Washing the Dog with Dr. Bronner’s (Video)

Check out this updated 2018 video: Dog Washing with Dr. Bronner’s Soap

Meet Sandy. She’s my 12-ish year old dachshound-something-or-other. She has kindly agreed to be my model in demonstrating how great the castile soap is in washing dogs. The castile soap works fabulously to remove the dirt, oils, and even pests on dogs. (We’re not certified about the pest part, but it does work.) It is very gentle on sensitive skin and can help dogs who have itching issues. And, although I’ve been fortunate enough not to know this firsthand, the Peppermint Castile soap apparently is a fabulous de-skunker.

The principles are pretty much the same as with washing people, except you’ll need more soap because dogs are hairier (usually) and dirtier (usually). You still want to be careful to keep the soap out of their eyes, and keep water out of their ears.

381 thoughts on “Washing the Dog with Dr. Bronner’s (Video)

  1. Can the tea tree be used on dogs or is it to harsh. I have a Jack Russell with sensitive skin

    • Hi Cynthia- Tea Tree Castile Soap is safe for dogs, but Unscented Castile is the most gentle on sensitive skin, for people and pets alike.

  2. Can I use the bar soap on my dogs? Would like to use the peppermint or eucalyptus but not sure if the essential oil dilution is different than the liquid/still safe for dog use. Thanks!

    • Hi Emily- You sure can! Wet your pup thoroughly, then massage the bar into the coat to create good lather. Rinse thoroughly. As with people, avoid soap in eyes and water in ears.

  3. Can we use the Baby Unscented Castile Soap to wash dogs bed and harnesses?

    • Hi Kyle- Yes, it would do great work on those. In the washer, use 1/2 cup soap with 1 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle. Halve those amounts with an HE machine.

    • Hi Kyle- Castile soap interacts with minerals in hard water, causing heavier fabrics and towels to lose absorbency over time. Vinegar counteracts that reaction, keeping fabrics soft and absorbent.

    • Thanks! Would you still recommend using vinegar if not washing heavy fabrics or towels? Also, is distiller white vinegar ok? I appreciate your help.

    • Hi Kyle- Yes, distilled white vinegar does the trick. The vinegar rinse is completely optional.

  4. Why is it called pure Castile soap when it’s not Castile soap? It has a few other oils added, olive isn’t even the first one. I’m confused…isnt this false advertisement?

    • Hi Erin- Castile Soap has two widely accepted definitions. The first is, a soap that is made purely with olive oil. But the other, just as widely accepted definition is a soap that is made with no animal fats, only vegetable oils. Our soap fits that designation. You can view just such an explanation on this soap-making site: http://www.soap-making-resource.com/castile-soap.html. The oils in our Castile soaps are selected for their nourishing qualities to the skin. Coconut oil is very high lathering but can be drying. Olive oil gives a soft and luxuriant lather but in small amounts. By using both coconut and olive oils in the right ratio, Dr. Bronner’s soaps offer the best of both worlds: high lather that’s soft on the skin. Our soaps also contain hemp and jojoba oils, which mirror the natural oils in the skin’s sebum, leaving skin feeling smooth after the soaps are washed away.

  5. I ran out of dog shampoo one day and decided to bath my dogs with my almond scented Dr. Bronner’s soap….first of all , I did not need the usual conditioner that comes after a shampoo…..my dogs dried up and looked super glossy…..I have never used anything else again…I just love it!

  6. Hello,

    I was thinking of making my own dog shampoo and doing some research. Once article states not to use human shampoo on dogs as the pH of human skin is 5-6 whereas dogs is closer to neutral. I know your product is soap (not shampoo_ and above you state a pH of 9.3. Have you found any research to agree or disagree with this pH assessment that dogs should have a substance closer to 7.0? The article I found is below.



