The journey of a Christian wife, stay-at-home mom, quasi-tree-hugger, and cheapskate to find ways to "CHanGE" her life to be Cheaper, Healthier, Greener, and Easier. Constructive feedback always welcome!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cheaper, Healthier, Greener: Homemade Dog Shampoo

My concern for the products in our household hasn't stopped with just what the humans use. While giving my Yorkie a bath one day, I happened to take a look at the ingredient list on her bottle of dog shampoo. This is what I found:

This is supposed to be "oatmeal" shampoo, but I only found one ingredient that even hinted at having oats in it. Aside from water, everything else appeared to be some sort of chemical cocktail, most of which with names I can hardly pronounce.

Then I wondered--could I make my own dog shampoo? I had tried making my own herbal shampoo before for my own hair but wasn't very pleased with the results. It just felt way too oily and heavy. But I was willing to try again with a different combination for my dog. Upon some research, here is a recipe I found using simple, natural ingredients comprised of mostly things I already keep around the house--Dr. Bronner's castile soap (I did have to go buy that), distilled water, white vinegar, and olive oil.

I have tried to find the original source of the recipe, but my Google search came up empty-handed. If you are reading this and are the creator of the recipe, contact me and I'll give you credit for it.

The recipe is:

- 1 cup of distilled water
- 1/2 cup of Dr. Bronner's
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp olive oil

Mix and shake gently, then store in a waterproof container. When my dog's regular shampoo ran out, I simply rinsed it out well and put these new ingredients in there. I would recommend sticking a label on the side of that container listing the ingredients, similar to what I did.

If you don't know what Dr. Bronner's is, it's an all-natural vegetable-based castile soap. You can typically find it in the organic or natural personal care section of your local grocery store. It's a bit on the pricey side, but you don't need much of it, and it'll last you a long time. Here is a picture of the ingredients list. A lot safer-sounding to me!

You can use any scent of Dr. Bronner's that you prefer, but I use the lavender scent because it's supposed to have some bug-repellent properties and be calming. And it smells nice. And I've seen other recipes that call for apple cider vinegar instead of white. Maybe I'll try that the next time I run out of my homemade batch.

The end result is a clean, shiny, wonderful-smelling dog...well, until she decides to go out rolling in the grass the next time she has to go do her business.

So, how does this stack up according to my criteria?

Cheaper: Even with the initial investment of buying "fancy" castile soap, this works out to be cheaper than traditional dog shampoos. I figured that it costs about $1 per 6 oz to make (assuming that I can find a BOGO deal on olive oil, which I typically can). To fill up that 18 oz bottle, then, it would cost about $3. The last time I bought traditional dog shampoo, it cost about $4 for that same bottle.

Healthier: Fewer chemicals so I have a better idea of what's penetrating my dog's skin.

Greener: Not washing said chemicals down the drain and risk contamination of water supply. The Dr. Bronner's bottle also claims to be made from 100% recycled plastic, which can in turn be recycled. I buy vinegar and distilled water in large jugs, reducing packaging. Olive-oil bottles can also be recycled. But overall, I'm using less packaging by making my own shampoo.

Easier: OK, it's not really easier to make than it is to buy. But it's not hard to do and doesn't take a long time.

The benefits of making your own dog shampoo could be quite worthwhile. Give it a try.

And what would be a post about dog shampoo without a picture of said dog? Just call her York. Yes, she's in dire need of a haircut; she's scheduled for one next week. But she's nice and clean in the meantime. :)


  1. I have been looking the World Wide Web for this information and I want to thank you for this post. It’s not easy to find such perfectly written information on this topic. Great Work!
    dogs shampoo

  2. Thank you! We just got a new puppy and I was looking for a safe and inexpensive alternative.

  3. You rock. I love ithe addition of olive oil and we are a Dr. Bronner's household already so now will be Ms. Maddie.

  4. It is a great recipe to make Dog Shampoo, they are really very healthy for pets.

  5. This is very informative post that can help the pet owners who want to Buy Dog Shampoo online.

  6. If you don't have distilled water, is that okay?

    1. Good question. If you're going to use the shampoo fairly quickly, I'd say tap water is fine. But if your dog doesn't need a bath as often or is a small dog, and you'll be storing the shampoo for longer periods of time, you might want to go with distilled. Here's an explanation as to why. http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/MailbagMonday/fl/Mailbag-Monday-Do-I-Need-to-Use-Distilled-Water-in-My-Soap-Recipes.htm

  7. Never mix Dr Bronner Castille Soap and vinegar ever.