Mayonnaise for Lice Tutorial: Does Mayo Kill Lice?

What's in your cupboard?

Is mayonnaise a good alternative to lice treatment? Does mayo kill lice?

Anyone struggling with lice today knows that it is no small feat. Perhaps you’re looking for a natural approach to lice treatment, or you’ve already tried a few rounds of treatments that have failed.

If you have tried other treatments that have failed, you should know that you are not alone.

It’s not your fault!

Lice have become immune to treatments in the past, so a lot of parents are turning to home remedies. This article talks about 3 things:

Does Mayonnaise Kill Lice?
Does Mayo Kill Lice Eggs and Nits?
How to Do A Mayo Lice Treatment


It's explained best in video!

FYI- I explain things best in the video above.

Parents around the world are all asking me the same question….

Why Is It So Hard to Get Rid of Lice? 

Lice have become immune to everything that used to work in the past. Perhaps you remember your mom using a typical lice treatment and that doing the trick. The new strain of head lice is no longer killed by those treatments, that’s why lice today are termed by people, “super lice,” because they can’t be eliminated with treatments that used to work. 

Most people with lice are stuck in what I term the “never-ending lice cycle” that looks like this…

You discover lice, you spend hours treating, nit-picking, house cleaning etc.

You think it’s gone for a few weeks…

But, then it’s back again!

Sound familiar? This cycle will repeat over and over again until you change what you’re doing. Perhaps that’s why you’re researching using mayo.

Super Lice

A super lice bug at high magnification.

Super lice are the newest strain of head lice, and they are becoming increasingly common. This new type of lice is immune to the pesticide treatments that come in the kits at your local drug store. 

These super lice have a genetic mutation that makes them unphased by pesticides, so over the counter treatments don’t kill these lice or their lice eggs no matter how long you leave them on.

A recent study shows that about 98% of lice today have the super lice mutation.

If you’ve tried treatments and still have lice, assume you’re dealing with super lice.

Before talking about whether or not Mayonnaise kills lice, you should ask yourself a critical question...

Do you want to kill lice or GET RID OF LICE???

Because there’s a big difference! Killing lice today, does NOT get rid of lice. If you focus all of your energy on killing lice bugs, you will NEVER get rid of lice! 

Here’s why...

When you have lice you have 2 problems: lice bugs, and lice eggs. Often people focus all of their attention on lice bugs, but neglect the much bigger problem- LICE EGGS! Those eggs are full of little lice bugs, just waiting to hatch and start this whole lice cycle all over again! That’s why you keep getting lice back!

So, be sure you address both problems: lice bugs and lice eggs (nits).

Does Mayonnaise Kill Lice? (2)


After trying rounds of over the counter treatments with no success, most people are looking to find a natural home remedy that works to kill head lice. 

For decades mothers have been using mayonnaise as an alternative lice treatment. It’s gross, yes, but if it works, then who cares? But does it work?

Mayonnaise is one of many oils used to “smother” lice. The timeless theory is that lice can hold their breath for 6 hours, so if you leave mayo on the head for 8 hours, then they will suffocate and die. Is it true?

This theory may have been correct for your grandmother’s generation of head lice, but it is NOT true for this generation of head lice.

Here’s what they have found about head lice and oil treatments.

  1. Mayonnaise slows lice down; many lice will become immobile and appear dead.
  2. Lice lay a few fewer eggs if mayo is in the hair (probably because they were moving less).
  3. Lice that appear dead usually “resurrect back to life” in about an hour after rinsing!

Crazy right? Many people that use mayonnaise as a home treatment see these “dead-looking” lice and remove them, but the lice aren’t dead!

Studies looking for alternatives to head lice treatment have examined multiple home remedies, including mayonnaise. 

In the very best study of home remedies, hair was saturated entirely in mayonnaise and left for 8 hours.

How well did mayonnaise do?

Mayonnaise HAD NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT on head lice after 8 hours! 

The percentage of lice killed in the mayo after 8 hours was about 20%. If that impresses you it shouldn't. That means that you still have 80% of lice bugs still alive.

Does Mayo Kill Lice Eggs?

coconut hair parted

In the same study, mayonnaise was left on the hair for a full 10 days to see what impact it would have on lice eggs. Mayonnaise did affect the ability of lice eggs to hatch. On the hair smothered with mayonnaise for a full 10 days straight, only about 23% of the eggs hatched, as opposed to those with no mayo where the average is about 87% hatch.

While this is helpful information to know, it doesn’t fix the problem with lice eggs. All it takes for lice to reinfest your head is 2 lice eggs hatching (one male, one female). So, having 23% of lice eggs hatch instead of 87% doesn’t make a difference. Either way, you will get reinfested with head lice.

Also, who plans to have mayo on their head for 10 days straight?

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.

