Many pet owners use or consider using Dawn dishsoap as an inexpensive shampoo for fleas. This is a guide about using Dawn dish soap for fleas.
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Our kittens had fleas. There were only 10 weeks old and the spray I had was for 12 weeks and older so I knew I couldn't use it on them. I called the veterinarian near us and they said to use Dawn dish soap to bathe them in. I had 2 small wash tubs. One filled with Dawn and warm water and the other warm water to rinse them in. They didn't seem to mind it at all. Then I went over there bodies with a soft brush to get the feces from the fleas and the dried blood by their ears washed off. The kittens are white so it was easy to see the fleas. I tried to pick the dead fleas off their skin. Then I patted them with a towel. This worked very well. The fleas seems to die instantly.
Source: My local vet.
By little suzy from Millbury, OH
Why buy expensive dog shampoos at PetSmart to bathe your dog? My vet suggested I use any baby shampoo, so now I buy $1.00 generic baby shampoos at the Dollar Store and I have a dog that smells as good as a freshly bathed baby for a fraction of the cost.
By cipi2000 from Miami, FL
Just thought I'd share this here. During a summer camp hosted by a college, one of the science professors shared a cool lesson with us. They showed us how to create a safe wasp killer. As you know, commercial wasp killer are so poisonous.
He diluted about two tablespoons of Dawn dish soap in a cleaner bottle full of water, shook it, and then we waited for the bubbles to clear. He sprayed it on some wasps, and slowly they died. Other soaps worked, but not quite like Dawn. He said the Dawn creates a very strong film which coats the simple breathing holes of insects and they then, unless there's a source of warm running water, die of suffocation.
Perhaps this is why Dawn makes an effective flea bath. It's not the water rinsing them away, it's the Dawn suffocating them. Fleas are an insect.
Tip on ridding your pets of fleas! My daughter is a professional dog/cat groomer. When fleas are a problem at her shop, they use a dilution of lemon Joy dishwashing liquid. Take about 1 and 1/2 inches in the bottom of the original bottle and then dilute it with water to fill to top again. Shampoo your pet, using care not to get it in their eyes. Lather them well! You may bath them with your favorite shampoo after the initial Joy bath and thorough rinse! Works like a charm!
By Shirley from Kingston, PA
Dawn Dishwashing Soap is a very effective way of ridding your dogs and cats of fleas. Don't ask me why, but if you wash them with it and leave it on for 5 minutes, the fleas will just fall off when you rinse them.
By James F. 
Sometime the best deals can be found online. Here is a 90oz bottle of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid. If you use Dawn often, this is definitely a great deal.
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Here are questions related to Dawn Dishsoap For Fleas.
By Barbra from Calistoga, CA
Hi Hey You,
I found this post while looking for instructions on how to use dawn on your dog to kill fleas. I called my vet about a sudden onset of fleas, late in the year, and he advised me to try dawn.
I have found very mixed results about whether to use it or not, but being as my vet recommended it, I feel that it is probably safe, if used in a pinch and not really often (no more than once every 2 months since it will strip the oils that dogs need on their skin).
What got my attention in your post was how you said to never use baby shampoo on your pet. I own a pug who is very prone to hot spots and dry skin. I tried about a dozen different pet shampoos that advertised they were good for dry skin and hot spots, and my poor buddy got no relief.
I asked my vet and he suggested to try baby shampoo. I invested in a bottle of Johnson's baby shampoo for hair and body, and it has been a life saver. He no longer has the dry, flaky skin, and hasn't had a hot spot in over a year now.
I bathe him with it about once a month, and not only does it cure the dry skin, but it also gives him a soft, healthy looking coat, and keeps him smelling nice almost all month. It has been an absolute lifesaver for me and my little man.
I am not sure why your vet, or the vets at these conventions, say that you should not use it, because mine did tell me to, and it is great. I'll never use a different shampoo on him. I guess vets are just like doctors; none of them agree on everything.
