Dawn Dish Soap for Fleas | All You Need to Know!

Some pets that need foster parents are once abused, so they need tender loving care and tons of socialization. It’s normal to find some of them with fleas, and resolving this problem is one way of giving them a better life.

Regarding this concern, Columbia Animal Services recommends using plain dawn dish soap when giving your pet infested with fleas a bath.

Is dawn dish soap effective for fleas? Based on the study made by Chris Jowers, one of the many uses of dawn dish soap apart from cleaning dishes is killing fleas. Use it when giving your pet a bath to see the desired result. The best part is that it’s much cheaper than dog shampoo.

Indeed, dawn dish soap can get rid of fleas as it does the same thing to ants and houseplant insects like spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. If you’re still not convinced, read the whole article for fact-checking.

Does Dawn Really Kill Fleas?

Does Dawn Really Kill Fleas

Dawn dish soap can kill fleas, but it’s not the best solution for preventing flea infestation. You can use it when you give a bath to your pet. As a cleaning agent, you can apply it on furniture and the floor once you see a sign of flea infestation.

You may put a drop or two of this soap into your steam cleaner when cleaning your carpet. Be wary of putting an excessive amount as it will only create unnecessary suds.  

How Does Dawn Dish Soap Kill Fleas on Pets?

According to Dr. Chris Reeder, a certified veterinary dermatologist from BluePearl Pet Hospital located in Tennessee, dawn dish soap kills fleas on pets, contrary to what you think.

This soap doesn’t just remove the oil or grease and fleas from the furry animals.

Fleas float in the water due to the type of exoskeleton that they have. On the other hand, the dawn produces a surfactant or surface tension that affects the floatation of their exoskeleton. Because of this, the fleas sink, so the soap simply drowns them.

Are There Dawn Dish Soap Alternatives for Flea Removal?

Are There Dawn Dish Soap Alternatives for Flea Removal

Apart from dawn dish soap, there are alternatives for flea removal on your pets. They are as follows:

  • Insecticidal dust – This is better than the spray version since it has less odor and is not harsh on the skin. Application is done through the help of a shaker. Don’t allow the dust to enter the animal’s nose, eyes, and mouth. An excessive amount should not be applied to the abdomen as it can be licked.

The suggested amount of dust for a small dog is a tablespoon, while it’s 30 mg for a larger one. Apply it starting from the top of the eyes, and you should go backward until the tail. The best insecticidal dust that can help eliminate fleas are Bonide Control Dust-onRockwell Labs Cimexa Dust Insecticide, and Bayer Delta Bust.

  • Medication – Pets can take Lufenuron tablets every month for flea control. The suggested dose for cats is 30 mg for every kilogram of body weight. It’s 10 mg per kilogram of body weight for dogs. This medication can also inhibit egg development once the female flea takes it.

Is Dawn Soap Safe? | Does It Have Nasty Side Effects?

Dawn soap is safe except if your pet’s skin is irritated. It’s best to avoid using it to not worsen the irritation. Veterinarians suggest that it’s much better to use dog shampoo for bacterial skin infections like Veterinary Formula Medicated Shampoo and Honest Paws Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner.

What Do You Mix with Dawn to Kill Fleas?

What Do You Mix with Dawn to Kill Fleas

The smell of the vinegar can ward off fleas. Some would put it in the water dish of their pet for prevention. It’s also good to mix it with dawn dish soap to control flea infestation, and the mixture can be used in different ways.

You can replace vinegar with apple cider, and the effects will be the same.

Dawn Dish Soap and Vinegar, Is It a Good Combo?

Dawn dish soap and vinegar are a good combo since the mixture can be used in other ways in stopping the growth of the flea population.

The first step is pouring half a cup of any scent of Dawn and half a cup or a cup of vinegar into a cup of warm water into a tub. Soak your pet in this soapy water for at least 5 minutes. Lather the soap on the animal’s body before rinsing and drying.

After drying the animal’s body, use a flea comb to groom its hair or fur. It’s also a way of finding the fleas that didn’t get drowned in the bath. You may add essential oils like lavender in the mixture of dawn and vinegar. But make sure your pet is not sensitive about it.

It’s also good to be aware of the level of the flea problem that you need to resolve. Put the soapy water with vinegar solution into the bowl near the light. Let it stay for a night to see the number of fleas that got drowned the following day. You can apply the appropriate solution once you know the infestation status.

Does Dawn Soap Kill Flea Eggs?

Unfortunately, the dawn soap can’t kill flea eggs since only adults are vulnerable to it. That’s why dawn soap is not the ultimate solution to eradicating fleas.

While it drowns adult fleas, the eggs and even the pupa survive since they have a smooth covering. They will slide off the drain after throwing the soapy water, and their population still increases.

How Long Does it Take Dawn Soap to Kill Fleas?

How Long Does it Take Dawn Soap to Kill Fleas

It will take 5 minutes for dawn soap to kill fleas as it’s the recommended time when soaking your pet with this soap.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kills Fleas Instantly?

Here are the things and substances that can kill fleas instantly:

Heating Unit

Fleas die at 140℉ in ten minutes with the help of a heating unit like ZappBug Heater Bed. You can put the infected objects and even delicate clothing in it to get rid of fleas. After putting on the temperature to 103 degrees Fahrenheit, let them stay for an hour to kill the bugs.

D-Limonene and Linalool

Shampoos for pets with these substances can kill fleas in all stages. But when there’s only d-limonene, they can’t take care of flea eggs. Make sure you get the product that’s approved by the EPA.

Boric Acid

This is considered a stomach poison, and it’s spread on carpets. One application is viable for a year, but you have to be careful. Don’t expose it to areas where pets and kids can have direct contact.

What Do Fleas Hate the Most?

Since fleas have a strong sense of smell, they hate the strong scent that comes from mint, cedarwood, vinegar, clove oil or eugenol, lemongrass oil, rosemary oil, and citrus. You can mix some of these substances or buy spray like Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Home Spray, as it has clove and peppermint in its solution

Can Fleas Live in Feather Pillows?

Fleas live in feather pillows and lay eggs at the same time.

What Can I Spray on My Bed for Fleas?

Fleas can live on your bed but spraying is not advisable. At some point, you may be required to burn them. Also, you can wash them with hot soapy water.

As the beddings are being washed, vacuum your bed and the surrounding area. It will remove the dust together with the fleas’ larva and pupa. You can spray some insecticide that can control fleas around the premises, like Bayer Polyzone Suspend Pint Insecticide.

Related: Flea Larvae | Information and Control Guide

Can Fleas Live in Mattress?

Fleas can live in mattresses, and they may appear like bed bugs. They’re smaller, and they can grow only up to 3.3 mm. Moreover, they’re an oval shape too. While bed bugs choose to be active at night, fleas can consume their host’s blood any time of the day.

To confirm that you have fleas on your mattress, you can use clear tape and press it on the area of the mattress where you spotted a flea. Identifying the bug will help you apply the proper solution.

Where Do Fleas Hide in the Bedroom?

When fleas are in your bedroom, they can hide in the mattress and beddings as well as cracks and crevices of the bed and floor.


Dawn dish soap can only kill adult fleas by drowning them. This soap creates a surface tension to fleas’ exoskeleton, so they drown in the soapy water and die in a matter of five minutes.

Therefore, a different approach should be applied when eliminating the eggs, larva, and pupa. A temperature of at least 103 degrees and a combination of D-limonene and linalool can kill fleas in all stages.

List of Sources


Least-toxic Control of Fleas

Vector Control – Methods for Use by Individuals and Communities

Questions and Answers About Fleas