    • Hi Stacey- Thanks for writing. I am not at all familiar with the pH of dog’s skin, but I have done a good bit of research on human skin, which indeed does have a more acidic pH. As you said, our soaps have that alkaline pH. For humans, this degree of pH difference is not a factor in our skin’s health. (https://www.lisabronner.com/skin-health-ph-and-dr-bronners-soap/) I glanced through the article you sent and do not agree with the first two recipes that call for using dish soap on dogs. Dish soap is very good at grabbing oils and whisking them away, which is a great feature for cleaning dishes but not for regularly cleaning dogs. The last one with the Castile soap is better, but you’re wasting your money by adding the aloe vera with the soap. The soap is going to latch on to it and rinse it away. It won’t be around on the dog long enough to do any good. Since our Castile soaps already have essential oils in them, it’s not necessary to add more here. I know this is going to sound exceedingly simple, but Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap alone will do a great job washing your dog. Check out my washing my dog Tucker: https://www.lisabronner.com/dog-washing-with-dr-bronners-soap/

  7. HELP!!! My mini golden doodle had a skunk encounter last night. Four baths of different concoctions of dawn, baking soda, peroxide, vinegar and tomato juice later; he still wreaks! What is the recipe/dilution of peppermint Castile soap to de-skunk??? Thanks in advance.

    • Oh no, Terina! I’m so sorry! So far, knock on wood, Tucker has not had an encounter with a skunk. I realize it’s only a matter of time. I’ve heard over the years that the Peppermint Castile does help. Wet your pup and use the liquid Castile undiluted. Another old stand-by is tomato juice, but it sounds like you’ve tried that. This sounds promising, although I’ve not tried it: 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, 1 cup baking soda, and 1 Tbsp. Castile soap. Mix together and pour on your pup. No matter what you use, expect to bathe and rinse several times. (Special thanks to those who shared how-tos over on my Facebook page!)

    • Skunk shampoo on amazon is amazing!
      My dog was always getting sprayed till the neighborhood skunk got hit by a car….

  8. How often can I wash my dog with this? He starts getting stinky at a two week mark so I want to make sure whatever we use doesn’t dry him out. Is there a conditioner for this as well or is it not needed?

    • Hi Saara- About every two weeks is fine. Any more than that, and your furry friend’s skin may dry out. There’s usually no need to follow with a conditioner.

  9. His Lisa, I live in an apt building and my dog pees outside. I used to clean her paws with wipes before coming into the apartment a few times a day but I now realize wipes are not eco friendly at all. I read online that I can mix 3 tablespoon dr bronner’s Castile liquid soap with one cup of water and soak my towel in the solution to wipe her paws. Do you think this dilution works and if so do I need to rinse her paws after wiping with the solution? Thank you!

    • Hi Kate- Perhaps cut the dilution down to 1 Tbsp. to 1 cup of water. Yes, rinse paws to remove any residue by wiping with a wet cloth.

    • Hi Jessica- Yes, I suggest the Unscented Castile Soap as it’s the most mild.

  10. Hi Lisa, I have been reading about castile soap, how often would recommend to bathe a dog that has scabs? I wiped my American Bully down with the unscented soap in the areas of the scabs. Am I able to use the Tea Tree soap as well. Should I alternate using the unscented and the Tea Tree soap? What would you suggest for best dealing with the scabs?

    • Hi Ophelia- Poor pup! It would be best to clear it with your dog’s vet, but either the Unscented or Tea Tree Castile soap should be just fine on these areas. Just like in people, the soap may sting an open wound, so dilute the soap before using and rinse thoroughly.

  11. I have an old engish sheepdog puppy 14 weeks. My question is what do you wash his head with? If you can’t get this in the eyes and ears do I need different shampoo for the head?

    • Hi Catherine- Your puppy sounds adorable! For most dogs, wiping with a damp cloth is sufficient. But because Old English Sheepdogs have quite a bit of hair around their eyes, check with your vet or local groomer for a recommendation.

  12. I have been using the peppermint castile soap to wash our dogs for 2 years. Never had a flea. Question: I have been reading that peppermint oil is toxic to dogs. Is this so? Also we have the Asian spice scent in our house. It is the sticks floating in the scent oil, not the diffuser. It is really strong. Do you think it is unhealthy for them?

    • Hi Janet- At too high of a concentration, it would very well make a dog ill. But the essential oils in our soaps is 2% – a very small concentration. During bathing they are further diluted and then rinsed off, leaving a very small window of time for absorption. I don’t know about the diffuser, but really strong scents can be impactful. For a less intense scent, you can always remove a few sticks.

  13. Hi there, is the peppermint soap safe to use on pets? I use it with no issues but people keep telling me that peppermint EO is highly toxic to dogs.

    • Hi Victoria- My dogs have never had issue with it. Our Castile soaps contain just 2% concentration of essential oils, which is further diluted during bathing, and then rinsed off. With cats, on the other hand, we recommend Unscented Castile soaps as they are arduous self-bathers.

