Using tea tree oil to treat head lice is a relatively simple process. Shampoos and conditioners can be infused with tea tree oil, which can be used as both a preventative and a treatment for mild infestations. The oil is also safe to use on most linens and can be added to the laundry to kill lice living in bedding or clothing.
Tea tree oil can be purchased as a pure extract, as a diluted extract or as a pre-mixed hair treatment or laundry soap. The benefit of purchasing tea tree oil as a pure extract is that it can be added to shampoo, conditioner or laundry soap. It is not difficult to infuse products with tea tree oil.
The first step in using tea tree oil for head lice treatment is to wash the hair with shampoo infused with the oil. Mixing two drops of oil into 4 oz. (118 mL) is enough to treat mild infestations. The oil can also be added to conditioner, using the same proportions.
After washing the hair, it is a good idea to comb it with a nit comb. This will help pull lice and their nits off the hair follicles. Though a treatment utilizing tea tree oil will kill many of the lice, it is possible that not all of them will die the first time.
Lice can live in clothing and bedding. It is important to wash all linens daily until the infestation is gone. It is possible to use tea tree oil for head lice that are living in fabrics by adding a few drops into the laundry detergent.
If an infestation is particularly bad it is also possible to infuse another type of oil, such as olive oil, with tea tree oil to treat head lice. To use this remedy, mix eight or so drops of tea tree oil with 4 oz. (118 mL) of olive oil. Apply the oil to the hair, making sure to massage it all the way through to the roots. This treatment will need to sit on the hair for about a half an hour. After treatment, the oil can be washed out with shampoo.
Head lice treatment with tea tree oil may take about a week. If the lice do not die or if an infestation returns, it may be time to move to a stronger treatment. There are a number of pesticides that kill lice more effectively than tea tree oil, though they are also much harsher on a person’s body.