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Diatomaceous Earth For Lice

Lice on Girls Head

Chances are that you or someone in your family has gotten head lice before.  It itches and leaves your hair and scalp littered with lice.  The CDC has estimated that about 12 million cases of head lice happen in the United States every year.  Now imagine the amount of pesticide being used to treat head lice.  We have an alternative that is safe and effective at stopping the problem.  On this page we will discuss lice in general and also talk about how to use diatomaceous earth for lice treatment.

How to Identify Lice

Lice Under a Magnifying Glass

Adult lice are about the size and shape of a sesame seed, have six legs, two antenna, and are translucent or light to dark-reddish brown.  Lice are easy to identify, you just need a little magnification beings they are so small.  You’re most likely to find lice along the nape of the neck, the hairline, or around the ears.  They do cling onto hair and will move away from light if exposed to it.  Stuffed animals are a breeding ground for lice and be sure you check that area as well.

What do Lice Bites Look & Feel Like?

Lice Bites

Lice can cause a few symptoms but is found a majority of the time around the neck, scalp, and ears.  Most commonly, many with head lice will develop swollen, itchy, and painful cyst like bumps on the scalp, ears, or neck around the scalp.  These cysts are caused by having an allergic reaction to Lice saliva.  Some people and even pets will develop a red rash around the beck or ears.  Some may experience a rash on the entire scalp.  Be prepared to experience itching and irritated skin on the areas where lice are feeding.

Lice Behavior & Life Cycle

lice life cycle

The life cycle of lice occur in three stages across a few weeks.  They hatch from their eggs to become nymphs and then become adults.  Doctors call head lice eggs nits. They are small, are 0.8 to 0.3 millimeters (mm) in size, and appear as oval- or teardrop-shaped eggs. Their color may range from white, yellow, tan, or brown, so they may be hard to see.  Nits take 6–9 days to hatch. They need the warmth of the scalp for incubation, but if they become dislodged from the hair, they will most likely die before they hatch.  


Baby lice or larvae are called nymphs. They look like miniature adult lice, about the size of a pinhead, or 1.1–1.3 mm. They crawl to the scalp to feed on blood daily.  Nymphs molt three times over the course of 10 days to finally become an adult louse.  


An adult louse develops from the third molt, and it is darker in color, ranging from tan to grayish-white to brown. They are around the size of a sesame seed, or 2–3 mm. Females are usually larger than males.  They need to have blood meals several times a day and can live up to 30 days on a person’s head.  However, a louse can only survive up to 2 days off the host and die from lack of food and optimal temperature.

How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Lice

Lice on a Lice comb

Whether it be you or your children that acquire head lice, its embarrassing and not fun to deal with lice.  Having to go to the doctor with a head full of lice while trying to keep the infected away from places where people sit and people in general is enough for a parent to look for an alternative.  In comes diatomaceous earth!  Diatomaceous earth will kill head lice by dehydrating them to death.  Just need a few supplies and a few days of time to get rid of them.  Lets take a look at how to apply diatomaceous earth to kill lice.

Step 1:  Gather 1 cup of diatomaceous earth, one old t-shirt with no holes, gloves, tea tree oil, and a wet paper towel or wash rag.

Step 2:  Place 2-3 drops of tea tree oil in the 1 cup of diatomaceous earth, mix well and set aside.

Step 3:  Use the t-shirt, cut some of the body off if you wish but not necessary.  Place the t-shirt (now looks like a tube) on your head with the bottom seam (collar) on your forehead.  Put on your gloves and grab a handful of diatomaceous earth.  The open part of the shirt should expose the scalp and you will rub the diatomaceous earth all over the hair and down to the scalp as best as you can to coat the entire scalp and hair area.  Get behind your ears and on the nape of your neck.  Once applied, you will tie the open part of the shirt into a knot to seal your scalp.  Tuck in any ends and you have what looks like a turban.  It is ideal to leave the application on your scalp for 24 hours.  Once the time is up, please remove the turban and wash your hair.

Step 4:  Repeat steps 1-3 for 1 week (7 Days) or until the lice infestation is destroyed.

Step 5:  Lice can live off a host for 2 days before dieing.  It would be wise to apply a thin but visible application of diatomaceous earth on furniture and places where the infected have been sitting or sleeping.  Leave application on those areas for 2 days and then clean with your vacuum.  Be sure to treat all bedding, stuffed animals, clothes, etc in hot water in your washer and the highest heat setting for your dryer.  Be sure to use a lice comb frequently everyday.

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