Does Petroleum Jelly Kill Lice? A Comprehensive Guide In 2023

11 Incredibly and Fast Home Remedies for Head Lice that Really Work


Lice infestations are a common problem, especially among children. While there are several treatments available in the market, some people still resort to home remedies. One such remedy is petroleum jelly. In this article, we will explore whether petroleum jelly can actually kill lice or not.

What is Petroleum Jelly?

Petroleum jelly, also known as petrolatum, is a semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons. It is commonly used as a moisturizer for dry skin, a lubricant for machinery, and a protectant for minor cuts and burns.

How Does Petroleum Jelly Kill Lice?

Petroleum jelly does not actually kill lice. Instead, it suffocates them by clogging their breathing holes, which eventually causes their death. However, this process can take several hours or even days, depending on the thickness of the petroleum jelly layer and the size of the lice.

How to Use Petroleum Jelly to Treat Lice Infestations

To use petroleum jelly for lice treatment, first, apply a thick layer of the jelly to the scalp and hair. Make sure to cover the entire head, including the ears and the nape of the neck. Then, cover the head with a shower cap or a plastic wrap and leave it on overnight. In the morning, wash the hair thoroughly with warm water and a clarifying shampoo to remove the petroleum jelly and the dead lice.

Is Petroleum Jelly Effective in Killing Lice?

While petroleum jelly can suffocate lice, it is not a foolproof method of lice treatment. The effectiveness of petroleum jelly depends on various factors, such as the thickness of the jelly layer, the size of the lice, and the duration of the treatment. Moreover, lice can develop resistance to petroleum jelly over time, making it less effective.

Are There Any Side Effects of Using Petroleum Jelly for Lice Treatment?

Petroleum jelly is generally safe to use for lice treatment, but it can have some side effects. It can clog the hair follicles, leading to hair loss or damage. It can also cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, or acne breakouts. Therefore, it is essential to do a patch test before using petroleum jelly on the entire head.

What Are the Alternatives to Petroleum Jelly for Lice Treatment?

If petroleum jelly does not work for you or if you want to try other methods, there are several alternatives available. Some of these include using over-the-counter lice shampoos, combing the hair with a fine-toothed comb, or seeking professional lice treatment.


In conclusion, petroleum jelly can suffocate lice, but it is not a guaranteed method of lice treatment. It can have some side effects and may not work for everyone. Therefore, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons before using petroleum jelly for lice treatment. If you have any doubts or concerns, consult a healthcare professional or a lice expert.