Dawn Dish Soap To Kill Lice Tutorial

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Discover the truth about Dawn dish soap as a lice treatment and whether Dawn can kill lice and nits.

If you have head lice, you want to get rid of it and fast! 

Parents around the world are all asking me the same question….

Why Is It So Hard to Get Rid of Lice? 

Lice have become immune to everything that used to work in the past. Perhaps you remember your mom using a typical lice treatment 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.” It's because they have become immune to over-the-counter treatments and home remedies that worked in the past.

That’s why lice experts like myself DO NOT use over the counter treatments to kill lice. I’ve cured thousands of people of lice without lice treatments and instead of retreating a million times, they get rid of lice permanently in ONE DAY! You can learn how to do the same technique that lice professionals use and get rid of lice in one day here.

You’ve heard that Dawn might kill lice. Is it true?

This article answers the following questions (feel free to hyperlink to any topic):

Does Dawn Dish Soap Kill Lice?

Does Dawn Kill Lice Eggs?

Dawn for Lice Review

Dawn Dish Soap For Lice Tutorial

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WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW SO YOU CAN BE SUCCESSFUL...

THERE ARE 5 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW IF YOU WANT TO GET RID OF LICE WITH A HOME REMEDY!

Before reading this article you should WATCH THE VIDEO above so that you can learn these 5 things and be successful.

Here are a few of the key points covered in the video.

  1. Some home remedies help with lice and some make lice way WORSE (find out which ones in the video).
  2. Lice can play dead (learn what I mean in the video)
  3. What's DANGEROUS (learn in the video)
  4. Lice eggs and home remedies
  5. Home remedy treatment plan

 

Here are the links to the two articles I talk about in the video...

37 Home Remedies- The Good, the Bad, The Dangerous

How to Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro! (ONE DAY, NO RE-TREATMENTS)

A super lice bug at high magnification.

First, you should know that if you are struggling with head lice, it is not your fault. The current strain of head lice is immune to pesticides found in over the counter treatments and prescriptions. So most treatments won’t kill lice, no matter how long you leave them on.

Lice today are called “super lice” because they have genetic mutations that make them immune to most treatments. They are VERY difficult to kill.

Multiple studies have proven that lice are immune to treatments that worked in the past. Yet, many parents unaware of the research, buy big named products 5 or 6 times before finally giving up and trying something else. Why do they even sell things in stores that they’ve proven don’t work?

Are you better off using a home remedy like Dawn dish soap?

Before talking about whether or not Dawn Dish Soap kills lice, you should ask yourself a critical question...

Do you want to KILL LICE or GET RID OF LICE???

Because there’s a big difference! Killing lice today, does NOT get rid of lice. If you focus all of your energy on killing lice bugs, you will NEVER get rid of lice! 

Here’s why...

When you have lice you have 2 problems, lice bugs, and lice eggs. Often people focus all of their attention on lice bugs, but neglect the much bigger problem- LICE EGGS! Those eggs are full of little lice bugs, just waiting to hatch and start this whole lice cycle all over again! That’s why you keep getting lice back!

There’s no lice treatment or home remedy out there that kills lice eggs, except the technique that lice professionals use, which is what I teach in Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro.

That's the only thing that can get rid of lice in one day, without any r-treatments, because it kills all of the lice bugs and lice eggs at the same time in one session. If you plan on using a home remedy and store-bought lice treatment you can get rid of lice, but you should plan on it taking about 3 weeks and multiple treatments because those lice eggs will keep hatching and re-infest your child over and over again.

So remember... killing lice and getting rid of lice are not the same thing. If you want to get rid of lice you need to tackle both lice bugs and lice eggs.

What's the FASTEST Way To Get Rid of Lice?

The purpose of My Lice Advice is to help parents get rid of lice as fast as possible. And the fastest way to get rid of lice is to get rid of lice in one day, no re-treatments. This is how lice professionals like myself get rid of lice in lice centers. Most people assume that lice professionals use some kind of crazy strong lice product or something. But the truth is that's not how lice professionals get rid of lice so fast....

