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Does Shampoo Kill Fleas?


Reading Time: 9 minutes

No matter how clean your house and pet are, you still might get an unexpected visit from fleas. Most pet owners know the misery of dealing with those annoying creatures. They don’t only affect your pet’s hygiene, but they might also cause skin problems, transmit disease, and leave your pet with itchy skin.

However, new solutions arise daily, like dish soap, essential oils, flea collars, and more. Using shampoos is pretty famous among those. But remains the question, does shampoo kill fleas? Or will you have to look for another efficient solution? Read on to find out.

Types of Shampoo: Which One to Use?

To answer your question, most shampoos can kill the ever-annoying fleas efficiently. Some of them even kill them immediately after contact. That said, they don’t have a long-lasting effect like topical treatments do. So you’ll need to bathe your pet a few times till you get rid of all fleas successfully.

It’s worth mentioning that you can’t use shampoo as a flea repellent. Consider it a temporary solution for flea infestations, not more than that.

Also, the effectiveness of shampoos doesn’t mean that you can buy any shampoo in the market and wash your pet’s body with it. Some types are safe, and some aren’t. That’s where we come in to help!

Here are the types of shampoo that can get rid of and repel fleas and whether you can use them or not.

Baby Shampoo

Many people resort to using baby shampoo to get rid of their pet’s fleas, and they aren’t wrong. But, typically, if you bathe your dog using the shampoo and leave it on for about ten minutes, the fleas will suffocate and die. And when you rinse off your pet, they’ll leave forever.

That said, baby shampoo doesn’t eliminate fleas because it has a magical ingredient or anything. But, as we’ve mentioned before, all shampoos can kill fleas, so choosing one is merely a matter of safety. And luckily, baby shampoos are safe to use because they don’t contain any harsh chemicals.

Baby Shampoo

But remember, for the baby shampoo to get rid of fleas efficiently, you’ll need to leave it for a while on your pet’s body. This is because you’re killing them by suffocation, not by chemicals. So the shampoo won’t have an instantaneous effect.

Lice Shampoo

Some people recommend using lice shampoos to get rid of a flea infestation since there are many similarities between the two insects. You have two options here, using human or pet lice shampoos.

For starters, you should never use human lice shampoos on your pet. They contain toxic ingredients and are way too harsh. We admit that they might get rid of fleas successfully, but at what cost?

Secondly, pet lice shampoo might not be as effective as other options for killing fleas. After all, it has another primary role that it does efficiently. So you can try using it, but we don’t guarantee success. It’s always better to limit your use for treating lice and ticks.

Natural Dog Shampoo

Natural dog shampoos are always the best option for your pet. They’re safe and don’t contain chemicals that might cause allergies or skin infections. Also, they’re suitable for nearly every dog breed out there and don’t dry out their coats as other shampoos do.

Natural Dog Shampoo

That said, when it comes to getting rid of fleas, they might not be as efficient as other types. But they can still get rid of a few insects. Accompanied with a flea comb, they’ll have a better effect than you’d expect.

Flea Shampoo

You must be thinking now that using flea shampoos is the obvious solution to getting rid of them. However, you’ll be surprised.

There’s no denying that those shampoos are efficient at killing fleas. However, they contain many harsh chemicals that enable them to be that effective. So if you use them constantly, they might dry out your dog’s skin and cause adverse health effects, like rashes, for example.

More so, because of the many artificial ingredients, using a flea shampoo might give your pet an allergic reaction. So ideally, if you want to use those products, you shouldn’t do it more than once or twice. Also, if your dog’s skin is sensitive to chemicals, it’d be best to stay away from them altogether.

Human Regular Shampoo

Simply put, you shouldn’t use regular human shampoo on your pet, no matter the circumstances.

It contains many artificial ingredients that are way too harsh for your pet’s body. Also, our bodies are more acidic than dogs’ bodies, so naturally, our shampoos are also more acidic. However, the high level of acidity might dry out your dog’s alkaline body and give it excessive scratching.

Human Regular Shampoo

More so, some unknown ingredients can be toxic. Not to mention, human shampoos have smells that are only pleasant for us. Your pet might hate the smell.

As a result, it’d help if you only used those shampoos to treat human fleas. Then, for example, if you or your kid caught fleas from your pet, you can use them freely.

Points to Consider When Buying Flea Shampoo

Whether you settle on regular flea shampoo or want to use baby shampoo on your pet’s body, there are a few points you should consider to ensure safety. Here’s a brief roundup about the most important ones.


Before you purchase any product for your pet, you should first check the ingredients. This way, you’ll ensure that there are no toxic ingredients or allergens. Also, some flea shampoos are essential oil-based, and some are chemical-based. This is because many essential oils famously kill and repel fleas, like tea tree oil, lavender oil, and eucalyptus oil.

However, essential oils differ in safety from one pet to another. For instance, lavender oil is toxic for cats, and eucalyptus oil isn’t entirely safe for dogs.

So if you decide to buy an essential oil-based shampoo, you should first make sure it suits your pet.

Pet Age

Some shampoos are better suited for adult pets, while some work wonders for young ones.

Before purchasing a flea shampoo, you should check whether it’s suitable for your pet’s age or not. This is because young pets often have more sensitive skins; therefore, they’re more susceptible to rashes.

How to Make Flea Shampoo at Home

If you find synthetic flea shampoos too expensive or like to get crafty at your house, you can try those simple recipes to make shampoos for your dog. Here are the steps you should follow.

Wet Shampoo

This shampoo will keep your pet clean, eliminate fleas, and give your pet a pleasant smell.

