Does Bleach Kill Lice? The Myth Answered!

Does Bleach Kill Lice

Head lice are a nightmare for every parent. In the US, statistics show that 12 million kids up to 11 years of age suffer from the parasite. These biting and insect parasites attack most kids at least once a year. And kids are not the only ones that get lice. Contact with a child can result in lice migrating to parents and caregivers. Normally, we look for a solution. The question is does bleach kill lice?


Today, we will try to answer all the questions related to this myth. We always look for effective remedies for lice. There are many treatments you can prepare at home. One is bleach. So, let’s discuss it.

What is the Myth?

There are different types of hair dye. The type you can use to kill lice is permanent hair dye or bleach. The permanent hair dye contains ammonia, an alkaline and corrosive chemical. This chemical produces an irritating gas. Some people believe the gas is the reason the dye kills lice.

Other permanent hair dye solutions include hydrogen peroxide. You can also use that to kill lice. Bleach contains ammonium persulfate. This is an oxidizer that removes color from hair. The question might not be “does bleach kill lice”, but how to use it? Using bleach on young children, and even on adults is not something you want to do lightly.


There are some precautions you need to take. And you cannot use bleach every day. For lice, we advise you to use bleach once per week until you remove lice.

You can also combine the bleach treatment with other lice removal techniques. For example, combing and using vinegar. Here is a step by step guide how to use bleach to kill lice.

  1. Start with the vinegar, and saturate your scalp with a vinegar and water solution. Use a 50-50 solution and vinegar with only 5% acidity. Work the mixture down the hair shafts near the scalp, behind the ears, and at the nape of the neck. Leave it for 5 to 10 minutes. Wash immediately if you feel a burning sensation
  2. Rinse the vinegar and water solution with warm water. Now, use lice comb to remove live lice from the head. Clean and soak the comb in hot water. Make sure the comb is free of lice before using again
  3. Mix the hair dye according to the directions on the package. Saturate your scalp with hair dye. Concentrate on the same areas, which are the base of each hair, behind the ears, and at the base of the neck
  4. Thoroughly rinse the hair dye, and comb again with a clean comb
  5. Use a hot hair dryer to dry the hair. The heat will kill any lice left behind

Safety Precautions and Risks

Permanent hair dyes like bleach can cause chemical changes that affect your regular hair color. They can also irritate the scalp and cause allergic reactions. Some side effects include itching, burning, swelling, or redness on the scalp and neck.

If you use bleach and hair dye products often, these side effects will be more severe. When you use bleach, make sure you use disposable gloves that come with the hair dye. They will protect your hands and other areas of the body you might touch.


Do not use bleach on children as a lice-removal treatment. The hair of children is finer in texture. This makes it more prone to damage from chemicals in dyes and bleaches. Children are also more susceptible to chemical reactions. So, does bleach kill lice? Yes. But is it 100% safe? We cannot guarantee.

Why You Should Try Other Treatments?

The process of bleaching will kill adult lice and baby bugs. But the big question is what about the eggs? Bleach cannot kill eggs. Bugs laid eggs next to the scalp. These eggs take between 7 and 10 days to hatch on the head. Bleaching works by mimicking a neuro-toxin. It affects the neurological system of the bugs.

The problem is, eggs do not have a neurological system in the first 72 hours. That means you won’t remove them with bleaching. They will continue to incubate and hatch.

You can continue bleaching your hair over and over again, every week. But that will be too much damage to your scalp and hair. So, we suggest trying other options. There are many more homemade remedies for lice that work and are safer than bleaching.

Home Remedies for Lice that Work

Anise oil

Anise oil

The best part about anise oil is that it is safe for children. Anise oil permanently eliminates lice. And t is a great herbal remedy. You can buy anise oil from any health food store. Coat the scalp and it will suffocate lice.

Olive oil

Olive oil has the same benefits as anise oil. It works by suffocating lice and preventing them from infesting your scalp.

Most of us have olive oil in the kitchen. It is a great remedy you can try and use. And it has other benefits for the hair. For example, olive oil adds moisture and strength to your hair and scalp.

Coconut oil

Moving onto the next oil. Coconut oil makes your hair look healthy and luscious. It adds moisture and prevents dryness.

Pure coconut oil can remove up to 80% of lice after four hours of the treatment. If you do not have coconut oil at home, buy from the nearest health store or online.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is the most potent antimicrobial and anti-bacterial essential oil. This remedy works for almost any skin condition. Make sure to dilute it with water or other carrier oil. Be careful, tea tree oil can irritate the skin in high doses.

Essential Oils

Speaking of essential oils, there are many more you can use. Kids rarely show allergic reactions to essential oils. Tea tree oil is the only problem.

Others you can use include lavender, clove, eucalyptus, peppermint, and nutmeg oil. Mix two ounces of carrier oil like jojoba, olive, or coconut, and 15 drops of essential oils. Add four ounces of rubbing alcohol, and use the mixture to saturate the hair.


For some people, this might be sticky and unpleasant. But putting Mayo on your hair can work against lice. Mayonnaise smothers lice and makes it easy to comb them. Mayo can also help with itching and scalp irritation caused by lice.


Garlic has many benefits against infection. That includes lice infestation as well. Garlic is the most potent antimicrobial vegetable. It is more potent than antibiotics.

You can use garlic essential oil for this purpose. Or you can boil garlic in water, and then strain it. Use the garlic-infused water to rinse the hair.




Steven is a young student from San Francisco who is obsessed with computers.