Apple Cider Vinegar for Lice: Does Vinegar Kill Lice or Loosen Nits?

apple cider vinegar

If you're struggling with lice, you're not alone. And if looking up a home remedy for lice then you've probably discovered for yourself that over the counter lice treatments don't work anymore.

Did you know?

75% of people that use over-the-counter lice treatments for lice still have lice even after several rounds of treatments.

If you're looking up home remedies, then you've probably experienced this yourself. So, lets talk home remedies...

This article answers the following:

Does Vinegar Kill Lice?

Does Vinegar Kill Lice Eggs or Prevent Them From Hatching?

The Experiment: Does Vinegar Loosen Lice Eggs?

How to Get Rid of Lice With Vinegar

Vinegar For Lice Video Tutorial

It's explained best in video!

Why Is It So Hard to Get Rid of Lice? 

A super lice bug at high magnification.

First, you should know that if you have struggled with head lice for a while, you are not alone, and it is not your fault. The current strain of head lice is immune to pesticides found in over the counter treatments and most prescriptions. So those treatments won’t kill lice, no matter how long you leave them on.

Lice today are called “super lice” because they have genetic mutations that make them immune to most treatments and VERY difficult to kill.

A recent study shows that almost all lice today have the super lice mutation.

That's why so many people are struggling with lice, because lice are now immune to most treatments and home remedies.

What's the FASTEST Way To Get Rid of Lice?

The purpose of My Lice Advice is to help parents get rid of lice as fast as possible. And the fastest way to get rid of lice is to get rid of lice in one day, no re-treatments. This is how lice professionals like myself get rid of lice in lice centers. Most people assume that lice professionals use some kind of crazy strong lice product or something. But the truth is that's not how lice professionals get rid of lice so fast....

When I treat lice in my lice center I don't use any toxic chemicals or special treatments. In fact, you can do a professional lice treatment at home without buying any lice products. I teach parents how to do this professional technique on their children at home, on my page Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro!

In Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro! you learn how to get rid of lice in less than a day by doing what the pro's do. And it's gone permanently- there are no re-treatments, and no messing around with lice kits. You do the professional  technique on your child at home, you kill all of the lice and the lice eggs in one session and then you're done with lice. 

That's the FASTEST and MOST EFFECTIVE way to get rid of lice. You can learn how to do it by clicking here.

Does Vinegar Kill Lice?

vinegar variety

In an attempt to find a natural solution to head lice, some are turning to home remedies, including vinegar.

Vinegar was tested alongside other popular home remedies to test its effectiveness against head lice. How did it do?

Hair was saturated in vinegar and left for 8 hours. Vinegar killed 2% of lice.

VINEGAR KILLS 2% OF HEAD LICE!

Yep, you heard me right. After 8 hours of that stuff on your head you'll still have a head full of crawling live lice AND your hair will smell like vinegar for the next week!

Does Vinegar Kill Lice Eggs?

Egg of the head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) on a hair. The picture was taken after an anti-lice treatment  (Oxyphthirine - a substance based on Triglycerid producing a kind of film at the surface of the eggs and lice that induce asphyxia).  This egg is therefore dead and its aspect can be slightly different from an alive egg. It seems to be slightly deshydrated.  Scale : egg length= 0.57 mm  Technical settings :  - focus stack of 42 images - microscope objective (Nikon achromatic 10x 160/0.25) on bellow (160 mm extension)

If you are new to lice, you should know that nits and lice eggs are the same things. I will use the two words, interchangeably.

Researchers tested vinegar’s effectiveness at killing lice eggs, and it’s ability to prevent them from hatching. In the study lice eggs were immersed in vinegar for a full 10 days! Here’s what the study found:

Almost every single lice egg drenched in vinegar hatched!

The eggs soaked in vinegar were more likely to hatch than those not! Here are the results:

Lice Eggs in Vinegar: 94% hatched

Lice Eggs Normal: 87% hatched.

VINEGAR MAKES LICE EGGS MORE LIKELY TO HATCH!

That makes lice worse, not better!

Does Vinegar Loosen Lice Eggs? The Experiment

vinegar vs lice experiment

As with every home remedy out there, there are a few online claims that vinegar is “magical” and makes lice eggs fall off the hair strand.

