Dawn Dish Soap To Kill Lice Tutorial


I've tried a bunch of lice kits and the lice just keep coming back! I've heard that dawn dish soap can help with lice, is it true?

featured image for dawn

Answer from a lice expert:

If you have tried other treatments that have failed, you are not alone, and it’s not your fault. The latest stats say that most parents that use over-the-counter kits still have lice even after multiple treatments! 


After no success with lice kits, some turn to home remedies.  Dawn dish soap is one that I see a lot of people turn to in desperation, but before going down the dish soap route there are a few things you should know. 


So, let's talk about exactly what Dawn dish soap can do and cannot do when it comes to helping with head lice in this article and video. 

Let me introduce myself...

Lice nurse helping others

Hi there! I'm a lice expert, lice coach, Registered Nurse, and the creator of My Lice Advice. I help people with lice every day in my lice treatment center, in school districts, and in government work. But the thing I love the most is empowering parents to get rid of head lice in ONE DAY at home! 

You can eliminate lice in one day using the same proven professional technique I use in my lice center on your child. Follow along with the Step-by-Step Video System, and when you're done with the videos you're done with lice. PERMANENTLY!

Dawn Dish Soap For Lice

how to get rid with dawn

Why Is It So Hard to Get Rid of Lice?

Now that you know what you're looking for I want to talk briefly about your biggest worry (that your child actually has lice) and the question I get asked by parents around the world that have been battling lice….

picture of lice bug under a magnifying glass

Parents around the world are all asking me the same question…. "Why is it so much harder to get rid of lice now?"

Lice have become immune to everything that used to work in the past. Perhaps you remember your mom using a typical lice treatment or mayonnaise and that doing the trick. The new strain of head lice is no longer killed by those treatments, that’s why lice today are termed by people, “super lice,” because they are immune to those treatments. 

I’ve cured thousands of people of lice in my lice center and let me tell you, I don't do it with over-the-counter lice treatments. 

magnifying glass looking at lice eggs and nits in brown hair

Most people struggle with lice because they focus all of their attention on killing lice bugs and not enough attention on GETTING RID OF LICE!

If you want to get rid of lice you have to address all 3 of the problems of lice:

  1. Lice Bugs
  2. Lice Eggs
  3. Getting Lice Back

The best way to get rid of lice is to tackle all 3 of these problems at the same time, which is what I teach in my step-by-step video system.

So, if you discover your child HAS lice, don't panic. Just head over to the video system. Follow along with the videos and you'll be done with lice by the end of the day.

lice bug under a magnifying glass

Is Dawn Dish Soap A Good Lice Treatment?

the words yes or no


There are loads of random people claiming different home remedies "cure" lice circulating the internet. 

The purpose of My Lice Advice is to give you the undiluted facts about home remedies and other lice treatmentsso that you can make good decisions and get rid of lice as fast as possible. 

This article focuses on the facts about Dawn dishsoap and head lice.

Dawn for Lice Full Review

washing hair with dawn

In one study an over-the-counter pesticide treatment only “cured” head lice for about 25% of people! Twenty-five percent? What about the other 75% of the people with lice? 

This is not the only study that has shown that lice are immune to over-the-counter treatments. Study after study has proven that these pesticides don’t work.

Dawn dish soap is going to kill more lice than an over-the-counter pesticide treatment, but that's not hard to do since lice are immune to all of those over-the-counter treatments these days..

With all of that said, Dawn is not a treatment I recommend for the following reasons.

Dawn Dish Soap Does Not Kill Lice Eggs


If you don't take care of lice eggs, you just get lice right back.

lice eggs magnifier

Lice eggs and nits are the same thing.

To start off let's get something straight... Nits and lice eggs are the same thing! Don't make this more complicated then it needs to be. The two words (nits and lice eggs) will be used interchangeably in this article.


Dawn kills ZERO lice eggs.

Nits have a strong impenetrable shell on them. This shell protects them from any chemicals, solutions, or toxins. So, Dawn has zero effect on lice eggs. Dawn does not kill them or prevent them from hatching.

If you don't take care of the lice eggs then you just go around and around in the same horrible cycle of lice coming back over and over as I explained below.