Can I use Dawn dish soap on my cat? He is an 8 year old tuxedo.
By Debra from Parmus, NJ
By Sandra Bridgeman 01/22/2011
I'm certain this would be perfectly safe. During the oil crisis in the Gulf, the original blue Dawn was used to clean all the poor animals that were full of the sludge water. Our vet for our shih tzu recommended the original Dawn to bathe her in. She was allergic to all the flea/tic removal products. It worked out very well.
Can I use normal dishwashing detergent to get rid of the fleas on my kitten instead of using Dawn detergent?
By Lizzyanny 02/07/2015
Your detergent will get some fleas. Dawn will get them all.
Can I use Dawn dish soap to get rid of fleas on my dog?
By gbk 06/20/2011
Mix a little vinegar in it and it is better and this was on a post on here a couple of weeks ago and it works better and faster and none of the critters live.
I have Dawn Ultra. It is not the normal Dawn so I'm worried if what they added to the Ultra Dawn is unsafe for cats.
By Maya W.
By Abigail A. 02/18/2015
Is this meant as a flea bath? If so, you should use it as a one-time thing only. It's probably best to use a dish soap that is free and clear of dyes and perfumes for this. The brand isn't that important. Never use a lavender scented soap.
When bathing cats and kittens in general, I use a small amount of Johnson's no more tears baby shampoo. They usually keep themselves really clean, but sometimes mine gets sand in her fur and I don't want her swallowing that.
I have 2 nine year old inside only cats that have attracted fleas from somewhere. I have given both baths with an organic oatmeal and vinegar based flea shampoo for cats, but they still have fleas. My vet suggested that I make a mixture of apple cider vinegar, Dawn, and water, and bathe both kitties and then add to sprayer and spray entire house, carpet, and furniture to end my flea problem. Has anyone ever tried this and if so how much of each and did it work?
By Barbara A
By Caitlin G.01/19/2015
Yeah you can buy Wal-Mart drops, if you want to use toxic poison in your house! There are many reasons to NOT use those drops!
If you have small children that will be touching the animals often, no!
If you have a herding breed that might have the genetic disposition for being deathly sensitive to normal doses of things, no!
If you have someone in the house chemically allergic or sensitive, no!
If you've ever watched Chemerical, you definitely know, no!
I'm even cautious to use Dawn! Why? Because I know those chemical warnings are no joke!
How much Dawn soap do I use to put on my carpets? And does it work and how often can I use it?
By Joyce M. from Pittsburgh
By Sandi/Poor But Proud 08/29/2014
Linda is right. Salt is the best. Now, here is where any dish washing liquid comes in handy.
Fleas love warm climates so they will hop into a pie plate of water sitting under a night light or desk lamp. With a few drops of DWL to break up the surface adhesion they will jump in and drown.
I hope this helps too!
I bathed my new 6 week old puppy in Dawn because I heard how well it worked, but all the fleas ran to her nose. What can I do?
By Sandra D.
By Echo M.11/06/2013
When you bath your puppy or dog always start as far forward towards the head as you can. You can start the bath by just doing around the ears, back of the pup's head and then the neck without putting the pup in water. What I do is mix water and dawn in a measuring cup and then soap up around the ears and neck area before putting them in any other water.
As soon as you put the animal in water the fleas will run for "high ground" which is the head. After getting the neck area soaped I then do the rest of the body making sure that they are fully wet and completely soaped up. Scrub and leave soap on for at least 4 to 5 minutes, then rinse.
I have heard of using Dawn blue dish detergent for fleas. What do I do, and does it work fast for relief? My Chihuahua was given Capstar yesterday, and it made him worse. Please help.
By Josie M
Here is the website I found that gave specific instructions on how best to use dawn on your pet to kill fleas. Just be sure to only use it sparingly, and in a pinch, so you do not strip your pet of essential oils in his or her coat. Good Luck!
We bought an 8 week old Malipoo and she has fleas and eggs, because every time we kill them and then check her again she will have baby fleas. Will Dawn dishsoap kill the eggs too?
