Kill Fleas on Your Pets With Dish Soap

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Even if you do everything right, there’s still a chance your pet could end up with fleas. The good news is that there’s something you probably have at home 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 them and killing them within minutes. It may take a while 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.

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To be clear, though, dish soap won’t prevent or repel fleas. “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 usually recommend using dish soap to wash your pets, as it has the potential to be irritating to their skin.

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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 on 8/25/13 and was updated on 9/11/19 to provide more thorough and current information.

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