Skip to main content

All-Natural Homemade Dog Shampoo Recipe

I enjoy making things at home using earth-friendly ingredients and materials for my family and pets.

Dr. Mark, U of Missouri Veterinary Medicine grad and 40+ years working with dogs, exotics and livestock

DIY Dog Shampoo Recipe

DIY Dog Shampoo Recipe

DIY Dog Shampoo: Why I Make Homemade Dog Wash

Some people may choose to make homemade dog shampoo in an effort to save money, and others may want to live a chemical-free life. However, like me, most people consider homemade dog wash because their dog has sensitive skin.

Dogs With Sensitive Skin

I was noticing that my fourteen-year-old chocolate Labrador Retriever's skin was getting more sensitive and dry as he got older. Since I bathe my dogs frequently in an attempt to avoid chemical flea treatments, I had to find a dog wash that helped soothe my older dog's skin.

I had purchased oatmeal shampoos from the store but realized I could probably make my own oatmeal shampoos for a fraction of the cost. The store-bought brands also had chemicals in them. For months, I have been working on reducing the number of chemicals in my home by making homemade cleaning products and laundry products, so making homemade shampoo seemed like a good next step for a chemical-free home!

Simple Oatmeal Dog Shampoo Recipe


  • 1 cup whole natural oats
  • 4 cups of warm water
  • 1 tsp Castile soap (or other gentle soap or oil)
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary (optional)


  1. Place all the items into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Place blended mixture in a mason jar and store in the refrigerator. (Note: This dog wash will NOT store well in a soap dispenser or regular shampoo bottle).

How to Use It

  1. When ready to bathe your dog, wet your dog's coat with warm water.
  2. Pour the oatmeal dog wash on them and rub it into the coat.
  3. Let it sit on your dog's skin for a few minutes, if possible.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
DIY Flea Prevention Dog Shampoo

DIY Flea Prevention Dog Shampoo

Homemade Flea-Fighting Shampoo Recipe

Fleas can't survive in warm water or soap, so if you wash your dog with warm water and Dawn dish liquid, you will easily (and inexpensively) kill fleas that are on your dog.

Safer Alternatives to Dawn Soap

Although a small amount of dish liquid as dog wash usually won't dry out your dog's skin, frequent bathing with it can cause skin sensitivity. The flea bites may also cause skin irritation. By making a homemade dog shampoo with the following ingredients, you can fight fleas, prevent more fleas, and relieve your dog's skin.


  • 1 teaspoon lavender essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1–2 tsp Castile soap (or other gentle soap or oil)


  1. For every 2 cups of hot water, add a teaspoon of the above ingredients.
  2. Add 1–2 teaspoons of baby shampoo, Castile liquid soap, or other mild dishwashing soap to the mixture.
  3. Mix well with a paint stirrer and store in a tightly sealed container.

How to Use It

Use the homemade dog wash and warm water when bathing your dog, and try to let the wash sit on the dog's fur and skin for at least five minutes before rinsing. You should always comb your dog before bathing, scrub well during bathing, and comb again after bathing if you really want to stop a flea infestation.

Bonus Homemade Flea Prevention After-Bath Spray

This is an easy-to-make, all-natural after-bath spray that you can apply to your dog after bathing. It acts as a mild flea deterrent.


  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 sliced lemons
  • 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar


  1. Put two sliced lemons in a pot and mash them roughly with a fork (this will help break the rinds up a bit, which is important).
  2. Add the water and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium and let the water-lemon mixture simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Set it aside and let the mixture steep overnight.
  4. Strain the mixture into a bowl. Add the distilled white vinegar and mix it briefly.
  5. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray your dog's coat every day, shaking the bottle before each use.

You can also add a few drops of dog-safe essential oils (such as neem or tea-tree) to the mixture as well if you wish. Be sure to consult your vet before making an oil additive choice.

Sources and Further Reading

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


mary jo west on February 11, 2018:

i mixed Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap - Baby Unscented,an jojoba oil,some vegetable glycerin,2 cap full thieves household cleaner, bout 5 drops,lavender oil,lemon oil,citronelle oil,purification oil all young living.make bout 8 oz. lathers up good. works great. grest for small dog it dont take much...

Shaina on September 29, 2015:

Excellent recipe! I would recommend blending the oatmeal and water first before adding the soap, mine got so foamy it was hard to break down the oatmeal thoroughly, or maybe my blender isn't the best also! Thanks for sharing!

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on September 25, 2014:

The shampoo does not lather a lot but does lather a little bit. I get my Castile soap from I agree lavender is a great substitution for the rosemary, if needed, due to health issues.

Steph on September 19, 2014:

i wouldn't put the rosemary in it because i have read in many things that rosemary should be "avoided on dogs that are prone to seizures or with epilepsy." Lavender is good for them and also fleas hate lavender!

Jahni on September 15, 2014:

Thanks for the recipe! My dog has been going crazy trying to scratch because he's been itching so badly! Where do you buy your Castile soap from? Again, thank you :)

kristina on August 06, 2014:

Will the shampoo recipe lather lime normal shampoo?