The untested claim is that the high acidity of vinegar breaks down the glue that holds lice eggs in place on the hair strand.

Because I have my own lice center, I have seen hundreds of children whose parents have tried using vinegar to loosen lice eggs and failed, so I was pretty sure I already know the answer.

But, before publishing this article, I wanted to be sure. And, I’m in a perfect position to experiment on this kind of thing because I help kids with lice every day and can easily snag some lice eggs to test in vinegar.

3 vinegars

I placed several hairs in 3 types of vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar, White Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar.

Each hair had 1-2 nits on it. Because different people have encouraged leaving vinegar in the hair for different periods, I checked the lice eggs at three-time intervals:

15 minutes ---1 hour---12 hours

At each time interval, I removed the hairs from the jars and attempted to remove the lice eggs on them to determine if they were any easier to remove.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Lice

apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is the most commonly claimed “miracle” at loosening lice eggs.
I did not experience any “miracle” in my experiment, even after leaving the nits in vinegar for 12 hours.
None of the nits “fell off” the hair strands, and I had to drag them down the entire hair strand using two fingers.
I thought maybe there was a slight difference on two of the nits in the apple cider vinegar after an hour, but that’s not enough to even make a small dent when it comes to removing lice eggs.

If you’re hoping that lice eggs will be easier to remove after soaking the hair in vinegar you’ll be very disappointed. Lice eggs are difficult to remove regardless of if you use vinegar or not. But, there are much better ways to remove lice eggs. I teach the best way in the How to Get Rid of Lice Like a Pro! Online Course.

How to Get Rid of Lice With Vinegar

I can not in good conscience recommend using vinegar for lice to ANYONE! It

  • Vinegar DOES NOT KILL LICE
  • Vinegar DOES NOT KILL LICE EGGS
  • Vinegar DOES NOT LOOSEN EGGS and...

 

VINEGAR MAKES LICE WORSE!

Because it makes lice eggs MORE likely to hatch!

 

If you still want to give vinegar a try, you're going to have to do it without my blessing. 

Better Home Remedies…

If you are looking for an all-natural way to get rid of lice then the very best and FASTEST way to do that is by learning how to do a professional lice treatment on your child at home. You don't need to buy any lice kits or lice products, and you can be done with lice in less than a day. That's what I teach on my page Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro!

If you're set on doing it on your own and you want to hunt around for a home remedy then you can find a list of much better home remedies in my article 37 Home Remedies for Lice. In that article I evaluate every home remedy for lice and let you know how many lice and lice eggs they kill.

You should know that even the best home remedies only kill 80% of lice bugs and no home remedies kill lice eggs. If you decide to go that route then plan on retreating and nit-picking for about 3 weeks.

You can find the Home Remedies article here.

Summing It Up…

Vinegar is not a “miracle” cure for lice. It performs the very worst of all of the home remedies tested. Vinegar does not kill lice, and it may increase the chances of lice eggs hatching in the hair. Apple cider vinegar may help loosen some lice eggs, but not enough to make a difference. And in studies, vinegar made lice eggs more likely to hatch.

If you plan to use a home remedy for lice then I DO NOT recommend you use Vinegar. Instead I’d recommend you use a more effective home remedy like the ones I cover in this article. But, understand that there is no home remedy or treatment out there that kills all lice bugs or lice eggs, so it’s going to take you several weeks to get rid of lice using a method like that.  If you want to get rid of lice quickly, you should check out the How to Get Rid of Lice Like a Pro! so you can learn how to get rid of it in one day without using any lice products or re-treatments.

All the best!

Theresa, My Lice Advice Coach

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Theresa is a lice expert with years of experience curing children of lice. She currently works with government agencies and non-profit organizations to help children with the most severe head lice infestations in the US.

Originally trained as a Registered Nurse, she changed specialties to study lice. Later, she opened a lice treatment center where she perfected the PRO technique she teaches in the Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro online course. She now works helping those struggling with lice around the world.

She is the creator of MyLiceAdvice.com, one of the top lice informational websites in the world and she teaches parents around the world how to get rid of lice in less than a day in the Get Rid of Lice Like a Pro online course.