You’ll need Dawn dish soap, white vinegar, and water. As for the container, you can use any empty squirt bottle you have. Next, put half a cup of water, quarter a cup of vinegar, and quarter a cup of dish soap in your container. It’s worth noting that those amounts are enough for small puppies. If you have a large dog, you might want to double the numbers.

Wet Shampoo

After that, you can use it for bathing your dog along with a grooming brush to massage it thoroughly. However, you shouldn’t use this shampoo if your dog has a skin disease or any skin problems.

Also, make sure it doesn’t get in your dog’s mouth and eyes, and keep an eye out for your dog after using this shampoo on its body. This way, you’ll notice if any undesirable reaction occurs.

Dry Shampoo

Since bathing pets too often cause their skins to dry, you can make this dry shampoo to use in between showers. This way, you’ll fight adult fleas as hard as you can without harming your dog’s body.

To make dry shampoo, you’ll need a cup of corn starch, half a cup of baking soda, and a few drops of any essential oil, like peppermint oil or citronella oil, for example. First, however, you have to ensure that the essential oil isn’t toxic to your dog.

You can mix the ingredients in a bowl then massage them on your dog’s fur. You can either use a comb or your hands.

Finally, although dry shampoo is safe for dogs, you shouldn’t overdo it. The powder might accumulate over time and cause itching.

How to Use Shampoo to Get Rid of Fleas

After telling you all about the types of shampoo you can use, it’s time to tell you how to do it. First, you’ll need your shampoo bottle, a tub, towel, flea combs, and water at room temperature. Using warm water is certainly not advised here.

Second, you should wash your dog starting from its head. This is because fleas are intelligent and can sense when you’re trying to get rid of them. So when your dog’s body gets wet, the fleas will escape to hidden areas to avoid getting killed.

For example, they might hide inside your pet’s ears. So starting with the head gives you a better chance of getting rid of all fleas efficiently.

How to Use Shampoo to Get Rid of Fleas

Once you soak your dog’s body, you should keep watering it for about five minutes or more. After that, you can use shampoo to wash the skin. Finally, make sure to massage your dog’s coat thoroughly for 15 or more minutes. Accordingly, you’ll ensure that the fleas get suffocated under the heavy suds.

Then, you can start rinsing off your pet’s body. Ideally, you should keep the water running for about five minutes to ensure that you get all the shampoo out. Next comes the towel; you can dry your pet thoroughly then use the comb.

Although the water will rinse off all adult fleas, we can’t guarantee that it’ll do the same for flea eggs. So using the comb is critical. You should comb through your dog’s entire body carefully till you get all the flea eggs out. We won’t deny that this process takes a lot of time, but it’ll guarantee you a clean pet.

How to Prevent Fleas From Returning

Unfortunately, showering your pet with a flea killer shampoo isn’t enough. The flea population is so persistent that it infests everywhere. You might find them in your pet’s bed, on your carpet, on your kids’ clothes, and more. That’s why you’ll have a lot of work to do before you can rest assured that you got rid of all fleas.

Most importantly, it’ll be best if you replace your pet’s bed with a clean one. It’s one of the most famous places where fleas hide. Therefore, putting your pet in it right after showering might put all your efforts to waste.

Also, it’d help if you cleaned any towels your pet used while infested, even the one you recently used to dry it. As for the rest of your house, you should vacuum it regularly to get rid of flea remnants, like dirt or eggs. Finally, you can set up non-toxic flea traps to keep them away as an extreme measure.

It’s worth mentioning that you should do all of those tasks during the same day. You guarantee no fleas or flea eggs left behind if you do this. But if you only bathe your pet, you risk eggs hatching anywhere in your house.

Symptoms of Fleas on Pets

After knowing what you should do to kill the fleas that took shelter in your dog’s fur, it’s time to learn how to detect a fleas infestation. Luckily, the symptoms are pretty obvious and appear fast.

The first one is your pet scratching obsessively. You’ll know when you see your pet biting at its skin, trying to get the irritating fleas out. This mostly happens because of flea saliva, which can cause severe skin infections if left uncleaned.

Secondly, you might see a flea or two in your house, whether on your carpets or on your kid’s clothes. And if your kids rarely play outside, then your pet is the culprit that brought the fleas in.

Lastly, when fleas infest a place, they leave signs behind them, like most insects. For example, they leave flea dirt and droppings on your floors and in your pet’s hair. You might also see those while combing your pet’s body.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Apple Cider Vinegar for My Pet’s Fleas?

Apple cider vinegar repels fleas efficiently, but it doesn’t kill them. So if your pet has an infestation, the vinegar won’t be enough. However, you can use it as a preventative measure to stop fleas from coming in the first place. You can either spray your pet with it or put some on your pet’s comb and groom its body.

Can Fleas Infest Human Hair?

Yes, fleas can infest human hair. But, unfortunately, you can get them in many different ways. For example, if your pet is infested and you cuddle it a lot, you might get fleas in your hair. Also, if you have kids who spend a long time outdoors with your pet, they might transmit fleas to you.

How Can I Get Fleas Out of Human Hair?

If your hair gets infested with fleas, you can use our dog’s flea shampoo to wash it. Don’t worry; this shampoo doesn’t affect human skin. You can also use baking soda, lemon-scented dish soap, or any liquid soap you have. But beware because those aren’t suitable for color-treated hair and might cause your hair to dry a bit. You can also use aloe vera to soothe the bites.

To Wrap Up

We all know how much of a hassle it is to deal with fleas infestations. They cause skin infections, are hard to get rid of and give an overall feel of less hygiene. Luckily, you can use shampoos to get rid of adults fleas, but they don’t eliminate eggs.

Also, shampoos don’t keep adult fleas at bay for long. So along with them, you should set up some preventative measures, like replacing your pet’s bed and vacuuming your house regularly.