Is Listerine Recommended To Treat Head Lice?

Many parents in a search of safer home remedies for treating head lice think of Listerine. You may find many recommendations regarding using Listerine for lice online. However, this product was not created for head lice treatment. It is a mouth wash with an antiseptic in it. The product also contains a lot of alcohol. Let’s see if using Listerine for lice treatment is a good idea or not.

Listerine contains menthol and eucalyptol. These are two ingredients that make this product work as head lice repellent. It also contains 21.6 percent of alcohol, which is a pretty strong concentration. Does Listerine kill lice? Yes, because it contains alcohol, which is an effective head lice treatment.

However, we do not recommend using either alcohol or Listerine for head lice because you run significant risks when you apply such a strong substance to your hair and scalp. Alcohol can burn your skin and damage hair follicles. Not to mention that Listerine is highly flammable. If it gets into your eyes, it can cause some serious damage. It can also cause bad burning sensations if you have any scratches or scalp damage, which is very likely if you have been living with head lice for a while.

Make sure you never use Listerine to treat head lice on children. Listerine’s product label speaks for itself:

WARNING: Do not administer to children under 12 years of age. Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. Do not swallow. If more than used for rinsing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.”

Listerine is an alcohol-based mouth rinse. This product is not sold as a head lice treatment.

Of course, the best and safest way to treat lice is combing them out manually with a metal nit comb. It is time consuming and requires a lot of patience. If you want to use home remedies to get rid of both adult lice and nits, you can use olive oil or mayonnaise for adults and vinegar for lice eggs. There are ways to prevent head lice, too. Applying tea tree oil can be an effective way to repel these parasites and keep them away.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Michael October 30, 2011

Sorry to be contrary, but Listerine (original) is extremely effective and has never bothered any of my children, who were teenagers when we treated them. Additionally, it seemed to kill any nits we found. The nits were loosened from the hair and could easily be removed. Although I would recommend more than one treatment, we never had a recurrence after even just one treatment (one of my daughters refused the second treatment the last time because it was inconvenient; I allowed this to teach her a lesson, knowing the lice would return–they didn’t). Both my daughters left the Listerine in their hair under a shower cap for four to five hours. Others have claimed two hours to be sufficient. Nevertheless, we use vinegar after a 2nd treatment seven days later, just in case any nits could survive the chemical assault of the first Listerine treatment. Any burning of the scalp is the result of lice bites becoming irritated.

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