How Does Tea Tree Oil Treat Lice?

Head Lice

Head lice is a growing problem for families, especially those with school age children. Head lice are tiny parasitic bugs that live on the scalp and hair of the human head. They are whitish in color and lay eggs, attaching them to the hair shaft. The eggs are called nits and are white or brown colored specks that won't come off easily. Lice are very hardy little creatures and there are many pesticide products on the market to get rid of them. The problem with that though is that lice are so easily spread that children can get them more than once from other children. Repeated use of pesticides that include chemicals can become dangerous, plus can totally destroy the pH balance of hair. An alternative method of getting rid of head lice is tea tree oil. While there is no medical evidence backing its effectiveness against head lice, mothers everywhere swear by using tea tree oil on head lice instead of chemical preparations.

Tree Tea Oil

Tea tree oil comes from a plant called melaleuca alternifolia. It is an oil created by steaming the plant. The oil created contains anti-fungal components. While there are no recorded verified studies available as proof, it is believed that head lice are repelled by these anti fungal properties.


Tea tree oil is very strong and can burn the skin if used alone. It should be mixed with shampoo. Pour the normal amount you use when shampooing into a small dish and mix it with 3 to 10 drops of tea tree oil. The number of drops depends on how long the person's hair is. Shorter hair needs less shampoo so therefore less tea tree oil. Use the shampoo tea tree oil mix to shampoo the hair but don't rinse. Put a shower cap over the persons head with the shampoo still in the hair. Let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse the shampoo out. Use a lice comb to comb out all of the nits. The tea tree oil will repel the lice, making them easier to comb out and the lice comb will pull the nits off the hair shafts.


To help prevent further outbreaks there are shampoos that already have tea tree oil in them. Using these like a regular shampoo to keep hair clean will act as a repellent so that lice will not be attracted to the hair. This is because the anti-fungal agents in the tea tree oil will always be in the hair with regular use