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Home remedies are often a first thought when a child comes home with head lice. Unfortunately, they are rarely effective. Gratefully, you don’t have to rely on these products to kill lice. However, you do need more than the things found in your pantry to combat these stubborn parasites. 

Below we cover five of the worst home remedies for lice and why they should be avoided. 

1. Vacuuming

You can use the vacuum to clean your carpet and couches, but it should only be used for this. Vacuuming lice out of someone’s hair is uncomfortable and ineffective. Lice have special claws that allow them to latch onto strands of hair, so there’s no guarantee that a large nozzle will be able to suck them up. Plus, a vacuum is no match for lice eggs because they are glued securely to the hair shaft. 

2. Mayonnaise 

Some people think that mayonnaise is a good way to smother head lice, but this isn’t exactly true. As a matter of fact, many experts believe that smothering treatments like mayonnaise and petroleum jelly only stun lice, making them slower and easier to catch with a comb. But that’s about it. Aside from that, smothering treatments are often messy and require you to wear a shower cap with the mixture for two hours.

3. Listerine 

Listerine can be an attractive head lice treatment based on its cheap price, but this isn’t a good treatment option. Here’s why. Listerine is a mouthwash and doesn’t contain the ingredients needed to kill lice. Instead, it contains 30% alcohol, which can suffocate lice but not kill nits or eliminate an infestation. Not to mention, it can take 8-24 hours for suffocation to occur. 

4. Olive Oil 

Some people swear by olive oil as a head lice treatment – and it’s all natural – so how harmful can it be? Because we work with parents on a daily basis, we can confidently say that you won’t enjoy using olive oil on your child’s hair. It’s messy, labor-intensive and expensive. Like other treatments listed above, olive oil suffocates lice but doesn’t kill nits. In order for it to work, you’d have to saturate your child’s hair in olive oil multiple times a week to ensure the nits don’t hatch and start a new infestation. 

5. Tea Tree Oil 

We added this one to our list for an important reason – tea tree oil works well for prevention but not treatment. First of all, tea tree oil does nothing to suffocate existing lice. Secondly, the supposed lice-fighting ingredient in tea tree oil is almost irrelevant because lice have developed a resistance to it. That said, tea tree oil is a good deterrent that works well for outbreaks because lice don’t like the smell.

So How Should I Treat Head Lice? 

My Hair Helpers offers a full line of head lice treatment services. Our products have the main ingredient dimethicone – a highly effective head lice treatment with a low risk of adverse effects. In fact, dimethicone is found in many of the products you already use! It works by suffocating lice and interrupting their ability to regulate water. 

All products from My Hair Helpers are safe and guaranteed to work. Shop for them on Amazon or schedule an appointment at one of our three salons. Or if you prefer, our mobile service will come to your home for a speedy treatment. With us, you can get rid of lice for good without having to mess around with costly, messy or potentially harmful products.