    • Hi Niks- Eucalyptus would be fine. If your dog’s coat is thin, or if you’re not sure, dilute the soap with water first. You can add more if needed. As with any soap, keep away from your pup’s face and ears.

  14. I would like to order Dr. Bronners Castile shampoo. I plan TO USE IT ON MY TWO DOGS, AND PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF I CAN USE IT ON MYSELF AS WELL. How much is it?

    • Hi Roy- Absolutely you can use it on yourself! Our Castile soap is not shampoo, although it can be used to wash hair. For yourself, use 2-3 drops for hands and face, a small squirt for body, and about 1/2 Tbsp for hair. You can find it at most natural food stores and also on our webstore at https://shop.drbronner.com/.

    • Hi Me- At too high of a concentration, tea tree oil would very well make a dog ill. The tea tea essential oil in our soaps is 2% – a very small concentration. During bathing its further diluted and then rinsed off, leaving a very small window of time for absorption, and is no danger. Dogs also don’t clean themselves as laboriously as cats, so even if there were some residue from the tea tree oil, they would be unlikely to ingest it. If you have any concerns, the Unscented Castile is free of essential oils.

    • I work part-time at a vet’s office and we sell tea tree oil spray for dogs. It is the concentration that’s the factor. Tea tree oil is toxic to cats. PS you don’t want dogs to eat it. Because that could be a bad thing but we spread on dogs that have allergies lick spots were all spots so forth and so on. And I know if it was toxic we wouldn’t be selling it at the vet’s office.

  15. Would the Peppermint Castile Soap be considered a non-shampoo dog shampoo? Looking for something that contains “no soap” so it won’t wash off their flea treatments…

    • Hi Bobby- Castile soap will wash off a topical flea treatment. It’s best to bathe your pup before applying and then not again until the medicine has been absorbed and become systemic.

  16. Im tring to find out about the peppermint soap. Can i leave it on my dog. He is infested with fleas

    • Hi Teresa- Poor pup! The Castile soap is only effective on fleas when it is wet. Give your dog a thorough washing, taking care to avoid the face and eyes. Washing your dog’s bedding with Castile soap and vacuuming often and well also help. If needed, discuss long-term flea prevention with your vet.

  17. I recently used this soap to wash my dog, and I was not aware that it was not supposed to go in animals eyes. As a result, both of my dog’s eyes are inflammed and one eye is completely closed shut. Just a couple questions. concerning this.

    What ingrediant in the soap would cause inflammation and what do you suggest I use to soothe the pain?

    • Hi Serenity- I’m sorry this happened to you and your pup! Speaking for us human folk, soap in the eye does not damage the eye. Irritation to the eye is caused primarily from a deviation in pH. Our eyes have a very narrow window of tolerable pH, around 7.54+/- 0.01. As a fellow mammal, dogs’ eyes are in a similar range. This is ever so slightly alkaline (a pH of 7 is neutral). Our Castile soaps are around 9.3, a pH not at all irritating to our skin, but irritating to eyes. With a rinsing of clear water, the soap will be gone, although the eye may still appear temporarily red. As always, if you have concerns, please contact your vet.

  18. Hello,
    I am trying to make my own shampoo for a long haired guinea pig. He needs to be bathed twice a month. Which Castile soap would you recommend? Would I need to dilute the Castile soap? And can oatmeal powder and coconut oil be added?


    • Hi Jill- I recommend the Unscented Castile soap. Wet your little guy’s coat really well and then work in a couple of drops of soap. If you’d rather pre-dilute, mix 1 tsp of soap into 1 cup of water. There’s no problem mixing in the oatmeal powder or coconut oil.

  19. Can this soap be used on cattle? If so, should it be diluted? Also, would it possibly help keep flies away from the cattle?

    • HI Jalyn – I went to our Twitter audience for answers for this one, since I do not have any experience with this myself. We didn’t hear much specifically on cattle, but I have heard from owners of horses, llamas, ferrets, dogs, and chickens. It’s likely fine on cattle. Let me know if you try it!

    • Hi Yazmin- Yes, but because cats are fastidious bathers, we recommend the Unscented Castile Soap for cats. It contains no essential oils, which can be toxic to cats.

    • Hi Larry- To our understanding, the Unscented Castile soap is a good option, but check with your vet to confirm.

    • Hi Melissa- Our liquid Castile soap is available at most natural/health food stores and several major grocery and retail chains. The Castile soap does kill fleas it comes into contact with when wet, but it doesn’t have a residual effect once it dries.

