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Homemade Dog Shampoo – Key DIY Ingredients, Mixing, Tips & FAQ

Written by Viena
Viena is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Sunday 8 November 2020
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
homemade dog shampoo
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When it comes to your pet dog, you always want to make sure that it receives only the safest and healthiest products. However, purchasing commercial shampoos with ingredients unfamiliar to you may make you nervous. Some of the chemicals used in commercial shampoos might be dangerous on your dog’s skin, and surely, you don’t want that. Homemade dog shampoos might be the solution you’ve been looking for.

Since these things are easy to make, you can try a new DIY shampoo for dogs each time you wash your pup. But giving a dog a proper bath is a different matter. Any dog parent would know that convincing your furry friend to take a shower can be quite challenging. Fortunately, making your homemade dog shampoos is not as complicated as you think it is. When you make your DIY shampoo, you’re rest assured that it’s organic, safe, and useful. Most of the ingredients are easy to acquire and are ready-at-hand in your home.

If you would rather buy your own shampoo, check out our guides on water-free dog shampoos, whitening dog shampoos, medicated dog shampoos, and anti-flea pet shampoos!

Homemade Dog Shampoo for Fleas

Every dog owner wants their pets to smell good, but you also don’t want them to be surrounded by fleas or covered in ticks. Flea and ticks infestation will not only make your dog look glum, but they can also make your home awful as they feed off humans and animals alike. Rather than buying a commercial pet shampoo with toxic chemicals, you can try making your homemade dog shampoo for fleas and ticks using the recipe below.


  • One cup baby shampoo (non-toxic soap may also be used)
  • One cup apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar if not available)
  • One quart of water


  1. Combine all ingredients into a container or pour it directly into a spray bottle. A cleaned condiment-bottle is recommended to minimize waste
  2. Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients thoroughly

Method of Use

Using the spray bottle, apply the solution thoroughly into your dog’s fur. Make sure not to miss hard-to-reach areas such as the base of the tail, areas down the spine, and the skin under the forearms and chest. Let the shampoo sit on your dog’s coat for at least five minutes before rinsing. During the five minutes, use a comb or brush to remove any dead fleas.

DIY Dry Dog Shampoo

If you’re a type of pet parent who frequently bathes his pup, more than once a month or so, you should be aware that you also run the risk of drying out your dog’s skin. In between baths, a dog’s natural hair and oils replenish themselves. One excellent solution for this is the use of homemade dog shampoo with essential oils between traditional cleansing. These DIY dry dog shampoos are not that hard to make. It needs ingredients that are readily available in most homes, such as baking soda and cornstarch.


  • One cup of corn starch
  • One cup baking soda
  • Essential oil (use fragrance of your choice)


  1. Mix the cornstarch and baking soda in a clean plastic container.
  2. Add a few drops of essential oils, either lemon or lavender, depending on your preference, to the mixture. The essential oil adds a pleasant smell to your DIY shampoo.
  3. Replace the lid and shake the container gently until the mixture is uniform.

Method of Use

Sprinkle enough of your DIY shampoo on your dog’s coat. Ensure that you shield the face, especially the nose and eyes when applying the shampoo to your pup. Spread the dry shampoo into the pup’s coat until it reaches into the skin. In case your dog gets up and shakes a bit in the middle of the bath, that’s fine. Remember that the shaking will help remove the excess powder off from his fur. Brush your dog’s coat thoroughly to remove the rest of the shampoo off of the hair. Then, dry your dog down with a clean towel to ultimately get the rest of the shampoo residue off his coat.

homemade shampoo  for dogs
You can create a homemade dog shampoo specially designed for your dog’s dry skin.

Homemade Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin

If your furry friend has dry, sensitive, or itchy skin, you can add a few ingredients to your homemade dog shampoo to address those symptoms. You can make a shampoo with aloe vera gel and glycerin – which can be easily purchased from pharmacies, grocery stores, and online stores.

You may also add all-natural ingredients made from olive oil – castile soap. It’s a vegetable-based soap that is gentle and moisturizing to the skin. Castile soap would be an excellent ingredient for mild, homemade dog shampoo, especially for dogs with dry skin.


