Does Tea Tree Oil Repel Lice?

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Last updated: February 17, 2023

Does tea tree oil repel lice?

When you search online or ask any health expert to advise you on how to deal with lice infection, there are high chances you’ll hear something about tea tree oil.

The question is, does it work as claimed?

Well, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Reading Berkshire, UK, tea tree oil proved to be the most efficient remedy for lice infection compared to many other essential oils.

Apart from treating lice infection, it is also one of the oils that has proven quite beneficial in treating several complications that range from psoriasis to skin burns.

Tea tree oil is simply an extract of tea tree – Melaleuca alternifoliate that is obtained through a process of steam distillation.

To use it, you can spray, sprinkle or apply using cotton balls onto the scalp and hair affected. Here is everything you need to understand.

How to Use Tea Tree Oil to Repel Lice

  1. Tea Tree Oil Mixed with Shampoo
  2. Tea tree oil mixed with Olive oil
  3. 100% Pure Tea Tree Oil
  4. Tea Tree Oil mixed with Lavender Oil
  5. 100% Pure Tea Tree Oil

Does Tea Tree Oil Kill Lice?

Tea tree oil contains several ingredients with anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral properties.

These elements can make it quite effective as a deterrent against lice.

essential oils with flowers

The oil works best to coat the scalp and hair killing any existing lice plus all its eggs leaving your scalp lice-free.

We have a few steps below that you can try depending on your skincare routine that will help.

5 Simple Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil to Repel Lice

Dealing with lice infection can be stressful, painful and time-consuming.

Luckily, tea tree oil offers you a variety of treatment options to choose from. But before you try any, it is vital that you find out if you are allergic.

You can do a small patch test on a small area of skin to check out if your skin will be sensitive to the oil.

1. Tea Tree Oil Mixed with Shampoo

What to do

  1. Add one teaspoon of tea tree oil and three tablespoons of olive or coconut oil to one ounce of your natural shampoo.
  2. Apply the mixture to your affected hair and scalp.
  3. Using a towel, cover your hair for approximately 30 minutes after which, you will comb and rinse your hair using warm water to get rid of the dead lice.
  4. To be on the safe side, do this more often. If you don’t have shampoo, you can use coconut oil.

You can also try a pre-made tea tree body wash if it is too much trouble to make your own:

No products found.

2. Tea Tree Oil mixed with Olive Oil

What to do

  1. Mix 20 drops of tea tree oil with 2 ounces of olive oil. Using a cotton ball, apply the mixture to your affected scalp.
  2. Leave it for approximately 12 hours and then wash using warm water.

You can do this at night before retiring to bed.

Repeat the process regularly for a few days to reduce the risk if you have recently had head lice.

3. Spraying Tea Tree Oil

Spraying the Tea Tree Oil on fabrics and furniture around your room can deter them from laying eggs.
This is a good preventative tactic if you have had ongoing issues with lice in your home.

Spraying pillows and other soft furnishings may deter lice from laying their eggs.

What to do

  1. Pour two cups of clean water into a spray bottle then add approximately ten drops of tea tree oil.
  2. Sprinkle the mixture on all the areas affected including your air, clothing, toys, stuffed animals, and furniture.

Focus on fabric items like pillows and mattresses to do away with any trace of eggs.

It is important that you do this regularly, at least two times a week to discourage their re-emergence.

4. Tea Tree Oil mixed with Lavender Oil

Lavender oil can be a good repellent for other pests like bed bugs and fleas.

Therefore a two in one combination with tea tree oil can be effective to repel both creatures if you are unsure about which one is currently living in your bed.

tea tree oil and lavender oil in bottles

What to do

  1.  Add a teaspoon of tea tree oil with a half teaspoon of lavender oil
  2. Apply the mixture to the affected hair and scalp.
  3. In addition to this, you dilute the mixture with water and spray it on your linens and bedframe. This may help to deter the bugs from coming back into your bed.

5. 100% Pure Tea Tree Oil

What to do

  1. Spray tea tree oil onto your affected hair and scalp before going to bed.
  2. Let it do its work overnight. Wake up, comb your hair to do away with any traces of dead lice.

If you prefer not to use a spray, you can use a shampoo mixed with tea tree oil, and wash your hair focusing on the affected areas.

Repeat the procedure each night.

Just like tea tree oil and lavender oil, tea tree oil mixed with shampoo works best to repel as well as kill lice.

Additional tips for using Tea Tree Oil to Repel Lice

  • Keep out of reach from children – Tea tree oil is toxic to consume directly and may result in diarrhea, confusion, coma or drowsiness. It is, therefore, important that you keep it away from children’s reach. You should also avoid ingesting it directly as it may harm you.
  • Treat everyone in your home (including pets) – Lice is known to spread faster than any other parasite and the worst part is, you will only realize it when it is too late. The only way to stay safe is to treat everyone in the house.
  • Keep away from breastfeeding or pregnant women to avoid any complications.
  • Seal all sorts of items you are trying to disinfect such as toys, clothes, and stuffed animals in a plastic bag to kill all the lice and eggs on them.
  • Don’t let the treatment stay in your scalp or hair for an extended time (more than what health experts recommend) because it may damage your scalp. Stick to the instructions on how to use tea tree oil to repel lice above.
  • Ensure that you are not allergic to any of these treatments before you use them. Always do a patch test to check if your skin reacts badly to the treatment before using more. You can also dilute your tea tree oil with water if it is too strong for you to use.

Final Thoughts

 The truth is, there are hundreds of ways you can deal with lice infection, but few of them are safer than tea tree oil.

Tree tea oil, unlike many other treatments, contains all-natural ingredients that work best to repel lice with limited risk.

Studies have also shown it to be the most effective essential oil for repelling lice.

So why not give it a try and find out if this natural treatment works for you.

Are bed bugs and fleas also a problem for you? click here to read my guide on how to get rid of bed bugs naturally without harming your family or your home.

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Bel Herron

Ecostalk is your destination for finding and sharing great green ideas to help you live healthier, happier and in a more sustainable way.

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