How to Get Rid of Lice with Dawn Dish Soap

Here's the honest truth. Dawn dish soap isn't going to get rid of lice. Dawn can kill some of the lice bugs, yes, but that's not all it takes to get rid of lice. Let me explain the problem with dawn dish soap in pictures.

Most people that use Dawn dish soap or another home remedies get caught in the same horrible "Never-Ending Cycle of Lice"

Three arrows pointing down

First- You Have Lice

lice eggs, baby lice, and adult lice with arrows labeling them

When you first discover lice you have adult lice bugs, baby lice bugs, and lice eggs (also known as nits).

After Dawn Dish Soap...

lice eggs (nits) and baby lice bugs

After using Dawn dish soap, people think they've taken care of the problem because they aren't finding lice bugs for a while.

But what they don't realize is they've missed the lice eggs and the baby bug. Lice kits and home remedies don't kill eggs, and each of those little lice eggs has a bug inside just waiting to hatch and re-infest your child again.

Then- Those Eggs HATCH!

baby lice bugs

Just like lice eggs are tiny, when lice first hatch they are teeny-tiny. In fact, they are almost invisible to the naked eye! So, it typically takes a few weeks for them to grow big enough for you to see them.

And before you know it you are infested with more baby bugs then you may have started with!

And Lice Is Back Again!

full lice infestation representation with lice eggs, baby lice bugs, and adult lice bugs

If you use Dawn dish soap for lice you're going to get stuck in this kind of cycle where you keep dealing with lice over and over. Lice will just keep coming back, because you never really got rid of it.

Do you want to get rid of lice?

yes or no dawn

Dawn Dishsoap = No!

Step-by-Step Video System = Yes!

If you want to get rid of lice then Dawn dish soap is NOT the answer. You'll just go around and around with lice coming back. If you want to get rid of lice then follow along with the Step-by-Step Video System and get rid of lice permanently, in one day.

Dawn Can Make Removing Lice Eggs More Difficult

It is very likely that following a Dawn dish soap lice treatment, your child will have terrible dandruff because you will not be able to rinse all the soap out of the hair.

Dandruff and lice eggs are confused all the time. If your child has loads of dandruff after this treatment, it is going to be very hard to find and remove all of the lice eggs.

Dawn in the eyes! Ouch!

blood shot eye from lice treatment

A Dawn Dishsoap treatment is going to require an entire head saturated in the soap. It will take you a VERY LONG time to rinse all of that dish soap out of the hair and it will be VERY difficult to do.

Getting dish soap in your eyes is horrible, and it is very likely to get into your child’s eyes in this scenario. Ouch! And if it gets in their eyes is gonna hurt for a very long time.

Children Have Allergic Reactions to Dawn

contact dermatitis

Several children are developing an allergy to an ingredient found in Dawn dish soap, methylisothiazolinone. 

Methylisothiazolinone is a preservative found in many products, including baby wipes and dish soaps. But a recent study shows that a lot of children have a methylisothiazolinone sensitivity.

Children can develop this sensitivity over time. The sensitivity/allergy usually manifests itself as an itchy skin rash. 

Does Dawn Kill Lice? The Experiment

how to get rid with dawn

Since being a “lice expert” and giving people the best information about head lice is my full-time job, I have tested every home remedy out there on head lice, including Dawn dish soap.

I’ve tested everything, including vinegar, Listerine, Lysol, etc. on real lice.

The experiments are all pretty similar; this week, I tested Dawn dish soap on head lice.

lice near the jar

Several hairs with live lice were collected from one of my severely lice-infested clients and placed in a glass jar.

Dawn dish soap was poured directly onto the lice-infested hair and left for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, I washed the hair, and lice were placed in an empty jar on a white paper towel and examined for signs of life.

jar of lice

In my experiment, Dawn dish soap did kill lice bugs. But, that doesn't take care of the bigger issue, which is all of the lice eggs.

Dawn Dish Soap For Lice Tutorial

I’ve been pretty clear that Dawn is not the most effective way to get rid of lice. While it kills some lice bugs it DOES NOT kill any lice eggs, so you should plan on doing this same routine for at about 3 weeks with all of the horrible side effects (dish soap in eyes, rash, itchy scalp, horrible dandruff).

