Olive Oil For Lice Treatment Tutorial: Does Olive Oil Kill Lice?

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Discover whether olive oil is a good treatment for lice and how effective olive oil is at killing lice.

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.” They aren’t SUPER because they can fly, they’re called SUPER LICE, because they can’t be eliminated with treatments that used to work. 

That’s why lice experts like myself DO NOT use lice treatments. I’ve cured thousands of people of lice without lice treatments and instead of retreating a million times, they get rid of lice permanently in ONE DAY! You can learn more about the technique I use here.

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. 

As a result, many parents are turning to home remedies like olive oil as an alternative.

This article answers the following:
Does Olive Oil Kill Lice?
Olive Oil and Tea Tree Oil for Lice
Olive Oil and Vinegar for Lice
Benefits of Olive Oil as a Lice Treatment
Disadvantages of Olive Oil as a Lice Treatment

Before talking about whether or not Olive Oil 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!

There’s no lice treatment or home remedy out there that kills lice eggs, except the technique I use.

It’s the only thing guaranteed to get rid of lice in ONE DAY, without any retreatments, because it kills all of the lice bugs and lice eggs. If you plan on using a home remedy and store-bought lice treatment you can get rid of lice, but you should plan on it taking about 3 weeks and multiple treatments.

Does Olive Oil Kill Lice?

olive oil 1

The theory behind olive oil is that it can “smother” and suffocate head lice if left on the head for 8 hours. Multiple studies tested the effectiveness of olive oil on head lice. 

In a recent study comparing the effectiveness of six different home remedies on head lice, hair was completely saturated in olive oil and left to sit for a full 8 hours. After 8 hours, researchers examined the hair for live vs. dead head lice.

How did olive oil do?

Olive oil killed only 2% of head lice.

Yes, you read that correctly. 

Olive oil killed 2% of head lice, and 98% of head lice were still alive after being completely covered in olive oil for 8 hours.

So, does olive oil kill lice? NO!

Why Do People Recommend Olive Oil?

oil on spoon

Studies show that submerging lice in oil or water causes them to go into survival mode. One of their greatest survival skills is that they hold still and stop breathing. 

Historically, people believed that lice could only hold their breath for 6 hours, but multiple studies have debunked that theory. For example, one study shows that many lice can hold their breath up to 12 hours, while another study shows some lice living past 14 hours.

When you submerge lice in oil, they usually go into a hibernation state to conserve energy. One study termed this as “playing dead.” When people use olive oil for head lice, this “playing dead” is what they see, and they assume that lice are, in fact, dead.

The studies also show that lice usually remain in this hibernation state after removed from oils but “resurrect” back to life within a few hours and are soon at full strength and capable of breeding just as before the treatment.

Olive Oil and Tea Tree Oil for Lice

essential oils coconut

While olive oil itself is not effective against head lice, it can be a great carrier oil for something that is proven to kill lice. Studies testing highly concentrated tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)l have shown tea tree to kill lice very well, although it does not have much effect on lice eggs.

Tea tree oil straight on the scalp can cause severe skin irritation. So as with all essential oils, it is best to dilute it with a carrier oil such as olive oil. Carrier oils make it less likely for people to have adverse effects from essential oils such as breathing problems or skin irritation. Other carrier oils are almond oil, jojoba oil, or coconut oil.

When mixing tea tree and olive oil, the recommendation is 10 drops of essential oil for every 1 oz of olive oil. Continue to the Tutorial portion of this article to learn more.

Olive Oil and Vinegar for Lice

apple cider vinegar

Many people claim that the acidity of apple cider vinegar eats away at the glue that holds lice into place on the hair strand, which makes them easier to remove.

In a study testing vinegar on both live lice and lice eggs, apple cider vinegar did the worst against both head lice and lice eggs. 

As someone who removes lice and lice eggs from people’s hair every day, I have not seen a difference in vinegar, easing the removal of lice eggs. I think more likely people are looking for a “cure” against lice eggs, and they want to believe apple cider vinegar makes a difference, but it doesn’t.

How to Get Rid of Lice Fast! 

Many people struggle with lice for a very long time before finally getting rid of it, if you want to speed up the process then take some advice from others who have been in your situation. Here’s what Sarah did that finally helped her get rid of lice for good.

The MyLiceAdvice Video Series promises 3 things:

  1. You’ll get rid of lice fast! (In ONE DAY)
  2. You’ll get rid of lice permanently (meaning it’s not going to come back a few weeks later)
  3. And, you’ll gain all of the knowledge and skills you need to prevent a lice infestation like this from happening ever again!

Does Olive Oil Kill Lice Eggs or Prevent Them From Hatching?

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)

Yes and no. In one study, lice eggs were covered in olive oil for 10 days straight and compared to lice eggs not covered in oil. The eggs not smothered in olive oil had a hatch rate of 87%, lice eggs covered in olive oil for 10 days had a hatch rate of 56%.

