Lice is one of the nastiest things to have to contend with, but sometimes it’s just a fact of life. You don’t have to be dirty to pick up lice—in fact, they prefer a clean scalp. Just getting too close in proximity to someone with lice, or coming into contact with a place where lice or eggs have been left behind, can cause an infestation on not only your scalp, but everyone in the household. If you have children who go to school, it’s bound to happen to you at some point.

For some of us, the biggest frustration with lice is that teachers, doctors, pharmacists, hairstylists and those who’ve suffered before us begin to recommend the generally accepted treatment—products full of chemicals. They want you to pour chemicals on your head, and your child’s head. They want you to spray chemicals on your rugs, stuffed animals, furniture and even your pillows.

If you’re a person who prefers green living and hates dowsing your body and home with chemicals, don’t worry. There are actually natural lice treatments that work as well as—if not better than—chemical treatments.

There are actually natural lice treatments that work as well as—if not better than—chemical treatments.

Everyone in the household should be treated for lice, regardless of whether you find any live insects or nits (eggs) in the hair.

Step 1: Smothering Lice

Part the hair in thin sections and rub mayonnaise onto the scalp and roots. Add more mayo, working it through the length of each section of the hair, until each strand is coated. Wrap or pile long hair on top of the scalp.

Wrap plastic food wrap around the head to secure a sealed cap around the hair line. Put on a heat cap if you have one; if not wrap it with a warm, clean towel out of the drier. Leave this on for about an hour or two to smother live lice.

Step 2: Natural Home-Made Lice Shampoo

While waiting, test for tea tree oil allergies. Rub a small bit of tea tree oil on the inside of the elbow, a sensitive area, to see if there are any rashes or reactions. Do not use synthetic chemical fragrance oils—get pure essential oils.

Add about 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil to ¼ cup of shampoo. If the tea tree oil caused an allergy, add lavender oil. Pour the shampoo on the head and add just enough water to get it sudsy. Wash the hair for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly with water as hot as you can stand it without burning yourself (use warm water on children). Comb the hair with a wide-tooth comb until its tangle free.

Step Three: Removing the Nits

Towel-dry the hair and pour 1 cup of rubbing alcohol over the hair. This loosens the nits that are ‘cemented’ to the hair shaft.

Section the hair and starting from the bottom begin combing for nits. Use a fine metal nit comb, going from scalp to tip in one, long sweep. Wipe the comb with a tissue or paper towel between combs. The thinner and smaller the sections of hair, the more thorough the combing will be. It could take an hour or more to be thorough, but it’s worth the time.

Blow dry the hair using a warm to hot setting. When the hair is thoroughly dry, put a shower cap on and sleep with it to prevent any stray lice or eggs from getting onto your pillow.

Step Four: Repeat

Shampoo your hair with plain shampoo daily. Go through the hair with the knit comb, and blow it dry on a warm to hot setting. Sleep with a shower cap on nightly.

Once per week, for two more weeks, repeat the full treatment with the mayo, essential oil shampoo, alcohol and combing. Blow dry, wear your cap and go to sleep.