  • Quart of water
  • One cup of liquid castile soap, like Dr. Bonner’s
  • One cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of glycerine
  • Two tablespoons of aloe vera gel


  1. Using a funnel, pour one cup of liquid castile soap into a small bottle with a lid
  2. Add one cup of either white or apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup of glycerine, and a quart of water
  3. If available, you may also add two tablespoons of essentials or aloe vera gel
  4. Shake the container gently to mix the ingredients thoroughly
  5. The soap will tend to hold the ingredients together, so make sure to shake the shampoo gently before each use to ensure that it is adequately mixed

Method of Use

Once you shower your canine pal with lukewarm water, lather your homemade dog shampoo with castile soap through his fur down to his skin. Take special care to avoid applying it to his eyes, as the mixture might sting them. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the shampoo and keep your dog’s skin bright and clean. After the bathe, groom your buddy as needed.

DIY Sensitive Dog Shampoo

You can also make a dog’s homemade shampoo with sensitive skin. This recipe makes use of oatmeal, which is a natural cleanser, moisturizer, and buffer. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which soothes the dog’s skin when there are itchiness and irritation. This shampoo with oatmeal and coconut oil is also best used to help dogs combat the dry, itchy wintertime skin. It’s a lifesaver for dog owners who want to give their canine pals a nice soothing bath.


  • 1 1/2 cups dry quick cook oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 T-coconut oil
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup castle soap (preferably Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap)
  • Essential oil for added fragrance


In a safe microwave bowl, pour two cups of water, then add the oats. Heat the mixture in a microwave for two minutes or until the oats are soft. Next, pour the coconut oil, essential oils, and lemon juice into the mix. Add the castile soap until the mixture is well combined. Once done, transfer the mixture into a plastic container using a funnel.

Method of Use

After showering your furry pal with water, apply the shampoo mixture all over your dog’s body, and work it with your hands to a lather. Keep the shampoo out of your dog’s eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. Leave to soak in for about 5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. Be careful that your pooch doesn’t ingest any of the shampoo residues, as this can be toxic in large quantities. Repeat if necessary. Then, dry your pooch with a towel and air dry.

DIY Odor-Neutralizing Dog Shampoo

You also might want to know how to prepare a neutralizing shampoo for your pet. Dogs tend to roll on any surface, even on areas with garbage, and they transfer the odor onto their coats. A dog may get horrible smells from several sources, such as a roll in decaying animal matter, a skunk encounter, or a romp in the garbage. For these instances, your dog may need a neutralizing dog shampoo to remove the horrible smell. Fortunately, you can easily make one with a few everyday household items.


  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon mild soap


In an empty, clean container, pour a small amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Then, add one cup of baking soda and one teaspoon of mild soap. Shake the mixture thoroughly to achieve a uniform solution. Pour your homemade dog shampoo with peroxide in a bucket filled with water. Stir the contents with a long-handle spoon until it foam upwards and create bubbles.

Method of Use

Dip a sponge into your neutralizing solution to scoop up the foam. Lather it into your pet’s body, starting at the shoulders down to its tail. Wipe its face gently if the offending odor is also on the head, but make sure you do not allow the foam to get into the eyes, ears, or mouth. Rinse your dog thoroughly with clean water to remove all of the foam. If the offensive odor is still there, repeat soaking him in the neutralizer and rinse thoroughly again. Dry your canine friend with towels and let him air-dry completely.

Tips on Making a Homemade Dog Shampoo

Just like humans, all dogs need an occasional bath, even dogs that don’t shed. Bathing may not be a daily routine for them, which gives us more reason to ensure that they get the safest and satisfying bath they need every month. Also, occasional bathing plays an essential role in the health of your pup’s coat and skin, helping to keep your canine pal clean and free of any dirt or parasites.

When making your homemade dog shampoo, you will need to consider first your dog’s coat and skin condition. Is your dog’s hair of the usual type, meaning not dry or greasy? Is the layer free of knots and has healthy skin? Each dog may differ when it comes to their hair and skin condition, so some ingredients may not be best used for your homemade shampoo. You can consider the following factors when you make your dog shampoo:

pH Level

The pH of the skin is a tricky thing. Some dogs are naturally more acidic than others. No, we’re not talking about personalities but the biological characteristics of their skin. Each dog breed will have its skin pH level. In humans, the human skin pH ranges from 4.5 to 6.5. For dogs, the healthy pH level would range between 6 and 8.5. Any dog soap that is too low in pH levels (too acidic) may cause skin irritation.