I’m not impressed, are you?

All it takes for lice to reinfest your head is 2 lice eggs hatching (one male, one female). So, having 56% of lice eggs hatch instead of 87% doesn’t make a difference. Either way, you will get reinfested with head lice.

Benefits of Olive Oil Lice Treatment

Although it is clear that olive oil doesn’t kill lice, it can still help you get rid of lice.

Olive Oil Freezes Lice and Eases Combing

Have you seen how fast lice move in the hair? Head lice are perfectly designed to maneuver through the hair with ease and speed. Saturating the hair in olive oil usually puts them into a “play dead” mode, so they are completely immobile. This makes them a lot easier to remove since they won’t be running away.

Removing lice and lice eggs from the hair with a professional level lice comb will get rid of lice. Having olive oil in the hair can help the comb slide through hair easily.

Risks of Olive Oil Lice Treatment

Plastic Overnight Can Be Deadly


Olive oil lice treatments require you to saturate the hair in olive oil, place a plastic cap on it and then have your child sleep in it. Leaving plastic on your child while she sleeps can lead to suffocation as it did in this news story:

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

...a plastic shopping bag was placed over her head, a common home remedy for head lice. The girl was left unattended and apparently fell asleep, allowing the bag to slip down over her face, suffocating her.”

Olive Oil Treatment Tutorial

Step 1 - Prep Your Child

towel shoulders (1)
  • Begin with completely DRY hair. 
  • Place a towel around your child’s shoulders; this will be a messy process.

Step 2 - Mix Olive Oil with Essential Oils

essential oils coconut
  • Typical olive oil measurements: Crew cut hair- 2 oz, Shoulder length hair- 4 oz, Mid back hair 8 oz
  • Using essential oils like tea tree will increase the chances of successfully killing head lice. Mix 40 drops of tea tree oil with 4 oz of olive oil.
  • Other essential oils that have some effect on head lice are lavender, ylang-ylang, and anise.

Step 3 - Rub into the Scalp

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Section your child’s hair and rub olive oil directly onto your child’s scalp. Focus most of your attention on the scalp and roots of the hair, because this is where lice usually reside.

Step 4 - Comb through the Hair

comb through hair

After you apply olive oil to the scalp, comb the oil through the rest of the hair. Apply the remaining olive oil to the rest of the hair until it is saturated in oil.

Step 5 - Wait


Leave olive oil on for at least 8 hours. Most people do this treatment overnight.

Step 6 - Cover the Head...or Don’t

  • If you have a safe shower cap or another hat for your child, then feel free to put it on her. 
  • DO NOT put plastic on your child’s head and send her to bed. This is dangerous.

Step 7 - Rinse or Don’t Rinse

rinse hair

You can rinse the olive oil out in the morning, or you can leave the oil in the hair while completing the next step.

If you want to do a vinegar wash/soak for 10 minutes-1 hour, this is the time to do it. I don’t recommend vinegar for the reasons stated above, but it’s up to you.

Repeat Treatments - The Three Week Plan

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, but  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 (Olive Oil 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.

This is what my treatment plan looks like:

Today: Kill all lice and lice eggs

No retreatments.

Never get lice again for the rest of your life.

Learn how my treatment plan works in this article.

Step 8 - Clean Your House


Don’t go insane with the house cleaning; this is the easiest step.

Clean your house using the following principles as a guide (or check out the article Lice Cleaning Checklist to Get Rid of Lice in Your Home):

Think 48 Hours
Focus your attention on cleaning items that have been in contact with the lice-infested individual within the last 48 hours. Lice cannot live longer than 48 hours on household items.

Do Not Use Lice Sprays, Vacuum Instead
Lice sprays do not work on lice at all, and they are hazardous. Vacuuming surfaces such as couches and mattresses are more effective at killing lice than sprays.

Clean Your Brushes
Soak hairbrushes, combs, and hair accessories (such as hairbands, clips, and headbands) used by the person with lice in hot water (135° F or greater) for at least ten minutes. (I do not recommend boiling brushes and combs, however, because they will melt.)

Items in the Dryer
Put items in the dryer for 40 minutes on high heat.

Bag Items for 2 Days
Lice can’t live without blood for very long, so anything that could have lice on it will be safe to use again after 48 hours. If an item is something that you cannot run through the dryer, like a favorite stuffed toy or delicate clothing, you can seal it away in a bag for a couple of days.

Don’t Forget Carseats
Vacuum the car seats of the infested individuals.

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. 

Olive oil is not an effective treatment as it does not kill head lice even after being left on the head for 8 hours. Head lice usually lice “play dead” when covered in olive oil, but “resurrect from the dead” after being rinsed. 

If you plan to use a home remedy for lice then I DO NOT recommend you use Olive Oil. 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 MyLiceAdvice Video Series and get rid of it in ONE DAY. 

Best of luck on your lice journey! (1)

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