18 Home Remedies for Crabs (Pubic Lice)

Pubic lice, also commonly known as crabs, are tiny insects which infest the hair around your genital area. These are a different type of louse to those which infest your head or body. They get their nickname of crabs because they look like tiny versions of the crustaceans.  Keep reading to learn some effective home remedies for crabs.

Crabs are most commonly passed on through sexual intercourse but it is also possible to catch them from sharing clothes, bed linen, or towels from an infected individual.

The lice feed on your blood and their bites can cause a lot of itching which is one of the most common symptoms of pubic lice. They may also spread to other areas of the body with coarse hair such as your:

  • Legs
  • Chest
  • Facial hair
  • Armpits
  • Chest
lice, bug

If you have lice in your hair, read our article on how to kill lice instead.

When to See a Doctor

You should speak to your doctor if you have pubic lice and…

  • Are pregnant
  • Aren’t seeing an improvement with using home remedies or over-the-counter medications
  • You have skin abrasions from scratching which become infected.


Home Remedies for Crabs

pubic lice, home remedies for crabs, crotch, genitals, penis

Both men and women can get crabs. Shaving your pubic hair helps to reduce the risk.

  1. Wash Contaminated Items

Washing bedding, clothing and towels that have been in contact with an individual infected with crabs is one of the best ways to prevent reoccurrence and stop the lice from spreading. Use hot water and soap when you do this to get the best results.


  1. Petroleum Jelly

You can apply petroleum jelly to the infected area using a cotton swab each night. In the morning, you can wash the jelly out. Repeat this process every day for around ten days. This can help to soothe any itching you may be having.


  1. Hydrocortisone Cream

In some cases, the itching may persist even after your pubic lice have been successfully treated. Hydrocortisone cream can be purchased in many stores and will help to soothe the itching.

  1. Vinegar

Diluted vinegar can also make a great home remedy for crabs. Dib a cotton pad or ball into the diluted vinegar and press it against the infected area for thirty minutes. The prolonged contact with the acidic vinegar should help to kill your crabs. You can then use a fine-toothed comb to comb your pubic hair and remove the lice and their eggs.


  1. Neem Leaves

Making a neem infusion can also work as an effective home remedy for crabs. Simply boil a handful of neem leaves in a pan of water and allow the water to boil. You can then add this infusion to your bath water and bathe in it once it’s reached a reasonable temperature. Soaking in the bath for thirty minutes gives the antiseptic properties of the neem leaves a chance to soothe the itching. Plus, washing thoroughly and going through your pubic hair with a lice comb after the bath can help to rid you of the lice altogether.

neem, leaves, herb, chickenpox

Neem leaves are most commonly found in India, Africa, and their surrounding areas

  1. Oatmeal

Washing the area with oatmeal can help to relieve the itching caused by your pubic lice. The soothing qualities will help to relieve the pain while the oatmeal itself should help to rid you of the lice too as the consistency should suffocate them. It will also make it harder for the lice to cling to the hairs which makes it easier to remove them with your lice-comb.


  1. Milk

Bathing in milk will also help to soothe the itching caused by pubic lice. After washing the area with the milk, you can run through the hair with a louse comb to remove the lice and their eggs.  


  1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is also well-known for its soothing properties. You can bathe the area in fresh aloe gel to soothe the itching and make the hair slippery so that the lice can’t grip to it. This will make it easier to remove the lice with a fine-toothed comb.

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Organic Aloe Vera Gel ($13.89)

  1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is most commonly used as a treatment for acne and fungal infections, but it also works as a home remedy for crabs. The oil can be diluted and applied to the infected area using a cotton pad or ball. Let the oil sit for ten to fifteen minutes before rinsing with fresh, warm water. The fumes from the oil will suffocate the lice and cause them to die so that they’re easier to remove with your lice comb.


  1. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil has a cooling effect and can be used in the same way as tea tree oil. It will help to soothe the itching and suffocate the lice so that they are easier to remove.

  1. Good Hygiene

Keeping your genital area clean is one of the best ways to help rid yourself of pubic lice. Make sure you use a gentle, non-scented soap to avoid irritating this sensitive area. You won’t be able to scrub the lice away as they cling to your hair extremely well. Instead, make sure to use a fine-toothed lice comb to comb out the lice.


  1. Calamine Lotion

The fumes from calamine lotion can smother the lice and kill them. This will make them easier to remove and will also soothe your genital area and stop the itching. Apply the lotion two or three times a day and let it soak into your skin.

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Medicated calamine lotion ($4.94)


  1. Astringent Therapy

Astringent therapy is considered to be amongst the best home remedies for pubic lice. This is mainly because it has an acidic base which smothers the lice and kills them off. You can make your own astringent by mixing equal amounts of vinegar and water and then adding sugar, salt and honey. Mix thoroughly so that it forms a thick, rough consistency and apply to the infected area using a cotton pad or ball. Let the mixture sit for half an hour before rinsing off with warm water once the paste has dried.


  1. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is naturally acidic which makes it a great home remedy for crabs as it kills the lice effectively. Mix some lemon juice with a tablespoon of sugar, salt, and honey to form a thick paste which you can then apply to the infected area using a cotton pad. Let the paste sit for twenty minutes before rinsing off with warm water and brushing through the hair with a lice comb.


  1. Get Out the Vacuum

Vacuuming provides an overall and thorough way of ridding yourself of pubic lice. It makes sure that no lice are clinging to your carpets or soft furnishings. This will reduce the risk of re-infection and prevent the lice from spreading to other people in the house.

vacuum, floor

Vacuum your floor and furniture, not yourself.

  1. Ylang Ylang Oil

Some studies have suggested that ylang-ylang oil makes an effective home remedy for pubic lice as it kills off live lice and their eggs.  You can mix ylang-ylang oil with some coconut oil and anise oil and apply this to the infected area. Let it sit for fifteen minutes, three times a day with a break of five days between each application day. This will help to rid you of the pubic lice as the oil suffocates the lice and makes them easier to remove.


  1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has many health benefits and acting as a home remedy for pubic lice is one of them! In fact, one study found that applying a mixture of coconut oil and anise oil to the infected area cured a pubic lice infection in 82% of participants. It also makes the hair slippery so that it’s easier to remove the lice using your fine-toothed comb.


  1. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is another essential oil which has been shown to work as an effective home remedy for crabs. It will need to be diluted before it’s applied to the skin so you can either mix it with your bath water or with some coconut oil. You can then apply the oil mixture to your genital area for fifteen minutes before washing it off and running through the hair with a lice comb.

Alternatively, you can sit in a bath that has been infused with lavender oil and let this soothe the itching. Again, you can go through the hair with a lice comb after you have bathed.

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Share this article with anyone you know who may have crabs. Odds are, if you have crabs, your sexual partner does too. Also, comment below if you know of any other tips to kill pubic lice.







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