How to Treat Head Lice With Tea Tree Oil Shampoo

Combing through wet hair can remove lice eggs, also called nits.
Combing through wet hair can remove lice eggs, also called nits. (Image: combing hair image by Mat Hayward from

According to the Mayo Clinic, head lice are the second leading communicable disease affecting school children after the common cold. These tiny, wingless insects lay eggs in the hair at the scalp and can cause itching, inflammation and rash. Head lice spread by close contact with other infected people or objects, and can live for a short time on hats, combs, pillowcases and towels. A specific substance in tea tree oil, called terpinen-4-ol, has been clinically proven to attack and kill lice on contact.

Things You'll Need

  • Tea tree oil shampoo
  • Regular shampoo (optional)
  • Tea tree oil (optional)
  • Fine-toothed comb

Wash hair with either tea tree oil shampoo, or your regular shampoo with four to five drops of tea tree oil added.

Comb through wet hair with a fine-toothed comb, wiping it on a towel as you comb to remove any eggs or nits. Set the towel aside to be washed in tea tree oil.

Repeat the process every day until you find no more nits on the comb.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prevent a lice re-infestation by washing all pillows, sheets and blankets in hot water with a few drops of tea tree oil.
  • Tea tree oil is toxic if swallowed--it is for topical use only.
  • If you are allergic to eucalyptus, allspice or cloves, do not use tea tree oil as a serious allergic reaction can occur.

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