Mayo Lice Treatment- How it is Helpful

Mayo slows lice down 

Have you seen how fast lice move in the hair? Head lice are perfectly designed to maneuver through the hair with ease and speed. But, putting an oil in the hair can slow them down significantly. Saturating the hair in oil usually puts them into a “play dead” mode, so they are completely immobile. Making them a lot easier to remove since they won’t be running away. So, if you're set on using Mayonnaise then be sure that you remove every last bug from the head.

Mayo Lice Treatment- How it is Harmful

In most cases, mayonnaise lice treatments do more harm than good, which is why I do not recommend them.


#1- Mayo treatments can be dangerous and lead to suffocation

Mayonnaise lice treatments require you to slather the hair in mayonnaise, place a plastic cap on it, and then have your child sleep in it. This is actually incredibly dangerous and can lead to death. Here’s a small part of a news story about a tragedy caused by a mayonnaise lice treatment:

“Massachusetts police are investigating the death of an 18-month old child who suffocated, apparently because of a home remedy for head lice involving mayonnaise and a plastic bag.

Sgt. John Delaney says the little girl’s scalp was covered in mayonnaise, and a plastic shopping bag was placed over her head, a common home remedy for head lice. The girl was left unattended and fell asleep, allowing the bag to slip down over her face, suffocating her.”

#2- Mayo wastes precious time and energy

Mayonnaise doesn’t work. Many people see lice “playing dead” and think that they’ve killed them. So they do the treatment over and over again and struggle with lice for weeks or months before wising up and trying something else.

#3- It’s messy and disgusting

Just to state the obvious...mayonnaise smells horrible if left on a warm head for hours. You and your child will likely not be able to eat a sandwich again for months without gagging.

#3- There's some trauma

Ask anyone who's had to endure a mayonnaise lice treatment...they're scarred for life. 

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.

3 Week Plan To Get Rid of Lice

Obviously this is not the regime I use, because I get rid of lice in one day, but it is possible to get rid of lice without my technique, just prepare for it taking you a VERY LONG TIME. But, many people struggle with lice for weeks, months, or years, trying one lice treatment and home remedy after another and I don’t want that to be your story, so let me get you on the right track...

If you're going to get rid of lice using a home remedy, then plan on being extremely disciplined and focused on retreating, combing, and nit-picking for at least 3 weeks. 

Even the best home remedies and lice treatments do not kill all lice. They only kill the weakest lice, leaving the strongest lice live on, breed with one another, and create even stronger lice! (Gross I know). Also, although many lice eggs hatch in 1-2 weeks, different studies have shown that lice eggs can hatch anywhere between 4 days and 21 days, depending on the temperature and other factors. So, you'll need to keep retreating every 5 days to ensure that you kill lice bugs as they hatch, before they can start laying eggs of their own.

To give yourself the best chances of getting rid of lice you need to be obsessive for 3 weeks.

Here's what you'd do:

Today: Treat with a home remedy that kills some of the lice like the ones in this article (Mayo is NOT one of them!). Comb with a lice comb or nit-pick, and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.

Day 5: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.

Day 10: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.

Day 15: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.

Day 20: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.

These are the biggest reasons why I'm not a fan of doing a home remedy treatment that requires re-treatments and why I encourage people to get rid of lice in one day in Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro.

Reason #1- You’ll have lice for AT LEAST 3 weeks. I’m not a fan of any idea of living with lice for weeks on end, and that’s what you’ll be doing. Lice eggs will be hatching on your child’s head every day, which means she will have head lice crawling on her head until you do another treatment.

Reason #2- Eggs hatch at variable times. Eggs will not hatch all at once. Many lice eggs hatch in about 7-10 days from when they were laid. But, studies show that lice eggs can hatch can hatch 4 days after laid or 15 days after laid... the time varies significantly. So, you’ll need to do these treatments for AT LEAST 3 weeks to ensure they’re effective.

Reason #3- Lice eggs are your first sign of lice. Early in an infestation, you don’t usually see lice bugs; you see lice eggs. If you do not remove lice eggs from previous outbreaks you won’t figure out your child has lice until she’s had it for a very long time because you’ll assume the eggs in the hair are “old eggs.”

Reason #4- Having lice for weeks can spread it. The longer your child has lice, the more likely she is to spread it to others in the home. Let’s say a few lice hatch the day after the treatment. What’s to keep lice from spreading to her siblings and friends?

If you choose the “repeat treatments” method, your child will have lice for several weeks, because every day new baby lice will hatch from the eggs left in the hair.

If you want to get rid of lice fast, skip the re-treatments, and move on with your life then learn how to do the professional technique I teach on the Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro page.

Summing It Up…

Head lice today are extremely difficult to kill because of the new super lice mutation, which has many parents turning to home remedies to smother lice. 

Mayonnaise is not an effective smother and does not kill head lice even after being left on the head for 8 hours. Head lice usually lice “play dead” when covered in oil or mayonnaise, but “resurrect from the dead” an hour after being rinsed. 

If you plan to use a home remedy for lice then I DO NOT recommend you use Mayonnaise. 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! article and get rid of it in ONE DAY.


All the best,

Theresa, My Lice Advice


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, 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.

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