Apple cider vinegar for lice: Does it actually works?

apple cider vinegar for lice

Wondering whether apple cider vinegar for lice is a good treatment? Then you are at the right place.

I am sure you would agree with me that we all have those irritating lice at some point in our lives. Whenever we suffer from Head lice, our immediate concern is getting rid of them as soon as possible before they make our lives miserable. 

Be it over-the-counter medicines, anti-lice shampoos and home remedies, each one of these we wants to try out for relieving our heads off lice. 

Most often than not, trying out some good home remedies is our first choice and among those choices, apple cider vinegar for lice is a popular choice.

This post explores whether apple cider vinegar is a good choice for lice treatment and removal and what are some of the best home remedies to get rid of lice naturally.

So, if you want an answer to your question then leaving this post without complete reading is not an option.

What are head lice and what causes them?

What are the causes of head lice?

“Head lice are tiny insects that live on humans as parasites and feed on human blood”.

Common causes of lice

  • Direct person-to-person contact like hugging, sleeping and sitting etc.with a person already suffering from them 
  • Indirect contact with household shared items like hats, bedding, hairbrush, mufflers, caps, and helmets, etc.
  • Sexual activity which causes the spread of pubic lice

How to use Apple Cider Vinegar for lice treatment?

Apple cider vinegar for lice treatment

How Apple cider vinegar treats lice?

Why acetic acid could be a potential remedy for lice treatment is because of the following properties of acetic acid

  • The acetic acid contained in the apple cider vinegar actually has great antiseptic or germ-killing properties
  • The acetic acid contained in it can loosen the grip of nits to the hair shaft that allows for their easy removal.with a fine-toothed comb. 

Vinegar is commonly used as an effective head lice treatment, but it is actually often misused. The truth is that apple cider vinegar only helps in killing head lice eggs called nits or young lice, not adult lice since it lacks those killing properties.

Still, those head lice eggs killed by apple cider vinegar are not completely removed by it, rather, you still have to comb them away with a fine-tooth comb to remove them permanently from your head.

If you really want to get rid of adult head lice, you would have to use certain home remedies like olive oil and other essential oils like tea tree oil for lice.

Best Apple cider vinegar recipes for lice

There are a lot of apple cider vinegar recipes that can be used to treat the budding lice before that develops into an adult head lice and your apple cider vinegar application is of no use.

Here some natural lice treatments with apple cider vinegar. that you need to try to treat your budding lice.

1. Apple cider vinegar with water

Apple cider vinegar and water for lice treatment

Why does this work?

  • The 5% concentration of acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is an effective antiseptic or germ-killing agent that effectively neutralizes the lice eggs to avoid their development in adult harmful adult lice.
  • Water in this apple cider vinegar recipe helps to dilute its acidic concentration

How to make this home lice treatment?

  1. Take a cup of raw apple cider vinegar and water and mix both to help dilute its acidic concentration.
  2. Now, taking this mixture of apple cider vinegar and water, thoroughly rub over your head from all sides and let it rest for about 30 minutes on your head.
  3. After 30 minutes, rinse your head off with slightly lukewarm water.
  4. Finally, as the nits have lost their grip over the hair shaft, use a fine comb to completely pull them away from your head.
  5. Use this apple cider vinegar and water recipe for at least twice a week to effectively treat lice eggs.

2. Apple cider vinegar with mineral oil

Apple cider vinegar and mineral oil treatment

Why does this work?

  • Mineral oil in this apple cider vinegar recipe helps constricts the breathing holes of lice and make it difficult for them to survive for long on your heads
  • Apple cider vinegar, on the other hand, loosens the grip of nits from their hair shafts to help their removal by using a fine-toothed comb.

How to use this anti-lice treatment? 

  1. Mix equal quantities of raw apple cider vinegar and mineral oil.
  2. Now, properly apply all over your head and leave it for the whole night and keep your head covered with a shower cap.
  3. The next morning, wash away your head with lukewarm water.
  4. Now, using a fine comb, remove all the lice and eggs with a fine brush.
  5. Apply this remedy twice a week before you get rid of lice permanently.

3. Apple cider vinegar with olive oil

Apple cider vinegar with olive oil for lice treatment

How does this work?

  • Olive oil helps to drown the lice eggs and make their movement difficult and hence their growth from new lice eggs.
  • Apple cider vinegar helps to loosen the grip of eggs onto the hair shaft to make their removal with a fine-tooth comb easier.

How to make this treatment?

  1. Take 7-10 drops of lukewarm olive oil and add it to the equal number of drops of tea tree oil and cover your head with a shower cap.
  2. After 30-40 minutes, when the grip of lice has loosened, use a fine-tooth comb to remove them away from your scalp.
  3. Now, rinse your head with lukewarm water and apply shampoo.
  4. Once your scalp is clean, soak it with apple cider vinegar and wear a shower cap again and let it rest for about an hour before you comb out those eggs and lice.
  5. Finally, rinse off your hair and keep using this about twice a week to see positive results.

