Can I Wash My Dog With Laundry Detergent? The Surprising Answer 2023

Dogs are known as “man’s best friend” for a reason. They are loyal, friendly, and always happy to see you.

Owning a dog is a responsibility, but it is also very rewarding. One of the many tasks you will have as a dog owner is keeping your furry friend clean.

One question that always crosses many per parents mind is can I wash my dog with laundry detergent?

Without a doubt washing your dog with laundry detergent may seem like an easy way to get them clean, but it can actually be harmful to their skin and fur.

In this blog post, we will explore the dangers of using laundry detergent to wash dogs and provide some safe alternatives.

Can I Wash My Dog With Laundry Detergent

Well the straight forward answer to this question is NO. Laundry detergent is designed to remove grease and dirt from clothes, which can cause skin irritation and dryness in dogs.

In addition, some laundry detergents contain bleach or other harsh chemicals that can be harmful to dogs if ingested.

Instead of using laundry detergent, opt for a dog-safe shampoo or oatmeal bath to clean your pup.

can I wash my dog with laundry detergent

Risks Associated With Washing Your Dog With Laundry Detergent

1.Skin Irritation And Dryness

Dogs have sensitive skin that is easily irritated by common household products like laundry detergent.

Dogs with itchy, dry skin are more likely to scratch or lick their fur which can lead to hair loss. Ingesting laundry detergent when licked from the fur can cause additional health problems.

2.Chemical Burns

Using laundry detergent to wash your dog can cause chemical burns if the skin comes into contact with even small amounts of the product. This type of burn will look like a severe sunburn and may be painful for your pet.


Dogs are more sensitive than humans to the chemicals in laundry detergent. If your dog ingests any amount of laundry detergent, he or she could become very sick.

In some cases, your dog will vomit which can cause burns on the esophagus and mouth or damage to the digestive system.

Ingesting a toxic amount of laundry detergent may lead to seizures, coma or death.

4.Bleach And Other Harsh Chemicals

Bleach and other strong chemicals in laundry detergent can be harmful if ingested or even just licked from fur.

Signs of ingestion could include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, coughing, and labored breathing. If your dog exhibits any signs of having consumed bleach contact a vet immediately.

5.Other Health Problems

Your dog may experience other health problems if exposed to laundry detergent. These include allergies, respiratory issues and skin infections.

In rare cases, your dog could develop hemolytic anemia, a life-threatening condition that manifests as weakness and tiredness.

What Else Can I Use To Wash My Dog?

There are several alternatives to using laundry detergent to wash your dog.

Some of them are as follow.

1.Use A Dog Shampoo

A safe and easy option is to use a dog-safe shampoo. There are many varieties of shampoo available, so be sure to select one that is specifically designed for dogs.

The label should indicate that the product is safe to use on a dog’s skin and fur. Some shampoos may also help reduce or prevent itching, which is a common problem for dogs with dry skin.

2.Bathing Your Dog In Oatmeal

Adding oatmeal to bath water can help relieve your pup’s itchy skin and prevent dryness.

You can purchase oatmeal soap or simply add a few tablespoons of oats to your dog’s bath water once or twice a week. Avoid adding too many oats as this can cause skin irritation.

3.Make A Dog Soak Solution

A dog soak solution is another good option for washing your dog if he or she has dry, itchy skin.

Just add one cup of apple cider vinegar to a bathtub or bucket filled with warm water. Let your dog soak in the solution for about 10 minutes, then rinse with clean water.

4.Use A Conditioner

Dogs can get really dry and itchy skin just like we do. Try using a conditioner designed for your pup’s fur to make it healthier looking and softer to the touch.

5.Use Homemade Soaps

There are many household products available that are safe to use on your dog’s skin. Just be sure that any soap you use is free of dyes or perfumes, which can irritate the skin further.

Do not use products with lye because this substance can cause burns and other serious health problems if it comes into contact with your pet’s skin or fur.

A pinch of baking soda added to a dog’s bath water can help prevent itching and irritation. Remember to rinse your pup well after a bath to make sure all the baking soda is gone.

Give Your Dog A Bath In Water With Dish Detergent

Another option is the give your pet a bath using dish detergent diluted in lukewarm water.

Dish detergent contains the same main chemical as laundry detergent (sodium lauryl sulfate), but in much lower concentrations. If your dog’s fur or skin is not sensitive, this method will work just fine.

Why You Should Wash Your Dog With Shampoo Instead

It is recommended to wash your dog with shampoo instead of laundry detergent for many reasons.

Shampoo is specially formulated for dogs and designed to deliver ingredients that will moisturize skin, reduce dander, and stimulate hair growth.

Common ingredients in dog shampoos include oatmeal, aloe vera, and natural oils like jojoba or coconut.

When buying shampoo for dogs, always look for the soap-free formula.

When shampooing your dog, there are some important things to keep in mind. Make sure you do not get shampoo in the dog’s eyes as it can sting and cause irritation.

Avoid the belly, genitals, and any area with an open wound as these areas are sensitive and need protection from the shampoo.

Also, be careful of the dog’s ears and paws as accidentally getting any shampoo in these areas can cause irritation or pain.

On the contrary, laundry detergent contains harsh chemicals that can irritate your dog’s skin.

