Lice Killing Pesticide treatment verses Non-Pesticide Lice Removal Treatment

The Pros and Cons between over the counter Rid , Nix and generic brand pesticide lice killing shampoos as compared to non pesticide, and household treatments.

As one of the oldest and respected head lice treatment and removal  services in Md., Dc., and Va.  Advice On Lice  has formed opinions based on the hundreds of cases we have seen and treated over the years.


Rid , Nix and generic brand pesticide lice killing shampoos:

Pros of using the over the counter Rid product is simple. Using the shampoo according to our instructions, and as we apply when shampooing in our salon, has been the closest to 100% effective as one could possibly expect. When applying it similar to applying a hair coloring, saturating the hair from the scalp to the ends, and leaving it on for 20-30 minutes the results are dead or dieing bugs with many coming out in the comb as the shampoo is combed in. Unlike the directions which say not to leave in longer than 10 min, we advise leaving the shampoo in for 20-30 minutes to reach its full effectiveness. We have found that if you or your child is going to have an allergic reaction to the product this reaction will occur in the first 5 minutes.

The same opinion applies to the generic brand lice killing shampoos sold in CVS and other drug stores which have the same lice killing active ingredient pyrethrum extract (equivalent to .33% pyrethrins ).

Unfortunately we have found no Pros to using the Nix lice killing cream rinse. The active ingredient is a synthetic .33% permethren. The instructions are to wash the hair and towel dry before applying. Our opinion has been when the hair is washed with a shampoo or even wet with water prior to using the Nix the lice go into a defensive mode by the closing their spiracles and not allowing the Nix to have its full effect.

Rid , Nix and generic brand pesticide lice killing shampoos

Cons for using any of the above mentioned pesticide shampoos are they do include a neurotoxins pesticide.  Many parents are against using these products although they have been approved by the FDA. At Advice on Lice we truly respect this and offer alternative non pesticide lice removal treatments for those with this opinion.


Non pesticide, and household treatments:


Listerine: Although we do not recommend,  it does contain alcohol which will stun a live bug and thus more likely get caught in a lice comb during comb outs.

Mayonnaise: Although we do not recommend,  it can soften up the eggs so they more readily can be combed of with an effective lice comb. Opinions that the mayonnaise will suffocate the live lice in our experience are unfounded.

Lice MD Non Pesticide: Of all the non pesticide lice removal shampoos we have found this to be the most effective treatment and at Advice on Lice this is the only non-pesticide over the counter product we will recommend. The Lice MD does not have an active lice killing ingredient but does contain a synthetic lubricant which makes comb-out smooth and easy, even for long, thick or curly hair.

Olive Oil: Although the idea is the olive oil will suffocated the head lice if left on for long periods of time we have found this to be unfounded as well. Time and again we have had clients come in to our office saturated with olive oil only to find live lice. What we have found is they will slow the bug down so they can more effectively combed out.

More important is the effect the olive oil has on the nits/eggs. We have found the olive oil when left on will soften the shell of the nits/eggs considerably so they more readily slide off the hair when combing.

Cons: Non pesticide, and household treatments:

Listerine: Does not contain any lubricant to facilitate the removal of nits and does not contain any lice killing ingredient.

Mayonnaise: Although it will be helpful in removing the nits there is no lice killing ingredient to kill the lice. Left in for long periods of time as suggested may cause the  mayonnaise to become rancid. A young child might play with her hair and then lick their fingers which can result in food poisoning.

Lice MD Non Pesticide: There is absolutely no lice killing ingredient in this product. The removal of head lice depends on combing with the lice comb with the active ingredient Dimethicone which is the synthetic lubricant included with this product.

Olive Oil: Will not kill the head lice. This is a messy treatment process and will only facilitate in the removal of head lice (not killing) and the removal of nits.



Here at Advice on Lice we discourage applying food products or other home remedies which are not produced as hair product.

Successful non-pesticide home remedies to remove head lice and nits should include hair conditioner containing Dimethicone and Alcohol such as Pantene Classic Care Conditioner, a good Lice Comb (Lice Meister Comb), and lots of patience for continuous combing for 10-14 days.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the crew at Advice On Lice

Karen and Allan Franco