Is Apple Cider Vinegar A Good Remedy For Head Lice?

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Head lice can be distressing and embarrassing considering the myths surrounding their infestation. However, rest assured, head lice infestation in no way implies that you have poor personal hygiene.

The world can be cruel in its remarks, but you have to remember that head lice infestation is in no way your fault. Anyone, irrespective of their gender, age, race, or even social class can fall prey to this irritating parasite that thrives on the human scalp. And, they can be hard to get rid of and the process of getting rid of them can be frustrating.

One of the most common and popular home remedies that you must have come across is apple cider vinegar for head lice. But, does it really work? Keep reading to find out!

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Kill Lice?

Unfortunately, the truth remains that while there are various anecdotal reports that suggest apple cider vinegar kills head lice, there is no clinical or scientific evidence that supports this claim.

Anecdotal reports claim that the acid in apple cider vinegar breaks down the glue that binds the nits to your hair strands. However, these are just untested claims.

Interestingly, a 2004 study compared six popular home remedies – vinegar, isopropyl alcohol, olive oil, mayonnaise, melted butter, and petroleum jelly – to treat head lice infestations. The researchers found that none of these methods were a viable treatment for head lice (1).

If you would still like to try using apple cider vinegar to get rid of head lice, check out the next section to find out what you need to do.  

How To Get Rid Of Lice With Apple Cider Vinegar

As mentioned earlier, there is no scientific evidence that proves apple cider vinegar is an effective way to get rid of lice. But, if you would still like to try your hand at it, here is what you need to do:

  1. Mix one cup one of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water.
  2. Slowly pour this solution all over your head, making sure to cover all your scalp, behind the ears, and the nape of your neck.
  3. Leave the ACV solution in your hair for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse your hair with plain water.
  5. Comb out the lice and nits with a nit comb.
  6. Keep repeating this process every two days.

Other Ways To Get Rid Of Head Lice

As we have mentioned already apple cider vinegar is not effective for lice treatment. Here are other effective ways to get rid of lice:

  1. Wet combing your hair is one of the best ways to get rid of head lice. According to a study conducted in Belgium, wet combing is the easiest way to remove lice (2). Mix some conditioner with water in a spray bottle and spritz the solution all over your hair. Then, use a nit comb to remove the lice and eggs.
  2. You can also apply coconut, olive, or almond oil to suffocate the lice. Smothering only helps in making the lice sluggish and slow, thus making it easy to catch them with a nit comb.
  3. You may also try using essential oils like tea tree oil, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, or clove oil. This technique involves mixing 2 ounces of olive oil with 15-20 drops of the essential oil and applying this blend to your hair with a cotton ball. Let the oil sit in your hair for 12 hours. Comb out the lice and nits before you wash off the oil. Repeat this method every day till you are sure that there are no live lice or nits left in your hair.
  4. Clean and disinfect all your combs and other hair accessories like hair clips, hats, and scarves to prevent the lice from spreading.


There is no scientific evidence to prove that apple cider vinegar is effective in getting rid of lice. The best way to kill lice is by wet combing your hair. Don’t worry – it may be frustrating and embarrassing to get infested by lice. But if you wet comb your hair every day diligently, you can say goodbye to those pesky little pests in just a few days’ time!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should you leave apple cider vinegar in your hair for lice?

You can leave apple cider vinegar in your hair for 15-20 minutes. Try not to exceed this time limit as it can disturb the pH balance of your scalp and dry out your hair.

Is coconut oil mixed with apple cider vinegar an effective lice treatment?

Though anecdotal evidence suggests that ACV mixed with coconut oil is a good way to get rid of lice, there is no scientific evidence to prove the same.

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  1. Home remedies to control head lice: assessment of home remedies to control the human head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae)
  2. Wet combing for head lice: feasibility in mass screening, treatment preference and outcome
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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).