Hair Care

Does Coconut Oil Get Rid Of Lice?

Does Coconut Oil Get Rid Of Lice? March 13, 2018

Lice. The mere mention of this little 4-letter word can send anyone in a state of complete panic. I mean, who wants gross little critters crawling around on their head and sucking the blood out of their scalp? And yet, it happens to the best and most careful of us. So, now you probably want to fly into a tizzy and start buying every one of those harsh chemical-based lice treatments at the drugstore. But wait! Before you blow a bunch of money on products that will damage your hair, just take a look at your kitchen or medicine cabinet and I’m sure you will definitely find a bottle of coconut oil in there. But, let’s back up a second! Before we start looking into how  to use coconut oil for lice treatment, I’m sure your first thought after discovering that you have lice was about where you could have possibly gotten them from. So, let’s first talk about what could’ve caused your lice infestation.

What Is The Cause Of Lice Infestation?

Let’s start with a little known fact, shall we? Now, we all know that head lice are parasites that tend to take up residence on people’s heads. But, did you know that a head lice infestation is more formally known as pediculosis? Yep, it’s called so because the scientific name of head louse is Pediculus humanus capitis.

As for how or why you contract head lice, the answer is pretty straightforward – you contract head lice when you come in direct or indirect contact with someone who has head lice. Confused? Let me break it down for you:



  • Coming in close personal contact with someone who has head lice can cause them to transfer from their head to yours. This could include hugging them, sitting close to them, sleeping next to them, etc. This is why lice spread so quickly among school-going kids as they are in close quarters together and play with each other for several hours a day.
  • Sharing clothing such as hats, caps, scarves (basically stuff that comes pretty close to your head) with someone who has head lice.


  • Sharing hair tools like combs, brushes, towels, or hair accessories like clips or headbands with someone who has head lice.
  • Lying on a bed, pillow, or sofa that has been used by someone with head lice in the last 48 hours.

Now, it can be pretty embarrassing if you are a grown adult who has been infested with head lice. And it’s also pretty easy to get grossed out by someone who has them. But one thing you should remember is that having head lice is not a sign of poor hygiene. It happens to the best of us and it’s better to start treating the problem as quickly as you can instead of wasting time feeling embarrassed or being judgemental. And the easiest way to do so is with coconut oil! Why, you ask? Well, just keep reading to know why…

Why You Should Use Coconut Oil To Get Rid Of Lice

If you are a regular visitor of the interwebz than you have probably encountered the mass phenomenon that is coconut oil. It is being used for everything from cleansing teeth to cleaning makeup brushes. So it comes as no surprise that people started wondering if it could be used to get rid of lice as well. This became even more necessary as lice, over the years, have developed resistance towards the insecticide permethrin which was earlier used widely to treat lice infestations.



So, of course, studies were undertaken to check if coconut oil really was effective in getting rid of lice. One study done in Israel found that a mixture of coconut, anise, and ylang ylang oils was highly effective in treating louse infestations and did not cause any side effects (1). Another study conducted in the UK concluded that a coconut and anise oil spray can be a much more effective treatment for lice than permethrin solution (2).

But how does coconut oil work to get rid of lice? There are three main reasons for this. First, its thick consistency helps suffocate the lice and essentially kill them. Second, because coconut oil is viscous in nature, it prevents the lice from transferring onto clothes and furniture, thus stopping them from spreading to other people. Lastly, it contains fatty acids like capric acid, lauric acid and caprylic acid that make your hair strands slippery and difficult for the lice to grasp and easy for you to comb them out.

But perhaps the most important reason for using coconut oil for lice treatment is the fact that it’s an all natural remedy that offers the added benefit of conditioning your hair and making it smoother. The chemical-based lice treatments that you get in drugstores, on the other hand, can damage your hair and also cause side effects like nausea, diarrhea, and blurred vision if ingested.

