is a very common occurrence. It is mostly noticed among school students. A person is infected with head lice when he or she comes in contact with another person infected with the same especially during sleepovers, hugging, sports, school, sharing clothes hair products. It also infects if you lie in the bed of an already infected person. When head lice are not in human contact, they can continue to stay alive for at least 24 hours. The most common symptom of their occurrence is an uncontrollable urge for itching in your head, red and painful bumps on the scalp which are caused by the biting of the lice. Here are some effective ways to use olive oil for head lice prevention.(1)

Does Olive oil Kill Head Lice?

  • Vegetable oils are generally found to be extremely effective in curing head lice infestation.(2)
  • Olive oil is considered to be most effective. It can successfully cure the head lice infestation.
  • Being natural oil without any side effects it is considered unparalleled.
  • According to a test done in Harvard school of public health, they have concluded that when head lice are submerged in olive oil, for two or more hours, they die due to asphyxiation.
  • As the olive oil coats the skin of the lice, it is unable to breathe and dies due to lack of oxygen.

How to Use Olive Oil for Head Lice

There are various over the counter medications, treatments and insecticides that are prescribed for head lice removal. But it has been noticed that the pests have become resistant to most of these treatments. Most of the times the treatments do not work as the pest become more or less immune to them. There is, however, hope in home remedies that are extremely helpful in reducing the lice infestation. Olive oil is thus regarded a very effective remedy for head lice.

1. Olive oil Treatment for Head Lice


  • olive oil- ½ cup to 1 cup
  • shower cap
  • lice comb

Preparation time: 3 minutes.

How to Apply:

  • Massage the oil liberally onto your scalp.
  • Take more oil if required
  • Cover your hair with a shower cap.
  • Leave for 8 to 9 hours for the oil to work.
  • Comb through your hair and remove dead lice using paper towel or wash comb in hot water

Repetitions: Continue combing till no lice appear.

How it works: This treatment suffocates the lice and lubricates the hair making it easier to remove the lice.(3)

[ Read: How to Kill Head Lice with Tea Tree oil ]

2. Apple Cider Vinegar and Olive oil for Head Lice


  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • ½ cup of vinegar
  • Shower cap
  • Shampoo and conditioner

How to apply:

  • Mix together the oil and vinegar thoroughly.
  • Apply the mixture on your scalp and along the hair
  • Cover your hair with shower cap
  • Let it rest for an hour
  • Rinse with shampoo followed by conditioner

Repetitions: Repeat process 3 times a week initially then 2 times a week.

How it works: The acidic nature of vinegar removes the head lice easily.(4)

[ Read: How to Apple Cider Vinegar for Head Lice ]

3. Tea Tree oil and Olive oil for Head Lice


  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon tea tree oil and
  • 1½ ounce of natural shampoo

How to apply:

  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly
  • Apply the mixture gently all over your scalp and on your hair
  • Let it rest for 1 to 2 hours
  • Rinse your hair with lukewarm water.
  • Gently comb your hair when it is still wet
  • Remove the dead lice with a paper towel

Repetitions: Repeat process 3 times a week initially then 2 times a week.

How it works: Tea tree oil is a natural insecticide which easily removes the unwanted head lice.(5)

[ Read: How to Use Coconut oil for Head Lice ]

4. Olive oil and Eucalyptus oil for Head Lice


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of eucalyptus oil
  • Regularly used shampoo and conditioner

How to apply:

  • Mix the two oils together
  • Add half of it to your regular dose of shampoo while washing your hair
  • Add the rest to your conditioner while using it on your hair

Repetitions: Repeat above process 3 times a week

How it works: Eucalyptus has insecticidal and antiseptic properties that eliminate the head lice easily.(6)

How Long Does it Take for Olive Oil to Kill Head Lice?

The head lice do not die overnight. You will notice significant changes only after 2 weeks. You need to be patient while getting rid of the lice infestation.

These are some of the methods of getting rid of head lice easily.

Scientific Evidence:

  1. How to manage head lice-
  2. Evaluation of Anti-lice Topical Lotion of Ozonated Olive Oil and Comparison of its Effect with Permethrin Shampoo-
  3. Home remedies to control head lice: assessment of home remedies to control the human head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae)-
  4. Acetic acid and the skin: a review of vinegar in dermatology-
  5. Activity of tea tree oil and nerolidol alone or in combination against Pediculus capitis (head lice) and its eggs-
  6. The efficacy of Australian essential oils for the treatment of head lice infestation in children: A randomised controlled trial-

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