DIY Dog Shampoo

Yesterday was officially the first day of spring (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway), and it immediately got me thinking about spring cleaning. Nowadays I know lots of people who are concocting their own cleaning and beauty products at home rather than buying chemical-laden products at the store; inspired by these thrifty, “green” type people, this week I decided to try making my own dog shampoo.

Making dog shampoo at home is a quick and easy project that can actually save you a lot of money over time. The ingredients are all inexpensive and can be found at most grocery stores. Glycerin is the only ingredient that may be foreign to you–I had never worked with it before. Pure glycerin is a colorless, gel-like liquid. It is commonly used in soaps, lotions, and other beauty products because it naturally soothes and moisturizes the skin. Glycerin is gentle enough for dogs’ skin and will also help to condition and moisturize their fur. If you don’t see glycerin at your regular grocery store, you can find it at a craft store like A.C. Moore or Michaels (with the soap-making supplies) or at any pharmacy.

I bought a plastic squeeze bottle (for $1 at Hobby Lobby) to use as a container for my finished shampoo, but pretty much any container with a lid will do. To be really green, you could recycle one of your own shampoo or lotion bottles. I do highly recommend using a plastic container, because a glass one can be very dangerous if it gets dropped in the shower or tub.

Drying off a squeaky clean Pacey after his bath with freshly homemade dog shampoo.

Drying off a squeaky clean Pacey after his bath with freshly homemade dog shampoo.

The recipe below is given as a ratio so that you can very easily make as much or as little of the shampoo as you need. To use the given ratio, simply choose a volume of measurement, such as a tablespoon or a cup, and multiply that measure by the number of “parts” listed for each ingredient. For example, I only wanted to fill one small bottle, so I used 2 tablespoons of glycerin and 1/3 cup (a.k.a. 6 tablespoons) of the dish soap, water, and vinegar. If you want to make a bigger batch, you might choose to use 1/2 cup of glycerin and 1 1/2 cups of dish soap, water, and vinegar. Etc, etc, etc.

DIY Dog Shampoo

1 part glycerin

3 parts gentle, all-natural dish soap

3 parts room temperature water

3 parts apple cider vinegar

Scented or essential oil, as desired (optional)


Place the dish soap in a bowl. Slowly and gently pour in the water, apple cider vinegar, and glycerin. If desired, add a few drops of essential oil. Use a skewer to very gently stir the ingredients together, trying to avoid making the mixture too foamy. Transfer the shampoo to a plastic bottle for storage.

To use, squeeze a quarter-sized amount of the shampoo into your hand, work into a lather on your dog’s wet fur, and then rinse thoroughly with water.

If the shampoo has been sitting on the shelf for a while between baths, you should very gently shake the bottle to redistribute the mixture before using it.


3 responses

  1. I used just a few drops of “pink grapefruit” scented oil. At my neighborhood craft store there were about 50 different oils to choose from, but I thought that a citrus fruity one would work well to mask the scent of the apple cider vinegar.

  2. Pingback: DIY multipurpose dog spray - calm, deodorise, repel fleas, mosquitoes! | We Live In A Flat

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