Not many people want to talk about cooties, yet many of us have been attacked by them as children.  I would have written lice, but that just sounds too yucky, so cooties it is.  Apparently there are approximately 6-12 million cootie infestations a year affecting children 3-11 years of age in the United States alone (Head Lice, 2013).  I was quite surprised to learn that it is less common to get cooties from sharing combs, clothing or other fabric items from someone infested (Head Lice, 2013).  

I’m willing to share the fact that I had cooties as a kid…twice!  Goodness only knows who I got them from, but it was obviously from school; a perfect breeding ground for the wee buggers.  I don’t remember the first time I got them but the second treatment stands out perfectly in my mind.  

It was spring time and my mother had brought me outside to comb out my hair with that horrid cootie comb.  We were sitting on a sheet she had placed on the grass; my mom combing through my hair with painstaking care, me sitting there spacing out.  At one point she started to cry and asked if she could cut my hair as it was long and taking her forever to go through, for the second time.  It made me cry as I couldn’t stand the thought of it.  After much begging, crying and pleading I convinced my mother to keep going, promising to be more careful at school.  I may have gotten over that ordeal, but my scalp itches in sympathy whenever I hear someone say their child has cooties.  

A perfect remedy to rid your child of cooties all comes down to tea tree essential oil.  It’s amazing in that it has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties.  You can find tea tree essential oil at your local health food/wellness store or herbalist; a 0.5 oz bottle will cost around $8 and contain 300 drops.

Cootie Spray Recipe

  • 100% Pure tea tree essential oil (without additives/additional oils)
  • 2 Cups of water
  • Spray bottle
  • Shower cap

How to make

  • To the spray bottle add the water 
  • To the spray bottle, carefully add 16 drops of tea tree essential oil (the essential oil bottle has a feature on the top which allows a single drop to come out at a time)
  • Close the bottle with the spray top
  • Shake the mixture prior to each use

Application to hair

  • Spray the mixture into hair (do not drench), cover with a shower cap and leave on for 30 minutes
  • Comb through hair to remove any cooties and eggs 
  • Wash hair thoroughly
  • Repeat daily until the cooties are completely gone

Application to household items

  • The mixture can also be sprayed on to carpets, furniture, clothing, stuffed animals and bedding (do not drench)

Word of caution, do not touch undiluted essential oils.  Although they are not corrosive or poisonous, they are highly concentrated and have the potential to irritate your skin.  If undiluted oils come in to contact with skin, simply wash with soap and water.  Always keep them out of reach of children.  

You are now equipped to battle the dreaded cootie. 

Head Lice – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). (2013, September 14). CDC. Retrieved from

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