DIY Dog Shampoos: 3 Homemade Shampoo Recipes For Your Pooch!

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Dog DIY By Meg Marrs 4 min read November 2, 2020 7 Comments

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Canine shampoos can be expensive – especially for those with dogs that love to get dirty!

But fortunately, there are a number of ways owners can make DIY dog shampoos at home. This will not only allow you to save a few bucks, but it’ll also give you the chance to tailor the shampoo to suit your dog’s specific needs.

We’ll discuss a few of the best DIY shampoo recipes we could find below, as well as one recipe for a super easy DIY flea spray.

dog soap

1. Homemade Bar Soap from DIY Natural

This isn’t nearly as theatrical, graphic, or dangerous as the Fight Club way of making soap, but this project does have one thing in common with the flick: You’ll need to be careful when mixing some of the ingredients in this formula.

More on this later.

Start making this soap for Spot by assembling the necessary ingredients. This includes:

  • Distilled water
  • Lye
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Some other oil (DIY Natural recommends one made from equal parts safflower oil and sunflower oil)

You’ll also need some molds. Obviously, it doesn’t really matter what soap molds you use. But, given that you’re making soap for your dog, we feel that these are particularly appropriate.

Lye is the chemical that you’ll need to use with care.

It is a very caustic alkali that can cause serious burns, it reacts violently with many other chemicals, and it is toxic if ingested.

We’d strongly recommend readers check out the guidelines for handling lye safely before going any further.  

Start by mixing the lye in with the distilled water (do so slowly and carefully). Then, mix all your oils together. Add the lye-water mixture and keep on stirring. According to DIY Natural’s guide, you can heat the mixture if the temperature falls below 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, phase two: Add the castor oil, lemon juice, and lemongrass, cedar and eucalyptus oils. Pour the resulting mixture into the molds you want to use and leave them to set. That’s it!

Just keep an eye on your pooch to make sure your dog doesn’t eat the bar of soap – with all these wonderful-smelling ingredients, the aroma might seem awfully tasty to your dog!

2. Deep Cleaning Shampoo from PetCareRX

This is a pretty straight-forward shampoo that doesn’t require many ingredients, nor does it take much time to make. Start by simply assembling all of the things you’ll need:

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups gentle dish soap
  • 4 cups of water
  • 4 ounces of vegetable glycerin

PetCareRX recommends trying to use a dish soap with a pH of between 7 and 8. The site also recommends avoiding soaps with strong fragrances or unnecessary additives.

Start by mixing the apple cider vinegar and dish soap in a container. Then, mix in the four cups of water, and finally, the glycerin. Shake well to ensure everything is mixed up, and do so again any time you get ready to use the shampoo on your pooch.    

oatmeal shampoo for dogs

3. Shampoo for Dry and Itchy Skin from The AKC

Not all pooches are equal: Many suffer from itchy or dry skin, which can make them miserable. There are a number of commercial shampoos designed to help soothe sensitive skin, but you can also make one on your own.

It is also wise to speak with your vet about the issue, as itchy skin can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. You may also want to re-evaluate your dog’s food and switch to one that may help moisturize his skin.

Most DIY shampoos designed to help treat itchy skin use the same basic ingredient: oatmeal. And this one is no exception.

You’ll only need three things to whip up this itch-soothing shampoo to create a relaxing oatmeal bath for your pooch:

  • 1 cup of uncooked oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • 1 quart of warm water

Start by grinding the oatmeal in a coffee grinder or food processor. Stop once it’s reached the consistency of flour. Add the ground oatmeal, baking soda, and water in a large bowl, mix it up, and you’re ready to rock.

It’s often a good idea to let oatmeal-based shampoos sit on your dog for several minutes before rinsing him off.

4. Homemade Flea Spray from The Spruce

This is really more of a flea spray than a shampoo, but we’re including it because it may prove helpful for some owners.

Homemade flea treatments are rarely as effective as high-quality commercial options. However, they may be sufficient for some cases. For example, if you live in a cold climate and have only a single dog, a DIY option may be effective enough to keep fleas at bay.  

And if you’re going to use a DIY flea treatment, you may as well use the easiest one to make. This one, which comes courtesy of The Spruce, certainly fits the bill.

The ingredients for this flea spray are ridiculously simple:

  • Pot of water
  • Lemon
  • Container to mix them in
  • Spray bottle

The Spruce recommends you start by boiling the water. Slice the lemon up while you wait. Then, remove the water from the heat, toss the sliced lemon into it, and leave to set overnight. The next morning, you can pour the mixture in the bottle, so it is ready to use.

Lemon extracts help repel fleas thanks to the presence of a chemical called D-Limonene. It’s actually present in most citrus fruits, so you could probably use limes instead of lemons if you like.

We hope that you’ll find one of these recipes works well for your pooch!

Be sure to share any of your own DIY dog shampoo recipes in the comment section and let us know any other dog-bathing tips you can share.

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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!


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Just wondering what kind of preservative I can add so this has a longer shelf life?

Ben Team

Hey, Amy.
It depends on which recipe you were using. It can also be tricky because many natural preservatives are simply acids, which will alter the pH of the soap (which may not be desirable).
The best approach may be to simply refrigerate the shampoo between uses. That should help extend its shelf life some.
Best of luck!

Michelle Robinson

Just want to learn new ideas, getting rid of fleas & eye duct stains


I never thought about using my homemade bar soap on my pooch, but great idea! I would like to say, if you’ve never made homemade soap with lye, please read up on the exact process and safety precautions. There’s a lot more to it than just “mixing lye and water” and it isn’t something to jump into all willy-nilly. There are serious risks if not done properly.

Rachel Walker

Hi Jeannie. I am very interested in your comment as I was drawn to the recipe involving lye, but have never made any shampoo at home before. Therefore, I was wondering whether you would be able to expand on your comment regarding the issues around using lye and the process and precautions that should be taken. Many thanks in advance for your help.


Lye is a poison, it’s used to unclog drains or make crack with. When it comes in contact with some liquids sometimes it can volcano over, because of extreme heat and the chemical reaction with liquids. There’s toxic fumes when you add any liquid to it. When making cold process soap, you need to let the lye and liquid cool down to 110. It gets extremely hot when it comes in contact with any liquid. I wear gloves and a mask when I deal with it. I have burn marks when I start mixing my lie liquids with my oils, Little pieces hip me sometimes

Susan Alberghini

I made your shampoo for my Beagle, Samantha, today. She is prone to allergies and has had a lot of dander lately, probably due to her scratching’. Since her bath, her scratching has stopped and her fur is very soft and shiny. Thank you so much for you video!


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