Dawn Dish Soap for Fleas – Easy Step By Step Guide

If you are the proud owner of a furry companion, chances are that you have had to deal with fleas on more than one occasion. The goal is pretty much always the same; get rid of the fleas without risking your pet’s health and do it as affordably as possible, right? Let’s explore how dawn dish soap can help you achieve this without adding any more stress to your life.

Does Dawn Kill Fleas Or Am I Wasting My Time?

Yes, dawn dish soap does kill fleas and they will die within minutes, making it a very time effective way to deal with these pests. The overall process is fairly simple; place your pet in a bath of water (or just wet him/her with a hosepipe outside), lather some of the dawn dish soap into the fur (ensuring that you reach all potential flea hideouts, e.g. under your pet’s belly, etc.) and watch as the fleas die within minutes of coming into contact with the soapy water.

If you are using dawn on a dog or a cat, I will provide some additional tips a little later in this article. However, that being said, even if you were using it on another type of animal, the process is safe and you can’t really do it incorrectly. I recommend that you give it a try as soon as possible, and just make sure that your lathering doesn’t miss any spots on your pet.

How Does Dawn Dish Soap Kill Fleas On My Pets?

Simply put, the dish soap breaks down the flea exoskeleton, which proves fatal for these little pets. Even if the soap is mixed into the water at a fairly low concentration, it’s still deadly for fleas in most cases. That being said, I always recommend that you wet your pet first, then use your fingers to lather it into the fur so that you don’t miss any fleas that may be hiding from you. :)

Are There Dawn Dish Soap Alternatives For Flea Removal?

Although this article focuses on using dawn for flea removal, it is possible to use alternative dish soap brands if it’s not available near you. Just keep in mind that you need something that is as natural as possible, without harsh chemicals or heavy scents, as these could have harmful effects on your pet. A couple readers have had good success with baby shampoo, and although I haven’t tried it myself, I am pretty sure that it will work. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this in the comment section at the bottom of this article.

Lastly, I strongly advise against using dishwasher soap on your pets, as I have yet to find something that I would feel comfortable recommending, as they are usually unsuitable for pets due to their ingredients. Remember, this soap will be rubbed in your pet’s fur, and will be touching their skin, so you want to try your best to avoid anything that could cause rashes or excessive itchiness.

Is Dawn Soap Safe Or Does It Have Nasty Side Effects?

Dawn is safe and non-toxic for dogs and cats, as well as most furry pets. You can even use it on baby animals, such as kittens and puppies, without worrying about any harmful ingredients that can potentially affect their health or vitality.

However, it is worth noting that Dawn (and pretty much any other dish soap) has the potential to dry out your pet’s skin, especially if you wash him/her on a regular basis. Thus, I recommend that you firstly, only wash your pet with dawn soap if he/she is obviously infested with fleas (i.e. not just a single flea lol), secondly, don’t do it more than once every 2-3 weeks and thirdly, never use it on a pet that has preexisting dry skin or an infection of any sorts. Another tip, make sure that you rinse the soap off completely, even if this takes you an extra couple minutes, it’s worth it.

I know that I will probably get an absolute flurry of emails about how people use dawn for fleas on their pets more frequently (like every couple days) with no signs of dry skin, but please understand that it is not the most common outcome. In reality, robbing your pet’s skin of protective moisture, even if it doesn’t dry out, is not healthy for your furry friend.

Dawn Dish Soap and Vinegar, Is It A Good Combo?

Vinegar doesn’t kill the fleas, but it certainly can help keep them away as they hate the smell. Unfortunately, so do I, so although it is a great way to keep fleas off your pet, I don’t use it when treating my animals. However, if you want to give it a try, after applying the dawn soap and washing it off completely, apply a little using a spray bottle (half water, half white vinegar) as a decent preventative measure against fleas. The mixture doesn’t need to reach your pet’s skin, just spray a fine layer on its fur.