4. Apple cider vinegar with salt & olive oil

Apple cider vinegar, salt and olive oil for lice treatment

Why this remedy works?

  • A combination of apple cider vinegar and salt is a powerful combination to dehydrate and skittle the development of lice or nits.
  • Olive oil or other related oil like coconut oil can further supplement this remedy by smothering the lice.

How to use this apple cider vinegar treatment?

  1. Take about ¼ cup of salt and add it to apple cider vinegar to help it dissolve thoroughly and pour the mixture in a spray bottle
  2. Now, thoroughly spray the mixture over your head and cover it up with a shower cap and let the mixture over your head dry.
  3. After leaving for drying overnight, rinse it off the next morning and using a fine-toothed comb, remove it away.
  4. After rinsing off, shampoo it and use a fine-toothed comb again.
  5. Try this remedy for at least twice a week to get good results

Other best natural remedies for treating lice

natural remedies for lice treatment

1. Essential oil treatment for lice

Essential oil trreatment for lice

Using essential oil with simple combing can be another good home remedy for treating head lice. The oils that have shown effectiveness are:

  • tea tree oil
  • lavender oil
  • neem oil
  • clove oil
  • eucalyptus oil
  • aniseed oil
  • cinnamon leaf oil
  • red thyme oil
  • peppermint oil
  • nutmeg oil

How to use them?

  1. Take about 10-15 drops of any of the essentials oils listed above and mix it with about 2 ounces of olive oil. Stir both well to get a good mix
  2. Using a few cotton balls, thoroughly apply this mixture over the scalp and leave it for the whole night – at least 12 hours while covered with a shower cap
  3. In the morning, rinse it off and comb. Apply shampoo and comb again.
  4. Repeat this practice for at least 2 times a week to effectively remove any head lice.

Alternative option

Another good alternative approach is to mix about 15 drops of these essential oils in 2-3 ounce of rubbing alcohol and spray this mixture over your scalp and leave it for about 10-12 hours and, in the next morning, rinse it, shampoo it and comb out the dead lice and its eggs.

Caution please!
Alcohol is a very good preventative treatment for lice. You can continue to use it for head lice prevention after you use it in this way.

Essential oils should never be ingested as some of these could be very toxic. Also, Never bring them in direct contact with your skin or scalp and always first dilute them with a carrier oil and patch test a small drop to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction to them.

Some of the children can be allergic to them and if you find any of this essential oil causing a reaction, move on, and try the next in the list.

2. Kitchen Salt for head lice

kitchen salt for lice treatment

Your kitchen salt can be another good home remedy for eradicating your head lice thanks to its amazing dryness causing properties that make it impossible for head lice to thrive.

To use this home remedy

  1. Take an equal amount of common salt and vinegar, ¼ of a cup is ideal and mix both thoroughly and store it in a spray bottle.
  2. Now, thoroughly spread this mixture over your scalp and put a shower cap to protect it and leave it for about 2-3 hours before you rinse it off with lukewarm water and comb out the dead lice with a fine-tooth comb.

Use this common salt and vinegar remedy for at least twice a week.

3. Garlic for head lice

Garlic for head lice

A Garlic is another effective home remedy for head lice that can be prepared right from your kitchen.

Loaded with powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, garlic can effectively neutralize head lice and make their growth difficult on your scalp.

To use it as a remedy against head lice,

  1. Grind out a little garlic to make a fine paste and mix it with lemon juice and get a good mixture.
  2. Apply this thick paste over lice-infested scalp and leave it out for about 30-40 minutes.
  3. After about half an hour, rinse off your hair with a good shampoo and comb out dead lice and keep doing it for at least a couple of times a week to effectively remove any sort of head lice.

4. Petroleum jelly for head lice

Petroleum jelly for head lice

Petroleum jelly is another solid remedy for treating head lice. It kills head lice by acting as a good suffocant which means it constricts the breathing space in their breathing tubes which kills them. I

To use as a remedy against head lice,

  1. Simply slather a thick layer of petroleum jelly over your scalp at night and go to sleep while it is covered with a shower cap.
  2. Next, in the morning, use some baby oil to properly remove petroleum jelly from your head and after that, rinse off your head with lukewarm water and comb out dead lice with a fine-toothed comb.

Best Head lice tips & tricks

Best head lice tips and tricks

While there are good remedies to get rid of your head lice but there are some other handy lice tips & tricks that can be equally effective against those stubborn head lice.

1. Try out wet-combing

wet combing for lice treatment

Wet combing is an old way of dealing with lice.

Essentially, According to BMJ. It implies putting a conditioner on wet hair strands that make the examination and distinction of head lice from dandruff easier to enable you to accurately take out those lice with a fine-toothed comb.