[ Read: The Amazing Benefits Of Coconut Oil For Hair ]

Now there are a ton of ways that you can use coconut oil to get rid of lice. Let’s look at some of them…

How To Use Coconut Oil For Lice

While coconut oil by itself works great in getting rid of head lice, you can mix it with a few other ingredients to increase its effectiveness and to give your hair a nourishing boost.

1. Just Plain Ol’ Coconut Oil

As we discussed earlier, coconut oil is a pretty potent lice treatment. And it’s oh-so-easy to use! Here’s what you need to do…

How To Use
  • Apply coconut oil all over your hair and massage it into your scalp.
  • Wrap a towel around your head and leave it on for an hour.
  • Remove the towel and comb out the lice and eggs with a nit comb.
  • Wash your hair with a shampoo and conditioner.

2. Coconut Oil And Apple Cider Vinegar



Coconut oil and apple cider vinegar may sound like a strange combination but they actually work really well together to get rid of lice. This is because apple cider vinegar dissolves the glue that lice secrete to stick to your hair shaft.

How To Use
  • Mix equal amounts of coconut oil and apple cider vinegar, making sure you have enough of the mixture to apply all over your hair.
  • Apply the mixture all over your hair and massage it into your scalp.
  • Put on a shower cap and leave it on for 15 minutes.
  • Comb out the lice and eggs with a nit comb.
  • Shampoo and condition your hair.

3. Coconut Oil And Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is one of those miracle natural ingredients that work as a potent antibacterial and insecticide. So, it pairs perfectly with coconut oil in getting rid of lice.

How To Use
  • Mix 5 drops of tea tree oil with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
  • Apply this oil mixture all over your hair and massage it into your scalp.
  • Put on a shower cap and leave it on overnight.
  • The next morning, blowdry your hair over the shower cap to suffocate the lice.
  • Remove the shower cap and comb out the lice and eggs with a nit comb.
  • Shampoo and condition your hair.

4. Coconut Oil And Garlic



Who doesn’t love garlic bread and garlic in their pasta? But the thought of putting garlic on your hair may be too stinky for some. However, garlic works as a great antiparasitic and antifungal agent that helps in getting rid of lice, especially when mixed with coconut oil.

How To Use
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of garlic juice with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
  • Apply this mixture to your hair and scalp.
  • Put on a shower cap and leave it on for an hour.
  • Remove the shower cap and comb out the lice and eggs with a nit comb.
  • Wash your hair with a shampoo and conditioner.

5. Coconut Oil, Lemon Juice and Green Tea

When it comes to treating a lice infestation, these 3 ingredients combine to make a pretty powerful weapon. While the coconut oil makes your hair too slippery for the lice to latch on, the acidity of the lemon juice makes an inhospitable environment for them. As for the green tea, it counteracts the harshness of the lemon juice and reduces the inflammation on your scalp where you have scratched it too much.

How To Use
  • Mix 1 tablespoon each of coconut oil, lemon juice, and green tea together.
  • Apply this mixture to your hair and massage it into your scalp.
  • Put on a shower cap and leave it on for an hour.
  • Comb out the lice and eggs with a nit comb before washing your hair.

Well, aren’t you glad you can get rid of those pesky lice with something as simple as coconut oil? I sure am. So comment below to let us know which remedy worked best for you!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Do lice jump from person to person?

No, lice cannot jump from person to person. They spread when the person with lice gets in close contact with another person or shares a comb, clothes, hat, pillow, etc. with them.

How do lice spread?

Lice spread when an infested person comes in direct or indirect (through clothes, furniture) contact with non-infested persons.

How do you know if you have lice or dandruff?

if you can see white nit eggs that are stuck to your hair shaft, then you have lice. If your scalp has turned white or yellow, is scaly in texture, and white flakes are falling off of it every time you touch your hair, then you have dandruff.

Can lice make my scalp/head smell bad?

No, lice cannot make your scalp/head smell bad.

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