How to Get Rid of Head Lice with Salt

If you are suffering from a head lice infestation, you have probably researched about how to get rid of your head lice problem. You will notice that a lot of articles online mention salt as a home remedy for head lice. But is it true? Can you actually get rid of head lice with salt?

The short answer is yes and no. Yes, because it can indeed get rid of head lice. And no, because it is terribly inefficient.

How people try to get rid of head lice with salt

Salt is a great natural remedy for various pests, such as fleas. It works by dehydrating or drying out the pests themselves. This is the reason why there are many claims online that salt works against head lice too.

Another natural remedy for pests is vinegar. The acidic properties of vinegar is said to help kill pests such as ants.

People then combine the two natural remedies to get rid of head lice. This is how they do it:

  1. Combine 1/4 cup of salt and 1/4 cup of vinegar in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the solution over the infested person’s hair.
  3. Cover the infested person’s head with a shower cap and let the solution sit for about two hours.
  4. Wash off the solution from the infested person’s head and apply conditioner to the hair.
  5. Repeat the process every three days or so for best results.

In this solution, the salt is said to dehydrate the adult lice while the vinegar kills the young lice and nits. The vinegar is also said to loosen the tight grip of the adult lice onto the infested person’s hair. This makes the adult lice easier to slide off the hair.

You can get rid of head lice with salt, but it's ineffective.
Image source: Medicine Net

How salt can be ineffective against head lice

You can get rid of head lice with salt. You can also make the home remedy more potent by mixing it with another known home remedy, such as vinegar. Saltwater can work too. Even though salt can indeed get rid of head lice, it’s not very effective. This is because it simply cannot kill enough head lice to make it efficient.

Some head lice play dead in saltwater

Some people use saltwater to get rid of head lice. When they submerge the head lice on the saltwater, the head lice appear to die. So, is it an effective home remedy for head lice?

Not really. It has been proven that head lice actually play dead when they are submerged in such a solution. They go in a state of hibernation, where they can hold their breath for more than 24 hours and make minimal movements. This hibernation state makes them appear dead to us humans.

After they have been removed from the saltwater that is supposed to kill them, they can quickly go out of their hibernation state and be as strong as ever.

Saltwater also has no proven effect on nits.

Salt and vinegar solutions kill a negligible amount of head lice

Indeed, the salt and vinegar solution that has been mentioned earlier can get rid of head lice. But this doesn’t mean that you should make it your primary solution to your head lice problem. You will sorely be disappointed with the results.

There are studies out there where scientists have tried the salt and vinegar solution. It turns out that it is terribly ineffective, killing about 2% of the head lice population. It doesn’t fair well in killing nits either. Studies have also concluded that depriving head lice of oxygen, such as by submerging them in solutions, is simply inefficient.

Seawater has no proven effects on head lice

If you are considering to get rid of head lice with salt, you have probably thought about swimming in seawater. After all, seawater has a lot of salt in it, and you can also possibly drown the pests.

Having fun at the beach and getting rid of head lice at the same time is nothing but a pipe dream. Seawater has no proven effects on head lice. As said earlier, salt is terribly inefficient in killing head lice. The same can be said for oxygen deprivation or drowning.

If you want to get rid of head lice, there are more effective remedies out there.

Seawater has no proven effects on head lice.

Some home remedies that work better than salt

Head lice have been troubling humans for so long and we have killed so many of them using various ingredients. But unfortunately, head lice continue to evolve and are gaining immunity against these ingredients. In fact, some over-the-counter medications no longer work against head lice.

Head lice are hard to kill now. They also have a tendency to keep coming back, which makes getting rid of them even harder. Many people are starting to resort to home remedies, and some of these people are getting results.

Here are some home remedies for head lice that might work better than salt:

  • Castor oil. Apply castor oil to the infested person’s dry hair and leave it there for about 30 minutes. Castor oil can stain your hair, so be careful in using too much of the stuff. It can also be a pain to wash off.
  • Coconut oil. Leave the coconut oil on the infested person’s hair for at least 8 hours. This can only kill the adult lice, so make sure to re-apply every few days for at least 3 weeks. This way, you can kill all the young lice and nits after they have matured.
  • Tea tree oil. This will only be effective if the tea tree oil is highly concentrated. Like coconut oil, it will only kill the adult lice, so make sure to re-apply every few days for at least 3 weeks as well.

Final thoughts

Yes, you can technically get rid of head lice with salt. But it’s so ineffective that you probably shouldn’t even bother. There are other more effective home remedies out there, such as castor oil, coconut oil, and tea tree oil.

Remember that if you want to get rid of head lice completely, you have to accomplish three things:

  1. Kill the head lice in all of its life stages
  2. Control the spread of head lice
  3. Prevent re-infestation

If you think you can achieve these things using home remedies, good for you. But also don’t be afraid to consult a doctor for more optimal results.

Leave a Comment