Fleas and the Dish Soap Myth
It can seem impossible to get rid of fleas once they are on your pets and in the house. Fleas
are very good at reproducing. Within 24 hours of a flea’s first meal it can lay up to 50 eggs. So,
even if you only see 1 flea on your pet, in a short time that flea can turn into 50, then those 50
each lay 50 eggs and so on. You can see how easy it is to have a flea problem in your house
and how quickly it can get out of control. The absolute best way to prevent this from happening is to have all of your pets protected with a safe and effective flea preventative all year round.
So what do you do when you realize that your pet has fleas and now they are in the house?
Many people turn to their friends or the internet for advice. The biggest flea myth that we hear
is that a certain brand of dish soap will kill fleas on your pet.
To be fair, a bath with dish soap would likely remove any adult fleas that are on your pet at the
time of the bath. But any good and thorough bath would do that. Unfortunately, there are two
big problems with the dish soap method of flea treatment.
1. It’s not safe for your pet.
Dish soap will dry out your pet’s skin. Dish soap is very good at degreasing, or removing oil
from the skin. Pets have fur to protect their skin, so they naturally have less oil on their skin for
protection. People actually have much more oily skin than pets. Imagine how dry your skin
would be if you took a bath with dish soap. Because it dries out your pet’s skin and removes the skin’s natural defenses (oil), bathing in dish soap often leads to a skin infection for your pet.
Skin infections in pets can be very itchy and painful. This may require a visit to your
veterinarian for tests and possible antibiotic treatment. So, the money you saved by using an
inexpensive dish soap may end up costing you more in the end.
2. It’s not effective.
A good bath will likely remove any adult fleas that are on your pet at the time of the bath. The
problem here is that adult fleas (what we see on your pet) are only 5% of the flea population in
your house. The other 95% are in the environment (carpet, bedding, furniture) as eggs, larvae,
and pupae. This means that the dish soap won’t do anything for 95% of the flea population in
your house. It’s impossible to get ahead of fleas with baths. This is also true for “flea dips or
The best way to get rid of fleas is to use a safe and effective flea preventive on EVERY pet in
the house and outside for AT LEAST 3 MONTHS in a row. It is much easier to prevent fleas
and keep them out of your house by protecting your pets EVERY MONTH ALL YEAR LONG.