Does Tea Tree Oil Really Get Rid Of Lice?

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There is absolutely nothing worse than getting that phone call from your child’s school saying that they are being sent home because they have lice. If this is your first time experiencing this phenomenon, then you’ll find yourself asking everyone around you the following questions: Who do I call? What do I say to my child? How do I make sure that nobody around us catches it? What if I catch it? Do I have to throw everything away? But most importantly…what can I do to treat it?! All good questions. And here is where my how-to guide on tea tree oil for lice prevention and treatment comes in.

All of your lice-related questions are important and will need to be dealt with in a timely and organized fashion. There are so many different types of treatments that you can find for this scary problem. But most solutions you’ll find will be filled with unwanted chemicals that are actually extremely harmful and dangerous. So why do people use them? Good question… the answer is simple. When you think there are no alternatives, you do what you must to get rid of the problem!

And with something like lice, people are eager to find a solution without wasting time. Even just reading (or in my case, writing) the name is enough to send chills up a person’s spine, so there’s no time to spare when looking for a quick fix. But with all of the options and products out there, how are you supposed to know what to get? You might have heard of margarine, shower caps, mayonnaise, and vinegar all being a part of the head lice treatment process, but some of this can get pretty messy. Maybe you’ve already heard about tea tree oil as a form of lice prevention, but can it help get rid of lice as well? Is it worth a try? Keep on readin’ to find out.

Getting To Know About Lice

woman hair bun

Curing lice with tea tree oil.

Most people aren’t super educated about the headache that is lice. Maybe you had lice once or twice as a kid and you remember getting to stay home from school while all of your teddy bears went bye-bye in a big, air-tight bag. Perhaps you were even scarred from the experience and to this day cannot stand the smell of vinegar because of it. (No, just me then?) But what actually is lice? How do you even begin treating it? What do you need to know about these little buggers?


Let’s get the facts straight. The life cycle of a louse contains 3 stages- eggs, nymphs, and adults. Lice eggs are commonly known as and referred to as nits. Nits might be confused for dandruff, but you can tell the difference because they will not fall out as easily. Lice typically attach their nits to strands of hair, close to the scalp.

If the nits are brown, yellow or tan, this is a sign that they have not hatched yet. Once they become white or even clear, this means that the lice have hatched and that just the eggs are left. There is usually a 1-2 week period between when the eggs are laid and when they hatch.


Live lice are minuscule bugs that feed on blood from a person’s scalp. Another name for a lice infestation is pediculosis capitis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), there are three types of lice. And one of them is the head-afflicting pediculus humanus capitis.

Symptoms of lice include itching on the neck, ears, and scalp. This is actually the body’s allergic reaction to louse saliva. Interestingly enough, if a person has lice for the first time, they might not even feel the itching until a few weeks after the problem starts. Which is why regular lice checks, especially for kids, is particularly important. Catching these little guys at the beginning will save you, and plenty of people around you, from a tremendous amount of stress and effort later on.

Lice can happen to anyone, as it’s contagious. Yet a lice scalp infestation is most common in kids. They’re often playing in pretty close quarters, sharing hats and other costume accessories, and running around with long, loose hair.

But never fear, having lice does not mean that you are an unclean person, no matter what age you get it at. It should not be a poor reflection on you. And luckily, head lice do not carry bacterial or viral infectious diseases. It’s a big nuisance, that’s for sure, but it’s nothing to get too dramatic about.

Treatment Options

Woman smiling while holding up her hair

Woman with healthy hair.

Nits often survive chemical shampoos and different kinds of harsh treatments. The hair and scalp are already irritated; the additional chemicals needed only increase the risk for hair and scalp damage. Not something we’re generally looking for when we’re trying to improve our hair and scalp situation.

I thought to myself that there had to be a better and more natural solution for this terrifying condition. After all, why try to make a person’s hair situation better when you know there’s a big risk that you’ll actually wind up making it worse instead? So it was time to do my research. In literally seconds of doing the proper research, I found the results to be astonishing. Tea tree oil was a great natural remedy to help with lice treatment. And the reality is…. Half the world doesn’t even know! So I feel it is my moral obligation to educate you about the benefits of using tea tree oil in the treatment of head lice.

What Is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil is also known as melaleuca oil or ti tree oil. It’s one of many types of essential oils, and its color ranges from light yellow to clear. The oil comes from the leaves of the tea tree, also known as the Melaleuca alternifolia. The tree is native to parts of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia.