Please note that this is not a magic bullet, and I cannot guarantee that it will keep the fleas off, even if you spray your furry pet on a daily basis. However, provided you don’t have a full-blown infestation and you offload your pet’s existing fleas using dawn, this can be a cheap alternative to a spot on treatment, so give it a try and see how it works for you.

Does Dawn Soap Kill Flea Eggs, Or Only Live Fleas?

dawn soap for fleasIf you thoroughly wet your pet’s fur and lather in the dawn soap, the majority of flea eggs (if there are even any on your pet) will end up down the drain and will die. However, it is worth noting that these eggs commonly fall off your pet and can be found in carpets, in the yard and other areas around your home. Thus, when dealing with a flea infestation, it is critical that you prevent fleas from reattaching themselves to your pet at a later stage.

It is not feasible to simply keep treating your pet with dawn, even if the eggs end up dying as they are washed away in your bath. Keeping this in mind, I recommend that you check out my article on treating fleas with diatomaceous earth for a natural, cheap way of getting rid of fleas in your home.

Lastly, before I get any more off-topic (lol), I recommend that you acquaint yourself with the difference between flea eggs and regular flea dirt, as they are not the same thing. While that may seem obvious when saying it out loud, I don’t want you to find lots of “specks” on your pet while washing him/her with dawn and freak out because you think they are eggs. :)

How To Use Dawn Dish Soap For Dogs – Step By Step

Dawn soap makes a great flea bath for dogs, even if it’s a puppy, as it is completely non-toxic. This is great news, considering that many flea shampoos provide warnings against using them on puppies, due to their ingredients. But how do you go about washing a dog with dawn dish soap? Well, although I have outlined some of the steps already, here is a nice and easy, step by step guide for you to follow for your dog:

  1. First, unless you want to use water from an outside hosepipe (which is fine), fill a bath with lukewarm water (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit), as this makes it less of a shock for your dog when being introduced to the water. While this is not critical, this is usually what I do for my Mr woof woof.
  2. Second, you want to soak your pet in the water, ensuring that it reaches the skin in all areas of the body. Please avoid getting any water inside his/her ears though, as that has the potential to cause complications if it doesn’t drain out. A few readers have suggested that some cotton wool is used to ensure water is kept away from the ears, so give that a try if you want. If you have put a few cups of vinegar in the water (instead of using the spray bottle afterward), or if the water already has any kind of soap in it, be sure to keep it away from your dog’s eyes as well.
  3. Third, after leaving your dog fully lathered with dawn dish soap for about two minutes, rinse it all off with some water. This can be done with a hosepipe (if you are outside), a bath shower head (if you have one) or you can pour a bucket of water over your pet (a couple times) until all traces of the soap has been removed.
  4. Forth, provided all the fleas are dead (which they should be if you lathered properly), dry your dog with a towel. If you have an outdoor area for him/her to run around in, let your dog outside to dry off, provided the weather is nice and warm. If you have a small dog, some readers have suggested the use of a small hand dryer, which isn’t a bad idea, but it’s completely up to you.

dawn dish soap for dog fleasNOTE: If your dog has a massive flea infestation, you might find that the bath water ends up with tons of dead fleas floating around. If this is the case, I recommend that you empty the water and refill it, otherwise it can get rather messy. It is also worth noting that fleas tend to run for their lives (literally) when you start lathering the Dawn soap, which means that they often end up on your pet’s head, or in other hard to reach places. I suggest that you use your finger to carefully apply some Dawn in these areas, being extra careful to avoid their eyes, as it is critical that all the fleas are killed. Lastly, if you want to apply some white vinegar (using a spray bottle, half water half vinegar) as a preventative measure, only do this when your pet is dry.

