Coke for Lice: Coca Cola Kills Lice?

Coca cola featured image

Discover if Coca Cola is an effective lice treatment and if Coke kills lice or lice eggs with this experiment.

If you have head lice, you want to get rid of it, and fast!

You may have already tried several rounds of over the counter treatments that have failed. Or, you’re just looking for an easier and less expensive way to treat lice.

Head lice today have grown immune to all of the old treatments that worked in the past, so millions of parents around the world are turning to other alternatives and home remedies.

You’ve heard that Coca Cola can kill lice. Is it true?

This article answers the following questions (feel free to hyperlink to any topic):

Does Coca Cola Kill Lice? (Experiment)
Does Coca Cola Kill Lice Eggs?

Super Lice

A super lice bug at high magnification.

First, you should know that if you are struggling with head lice, it is not your fault. The current strain of head lice is immune to pesticides found in over the counter treatments and prescriptions. So most 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. They are VERY difficult to kill.

Multiple studies have proven that lice are immune to treatments that worked in the past. But, unsuspecting parents usually buy big named products 5 or 6 times before finally giving up and try something else. 

Are you better off using a home remedy like Coca Cola?

Coca Cola for Lice: The Experiments

Because being a “lice expert” is my full-time job, I’ve tested just about every home remedy out there. After reading a few claiming “miracle cures” involving Coca Cola, I decided to test Coke on head lice.

Because I help people with lice every day, testing home remedies is easy for me to do.

I collected several live lice and hairs from a severely infested client of mine and placed them in a jar.

Then I poured Coca Cola directly into the jar of lice, waited 30 minutes, and then rinsed.

lice near the jar
jar of lice
coca cola in jar

The results…

To be honest, I’ve never seen anything like this in terms of home remedies. For almost every home remedy experiment, I see the same thing…

When I submerge lice in a liquid or toxin, they become immobile (not dead). 

Lice submerged for long periods go into a “hibernation- state” to conserve energy. One study terms this as “playing dead.” 

Lice can remain in this hibernation state for a very long time, typically it’s at least 15 minutes, but it can take hours.

Lice “resurrect” back to life after being rinsed. 

Lice are soon at full strength and capable of breeding just as they did before the treatment, usually within an hour.

I assumed this would be the case with Coca Cola, but I was surprised.

A lice quickly crawling through a woman's blond hair.

Coke is the WORST home remedy I have ever tested!

Lice that I submerged in Coca Cola came back to life and were hyperactive within seconds of being rinsed! I’ve never seen anything that seemed to make lice “more active” after being saturated. Whoa!

All lice submerged in Coca Cola remained alive and active until I finally threw them away 24 hours later.

Better Treatments and Home Remedies Than Coca Cola

You’ve probably already tried several rounds of over the counter and prescription treatments for lice without success, which is why you’re trying Coke. 

Multiple studies have shown that lice are immune to those treatments and yet they still sell them at the store, so you’re not alone.

But, some lice treatments kill lice, like dimethicone and other home remedies.

Dimethicone

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Dimethicone is not a home remedy.

It’s not a prescription

You can’t find dimethicone at your local drug store.

Dimethicone is an entirely safe, non-toxic oil that suffocates and kills all lice in about 15 minutes! It outperforms everything else in killing lice. In studies, dimethicone killed 100% of lice bugs with one treatment for most of the people tested.

Dimethicone does not kill lice eggs, so you’ll still need a good lice comb like the Nit Free Terminator.

For years, the only places you could get dimethicone were at a professional lice center, but a few lice centers have started selling their products online, and you can purchase them through Amazon. Here are the two best on the market:

(A quick disclosure: these are affiliate links, and I earn a commission from qualifying purchases; however, I base all of my reviews on the quality of the products)

These are my top picks for something better than Coca Cola as a lice treatment.

Best Over All Kit

The Ladibugs Lice Elimination Kit comes with a serum that kills both lice and super lice. It also comes with an enzyme mousse that helps loosen lice eggs, making them much easier to remove. Ladibugs is a one-and-done kit, which means you have everything you need for one person in one kit. The enzyme mousse can be used multiple times over several days to remove lice eggs.