When I treat lice in my lice center I don't use any toxic chemicals or special treatments. In fact, you can do a professional lice treatment at home without buying any lice products. I teach parents how to do this professional technique on their children at home, on my page Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro!

In Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro! you learn how to get rid of lice in less than a day by doing what the pro's do. And it's gone permanently- there are no re-treatments, and no messing around with lice kits. You do the professional technique on your child at home, you kill all of the lice and the lice eggs in one session and then you're done with lice. 

That's the FASTEST and MOST EFFECTIVE way to get rid of lice. You can learn how to do it by clicking here.

Does Dawn Kill Lice? The Experiment

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

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 indeed kill lice.

I know I was skeptical about Dawn killing lice too. But, now I have seen it with my own eyes.

How to Get Rid of Lice with Dawn Dish Soap

how to get rid with dawn

Before I show you how to get rid of lice with Dawn dish soap, I should preface that using Dawn for head lice is not my preferred method for killing lice. Dawn kills lice but compared to other home remedies (which I will talk about in this article), it’s not the best. 

Here’s a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using Dawn for lice that I will talk about in my Review of Dawn for Lice section below.

Advantages of using Dawn for Lice

  1. It will kill more lice than over the counter pesticide treatments
  2. It’s cheap

Disadvantages of using Dawn for Lice

  1. There are better treatments and home remedies than Dawn dish soap
  2. Dawn does not kill lice eggs
  3. Dawn can make removing lice eggs more difficult
  4. Dawn is difficult to wash out
  5. Dawn is likely to get into your child’s eyes
  6. Some children have reactions to Dawn.

Dawn for Lice Full Review

washing hair with dawn

Dawn dish soap is going to kill more lice and get rid of lice faster than an over the counter pesticide treatment. Dawn isn’t going to kill 100% of lice, but it’ll perform better than most lice treatments at the store.

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 can be a more effective option. It’s also very inexpensive.

With all of that said, Dawn is not one of the best treatments out there because there are several downsides.

Dawn with Tea Tree Oil for Lice

One option is to add tea tree oil to Dawn dish soap. I would recommend Coconut oil over Dawn if this is your plan, but I outline how much tea tree oil to add to Dawn in the tutorial section below. 

Dawn Dish Soap Does Not Kill Nits

Egg of the head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) on a hair. The picture was taken after an anti-lice treatment  (Oxyphthirine - a substance based on Triglycerid producing a kind of film at the surface of the eggs and lice that induce asphyxia).  This egg is therefore dead and its aspect can be slightly different from an alive egg. It seems to be slightly deshydrated.  Scale : egg length= 0.57 mm  Technical settings :  - focus stack of 42 images - microscope objective (Nikon achromatic 10x 160/0.25) on bellow (160 mm extension)

If you’re new to head lice: Lice eggs and nits are the same things. I use the words interchangeably.

Does Dawn Kill Nits or 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.

So, even if the Dawn kills any adult lice on the head, you must remove the eggs. Otherwise soon, lice eggs will hatch, and you will go around and around in the cycle of never-ending head lice.

This is the cycle I see most commonly when someone doesn’t remove lice eggs.

Lice Eggs Cycle

Dawn and Vinegar For Nits- BAD IDEA

If you’re looking to get lice eggs out of your hair, don’t use vinegar to try to “loosen” them!!!! Vinegar doesn’t work, and it can make head lice worse! I tested soaking lice eggs in vinegar for 12 hours, and the nits were no easier to remove than before. You can read the vinegar experiment here.

Additionally, studies show that lice eggs immersed in vinegar are more likely to hatch than your average lice eggs, which means more lice, not less. 

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.

If you want to learn the 7 differences between lice eggs and dandruff check out my article Lice vs. Dandruff.

Dawn is Difficult to Wash Out

To effectively get rid of lice with Dawn, it 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.

Dawn is Likely to Get Into Your Child’s Eyes

red eye

Getting dish soap in your eyes is horrible, and it is very likely to get into your child’s eyes in this scenario. Ouch! If you use Dawn, be careful, and provide your child with a towel for her eyes.

Children Have Allergic Reactions to Dawn

contact dermatitis

Several children around the world 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 about 11% have a methylisothiazolinone sensitivity, which is a significant increase from only 3.5% just two years prior.