  20. I have been told spraying peppermint Castile soap will help to alleviate a ground bee infestation we currently have. The recommendation is to mix 2 cups peppermint Castile soap with 2 cups boiling water and pour into ground holes. Will this dosage be safe for use with my dog?

    • Hi Stephanie – I’ve been thinking about your question for a while, and I know you’re asking about your dog, but I want to back up a bit. My understanding is that the soap will not harm bees, which is what makes it safe to spray on edibles without harming the bees that do the necessary pollinating. My concern with your pouring the boiling water/soap solution into the ground holes is more for your own safety. It is likely that the bees are going to swarm out at you as soon as you start pouring, which would be very dangerous for you. I’m picturing a swarm of stinging insects combined with boiling water. This doesn’t sound good. Regarding your dog, the soap is perfectly safe, but the boiling water might be a problem if he is too nearby. Instead, look into a bee specialist in your area. They will know the best way to relocate the bees.

    • Thank you so much for getting back to me regarding my question about ground bees. We actually were told that heavily watering the ground will encourage the bees to relocate since they like dry dirt and it seems to be working!

  21. What about cats? Can you wash cats with this, since they lick themselves? I had heard essential oils can be toxic for cats and to be careful with diffusing them around cats but not sure if that’s true.

    • Hi Faye- Yes, essential oils can be toxic to cats. Because cats are fastidious bathers, recommend the Unscented Castile Soap for bathing cats, as it contains no essential oils.

  22. Please don’t recommend Tea Tree oil for pets. It is actually toxic to dogs. Better option that are non toxic are Lavender or rosemary.

    • Hi Julie- Thanks for bringing this up. Tea Tree essential oil is an excellent natural antimicrobial – fighting bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Although it is a natural substance, extracted directly from a plant, it is still quite potent. As you point out, dogs can be sickened with too high of a concentration. In our soaps, because the tea tree oil is low at 2%, and the soap is then washed off leaving a very small window of time for absorption, there is no danger. Dogs also do not clean themselves as enthusiastically as cats, so even if there were some residue from the tea tree oil, they would be unlikely to ingest it. But if there is a concern, I can say that Tucker enjoys the Peppermint, Eucalyptus or Lavender all equally well. For bathing cats, we recommend the Unscented Castile soap with no essential oils exclusively, because they do so arduously bathe themselves.

    • Please note that Rosemary, fennel, sage, eucalyptus, hyssop, wormwood, camphor and spike lavender essential oils are not recommended if you have epilepsy, as they may lower the seizure threshold. They don’t “cause” seizures, but if your dog already has seizures – these oils, or for that matter the herb itself, should be kept well away. Better safe than sorry.

    • Hi Dawn – Yes, the Castile is perfect for puppies. You might want to consider using the Unscented Castile, just to be extra gentle on them.

      Tucker got another bath just this morning! I used pure Eucalyptus because it was a little chilly for the cooling effect of the Peppermint. He would have been fine. I would have been the one that got cold!

  23. Hi, Is plant extracts be used as substitute of water? Or if it is possible to add it, when is the best time to add it on liquid castile soap? Hope to hear from you soon! Thank you

    • Hi Jerica- I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean by plant extracts. Can you give me a little more information?

  24. Hello! Beside peppermint , what other scent can I use on my dog? Don’t you that is unscented?

    • Hi Rosellina- If your pup has sensitive skin, the Unscented Castile soap is a good bet, but otherwise all of our scents work equally well in getting your dog clean.

    • Hi Monica – No one likes a pup with itchy or irritated skin. Tea tree is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it could be helpful for your pup. Another option is the Unscented, which great for people with sensitive skin.

    • Hi Monica,

      I realize that I’m several months behind you here, but I figured I’d respond just in case! Tea tree can be great for itchy skin on dogs, but do some research about tea tree toxicity… if not diluted properly tea tree can be no fun (and harmful) for pups! Maybe mix the tea tree with unscented to avoid this!

      I use unscented on my pup, and then mix a VERY small quantity of tea tree oil (I dab a tiny tiny half-drop onto the palms of my hands – for a 25 lb puppy) with vitamin E oil for my pup’s itchy skin and dandruff. I also make sure that I give her a break from tea tree for several weeks after. It does treat her dandruff though!

      Burts bees also has a great anti-itch spray that seems to work well for her.

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