Kill Fleas on Your Pets With Dish Soap


A happy dog on a yellow background

Photo: Shutterstock (Shutterstock)

Even if you do everything right, there’s still a chance your pet could come home with fleas. The good news is that there’s something you probably have on your sink right now that can help get rid of them: dish soap.

All you have to do is prepare a regular dog bath, but use dish soap instead of shampoo for the lather. The soap destroys the fleas’ exoskeletons, drowning and killing them within minutes. It may take a lot of scrubbing to get them all, but a flea comb should help you find and dispose of any leftover bodies. Once you’re done, you can give your pet a proper bath with good shampoo to keep their skin from drying out.

To be clear, though, dish soap doesn’t prevent or repel fleas, meaning you’ll also need to clean your house thoroughly to prevent them from returning. “Since only a small percentage of fleas are on a pet at any given time, fleas from the environment will simply hop right back on and restart the infestation cycle,” Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinarian, tells PetMD. In addition, vets don’t recommend regularly using dish soap to wash your pets, as it has the potential to be irritating to their skin.

Also, if your pet’s flea problem is really bad, you should probably call a vet. If you’re just being cautious because you noticed a flea or two though, this is a cheap first step to nip the problem in the bud.

This story was originally published in August 2013 and was updated on Nov. 23, 2020 to updated outdated links and revise the copy to align with current Lifehacker style.



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