Skip to content

Will Any Dish Soap Kill Fleas

Cat bathing

When you tell anyone your cat has fleas, everyone comes with their tried hacks to remove those little monsters from your cat’s fur. From using a comb to get them out of the thick fur to using detergent and dish soap to kill fleas– we have heard all!

So, did your friend also tell you how they killed fleas on their pet’s body using dish soap and suggest you try that too? No wonder!

While we strongly condemn using anything on your pet’s body without consulting their vet, we understand your concern and curiosity. Hence, we have put together everything you need to know about bathing your feline baby with dish soap and answering the most asked question regarding fleas especially Will any dish soap kill fleas?

What are Fleas?

If you are a pet parent and it is your first encounter with fleas on your cat’s body, it is important to make sure that they are fleas and not mites.

Fleas are parasites that live on and suck blood from the bodies of several pets, including cats, mongoose, rats, and a few other animals. Cat fleas are the most common domestic parasites found across the United States and other parts of the world. They not only live on the bodies of cats but also transmit diseases.

cat flea close view

You can identify fleas through their specific appearance. They are typically black or brown in color but may also look red when full of blood. Fleas are 2.5 mm long with flat bodies, an antenna, and six legs. Pet parents easily recognize them as they are quite common in North America and must be treated carefully.

Now, coming to the big question – Will any dish soap kill fleas?

Yes, dish soaps have been seen to kill fleas, yet they are not seen to be highly effective and do not prevent infestation. 

Let’s tell you how effective dish soaps are and how you can use them to kill fleas on your cat’s fur.

Will any Dish Soap Kill Fleas

As previously mentioned, many people use dish soaps to kill fleas, but they are not the best choice as multiple pet flea killing shampoos are available to choose from. Dawn dish soap is the most common choice for killing fleas in cats. If you are wondering that does Palmolive kills fleas or if Dawn or Ajax dish soap kills fleas, here’s everything you need to know.

How does Dish Soap Kill Fleas?

Have you ever wondered what dish soaps contain that helps remove grease from dishes and kill fleas in cats? While these are entirely different jobs, dishwashing soap can do both, apparently.

Dish soaps contain water softeners, cleaning agents, antibacterial agents, pH adjusters, and surfactants. Surfactants like SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE, SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE, and C10-16 ALKYLDIME-THYLAMINE OXIDE act on cat fleas by lowering the surface tension and destroying the exoskeleton. The dissolution of the exoskeleton kills the fleas, and they come out of the cat’s fur.

cat in a bath tub

How to Use Dish Soap to Kill Fleas?

If you want to try getting rid of fleas from your cat’s fur using dish soap, here’s how you can do so.

Choose a Dish Soap

There are multiple dish soaps used in households to clean food stains and grease from utensils. While they have the basic formula, some contain additional ingredients like antibacterial and fragrances. To use the dish soap to kill fleas in your cat’s fur, it’s a must to choose one that contains more surfactants. Dawn dishwashing soap has three surfactants besides other ingredients that multiply the surfactant activity and is widely used to kill cat fleas.

Prepare a Mildly Warm Bath

You must not pour the dish soap onto your pet’s body directly as it may cause irritation. The best practice is to pour some of it in lukewarm water and give your pet a nice bath with it.

Lather or Use Comb

Once your pet’s body is covered in soap water, rub it gently to form a lather so the soap reaches the infestation site. You may also use a comb to rub and take the fleas out of the fur.


Once you rub thoroughly, it is time to rinse! Clean your fur baby thoroughly with water to get the soap out of their fur. Make sure not to leave any residue as it will cause discomfort to the pet.

Brush Again

Now we believe that all fleas must be dead and out of the fur. Yet, to make sure, it is always good to comb or brush the cat’s fur one more time and remove any bits of fleas if present.


How is Dawn dish soap for fleas in carpet?

If you have identified fleas in your carpet, dawn dish soap is a suitable option as it destroys the fleas and makes it easy to remove them.

Do dish soaps kill flea permanently?

No, dish soaps do not kill fleas permanently; thus, they are not considered the most effective choice. Dish soaps only kill adult fleas, and those in the developing stage may survive the dish soap. They do not prevent infestation either.

How long does it take to kill fleas with dish soap?

Dish soap gives instant results when used to kill fleas. Leave soap water on your pet’s body for 5 – 10 minutes and rinse well. Use a comb or brush to remove any fleas left in the fur.

Is dish soap safe to kill cat flea?

No reactions have been reported after bathing the fur babies with dish soap, yet it is advised not to make it a usual practice.

Does dish soap kill flea larvae?

While evidence shows that you can kill fleas with dish soap, there is no proof that it is good for flea larvae. Dr. Reeder mentions that eggs laid by adult females take a few days to hatch and a few more days for the larvae to form a cocoon. You may kill the adult flea present in the cat or dog fur using dish soap; it does not necessarily kill flea larvae.

What happens if you do not remove fleas from cat fur?

Leaving the fleas to feed on your cat’s blood does not irritate them and cause flea allergy dermatitis but is also highly dangerous to their health. They may also cause anemia from continuous loss of blood through bloodsucking. Moreover, if you do not catch the fleas in time and treat them, they will increase in number and may prove fatal for your pet.

How to kill cat fleas?

If you do not want to use dish soap on your pet’s body and looking for an alternative way to remove fleas from your cat’s body, there are several ways. You may get rid of cat flea using tweezers or bathe your feline friend with a nice cat flea shampoo specifically designed for their skin.

The Bottom Line

While dish soaps can be used to kill fleas, you can find several flea medicines and shampoos made to kill fleas. Using a specific shampoo for your pet saves them from irritation caused by dish soap. Dish soaps work by breaking down the exoskeleton of the parasites and resulting in death. You may opt for dish soap to kill fleas on your fur baby, yet it’s better to consult your vet before doing so.

Happy petting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *