Does Dish Soap Kill Fleas On Pets?

Jasmine Okechukwu
Does Dish Soap Kill Fleas On Pets?

Discovering fleas on your pet can be disturbing, you just want to get rid of them as soon as possible. You must have heard a lot of quick fixes but one that catches your attention is dish soap. We all know dish soap is excellent for cleaning and removing grease from dishes.

But it can also serve a lot of household purposes, such as cleaning surfaces, kitchen appliances, windows, air conditioner filters, and pieces of jewelry. It can also be used as a hand wash and many more. But in this case, does it kill fleas on pets?

Yes, dish soap kills fleas on all pets. Shocking as it may seem all kinds of dish soaps are capable of eliminating fleas. However, it is best to note that this is not a very effective flea treatment.

Fleas can cause a lot of discomfort to our beloved pets, and no doubt dish soap does get rid of these annoying blood-sucking parasites from pets but is it a lasting solution for fleas?

In this article, you will be getting an in-depth explanation of whether dish soap kills fleas as well as other related questions. So let’s get right into it.

Is It Safe To Bathe Pets With Dish Soap?

There is a lot of skepticism when considering bathing your pet with dish soap either because they are soiled in cooking oil or because you notice fleas in the fur.

Dish soap is specifically made for washing dishes or other kitchen appliances. But the use of dish soap especially dawn dish soap on pets is a popular practice among pet owners and people with rescued animals.

It is best to use pet shampoos rather than regularly using dish soap to bathe your pet. It may seem mild and harmless but can turn out to be too harsh for your pets’ skin. Using dish soap can cause skin irritation, due to the fact that it can dry out the natural oils in their skin.

That being said, you can use dish soap to wash out grease or oil from your pets’ fur, it can also be utilized for killing fleas. You just have to make sure your pet doesn’t bathe with it too often.

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Can Dish Soap Get Rid Of Fleas On Pets?

Yes, dish soap can kill fleas. This flea elimination method is used by a lot of pet owners as it does the job. However, dish soap is not an efficient or effective way to permanently get rid of fleas, it only assures a temporary solution.

Dish soap can only kill developed fleas but not eggs. Unlike other effective flea treatments, dish soap doesn’t prevent a reoccurrence of flea infestation, it also doesn’t repel fleas. When you use dish soap to wash your pet, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about fleas ever again, there’s a high chance your pet is still at risk.

How Does Dish Soap Kill Fleas?

A lot of people wonder how it is possible that dish soap can kill fleas. Fleas are exoskeletal organisms meaning they can only respirate through their bodies.

This makes it hard to get rid of them by just dipping your pet in water, as fleas are also excellent floaters. And it takes at least a day to eliminate fleas by submerging them.

However, dish soap contains surfactant chemicals that cause bubbles to form in the water, due to this the tension of the water is broken thereby causing the flea to drown. Note that the eggs can not drown and you might have to take an extra step for that.

Steps On How To Eliminate Fleas With Dish Soap

If you have decided you are going to use dish soap to kill fleas causing discomfort in your pet, you might as well learn the ropes on how it is properly done. These are the necessary steps to take when bathing your pet with dish soap;

1. Prepare The Bath

You sure don’t want to bathe your pet in an uncomfortable water temperature, it is best to use lukewarm water to ensure that the temperature is very suitable for your pet. Also, ensure that the tub is filled with the right amount of water.

2. Soak Your Pet In The Water

Most pets especially cats would not like this step so you have to make sure you hold them firmly in the tub to hinder them from taking to their heels. Optionally you can soak your cat’s fur by using a spray bottle instead of dipping them into the water. Ensure that all parts of your pet’s body excluding the ears and eyes are soaked in water.

3. Lather Your Pets Fur With Dish Soap

Depending on how big your pet is and the intensity of the flea infestation, you might want to use a good amount of dish soap to get to all fur on your pet’s body. Apply from the neck and work your way down to the tail. It is very important to apply dish soap on the neck first to prevent the fleas from escaping to the head. Make sure you do not miss a spot.

4. Scrub Thoroughly

Scrub through your pet’s fur and make you get to all the parts where fleas are hidden. The key is scrubbing thoroughly not aggressively, so try to be gentle as possible. For thicker furs use a pet brush for effectiveness. Once you are done scrubbing, wait for 3-5 minutes to make sure that the dish soap kills all the fleas.

5. Rinse Dish Soap

After the wait time is over, it is time to rinse the soap off the fur. Gradually, work your way through your pet’s fur with a cup of water or a handheld shower head. Remove all the lather and also any dead fleas still stuck to the fur.

If you find any live fleas, it is best to drain out the water and repeat the steps to make very certain that all fleas are eliminated.

6. Towel Dry

Get your pet out of the water and towel dry, although some might decide to blow dry, towel drying is safer for pets. You can also use a flea comb in case the bathe didn’t get them all out.

How To Prevent Flea Infestation In Pets

It is very common for pets to come in contact with fleas. Getting rid of them completely can be quite tough and it is way easier to prevent the infestation than to treat it. The following are several ways you can prevent flea infestation;

  • Avoid contact with stray or wild animals.
  • Reduce the amount of time your pet stays outdoors.
  • Regular sanitation both indoors and in the yard.
  • Wash or bathe your dog regularly.
  • Use flea repellents around the house.
  • Examine your pet frequently for fleas.
  • Visit the vet regularly.


Dish soap can kill fleas in pets but it is more like a temporary solution.

However, it is best to avoid regular use of dish soap to bathe our pets as it can dry out the natural oils in their skins which can further lead to skin irritations. If the flea infestation keeps reoccurring you should consider a different approach or seek medical assistance.

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