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Can I wash My Dog with Dish Soap? (Or Dawn Dish Soap?)(For fleas?)

Can I wash My Dog with Dish Soap? (Or Dawn Dish Soap?)(For fleas?)

This post will show you if you can wash a dog using dish soap, if you can wash a dog using Dawn dish soap and if you can kill fleas on a dog using dish soap.

Can I wash My Dog with Dish Soap?

The simple answer is no. Washing your dog with dish soap is not safe. According to vets, using dish soap to clean your dog can lead to a skin infection.

Skin infections are often itchy and painful. You may have to go to the vet for tests and antibiotic treatment if the condition is severe. Therefore, the money you are trying to save from buying dog shampoo may end up costing you more.

Why is Using Dish Soap on Your Dog Not Right?

Basically, dish soap is made to cut grease. That is why hand washing your dirty pots and pans is easier. Also, because dish soap has the ability to fight grease, it is often used to clean pets sprayed with skunks and birds that have been caught in an oil spill. Simply put, the harsh chemicals in the dish soar are very effective in eliminating oils. This is not good for your dog’s skin and your dog’s coat.

The skin of a dog has natural oils which are not bad. In fact, they are necessary for keeping the skin hydrated and the fur soft. When you use dish soap to wash your dog instead of dog shampoo, you remove those natural and healthy oils. This can lead to extremely dry skin and irritated skin. Therefore, as advised by most vets, you should not use dish soap. Also, most dish soaps have a massive amount of lather that will take time to rinse out thoroughly.

What Soap Can I Use if I Do Not Have Dog Shampoo?

If you do not have regular dog shampoo, an alternative would be to use baby shampoo which is not so bad for dogs. Adult human shampoo is also not recommended because it can dry the dog’s skin and has different ph levels to regular dog shampoo which can strip away essential oils in the dog’s fur and skin.

If you do use a shampoo on your dog, make sure it has natural ingredients so that it does not damage your dog’s skin or cause flaky skin. Also, dry shampoo is better than regular shampoo for dogs since the balanced ph level is better for a dog’s sensitive skin. (But, it is still best to just use regular dog shampoo). Additionally, it is not recommended to use human hair conditioners on dogs but dog hair conditioners are recommended.

Otherwise, you can make basic homemade dog shampoo with some ingredients you have at home. You will need small amounts of dish soap, white vinegar, and warm water. The dish soap is for getting rid of oils and any other dirt accumulated on the dog’s coat. White vinegar has some deodorant and antibacterial properties that will leave your dog’s coat clean and shiny. Just ensure it does not get into the eyes.

What you need

  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1/4 cup of dish soap

Mix the products in a spray bottle and shake well.

However, due to the effects of dish soap, this is not a mixture you want to be using every day on your dog.

Can I wash My Dog with Dawn Dish Soap?

Dawn falls under dish soap/detergent, and thus it is not right to use it to wash your dog. It may be effective once in a while if your dog gets some grease or oil in its fur. Just do not make it an everyday use.

Why is Dawn Not Good For My Dog?

Even if dawn is effective at cutting grease, here are some reasons to avoid it.

Emanates natural and healthy oil from the dog’s skin

These natural oils play a big role in keeping the fur smooth and the skin hydrated. And since dawn has strong oil-cutting capabilities, when you use it often to bathe the dog, it will also remove the natural oils. As a result, the skin will be dehydrated and itchy. It will also be hard to keep away yeast, bacteria, and allergens.

It might interfere with the dog’s acid mantle.

Dog shampoos have been formulated to maintain the pH level of the dog’s skin and not irritate it. On the other hand, dawn and other dish-soaps lack this capability. Therefore, when used, they mess with the pH balance and can cause itchiness or inflammation. In return, this can promote a conducive environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive.

Dawn dish soap has strong chemicals unfit for dogs.

While these ingredients may be safe and non-toxic to you, the same does not apply to your dog. Some of these ingredients can be toxic to a dog. To be safe, avoid using dawn and other dish soap products.

It can cause soap poisoning when ingested

Since dawn has a large amount of lather, washing it all off can be time-consuming, and sometimes you may fail to rinse it off thoroughly. If even a tiny amount makes its way to the dog’s eye, it will cause irritation. Also, if, by accident, you have not rinsed off the soap well and the dog licks itself, it can ingest it. Depending on the amount of soap consumed and the size of the dog, some of the symptoms it may experience include stomach pain, difficulty breathing, swollen tongue and throat, and gastrointestinal discomfort.

Should I Ever Use Dawn Dish Soap on My Dog?

