One recommended recipe for a vinegar head lice treatment uses an unfiltered and pasteurized apple cider vinegar made from organic apples, notes the Head Lice Center. This type of apple cider vinegar typically has a 5 percent acid concentration, recommended for ridding the hair of nits, or eggs. A lesser concentration proves ineffective, while a concentration higher than 5 percent may be unsafe for the scalp.
White vinegar has a 5 percent acid concentration, but it may have chemicals mixed in or be distilled from alcohol. White wine vinegar and red wine vinegar can also treat head lice, explains the Head Lice Center. However, the acid concentrations vary per wine and can be as high as 7 percent. Parents should apply a pure vinegar treatment directly to the scalp, behind the ears and along the hairline by the neck for the best results. After application, parents need to wash the hair and scalp with a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar before combing out the remaining nits.
Vinegar is edible and biodegradable, making it safe for use in children and adults as a treatment for head lice, reports Head Lice Center. Children who have sensitive skin or asthma and cannot use chemical head lice treatments can use a vinegar wash safely with the recommended acid concentrations. However, parents should avoid allowing the vinegar to contact the eyes, and if the scalp already appears red or overly irritated from scratching, vinegar may increase the irritation.