Easiest to Use Lice Killer

Lice Clinics Lice Remover Kit comes with an easy dispenser and is probably the easiest treatment to use. It kills all lice within 20 minutes. You’ll need to retreat in about 10 days.

Better home Remedies 

Dimethicone treatments kill head lice, which is why I recommend dimethicone treatments over home remedies. But, if you want to do a home remedy instead then here are the best ones:

Coconut Oil

coconut featured

If you’re dead set on using a home remedy, then Coconut Oil is your best choice, especially if you add tea tree oil to it. 

In studies, coconut oil alone killed 80% of head lice, but combined with essential oils, its success rate increased. Essential oils that may increase coconut oil success are tea tree oil, anise, and Ylang Ylang. 

Unfortunately, coconut oil has little to no effect on lice eggs. It neither kills lice eggs nor prevents them from hatching. 

Complete removal of lice eggs from the head or several repeated treatments are necessary for coconut oil to get rid of head lice effectively. Read the full article and tutorial at the article Coconut Oil For Head Lice Tutorial.

Tea Tree Oil

essential oils coconut

Tea tree shampoo at your local salon will not kill head lice. Tea tree must be used in high concentrations to kill lice, and the concentrations in tea tree shampoo are not adequate.

But, in one study of highly concentrated tea tree and lavender essential oils were compared to traditional pesticide treatments. Tea tree oil killed most lice, whereas the pesticide treatments only killed about 25% of lice.

Applying tea tree oil directly to the scalp can cause severe reactions. So, you should dilute tea tree with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, argan oil, etc. I recommend coconut oil because coconut oil kills lice, whereas olive oil does not (read the article here). 

The major disadvantage of tea tree oil is that it has little to no effect on lice eggs. Lice eggs WILL hatch after a tea tree treatment unless you remove them from the head.

I outline exactly how to kill lice with tea tree oil in my article Tea Tree Oil For Lice: How to Kill and Prevent Lice Using Tea Tree Oil.

Does Coke Kill Lice Eggs?

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If you’re new to head lice: Lice eggs and nits are the same things. I use the words interchangeably.

Nits have a strong impenetrable shell on them. This shell protects them from any chemicals or toxins. So, Coke has zero effect on lice eggs. It does not kill them or prevent them from hatching.

Coca Cola has no chance of penetrating the strong waxy shell on lice eggs.

The fastest, easiest, and most effective way to get rid of lice eggs is with a professional-level head lice comb.

I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve tried lice combs, and they don’t work.” That’s because you’re using a lousy comb. There are only a few good lice combs on the market today, and you can’t find any of them at the drugstore. The very best lice comb out there is the Nit-Free Terminator Comb.

If you ask any lice professional, they will almost certainly tell you this is the comb they use. The teeth of this comb are spaced tightly together, but the real secret is that these teeth have small spirals, creating a “barbed wire” effect on lice and nits, catching them and dragging them down the entire hair strand and out of your child’s hair.

Don’t Use Vinegar

apple cider vinegar

If you’re looking to get lice eggs out of your hair, don’t use vinegar to try to “loosen” them. It doesn’t work, and it can make head lice worse! I tested soaking lice eggs in vinegar for 12 hours, and the nits were no easier to remove than before. If you want to see the vinegar experiment on lice and lice eggs, you can find it here.

Additionally, studies show that lice eggs immersed in vinegar are more likely to hatch than your average lice eggs, which means more lice, not less.

Summing it Up…

Coca Cola is probably one of the worst home remedies out there. After being completely submerged in Coke, lice were extremely active after being rinsed and remained active for another 24 hours.

Do not EVER try to use Coke as a lice treatment. You will not get rid of head lice this way. Better alternatives are dimethicone treatments or a home remedy like Coconut oil and tea tree oil, which you can find on my Coconut Oil Tutorial.

No matter what treatment you choose, you must get a good lice comb and remove all of the lice eggs from the hair. Lice eggs have a strong impenetrable shell that makes them nearly impossible to kill.

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