Note: Although the method of wet-combing is effective, it is fairly time-consuming and you or your child can get bored.

2. Smoother out the lice

olive oil for lice treatment

Smothering out the lice means “suffocating them to kill them.” Once you smother them, you comb the dead lice out which according to some experts is one thing which kills lice, not the smothering of them.

How to employ this smothering out technique?

  1. Start by coating your hair with either olive or almond oil( don’t use vaseline and mayonnaise) or alternatively, coat the comb with either of this oil you are going to use to remove head lice. (you have to test out both the method to know which works best.)
  2. Now, separate out your hair into smaller, easy-to-comb sections. You can use hair clips to get them separate.
  3. Once you have created an individual section of your hair, thoroughly comb out your hair to remove the dead lice clinging to hair strands.
  4. Once you’ve completely combed your child’s hair, wash their hair with their regular shampoo, rinse, and repeat. Then dry their hair.

Keep doing this daily for almost a week for the first time and keep examining your head to make absolutely sure, lice are gone.

3. Clean out your house

clean out house for lice treatment
ID:250972204

Cleaning out your household items, hats, pillowcases, brushes, or combs or anything that comes in contact with lice infected person or child is another simple effective home remedy to get rid of lice.

Or washing out these things in slightly hot water is another good option. 

To do that…

Either, wash out any lice-infested household item in hot water (that is kept at 54 degrees celsius) or putting out these in a hot dryer for 15-20 minutes or using an air-tight container for about 7-10 weeks to kill out all nits or lice effectively.

Note: You don’t want to ignore vacuum floors and furniture where lice may have fallen.

Don’ts for getting rid of head lice

Don'ts for getting rid of lice

According to the Centre for Disease Control & Prevention, CDC, the following are the things you need to avoid doing to effectively get rid of lice. 

  1. Don’t overuse the recommended dosage for lice prevention as it can cause a side effect.
  2. Don’t use the same lice treatment for more than three times as you or your child can become resistant to the medication.
  3. Don’t use two lice medication together as it can give a reaction that can do more harm than good.
  4. Don’t use fumigation in the household to kill the lice as it has been proven unnecessary and it can harm your pets.
  5. Don’t condition your lice-infested hair as it can make your hair remedies difficult to stick to hair strands which fails the purpose.
  6. Don’t use lindane shampoos for head lice treatment for your children as AAP– The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend it anymore due to its proven misuse and toxicity it can cause to them.

Best Head lice prevention tips

best lice prevention tips
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  • Get all of your family members to check out for lice treatment and immediately start treatment to avoid its spread to others in the house.
  • Teach your kids to avoid a lot of head-to-head contacts. Often little children are unaware of any kind of lice and when they play around, they are very likely to touch each other heads giving lice pathways to crawl over to another host. 
  • Keep a smaller fine-toothed comb with you, and use it over your head at least once a week with your regular wide-toothed comb to take out any budding lice from lice eggs.
  • Regularly wash out bedding, clothing or anything that might get contaminated with lice over time in hot water to kill any budding head lice.
  • Regularly wash your brushes, combs by keeping them soaked in hot water or alcohol.
  • Avoid sharing your personal items or of your children with others and especially if his head is infected with lice.

How to use Apple cider vinegar shampoo for lice treatment at home?

FAQs

Q: How long do you leave the vinegar in your hair to kill lice?

Ans: 30-40 minutes. 
To kill lice with vinegar, you have to wait for at least 30-40 minutes. Never apply it directly over your scalp rather mix it with water and make it a little diluted.

Q: Can you use vinegar to get rid of head lice?

Ans: Definitely, you can use vinegar to get rid of head lice. Apple cider vinegar is effective at getting rid of head lice due to following these lice killing properties.
1. The acetic acid contained in the apple cider vinegar actually has great antiseptic or germ-killing properties
2. The acetic acid contained in it can loosen the grip of nits to the hair shaft that allows for their easy removal.with a fine-toothed comb. 

Q: Does apple cider vinegar kill lice?

Ans: Yes, Apple cider vinegar can get rid of lice as it is effective at getting rid of head lice due to following these lice killing properties.
1. The acetic acid contained in the apple cider vinegar actually has great antiseptic or germ-killing properties
2. The acetic acid contained in it can loosen the grip of nits to the hair shaft that allows for their easy removal.with a fine-toothed comb. 

Q: How do you get rid of lice overnight?

Ans: You can kill and get rid of head lice overnight by trying any of these home remedies involving apple cider vinegar.
1. Apple cider vinegar with water
2. Apple cider vinegar with mineral oil
3. Apple cider vinegar with olive oil
4. Apple cider vinegar with salt & olive oil
5. Essential oil treatment for lice
6. Salt for head lice
7. Garlic for head lice
8. Petroleum jelly for head lice

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