Does Coca Cola Kill Lice? Coke and Head Lice

Updated on by Jared Belson | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

Lice are a pesky problem! Getting rid of them takes a lot of time and effort. And, just when you think they’re gone, you find another one!  You may be ready to try anything.

You’ve heard that Coca Cola may be the solution you’re looking for. Will Coca Cola really get rid of head lice?

What’s in Coca Cola?

Coca Cola has a carefully guarded secret recipe, but most of the ingredients are public knowledge. They are:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Caffeine
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Caramel coloring
  • Citric acid

Corn syrup, caffeine, caramel coloring have absolutely no effect on lice (remember the non-effect of cornmeal on ants?). Phosphoric acid and citric acid just aren’t strong enough to break the lice’s bond to the hair follicle.

Will Coca Cola Kill Lice?

The simple answer is no. Coke, or any other soft drink for that matter, does not have a strong enough chemical compound to remove lice or lice eggs. The eggs of a head louse have an extremely strong bond to the scalp. Standard shampoo won’t get them off, so Coca Cola doesn’t stand a chance.

Coca Cola doesn’t have any ingredients that would make it toxic to lice, either.

What about all those stories you’ve heard? There always seems to be some story or another about how Coca Cola is a “miracle” treatment for lice. However, if you look further, those stories are all anecdotal without any science to back them up.

Facts about Lice

The egg of a head louse is called a nit. These are notoriously hard to remove. They bond to the scalp and hair follicles. They cannot be shaken loose. Often, even lice shampoos can’t remove them.

Even if all the adult lice are successfully killed, there are usually lots of nits remaining. Head lice can only be completely eradicated if every last nit is removed.

If you think someone in your household may have lice, watch for:

  • A vague tickling sensation.
  • Small bites at the neckline and behind the ears.
  • Lice nits on the scalp that may resemble dandruff.
  • Live lice in the hair.

Best Lice Solutions

If Coca Cola doesn’t work, how can lice be removed? The best solution is actually a combination of methods.

Lice Comb

A lice comb, like this one, will get underneath the nits and remove them from the hair follicle. Combing out nits takes a lot of patience, and determination. You need to carefully comb through each hair from the scalp to the end.


Regular shampoo won’t phase head lice. You’ll need to purchase a special shampoo to kill the lice. Pesticide shampoos, like this one from Nix, usually contain permethrin. If you’re looking for a more natural shampoo, I recommend the Vamousse shampoo. Lice shampoos use either a pesticide or a natural repellent to kill the adult lice.

Professional Help

Did you know there are businesses committed to lice extermination? Any internet browser search will probably point you to one of these businesses in your area!

Clean, Clean, Clean!

The lice may try to permeate your home! Wash everything in hot water! If you even think it may have had contact with the lice, into the wash it goes. This means bedding, pillows, hats, stuffed animals, clothing, etc. Vacuum mattresses and the carpeting surrounding beds 1-2 times per day until all signs of lice are gone.

Final Note

Coca Cola, or any other soft drink, will not get rid of lice, in spite of anecdotal evidence!  Instead, try a combination of these other methods, and you should be head lice free in no time!

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