So when making homemade dog shampoos, use ingredients with pH levels at the normal range or anything around the seven pH mark. Be careful not to use mixtures that have drying effects on your dogs’ skin. You might be eliminating their healthy essential skin oils, which could cause severe skin irritation. Even if the recommended dog shampoos may seem to be the best choice, as they are designed for the chemical make-up and the pH needs of your dog’s skin, it is still wise to make a chemical-free homemade one. The following are the pHs of some common household ingredients used in making homemade dog shampoos:

  • Lemon Juice: 2.0 (acidic)
  • Vinegar: 2.2 (acidic)
  • Water: 7.0 (neutral – neither alkaline nor acidic)
  • Baking Soda: 8.3 (alkaline)

Correct Balance

When combining the ingredients in making your DIY dog shampoos, make sure you’re balancing the alkaline contents with the acidic elements in a neutral base (water) to create a shampoo that is just the right pH balance for your dog’s skin. Too alkaline should not be a problem, but also acidic will cause irritation, which may harm your pooch’s skin.

Moreover, be careful in washing the eyes, ears, and mouth. Do complete rinsing by checking that all shampoos are thoroughly cleaned out, so residue does not remain, which may irritate the skin or that your dog could lick it off.

Scent-Free Base

If you don’t like any lingering scents on your pooch after the bath, go with hypoallergenic ingredients. These are odor and dye-free ingredients. Also, avoid the use of dish soaps with artificial additives or strong scents. Check your base soap by checking the labels that read odor and dye “free” or “clear.”

hypoallergenic dog shampoo ingredients
Hypoallergenic dog shampoos don’t have strong lingering scents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Without their essential mantle, dogs are left open to a variety of unpleasant and possibly dangerous conditions, including rashes, dry, flaky skin, and infections. However, today many human shampoos have mild formulations made from gentle, natural ingredients. If you use shampoos that include elements such as aloe vera, tea tree oil, or natural colloidal oatmeal, then it’s less likely to bring harm to your dog’s skin than the standard shampoos filled with chemicals.

As concerned dog parents, you might still have unanswered questions in your mind after reading our informative article about homemade dog shampoos. With that, here are our answers to frequently asked questions about DIY shampoos for dogs:

What can I use as a substitute for dog shampoo?

Not having an available dog shampoo does not have to be a problem. Although shampoos specially formulated for dogs are the recommended options, temporary alternatives are readily available in your kitchen cabinets. For instance, baking soda, cornstarch, baby shampoo, and gentle wipes are great alternatives.

Can I use human shampoo for my dog?

Human shampoos aren’t generally a safe alternative to dog shampoo. Compared to human skin, dogs have more sensitive skin. Also, we have 10-15 layers of skin cells, while most canines only have 3-4. Shampoos with the wrong pH balance can strip away the protective oils from the dog’s coat and irritate it.

Can I use dish soap to wash my dog?

According to most veterinarians, it’s not safe to wash your dog with dish soapsRisius Family Veterinary Service, a trusted veterinary clinic in Eldridge, Iowa, warns the use of dish soaps for bathing dogs as it often leads to skin infections. Dish soaps are explicitly made to remove grease.

How do I make my own dog shampoo?

Making homemade dog shampoo is not that complicated, just find the right recipe for your dog. Ingredients are not that hard to procure, and the steps are easy to follow. When washing your canine pal with your homemade dog shampoo, always ensure that he is standing on a non-slip surface to avoid accidents and injury.

When we’re talking about eliminating the dirt off your dog’s coat, there are plenty of inexpensive, gentle, and natural ways to wash your canine pal. Homemade dog shampoos are uncomplicated to make and have readily available ingredients you can quickly find in your kitchen pantry. Plus, you’re confident that your DIY shampoo is organic, safe, and useful. So, today may be the right time to start making your unique version of homemade dog shampoos!

One comment on “Homemade Dog Shampoo – Key DIY Ingredients, Mixing, Tips & FAQ”

  1. Tahmina

    Hey VIENA,
    Nice to see such a long article. I have read it because I thought to have so much information. I like the dry dog shampoo most.

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