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

Dawn Dish Soap For Lice Tutorial

Okay, now that you’ve read some of the down-sides of Dawn as a treatment and you know some better alternatives, here is how you can effectively use Dawn dish soap as a lice treatment. 

Kill Head Lice with Dawn

I’ve been pretty clear that Dawn is not the most effective way to get rid of lice. While it kills most lice bugs it DOES NOT kill any lice eggs, so you should plan on doing this same routine for at about 3 weeks. I personally would rather get rid of lice in one day then over the course of 3 weeks, but that's up to you...

Step 1- Prep Your Child

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  • Begin with completely DRY hair. Dry hair is essential because if you expose lice to water, they will close their “breathing holes,” which makes them less susceptible to being killed by Dawn.
  • Place a towel around your child’s shoulders; this will be a messy process.

Step 2 - Mix Dawn with Essential Oils if Desired

  • I recommend applying Dawn dish soap directly from the bottle onto the scalp and hair. Dish soap comes in a bottle ideal for squirting directly onto the scalp, whereas putting it in your hand and then putting it on the scalp will be messier and less effective.
  • OPTIONAL: Add essential oils to Dawn dish soap if desired. Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil for every 1 ounce of Dawn dish soap.

The typical amount of Dawn needed to cover the head is:

¼ cup for crew cut

½ cup for short hair 

1 cup for long hair. 

Use more or less Dawn depending on hair length and thickness.

  • Add 10 drops of tea tree oil per ounce of Dawn and mix together.

¼ cup (2 oz) = 20 drops tea tree oil

½ cup (4 oz) = 40 drops tea tree oil

1 cup (8 oz) = 80 drops tea tree oil

Step 3 - Focus on the Scalp

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.

Step 4 - Comb Dawn through the Hair

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.

Step 5 - Wait

Dawn is going to be more effective at killing head lice the longer you leave it on. I recommend leaving Dawn in the hair for 30 minutes, before rinsing.

Step 6 - Rinse

This step is going to take you a very long time. Be sure that you have your child set up in a way that she is not likely to get the dish soap in her eyes and provide her with a towel for her face. If dish soap gets in her eyes, it’s going to hurt. (This is one of the major disadvantages of Dawn I talk about in the review section).

Dawn DOES NOT kill lice eggs!!

One of the biggest mistakes people make with any lice treatment, including Dawn, is not removing all of the lice eggs from their child’s hair. Nits left in the hair WILL hatch and reinfest your child. Because they hatch you will need to re-treat...

 

 

3 Week Re-treatment Plan To Get Rid of Lice

Obviously this is not the regime I use, because I get rid of lice in one day, but it is possible to get rid of lice with dawn dish soap, but prepare for it taking you a VERY LONG TIME. But, many people struggle with lice for weeks, months, or years, trying one lice treatment and home remedy after another and I don’t want that to be your story, so let me get you on the right track...

If you're going to get rid of lice using dawn, then plan on being extremely disciplined and focused on retreating, combing, and nit-picking for at least 3 weeks. 

Even the best home remedies and lice treatments do not kill all lice. They only kill the weakest lice, leaving the strongest lice live on, breed with one another, and create even stronger lice! (Gross I know). Also, although many lice eggs hatch in 1-2 weeks, different studies have shown that lice eggs can hatch anywhere between 4 days and 21 days, depending on the temperature and other factors. So, you'll need to keep retreating every 5 days to ensure that you kill lice bugs as they hatch, before they can start laying eggs of their own.

To give yourself the best chances of getting rid of lice you need to be obsessive for 3 weeks.

I know most people are hoping for a home remedy that's a "quick fix," but that's not what dawn dish soap is. Like I said, it'll help you by killing lice bugs, but it won't kill ANY lice eggs and those lice eggs will just keep hatching and re-infest your child over and over again.

If you want to get rid of lice quickly then check out the How to Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro! page where I walk you through step-by-step how to do a professional lice treatment on your child. You don't need to buy any lice products or lice kits and you'll be done with lice in less than a day. And you don't have to do any re-treatments because you'll kill EVERY lice bug and EVERY lice egg in one session.

Here's what you'd do:

Today: Treat with a home remedy that kills some of the lice like the ones in this article (Dawn Dish Soap is one of them, but I don't recommend it for the reasons discussed above). Comb with a lice comb or nit-pick, and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.

Day 5: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.

Day 10: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.

Day 15: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.

Day 20: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.

These are the biggest reasons why I'm not a fan of doing a treatment that requires re-treatments and why I encourage people to get rid of lice in one day in Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro.

Reason #1- You’ll have lice for AT LEAST 3 weeks. I’m not a fan of any idea of living with lice for weeks on end, and that’s what you’ll be doing. Lice eggs will be hatching on your child’s head every day, which means she will have head lice crawling on her head until you do another treatment.

Reason #2- Eggs hatch at variable times. Eggs will not hatch all at once. Most lice eggs hatch in about 7-10 days, not 7-10 days after your treatment. But, some lice eggs take longer to hatch.  But, some studies shows lice eggs hatching 15 days later or 21 days later. So, you’ll need to do these treatments for AT LEAST 3 weeks to ensure they’re effective.

Reason #3- Lice eggs are your first sign of lice. Early in an infestation, you don’t usually see lice bugs; you see lice eggs. If you do not remove lice eggs from previous outbreaks you won’t figure out your child has lice until she’s had it for a very long time because you’ll assume the eggs in the hair are “old eggs.”

Reason #4- Having lice for weeks can spread it. The longer your child has lice, the more likely she is to spread it to others in the home. Let’s say a few lice hatch the day after the treatment. What’s to keep lice from spreading to her siblings and friends?

If you choose the “repeat treatments” method, your child will have lice for several weeks, because every day new baby lice will hatch from the eggs left in the hair.

If you want to get rid of lice fast, skip the re-treatments, and move on with your life then learn how to do the professional technique I teach on the Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro page.

Better Home Remedies…

If you are looking for an all-natural way to get rid of lice then the very best and FASTEST way to do that is by learning how to do a professional lice treatment on your child at home. You don't need to buy any lice kits or lice products, and you can be done with lice in less than a day. That's what I teach on my page Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro!

If you're set on doing it on your own and you want to hunt around for a home remedy then you can find a list of much better home remedies in my article 37 Home Remedies for Lice. In that article I evaluate every home remedy for lice and let you know how many lice and lice eggs they kill.

You should know that even the best home remedies only kill 80% of lice bugs and no home remedies kill lice eggs. If you decide to go that route then plan on retreating and nit-picking for about 3 weeks.

You can find the Home Remedies article here.

Summing it Up…

Dawn dish soap kills lice if applied to dry hair in a precise way for 30 minutes. Dawn does not kill lice eggs; you must manually remove them to prevent them from hatching. If you want to get rid of lice using Dawn then you should anticipate retreating every 5 days for a full 3 weeks (see the treatment regime above).

Using Dawn as a lice treatment is not the best treatment or home remedy out there. It is likely to produce a lot of dandruff, making it challenging to find lice eggs. It is also very difficult to wash out of the hair and 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 plan to use a home remedy for lice then I DO NOT recommend you use Dawn Dish Soap. While it can kill lice, I’d recommend you use a more effective home remedy like the ones I cover in this article. But, understand that there is no home remedy or treatment out there that kills all lice bugs or lice eggs, so it’s going to take you several weeks to get rid of lice using a method like that.  If you want to get rid of lice quickly, you should check out the How to Get Rid of Lice Like a Pro! and get rid of it in ONE DAY.

 

All the best!

Theresa, My Lice Advice Coach

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Theresa is a lice expert with years of experience curing children of lice. She currently works with government agencies and non-profit organizations to help children with the most severe head lice infestations in the US.

Originally trained as a Registered Nurse, she changed specialties to study lice. Later, she opened a lice treatment center where she perfected the PRO technique she teaches in the Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro online course. She now works helping those struggling with lice around the world.

She is the creator of MyLiceAdvice.com, one of the top lice informational websites in the world and she teaches parents around the world how to get rid of lice in less than a day in the Get Rid of Lice Like a Pro online course.