When buying laundry detergent, look at the ingredients and try to find something that will not be harmful to your dog. Always avoid any products containing bleach or other harsh chemicals that can cause chemical burns if ingested.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Clean And Healthy

  1. Bathe your dog often, but avoid exposing the dog to water when the air is very cold. This can cause health problems.
  2. Always use shampoo designed for dogs. Human shampoo can irritate your dog’s skin and eyes.
  3. Make sure to properly rinse the shampoo after every bath. This can help prevent skin irritation.
  4. Consider using natural products when washing your dog to avoid chemicals that can irritate the skin.
  5. It is very important to make sure all traces of shampoo are out of your dog’s fur before letting them outside. If you pet gets covered in soap, it could cause a dog skin irritation.
  6. Vinegar can be a good option for removing soap from your dog’s fur.
  7. Gently wipe your dog’s fur with a warm, wet towel. Always wipe from the neck to the tail and down your pet’s legs to avoid accidentally getting soap into their eyes. Make sure to pat the fur dry with a dry towel, not rub it.
  8. Avoid using products containing bleach when washing your dog’s clothing or bedding as it could irritate their skin.

Should I Wash My Dog Every Day?

Yes, you should wash your dog every day to prevent bacteria and dirt from building up on their skin.

Washing your dog also helps remove any built-up oils or sebum on their coat, which can lead to bad odor. Additionally, washing your dog will help keep them clean and smelling good.

If you are not sure how often to wash your dog, refer to the bathing instructions on their grooming tag.

This will provide you with specific information about how often to bathe your specific dog. It will also give you information on the products that are safe for use, as well as whether you need to use a conditioner when brushing your dog.

If you have a short-haired dog, they will likely need to be bathed once a month. If your dog has a long coat, you may need to bathe them every two weeks.

Dogs with very active lifestyles may require more frequent bathing.


Although it is not recommended to wash your dog with laundry detergent, there are other ways to clean your pet if he or she becomes dirty.

I hope you found this article helpful on whether or not you can wash your dog with laundry detergent.

If you have any questions about how to properly clean your pet, or if you want to share anything else about your experience, please leave a comment below.


Can I wash my dogs blanket with detergent?

If the blanket is made out of fabric, you can clean it with detergent. However, if the blanket contains any other materials like foam or plastic, you should avoid washing it with laundry detergent.

If the blanket is particularly smelly, place it in a large trash bag and add a few drops of lemon juice.

Allow the blanket to sit for several hours, then wash it on the highest setting on your washing machine.

Can I use fabric softener on my dog’s bed?

If your dog’s bed is made out of fabric, you can clean it with liquid fabric softener mixed with warm water.

Make sure all parts of the bed are soaked in the mixture. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water and dry it outside or in a large commercial dryer.

Using fabric softener can help remove a lot of dirt and dust from your dog’s bed, as well as any doggy odors that may be lingering on the fabric.

Can laundry detergent cause allergies in dogs?

Yes, laundry detergent can cause allergic reactions in dogs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include red skin, itching, and hair loss.

If your dog shows any of these symptoms after you use laundry detergent on his bedding or toys, remove the items immediately and take him to a vet.

The vet may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection caused by the allergy.

Can I wash my dog with Dove soap?

Dove is a brand of soap that can be used on your dog. It contains natural ingredients, such as real flower extracts and mild cleansers that will not irritate your dog’s skin or strip his coat of its natural oils.

If your dog is in need of a thorough cleaning, use Dove bar soap instead of the liquid version.

Can I wash my dog with baby shampoo?

Yes, you can wash your dog with baby shampoo. Baby products are formulated to keep infants’ skin moisturized and healthy, so they are generally safe for dogs as well.

Be aware that some brands of baby shampoo have added fragrances, which may irritate your dog’s skin or even cause an allergic reaction. Look for a fragrance-free brand.

You can use baby shampoo to wash your dog’s body and face, as well as his paws and tail.

Be sure to rinse off any shampoo completely so your dog does not ingest it.

For an extra-deep clean, lather the shampoo with a washcloth or sponge for several minutes before rinsing off.

Is it harmful to wash a dog’s ears too often?

Washing your dog’s ears too often may result in dryness and irritation. Your dog is naturally going to have earwax, which protects his ears from dirt and bacteria.

If you wash his ears too often, this protective wax will be gone and your dog may be more susceptible to ear infections.

Washing your dog’s ears should only be necessary once a month or so. If you see a lot of brown wax in his ears, use a cotton ball to remove the excess wax.

Do not insert the cotton swab into your dog’s ear canal, as this can be dangerous and is not considered a proper ear cleaning.

Do I really need to wash my dog’s paws regularly?

Yes, it is important for you to wash your dog’s paws when he comes in from playing.

If you don’t, he will track mud and dirt not only into your home but also onto your furniture and carpets. Use a towel to dry his paws before allowing him on the good furniture.

How do I dry my dog after a bath?

You can use a regular towel to dry your dog after his bath. If he likes to shake off excess water, you may wish to invest in a specially designed dog-drying towel, which mimics the way a mother dog cleans her young pup.

These towels are especially useful if your dog is not accustomed to being bathed. Shake off as much water as you can, then gently towel dry his fur. Finally, use a hair dryer on a low setting to finish drying him off.

Be sure the hair dryer is set on a low heat and high speed setting. You do not want to burn your dog’s skin with the hot air from the hairdryer.

If your dog is skittish about the noise of the hair dryer, start out by placing him in a bathroom or other room that is closed off to muffle the sound.