Adrienne on May 24, 2014:

I just tried this and LOVE it!! My dogs fur feels like velvet!!!

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on February 02, 2014:

Juan I am not sure what this would be in ml ..... Maybe you can find a mathematical equation to convert the recipe ..... Best of luck on your project!

juan on January 31, 2014:

for how many mililiters is this for, thank you, its for my science fair project

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on July 23, 2013:

Since I have large dogs, I make a large mason jar full and go through it in less than a month. It will likely keep for up to two months in the fridge. I use 1/2-1 cup of the stuff for one bath but depending on your dog's size and fur you could use more or less. It is so easy and cheap to make, that I usually put it on quite heavy.

Cathy on July 20, 2013:

How will it keep in refrigerator and how much doe you use for each bath? Thanks!

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on April 15, 2013:

I live in PA on 5 acres with lots of open field and wooded area and the ticks are very bad every year. I have not found anything to deter the ticks. I check my dogs constantly and usually get the ticks off before they get deep into the dog's skin. I would imagine that if a tick did get into your dog's skin and when pulled off, left a wound, this wash would be soothing and not irritate the tick bite.

Robyn D Bera from California on April 15, 2013:

I'm absolutely going to try your flea wash as I'm heading into flea season here in northern California. Will it work for ticks too?

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on April 05, 2013:

StoneCircle- sometimes you have to use harsher shampoo to really clean and get rid of the mud and fleas, but this is great for soothing the dog's skin!

Susan McLeish from Rindge, NH on April 04, 2013:

This will be a great recipe addition to both of my pugs bath time. Especially with flea & mud season just around the corner.

Bethany Williams on March 10, 2013:

Good topic! :)

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on November 15, 2012:

If you store it in the fridge in a steralized mason jar it should last for one month. I have three dogs so I go through it quickly. If the jar is not steralized properly or left out of the fridge for too long, it could develop bacteria.

iefa on November 15, 2012:

Hi, how long can i store this oatmeal shampoo in fridge? can it long last for 1 month? or only 1 week?

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on September 24, 2012:

It is amazing the things we can make at home in just a few minutes. Like I commented before the biggest downfall for me is getting my dog to allow it to soak for awhile. Whether it is homemade or store bought it really works best when it can get through the coat and into the animal's skin.

Catherine Taylor from Canada on September 24, 2012:

Wonderful hub, like many people here i have tried making my own laundry soap and shampoo, but hadn't thought about doing it for my dog. Can't wait to try this.

Jenn from Pennsylvania on September 19, 2012:

I have a hairless Chinese Crested who like all dogs of the breed has sensitive skin so this sounds like it would work well for her. Very useful hub- will have to bookmark this.

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on September 17, 2012:

If you grow your own herbs toss them in there to get a nice smell! I am actually contemplating trying it on my own hair because it seems so smooth when I rub it on the dog.

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on September 17, 2012:

You might want to have a skin test done. We had a dog once that had to go on and off steroids because of severe skin problems. Hope this helps....and if it doesn't at least you didn't spend a lot of money trying it.

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on September 17, 2012:

I works best when it can sit on the dog's skin and coat and then be fully rinsed. If you have a smaller dog who is calm, I'm sure they will benefit greatly from it. My 14 year old lab is still not very cooperative during bath time and tries to escape the entire time. it would be so nice if I could just get him to lay in the tub and take a soak....LOL!

Natasha from Hawaii on September 17, 2012:

I haven't made dog shampoo before, but I used to create a sort of rosemary tea to rinse the dogs with. I hadn't thought about it in a couple of years, but your hub made me remember! I love recipes for things like this - thanks for sharing it.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on September 17, 2012:

My dog has sensitive skin and nothing seems to help. I'll have to try this. You can thank Just Ask Susan for the share!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on September 17, 2012:

Both my dogs have sensitive skin and I usually buy oatmeal shampoo from the vet. I just ran out of the shampoo so I'll try your recipe.

Sharing, pinning and more.

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on September 16, 2012:

Rachel- time is money and I decided to invest the time in dealing with the fleas. For some people they really don't have the time to fight fleas naturally, but I feel blessed that I do. I am having fun making homemade products for my family and my dogs. I hope to see some hubs on your homemade soaps!

Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania to Minnesota on September 16, 2012:

This is awesome information. I've been making my own soap for bathing, and just starting using my homemade soaps to make dish soap and laundry soap. Now I'm inspired to make dog soap! I don't wash my dog that frequently because she always goes and rolls in horse dung or mud right after, but we have been spending the money every month for the expensive chemical flea and tick treatments. It's great to learn that I can get rid of the fleas using natural methods! Thanks for this hub, voted it up and more and shared and pinned!

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on September 16, 2012:

I hope it works well for your dog. My dog is not real cooperative when I bathe him so I never can let it sit for five minutes on his skin to really get the full benefits!

4youreyes on September 16, 2012:


Great recipes I will be given this a try for my dog. I like that it's natural and I can save money. Thanks !

Have A Good Day !