Using Dawn Dish Soap For Fleas on Cats – A Couple Tips

Unless you own a suit of armor or have a cat that doesn’t mind water (very unlikely), using Dawn soap to get rid of fleas can be slightly more challenging, especially if you have an older cat that has already acquired an intense dislike for H2O. Strangely enough, kittens don’t usually mind it as much, so this is great news if your tiny fur ball gets fleas and you need a non-toxic solution. Here are a couple steps (and tips) for using dawn on your feline friend:

  1. First, although you could place your cat inside the bath (with around 3-4 inches of water) and wet it that way, I have found that most cats find this method highly offensive. I suggest that you fill a regular sized spray bottle with some warm water, and after making sure that the cat cannot escape, using that to gently and slowly wet its fur.
  2. Second, while making sure that your cat is not traumatized in any way, slowly rub some Dawn soap into its fur, using some of the same pointers as the guide for dogs (above). I recommend that you speak softly to your cat during this process, as this will help your cat feel as relaxed as possible, given the situation. You can simply refill the spray bottle to rinse the soap off your cat when you are done, and repeat the process as many times as necessary.
  3. Third, dry your furry friend with a towel and be prepared for a disappearing act as soon as you let the cat go. If you live in an area with cold weather, please make sure that the cat is completely dry to avoid any chance of it catching a chill and getting sick. You might also find that you cat hides away for awhile, but rest assured that he/she will be back, especially when the food is put out.

dawn dish soap for cat fleasNOTE: Please be extra careful with its ears, as cats are known to be much more susceptible to ear infections. As mentioned before, you can use some cotton wool to keep the water away, if you want to be completely safe. It is also critical to make 100% sure that all the soap is removed, as you don’t want your cat to lick it up while it cleans itself. The Dawn soap is not toxic, but eating soap is very a good idea lol. As mentioned above, just use the same spray bottle to rinse the soap off your cat. Lastly, some readers have suggested giving your cat a mild relaxant, and if that is easily available and affordable, it is a decent idea, to be honest.

UPDATE: I have received a couple emails that recommend putting the Dawn soap directly into the spray bottle. While I haven’t tried this, it is a good suggestion, provided there is sufficient Dawn in the mix. Give it a try and let me know in the comment section below. Also, if you are struggling to get your cat wet (even with the spray bottle)

Frequently Asked Questions About Using Dawn For Fleas

Question 1: Can I use Dawn soap for killing fleas on my carpets? – While it is possible I recommend using food grade DE (diatomaceous earth) or borax powder, as it simply works better than Dawn.

Question 2: What type of Dawn is best for fleas? – The cheapest. Seriously though, any Dawn dish will work perfectly fine, so just grab some and get started with the flea extermination process, instead of overthinking it.

Question 3: Can I use dawn soap for fleas in the yard? – You can, but unless you know exactly where the fleas are hiding out, by applying it everywhere, you will turn your garden into a bubbly mess. In addition to that, you will also kill many useful bugs at the same time, and that is never a good thing. I recommend using beneficial nematodes instead, and scattering a decent amount of cedar wood chips around your yard.

Question 4: Can dawn soap be used as a flea trap? – Absolutely, simply place a couple drops in a low rimmed bowl of water (or just a saucer) and place a tea light in the middle of it to attract fleas. The Dawn lowers the surface tension of the water, leading to the fleas demise. If you leave a few of these DIY flea traps in each room at night, and you will catch lots of fleas, presuming you have a problem with fleas in your home.

That about sums it up, and to be honest, I really enjoyed writing this article for the community. As per usual, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will try my best to reply within 24-48 hours. I welcome any suggestions so please if you have some novel way of using dawn soap to combat fleas for your pets, let us know. Thanks for reading, and have a good one!

Natasha Anderson

Natasha Anderson

Hi there! My name is Natasha and I would like to thank you for reading this guide. If you have any concerns or would like to ask a question about this article, I encourage you to leave a comment below and I will provide a reliable answer within about 24 hours. Remember, all this information is provided at absolutely no cost and if you have enjoyed what you have read, please show your appreciation by sharing this post on your favorite social network below. I look forward to helping you!
Natasha Anderson
Natasha Anderson
Please note that the contents of this guide is for informational purposes only. If you would like to receive professional advice to diagnose a pest control related problem, please contact your local exterminator or certified expert immediately.

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