But if this is the route you want to go then here are the steps and what to anticipate:

Step 1- Apply Dawn to the Roots of Hair

Focus on the scalp

Apply Dawn dish soap directly from the bottle onto the scalp! Section your child’s hair and squirt Dawn directly to your child’s scalp. Focus most of your attention on the scalp and roots of the hair, because this is where lice usually reside.

After you apply Dawn to the scalp, comb the Dawn through the rest of the hair. Saturate the rest of the hair with Dawn, covering the entire head in soap. It's A LOT of dish soap.

Step 2- Wait


You'll have a better chance of Dawn killing lice the longer you leave it on. In my experiment in my lice center I waited 30 minutes and that killed lice bugs (not the eggs of course).

Step 3- Rinse, Rinse, OUCH!

blood shot eye from lice treatment

This step is going to take you a very long time. Rinsing dish soap out of the hair is really difficult to do and requires a lot of water and time. Be sure that you have your child set up in a way that she is less likely to get the dish soap in her eyes. If dish soap gets in her eyes, it’s going to hurt - BAD!

Step 4- Try to Get Lice Eggs Out

severe infestion of lice with multiple lice eggs/nits

As stated before, Dawn dish soap does NOT kill the lice eggs/nits. You'll need to get those out of the hair.

This can be a pretty daunting task for most, especially if you're using one of the crappy combs from a lice kit or trying to do a bunch of nit-picking. If that's the route you're taking then I recommend you get a good metal lice comb, like this one here.

Better than that though is to just follow along with my step-by-step videos and I'll show you how to kill and remove every single lice egg in one treatment.


Step 5- Get BAD dandruff

Close up of a woman with dandruff

Step 6- Get Lots of Itching

itching at night (1)

For some little ones, dawn dish soap lice treatment can cause a full allergic reaction which results in a rash all over their face and body and severe itching.

But for those people who don't get the full rash, instead, you can just anticipate your head itching like crazy for days as a result of all of that Dawn dish soap on the scalp. That'll likely make you pretty paranoid since you're dealing with lice.

Step 7- Lice Comes Back

A lice quickly crawling through a woman's blond hair.

I'm not trying to be a Debbie-Downer here, I'm just trying to give it to you straight. Dawn dish soap is NOT a cure for head lice. Dawn is not a good plan for getting rid of lice.

I've helped thousands of people with lice and most of them did round after round of treatments and home remedies all with the same results – lice comes back!

So, to avoid that happening to you, I DO NOT recommend using Dawn dishsoap for lice. Instead, follow along with my step-by-step videos and get rid of lice by the end of the day!

Is Dawn A Good Lice Treatment?

the word no

Do you want to get rid of lice?

yes video system

If you want to get rid of lice then follow along with the Step-by-Step Video System and get rid of lice today!

Summing It Up...

Head lice have grown immune to traditional lice kits, so some are tempted to try something like Dawn dish soap as an alternative. The problem with that plan is that Dawn does not kill lice eggs or prevent them from hatching. That's why people get stuck in the "Never Ending Cycle" where lice keep coming back over and over. 

I don't recommend Dawn as a lice treatment because it often makes getting rid of lice more difficult. Dawn creates a lot of dandruff (and itching), making it challenging to find lice eggs. It is also very difficult to wash out the hair without it getting in your child’s eyes. Ouch! Many children are also developing an allergy to a common ingredient in Dawn that causes contact dermatitis.

If you really want to rid of lice then follow along with my step-by-step videos and be done with lice by the end of the day! 


I'll see you there!

lice expert

Theresa is a Registered Nurse and lice expert with years of experience curing children of lice. She owns a lice treatment center in the US which is where she perfected the Step-by-Step Video System proven to get rid of lice. She also works with government agencies and schools helping those with the worst head lice cases in America.

Her greatest passion is empowering parents by teaching parents online how to do a professional lice treatment on their child at home. She is the Lice Coach for the My Lice Advice Step-by-Step Video System.

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