Published: June 18, 2020  

Last updated: December 22, 2021  

So you want to make homemade dog shampoo. Whether you just want to avoid all the chemicals found in store-bought dog shampoos or just enjoy making your own, I have several different DIY dog shampoo recipes for you to try. 

You can find an endless number of homemade dog shampoo recipes online. I have tested all of the recipes below to rate how easy they are to make, how well they clean, and how much they lather.

DIY dog shampoo ingredients

homemade dog shampoo ingredients

You can find all of these ingredients to make your own dog shampoo at home in our Amazon Shopping List by clicking here.

  • Castile or dish soap helps all the ingredients bind together.
  • Vinegar helps deodorizes and adds shine.
  • Baking soda balances the acidity of vinegar and water
  • Essentials oils add fragrance, and sometimes helps repel pests fleas and ticks.

Make sure to get quality essential oils, brands such as Edens Garden, Young Living or doTERRA.

Speak with your veterinarian if you have any concerns over using essential oils with your dog.

DIY shampoo directions

  1. For each dog shampoo, combine all ingredients in a squirt bottle and shake to mix well.
  2. Take your dog outside or to the bathtub, wet your dog’s coat with warm water, and generously apply your homemade shampoo. 
  3. Scrub the shampoo into his coat, creating a lather. Start with his backside and work your way around his body, leaving his head and face for last.
  4. Always avoid your dog’s eyes. 
  5. Rinse thoroughly ensuring there is no soap left on fur. I run my hand under our dog chest, armpits, all the nook and crannies soap can hide. Leaving any soap can irritate his skin.  

Depending on the size of your dog you may want to double the recipe. I found all these homemade shampoos very watery, which makes it easy to pour but also increases the need to use more. 

If you have a large dog like our 90lb Bear, I recommend using 2 cups of water and increase the other ingredients accordingly. If you have a small dog, then 1 cup of water should be plenty for one bath. 

Recommended reading: 7 Important Dog Bath Tips

Simple 3-ingredient dog shampoo

yellow lab dog getting bath with homemade dog shampoo

Dish soap (we used the standard blue Dawn) is formulated to cut through grease and will do a great job of washing away oils that build up on your dog’s coat and skin. For this reason, I don’t recommend this soap if your dog has dry itchy skin. Vinegar has odor-fighting properties that will leave his coat shiny and clean. 


4 out of 5 stars – This shampoo is very easy to make, and most people have these ingredients in their home already. We didn’t like the vinegar smell that lingered for a few hours after bath time. But it did clean and lather very well.

DIY dog shampoo and conditioner with coconut oil

dog getting bath with homemade coconut oil dog shampoo

You can always mix up this recipe without the essential oil. Speak with your veterinarian if you have any concerns over using essential oils with your dog.


5 out of 5 stars

5 out of 5 stars – This is our favorite, it made our dogs fur very soft… with the bonus of repelling fleas and ticks. It’s easy to make, but you may need to purchase the ingredients. It cleans and lathers well. 

Learn more about all the health benefits coconut oil has for your dog!

Homemade flea and tick dog shampoo


3 out of 5 stars

3 out of 5 stars – It’s easy to make, but you may need to purchase the ingredients and oils. It cleans and lathers okay, I suggest adding more castile soap if you want more of a lather. 

Our dog, Ginger, hated the strong scent of the oils. As soon as she was done, she ran over a dirt pile and rolled around it in!  

Homemade dog shampoo with essential oils and aloe


Other essential oil options include rosemary, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

4 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars – It was pretty easy to make, but not everyone has these ingredients in their pantry. This was a nice option and the aloe vera made our dog’s fur soft similar to the coconut oil soap.

It cleans and lathers okay, I suggest adding more castile soap if you want more of a lather. 

This homemade dog shampoo is not only great for a fresh smelling dog but also works as a flea and tick Repellent because of the lavender essential oil.

Homemade oatmeal dog shampoo


Grind the oatmeal in a food processor or blender.

2 out of 5 stars

2 out of 5 stars – This is our least favorite. The original recipe did not call for Castile soap, which left this one in the dust.  

Oatmeal is good for dry itchy skin. But we found that this dog shampoo recipe does not lather and is better suited for a soaking bath than a cleaning shampoo. If you want to make it into a sudsy soap, I recommend adding 1 tablespoon of Castile soap.

In summary

After making and testing all of the above dog shampoo recipes, our favorite is the DIY dog shampoo and conditioner with coconut oil. The coconut oil made Bears fur so soft with the added bonus of repelling fleas and ticks.

Since you’re working with fresh ingredients and no preservatives, make small batches so you can use them within a few days.

So tell me, which one did you try and did you make any adjustments to the receipt? Will you continue to make homemade dog shampoo for your dog, or will you go back to store-bought dog shampoo?

If you do prefer to buy an all-natural dog shampoo, then I recommend Jax N Daisy. We use this on our dog Ginger to help with her itchy skin and it works wonders. We even use the lotion on ourselves. 

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About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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  1. I have a 6 month old toy poodle. I have been using similar shampoo since I got him. It is a wonderful shampoo kills flea s, stops the itch, leaves him soft.
    Dog shampoo

    2 cups warm water
    1/4 cup dawn
    1/2 cup coconut oil
    5 drops
    essential lavender oil

    Gently Mix all together and pour into squeeze bottle.

  2. I have pure Castile soap but it's equate lavender and it multi purpose on it, is it the same thing or do I need to get the other one?

    1. I just checked the ingredient list on Dr. Bronner’s lavender castile soap and it does other ingredients not included in the original. I’ve never used it on my dogs so can’t say for sure it’s safe, but I don’t see any red flags in the ingredient list.

  3. We help keep our dogs allergies at bay by bathing them frequently (ever 1-2 weeks in high allergy months). We groom them at home and use our own  homemade dog shampoo  to stop itching.

    1. We’ve bathed our large dog with Dawn soap, apple cider vinegar with the mother’s, glycerin and water mixture at home her entire life. I’ve recently replaced the glycerin with coconut oil as she is older now and has started having a dry skin and can sometimes be a little smelly. It is so wonderful for her skin and the coconut oil helps to cut down the vinegar smell.

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