Tea tree oil is not for consumption via the mouth, as it can be toxic in this case. Yet tea tree oil has long been a part of traditional medicine and is often used topically in order to treat various skin conditions and infections.

As more and more studies surface, it’s been shown that one of the many benefits of tea tree oil is that it serves as a powerful weapon to kill head lice without any harmful side effects. Here’s how – it’s actually pretty simple:

Tea tree oil contains natural insecticides as well as antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. It also contains terpinen, which is a natural, bacteria-fighting ingredient. All of these prevent and kill lice in an effective and safe way. Tea tree oil is able to actually coat the hair and scalp, contains agents that will kill head lice and its eggs, and soothes and heals the irritated scalp affected by lice. So tea tree oil for head lice treatment is definitely recommended.

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Tea Tree Oil In Action

Womans hands pouring essential oil on cotton pad.

DIY tea tree oil solution.

Now that we have learned the secret and benefits of tea tree oil for hair, it’s time to talk about the different ways it can be used. In all honesty, I think that almost any way which you use this oil can be pretty effective. But everyone has different preferences of ways they choose to apply it. Let’s explore our options:

1. Apply Tea Tree Oil Directly

To start it off simply, you can find tea tree oil online or in stores and just apply it to the scalp by itself. Sprinkle a few drops of tea tree oil on the head that has lice. The important thing to do is to make sure to do this BEFORE going to sleep. Once you do that, leave it in overnight with a towel on the pillow to kill the lice and all the eggs. When you wake up the next morning, combing the hair will help you remove the dead lice. But make sure to wash the towel and everything you touched REALLY well! You don’t want any traces of lice lying around your house once you deal with the problem.

2. Shampoo and Conditioner

Back view of man washing hair in shower.

Person showering.

When dealing with lice, regular shampoo just won’t do. You’ll need something that specifically targets lice in order to get the job done. Go find a good tea tree oil conditioner and lice shampoo that has tea tree oil as one of the ingredients. I personally find this method to be the easiest and most effective. Once you’ve found the right product for you, wash the hair thoroughly and repeat regularly as needed. Tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner are known to be great for repelling and killing lice. But even if I wasn’t trying to get rid of lice, I would personally still buy it.

3. Make Your Own Combo

Although tea tree oil by itself can be pretty effective, there are also a few different ways that are said to work as well. For example, you can make your own combo using tea tree oil with lavender oil. What it does, in a nutshell, is work as a repellent (and it has a great smell too!). Just mix together a teaspoon of tea tree oil and a half teaspoon of lavender oil. Apply the solution to the affected scalp and hair. This can be done as many times as you find necessary.

Combining tea tree oil with olive oil can help solve the problem as well. Although the sound of it might be a little less pleasant than the other options, research shows that it’s just as effective, if not more. This is because olive oil contains insecticide properties that loosen the lice and help remove it more easily. In order to make this combination, you mix a few drops of tea tree oil and 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Put the solution on the affected scalp and hair. Leave it on for 30 – 60 minutes and then rinse with water. After using this solution, it’s recommended to rinse the hair again with vinegar to further prevent lice. Then use a lice comb to comb the hair and remove the dead lice.

Some Helpful Tea Tree Tips

  • Everyone knows that lice spread super fast and super easily through head contact, sharing hats, etc. It’s a kindergarten parent’s worst nightmare, as children are most prone to this issue. So when dealing with lice, remember that everyone in your house will need treatment as well. No man left behind, or the lice will take everyone down with them.
  • To take extra precautions, it is a good idea for family members to not share combs, pillows, or clothes. This helps to prevent the lice from spreading to others. You’ll be thanking yourself later for doing this.
  • Even when it comes to using safe and healthy remedies to treat the lice, such as tea tree oil, do not leave them on your scalp for more time than you are supposed to. Each product will have its own set of instructions which you should read and follow carefully. After all, the goal is to help your head, not harm it, so follow the instructions well.
  • Make sure to test the tea tree oil on a small section of your skin for sensitivity or allergies. If you need to, try diluting the oil with water. Only proceed with further treatment once you’ve ruled out any sensitivities.
  • If you are a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, you must speak to your health care provider before using tea tree oil in any kind of treatment of head lice to make sure that it is safe for you and your baby.
  • To make sure that the lice are really gone, collect toys, stuffed animals, clothes etc. in tightly sealed garbage bags. This smothers and kills the lice. You’ll probably also want to wash clothing and bedding in hot water. Collect anything you use such as cotton balls in tightly sealed bags and throw them away. You want to really make sure to get rid of the lice. Trust me, it’s not fun to go through all of the efforts, only to have the problem pop up again because there were still some lice lingering around.