By Dinah Ackerson 01/18/2015
My husband is an entomologist so I speak with first hand knowlege and experience.
Flea eggs do not stay on your pet, they quickly drop or roll off as they do not stick to anything. The fleas you find in your house are from the flea eggs that fell off of your pet. Flea eggs are opaque white or almost colorless. What you may see on your dog are immature fleas from eggs on the floor or outside that hatch into fleas and jump back onto your dog. You will also see (many!) small black dots on your dog but these are only flea poop.
The flea eggs in your home and outside are the real problem. Just one female flea can produce 40-50 eggs per day. The eggs fall off and into your house or outside so, either way, your dog will then again attract the immature and adult fleas from their flea parents that may still be living on your dog.
Any dish detergent bath may kill the fleas on your dog, however, you can seriously dry the skin and may cause skin rashes, cause an allergic reaction, etc. and you are not addressing the real problem. The thousands of flea eggs that are still in your house and outside hatch and jump back onto your dog (and you!). So, you and your dog are locked into an everlasting cycle in the life of fleas.
A search online for how to kill fleas brings up many ideas for bathing, natural and awful sprays, etc., but these only address your pet. Rarely do they address the bigger problem as a whole. You can check this site for answers that address your pet, your home and the outside. As you can see, flea prevention is a much larger problem than just giving your dog a bath.
Does it dry out their skin because my dog has very dry skin?
By Dinah Ackerson 01/18/2015
Dawn removes oil and grease from dishes and it will also remove oil from a dog's body. So do not use Dawn on your dog. If you want to kill fleas and prevent future problems, check with your vet on what to use to avoid dry skin problems for your dog.
How often can you wash your dog using Dawn soap for fleas? daily? weekly? etc. Thanks!
By Sandi/Poor But Proud 10/11/2014
You and your dog will get sick of a bath daily. Weekly too. You are depending on the dawn for the fleas death. It's not what kills them, it's the water. So, here is what works.
Put a pie tin of water under a night light or lamp to keep it warm. Drop a couple drops of any dish washing liquid in to break up the surface adhesion in the water. They jump in and drown.
Give your dog Brewer's yeast tablets available at most stores. This makes their blood undesirable to the fleas and they go elsewhere.
Can I mix Dawn and water and do the inside of my house using a garden sprayer?
By Mary Nelson 11/10/2013
I think it would kill the fleas, but you would end up with a really big mess. That soap is difficult to remove, and it would get sticky then attract dirt. If you could find a way to spray it around then remove it, it might work.
I know I can use it to give my dog a bath, but would it be effective at all as a spray as well?
By Ce 07/25/2013
I would not use Dawn dish soap as a spray for fleas. What I use as a spray to kill fleas is original Skin So Soft bath oil from Avon. You do have to mix it with five (5) parts water to one (1) part SSS. Kills fleas on contact.
I've found, on the internet that Dawn dishsoap is a good remedy for fleas. However, I am wondering how often should I bathe my puppy Mahina, with it per week. I don't want to bathe her all the time because I've heard that bathing her a lot is actually bad for her and what about the eggs? Does it help get rid of them as well?
By C.S. from MAUI
By Ce 07/08/2013
I have bathe my two girls every week to two weeks with no problems. I even used it on myself to shampoo my hair before I used it on my girls. This stuff is gentle and the hair comes squeaky clean. It does kill the fleas. Good product.
How long does it take for Dawn dish soap to kill dog fleas?
By Ce 06/24/2013
I use Dawn full strength on my two girls. The fleas start dying as you are shampooing your dog. Remember to always start with the neck so the fleas don't escape to the ears and nose. If you can keep the lather on your dog for 5 minutes the better. Keep the soap away from the face. I have bathe my dogs once a week to be sure there are no survivors. The soap is very gentle and works great.
Doesn't putting Dawn in your carpet cleaner to help get rid of fleas make the carpet very "soapy" and sticky? Do you have to re-clean the carpet to rinse it?
