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Homemade dog shampoos: the best DIY recipes

homemade dog shampoo
(Image credit: Getty)

If you want to save money or be more environmentally-conscious, homemade dog shampoo could be a great option for you and your pup. While some of the best dog shampoo products are all-natural and fairly well-priced, you may determine that DIY is more your style and decide to craft your own homemade dog shampoo.

And that's a great idea, especially with more pet owners looking for natural and frugal alternatives to everyday pet essentials. It's not a bad idea to look at the commercial options as well, as there could be a dog shampoo that's best suited for your dog's individual needs like dry or allergy-prone skin. But if you've done your research and still think DIY is the way to go, we'll walk you through all you need to know about homemade dog shampoo.

The most important thing when trying out new dog shampoo is to make sure everything you are using is pet safe. Human shampoo is not an alternative for dog shampoo, as a dog's skin has much different pH levels to us humans. This means your average bottle of Head and Shoulders is far too acidic for your pup.

But you'll be surprised to see how much stuff in your house is perfect for creating homemade dog shampoo. The following 6 natural dog shampoo recipes are made from simple pet-friendly ingredients such as oatmeal, aloe vera gel, and Castile soap – most of which you may already have in your house. These items are ideal for a luxe DIY dog spa day, or when you've forgotten to go to the pet store for supplies! So read on for the best DIY homemade dog shampoo recipes. 

homemade dog shampoo using oatmeal

(Image credit: Getty Images)

 6 homemade dog shampoo recipes

1. Homemade dog shampoo with oatmeal

Ingredients
• 1 cup of oatmeal
• Half cup of baking soda
• Warm water (not boiling)

Method
• Using a blender or food processor, grind a cup of oatmeal until it is the consistency of flour.
• Combine the oatmeal with baking soda and a quart of water in a bowl. Stir until the ingredients are completely blended.
• Apply the homemade shampoo to your dog's fur and leave for five minutes before rinsing well with water.

Recipe via Cuteness

homemade dog shampoo using coconut oil

(Image credit: Getty Images)

2. Homemade dog shampoo with coconut oil

Ingredients
• ¼ cup coconut oil
• ¾ cup distilled water
• ½ cup Castile soap
• 5 drops lavender oil
• 5 drops of rosemary oil 

Method
• Add all ingredients to a glass container or bottle.
• Firmly place the cap, and shake or mix well to combine.
• Wet your dog's coat all over, and apply the shampoo with a dog brush or fingers.  
• Wash off with water, and repeat if necessary.
• Dry your dog with a towel, or gently blow dry on a low heat.

Recipe via BeautyMunsta.

homemade dog shampoo made with aloe vera gel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Homemade dog shampoo with aloe vera

Ingredients
• 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel
• 1 teaspoon of olive oil
• Squeeze bottle
• Measuring cup
• Castile soap
• 2 cups of water

Method
• Put the water into a squeeze bottle.
• Add 2 teaspoons of Castile soap to the water.
• Add the aloe vera gel and olive oil to bottle and shake to mix ingredients.

Recipe via Daily Puppy.

homemade dog shampoo using lavender oil

(Image credit: Getty Images)

4. Homemade dog shampoo with essential oils

Ingredients
• 2 drops lavender essential oil
• 1 tbsp Castile soap
• 2 drops peppermint essential oil
• 350 ml of water
• 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
• Empty storage bottle

Method

• Mix all essential oils into the Castile soap, and stir for at least two minutes.
• Add the oil and soap mixture to your bottle.
• Add the water and shake each time you use the shampoo.
• Lather well and apply to your dog. Rinse well.

Recipe via Dogs Naturally Magazine.

homemade dog shampoo with oil

(Image credit: Getty Images)

5. Homemade dog shampoo for itchy skin

Ingredients
• 2 cups of water
• 2 tsps of Castile soap
• 2 tbsp of aloe vera gel
• 1 tsp of vegetable oil
•  2-3 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
• Sterile jar

Method
• Pour the water into a sterile jar and add the Castile soap, aloe vera gel, and vegetable oil.
• Put the lid on the jar and shake well to combine the ingredients. Shake the mixture each time you use.
• Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil. This can be a great natural remedy for helping with fleas.
• Lather well and apply to your dog. Rinse well.

Recipe via Cuteness.

homemade dog shampoo with vinegar

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. Homemade vinegar and warm water shampoo

Ingredients
• 1/2 cup of vinegar
• 2 cups of warm water
• 1/4 cup of Dawn dish soap
• Spray bottle 

Method

• Mix the vinegar, water and dish soap into a spray bottle and shake.
• Spray the mixture over your dog's body, ensuring it does not make contact with the face, and use your fingers to work into a lather.
• Rinse well to remove any residue.
• Dry with a towel or use a blow dryer on a low setting. 

Recipe via Wag Walking

What can I use to wash my dog if I don't have dog shampoo?

Remember: never use human shampoo. While it will arguably clean your dog just as well as homemade dog shampoo, its pH levels are formulated for human skin rather than dog skin. This can remove the moisture in your dog's fur, and in turn cause itchy, uncomfortable skin.

As a short-term fix, water can do the trick. It won't help with the smell, but should get them nice and clean. There are other options that can be found around your house, too. Approximately a cup of dish soap (240 ml) mixed with 2 cups (470 ml) of warm water should be effective, as would be the same concentration of baby shampoo against water.

White vinegar can also be effective at bath time - spray it on the fur, leave for five minutes, then wash it out. Be careful not to get it in their eyes though. White vinegar is antibacterial, and can kill fleas and ticks, but it will irritate your pup's peepers.

Finally, 1 cup (230 g) of baking soda and 1 cup (128 g) of cornstarch combined in a bowl can be useful. Comb it through your dog's fur to remove dirt and grime. It might not be something to use too often, however, as it can cause residue to build up on their fur.

Ashleigh Gibbs
Ashleigh Gibbs

Ashleigh is Digital Editor on PetsRadar. With over 8 years of experience in print and digital media, she has acted as an editorial lead on a variety of projects, with animal themes a keen interest. As an avid animal lover, you can often find Ashleigh checking out the newest trends in animal care or looking at cute cat videos on TikTok.