DIY Tea Tree Oil For Lice Recipe

Birds eye view of essential oil bottles and flowers.

Essential oils for healthy hair.

Lice are something that every schoolchild and parent dreads, as it is highly contagious and incredibly annoying. The problem with lice is that aside from being uncomfortable and quite the nuisance, it also feels like an invasion of privacy to have these pesky critters crawling all over you and your possessions. They come into your home uninvited, join you in bed, and set up shop in your closets, too.

Thankfully, tea tree oil and lice go together like oil and water. Tea tree oil is a potent natural lice treatment. It can really help your child avoid the issue in the first place, and it can also treat an infection should you or your child be unfortunate enough to contract one.

Besides being an amazing natural treatment for a lice infection, tea tree oil also acts as a potent natural antibacterial and anti-fungal agent. This can help to keep your hair and scalp clean and free of germs or bacteria that may cause inflammation and ultimately lead to itchiness or dandruff.

How To Make It

Blend 10 – 15 drops of pure tea tree essential oil, 5 drops of lavender oil, 5 drops of rosemary and 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil together in a small plastic or glass container. Then seal it with a spray top. Following this, shake well and spray on warm, wet hair. Once you have thoroughly coated the hair and scalp, add a few more drops of tea tree oil to your palms and run your hands through the hair to give it an additional and final coat.

Next, wrap your hair in a clean towel for around 5 minutes. This will ensure that the oil seeps into your scalp and is thoroughly absorbed into your hair. Once the time has elapsed, run a fine-toothed comb through your hair and as the lice gather on the tip of the comb, quickly rinse them off and down the sink. Keep repeating this process at least once a day, every day, until the infection has lessened.

If you’re not getting favorable results, I’d recommend blending 15-20 drops of tea tree oil and 10 drops of eucalyptus oil with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Rub this mixture into your hair and cover it with a towel overnight or for at least 1 – 2 hours.

Once the time has elapsed, rinse your hair with a cup of apple cider vinegar and a cup of warm water. However, this should only be used as a last resort, as it can upset the natural oil balance of your scalp. This may cause knock-on effects on the quality of your hair. But once or twice a week should be fine for your hair- this is a highly effective treatment and should help do more serious damage to those pesky lice.

Naturally Solving The Lice Problem With Tea Tree Oil

Woman with curly hair putting hair oil drops in her hair.

Woman applying tea tree oil to her hair.

When anyone in my family or different people around me get lice, I get a bit freaked out. If a coworker tells me that their little kiddo is stuck at home with lice, I stay far, far away from them. Yet as stressful as the situation is, I’m confident to say that I’m able to be a bit calmer knowing that I have such a good, natural solution to this crazy problem. I have personally used shampoos and conditioners with tea tree oil and thank G-d, it works fast and effectively every single time.

As a parent, it makes me feel good knowing that I can rely on a natural product instead of filling my child’s head with harmful and unnatural chemicals.  Each time the problem arises I use different kinds of mixtures combined with tea tree oil for hair, and I’m so excited to say that it really does do the trick. Suddenly lice don’t sound so scary anymore.


Lice infestation is just about one of the peskiest problems to have to deal with. It’s no wonder that it was one of the ten plagues in Egypt! Whether we’re talking about kid lice or adult lice, it sure ain’t fun.

If you’re like me, you get freaked out by even the mention of the L-word. But, alas, it is something that we can’t permanently get rid of. Yet, with the right knowledge and products, we can deal with it when the problem hits too close to home.

Of course, there are over-the-counter treatments that you can try when treating lice, such as neem oil-based shampoos. Researchers have even created lotions to coat and suffocate lice in order to deal with them more easily. A common lice treatment is Permethrin, which both paralyzes and kills lice.

Yet if you want a more natural approach to lice removal, give tea tree oil a try. This versatile and healing essential oil has been used for ages in addressing a variety of issues, and its lice prevention and treatment qualities really make it stand out. You can use it in a variety of home remedies to show lice the door once and for all. And with an effective product, lice re-infestation will be one less thing for you to have to worry about.


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