By Catherine L.
I to tried dawn in the steam cleaner only to find I had soapy carpet. I had to rinse it after I was done.
Try just putting a little flea soap like you would use on the animal in your steam cleaner. There is no need to rinse and it kills all the fleas and eggs.
We were so over run with fleas that I would have tried anything and my friend said that's how she got rid of the fleas that had invaded her carpet. So I tried it and it worked like magic.
Does it matter which Dawn I use to bathe my dog? Blue, scented, etc.?
By Bev from MA
By PENNY K 10/02/2012
I'd use the plain blue, but put a few drops in a large plastic glass or container and dissolve it before putting in on dog. It's very concentrated and hard to rinse out and left over soap could make dog itch. Or use a cheap $Tree shampoo, also diluting first.
Does lemon Joy kill fleas?
The chemicals in most dish soaps are very hard on the animals skin, and some may be toxic. I wouldn't trust anything with a lemon/citrus scent. The best thing is to break down and buy olain blue dawn if it is a puppy. If it is old enough for flea treatment then spend the $ on a good one.
Do not use the Hartz brand! Frontline and Advantage are pricey but they work. Also check the local pet supply shops, Petco used to sell an all natural powder that made the dog a little sticky but work really well. It was in a pink container and had peppermint oil and I think cedar oil as the ingredients.
What is the amount of the mixture of Dawn and water?
By vicki hood 09/07/2011
I never bothered diluting at all. If you wish, half and half should be OK. Get 2 to 2 and a half cups dry Borax into each average size carpeted room. Leave for 2 weeks for life cycle. Vacuum. For the yard use natural, inexpensive Cedercide granules. 5 pounds lasts more than a year.
What ratio do I use to mix Dawn dishwashing liquid and water to spray rosebushes?
Hardiness Zone: 8a
By B Mattke from Fort Worth, TX
By Elaine 03/19/2011
What is the reason you want to use Dawn? Is it to control aphids? Or other bugs? I think you use about a tsp. to a gallon of water if it is bugs you want to control. If it is blackspot, you are better off using skim milk.
Can I use Ultra Dawn on my 10 week old puppy? I can't seem to control the fleas. I have sprayed my rugs, etc. Is Ultra Dawn OK? It is all that I have.
I see how Dawn can work, it also takes the oil off of flea's larva. But my question is, will using Dawn deplete my dog's natural oils that his coat needs.
We have used two kinds of flea chemicals on our cats over a 2 week period, but they still have some. They are not scratching much now, but they are licking. I have stripped my bed twice now, but I am still seeing the fleas. How do I use Dawn to get rid of the fleas?
Please help us.
By Gwendolyn S.
In order to kill the fleas in a room do you use both Dawn and apple cider vinegar in a dish and put it under a light, or is it just Dawn in the dish with water?
By Catherine L.
I have two cats. One cat is 2 years old and the other is 4 years old. How much Dawn should I use and how much water?
By Janet H
What is the amount of Dawn liquid soap I should use on my dog to kill fleas?
By Helen from Acworth, GA
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
I read the thread about using Dawn for washing the dogs to get rid of fleas. This is kind of a silly question but does it matter which kind of Dawn you use. I have the antibacterial apple. Is this ok?
By Peggy Z
Do NOT use Hartz anything. The EPA has ordered them to stop producing the product as it has killed so many companion pets.
Jennifer in Northern Virginia
If fleas are a problem for your pet, wash them with Dawn dishwashing soap. It kills them instantly. Leaving a small nightlight on during the night will draw fleas. Just put a small bowl of Dawn under the light and they will jump in. By Brenda from Cleveland, OH
By Ole Lulu
Does dawn dish soap really work on dogs that stay outside all the time? What is the best thing to use on my yard because the fleas have been bad here and Sevin Dust did not work.
I read that you can give your pet a bath in original Dawn soap to kill fleas. I just did it right now and a lot fell off.
Does Antibacterial Dawn dish soap kill fleas?