With all the risks involved, you may wonder whether you should use dawn dish soap at any point. If oil has accidentally spilled on your dog, you should use this dish soap. Also, if you notice that a lot of oil has built up on the dog’s fur and is not looking pleasant, dawn can help. There are some pet groomers who will use this dish soap if a dog has been sprayed by a skunk.

However, in all these scenarios, only a small amount of dawn dish soap is used with a lot of water to dilute it thoroughly. After, the dog has to be rinsed properly to ensure no amount of soap has been on the dog’s coat. If you notice signs of irritation, consider getting dog lotion and talking to a vet for professional advice.

Can Dish Soap Kill fleas on a Dog?

To some extent, dish soap can kill fleas on a dog. Fleas have exoskeletons that enable them to float on water. Dish soap creates a surface tension that weakens the exoskeletons and makes the fleas sink. In short, the dish soap drowns fleas. However, it is recommended to use dog flea shampoo instead of dish soap because the flea shampoo has been designed specifically for dogs.

Can Dish Soap Control The Infestation of Fleas?

As much as a dish soap like dawn can kill fleas, it is not meant to control flea infestation for a long time. Most vets agree that dish soap cannot prevent flea infestation. At best, you can use it to take care of a temporary problem instead of a long-term solution. Also, dogs probably have a small percentage of fleas that you can kill. There is a big chance that there are other fleas in the environment around it who will quickly make themselves comfortable on your dog’s coat after a while. Remember that an adult flea can lay even 50 eggs a day, which means the population can grow fast.

Can Dish Soap Kill Flea Offspring?

Even when you manage to kill adult fleas, some common places flea eggs can be found include rugs, carpeting, pet bedding, floorboard cracks, cushions, and upholstery. Therefore, even if you bathe the dog with dish soap, the population may still keep growing. That means dish soap is not enough to get rid of fleas.

How Can I use Dawn Soap to Kill Fleas on Dogs?

Below is a step-by-step guide to washing fleas off your dogs.

  • Mix a small amount of soap dish and vinegar. However, dawn soap is recommended as it has enough surfactants compared to other types of dish soap.
  • Get warm water. Your dog is likely to enjoy the bath when the water is warm. Remember, this bath will take longer than usual, and your dog needs to be comfortable. Put the dog in the tub and start washing it with water to remove dirt and other debris.
  • Rub the mixture of the dish soap and vinegar on your dog like you usually do with dog shampoo. You can also use a comb or brush to scrub the soap on the fur.
  • Rinse the Soap. After combing and brushing for about 5 to 10 minutes, you will notice some dead fleas. You can then rinse off both the soap and the dead fleas from the dog’s fur. Ensure you have rinsed thoroughly and check areas like under the belly to ensure all fleas are gone.

What Can Help Kill Fleas Instantly

If you want to effectively get rid of fleas, you can get recommendations from your vet and other over-the-counter drugs that work. Since a vet is trained to keep your dog healthy and safe, they can let you know which product can instantly kill fleas. There are also some special flea shampoos that kill fleas immediately.

Also, apple cider vinegar won’t kill fleas but it can help repel them since fleas do not like the smell or taste of it.

How Often Can I Wash My Dog with Dish Soaps?

Dogs are different, and so are the circumstances. You should only use dish soap if the circumstances call for it. However, if you notice signs of skin irritation after trying it once on your dog, it is best to avoid it and use dog shampoo.

Is Dish Soap Toxic for Dogs?

Dish soap is dangerous to dogs. If it gets into the eyes, it will cause irritation. The dog may cry or whine. That is why you need to rinse your dog thoroughly and with a lot of water. The risk is worse if the soap is ingested. Some of the ways to tell that your dog has ingested dish soap include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe stomach pains
  • Swollen lips, tongue, and throat
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort.

With the above symptoms, the question stands, do you really want to use dish soap on your dog every day?

Why Do Some People Use Dish Soap on Their Dogs?

Some common reasons for people using dish soap on their dogs are as follows:


Sometimes you find that you have run out of dog shampoo, and you want to clean your dog. Since dish soap is used by most people, that is what you go for. You also do not want to rush to the store, especially if it is not on the day you do your household shopping.


A dish soap like dawn is cheaper than dog shampoo. And since dish soap requires a lot of diluting to use, that means it will last longer. Depending on how often you clean your dog, that means you will have saved some cash.

Is Washing Your Dog with Dish Soap Worth it?

Here are the Pros and Cons of using dish soap to help decide whether using it is worth it.


  • It is affordable, with a bottle of dish soap going between $1 and $3.
  • It is convenient and most of the time just sitting on the kitchen counter.


  • Experts have advised against using it.
  • Dish soap can irritate the dog’s skin by stripping it of its natural healthy oils.
  • It can be irritating if it gets into the eyes and, if ingested, causes severe discomfort.