Coconut shampoo and other safe, inexpensive methods for eliminating head lice

Eliminating Head Lice

TDS Reader Solutions

How to Conquer Debt eBook

Help, Please

Does anyone out there have a safe, inexpensive way to treat head lice? I work for a preschool and the head lice problem is out of control. The OTC medications aren't working. The school is suggesting mayonnaise or Vaseline. Parents don't have the time or money to buy all the OTC products and pick the lice out of children's hair. If anyone has an alternative that works, please let me know.
Teresa V

Alcohol Treatment

I am an LPN at a high school. Yes, even high schoolers get head lice! Some of the students are repeaters and I have to stay on top of the problem. I have one young lady that comes from a low-income home and they use kerosene. This is a no no!

One solution to remove those stubborn nits is to put some alcohol on a cotton ball and pull it over the nit that is on the shaft of the hair. It is time consuming, but it sometimes is necessary.

Olive Oil

As the child is going to bed, pour warmed olive oil on his head and run it through the hair like shampoo. Wrap his head in a plastic shower cap and put him to bed. In the morning, wash the child's head to get the oil out. The lice should be dead. Just pick through the hair with a fine tooth comb to get the eggs out. Do this three nights in a row. Check through hair the rest of the week and repeat only if necessary.

Vinegar Solution

We have found that white vinegar helps with removing lice and nits. It is especially helpful if you satuate the hair and scalp in vinegar and then wrap either a towel or a bag around the hair for about an hour or two. We have also just allowed the vinegar to dry over night on the hair.

You can also use creamy baby oil in the hair. It will suffocate the lice. We have used several over-the-counter products and called the Peditrician for prescription and was told to use vinegar or mayonaise. Friends of mine suggested creamy baby oil, which I have found is best on preschoolers. Vinegar does burn a bit, but it is cheaper than the creamy baby oil. Do not use plain baby oil as it takes forever to wash out.

Petroleum Jelly

Do not waste money on over-the-counter medications. Some can do harm (read the labels). Use petroleum jelly instead. Get a large jar (generic is ok), and apply over the scalp. Rub in well. This suffocates the lice and their eggs. You may have to shampoo several times to remove the petroleum jelly, but it is safe and less expensive.

No Fast Fixes

I have been working with children of various ages in our local school district for almost 15 years. I have seen it all, when it comes to head lice. The first thing I would do is sit in a very good light and pull the nits out one by one. This is going to take a while. If you want to get rid of them for good, there are no fast fixes. Dispose of them in a plastic bag as you are pulling them out. Remove any live ones. Shampoo the child's hair and then coat with a lot of vaseline. Cover with a plastic bag. Most people do this at night. {It will take several shampoos to get the vaseline out of the hair.) Wash everything that is washable. If it is not washable, put them in garbage bags and secure the top tightly. Put outside and leave for two weeks.

Change sheets and wash daily each time the child has slept on them. You will need to get a spray. There are several on the market. Spray couches, carpets, cars {most people forget them}, and any other item that can't be washed. I know this sounds like a lot of work. If you do not do this, you will have the lice back in two weeks. It's an endless cycle. Make sure you wash the things in the hottest water possible. Don't give up there is an end in sight.

Coconut Shampoo

Coconut shampoo and conditioner gets rid of lice. I have four girls. A few years ago we had a reoccuring lice problem. I was frantic. Nothing worked. From a search on the Internet, I discovered coconut shampoo. The coconut oil kills them. We got Suave coconut shampoo and conditioner, and every morning for about a week, they would wash their hair with the shampoo, put the conditioner on, and then call me. I would comb through the conditioner combing out bugs and nits. Then they'd rinse. We did that everyday until nothing combed out. Haven't had lice since. Now we alternate with coconut shampoo every other bottle we buy as a preventive measure. We haven't had lice since, nor has anyone else I told about it. It's a serious problem in our schools as well.
Debbie S.

Hot Water and a Comb

I used to work for a school nurse. The best solution we found was to use the OTC and to dip the lice comb into boiling water between each stroke through the hair. The boiling water helped to loosen the glue that holds the nits on the hair shaft.
Beth W.

Reviewed January 2018

Take the Next Step:

  • Here are some additional tips for getting rid of lice.
  • Discover more natural health remedies for common ailments by visiting the Dollar Stretcher Library.
  • Do you have a debt problem? We have a remedy for that, too. The TDS ebook How to Conquer Your Debt No Matter How Much You Have can provide you with the tools you need to cure debt and heal your finances.
  • It's tough raising kids today! You need every time and money saving idea you can find. That's why you'll want to get our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents newsletter. You'll find great ideas designed just for parents that will help your family 'live better...for less'! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

Stay Connected with TDS


Little Luxuries

to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Debt Book