How to Make Homemade Cat Shampoo the easy way

Most cat owners dread giving their feline friend a bath because cats hate water (and it’s an unpleasant experience for everyone). Some experts claim that bathing your cat is unnecessary and their grooming habits keep them clean. While this is true to an extent, if the cat is long-haired, their tongue isn’t enough to maintain their fur.

So, for those searching for a more natural option, what would be the best homemade cat shampoo? Why should you use make your own cat shampoo? Most commercial shampoos contain harsh chemicals that can be dangerous to cats if ingested. Therefore, some owners opt to make their own homemade cat shampoo. If you want to make your own, we’ll teach you how to make the best cat shampoo and how to make bath time go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

cat shampoo intro

Make Your Own Homemade Cat Shampoo

Before you begin making homemade cat shampoo, you must first decide if you’re making dry or wet shampoo by considering the following:

• Is the fur on your cat’s back-end matted? This may be causing her skin to become irritated, itchy, flaky, or infected.

• Is your cat over-grooming or biting at their skin? If your cat doesn’t have fleas or parasites (you can check with a flea comb), they may have dry skin.

• Is your cat long-haired? She might be unable to keep up with the grooming that is necessary to keep their coats healthy.

• Does your cat spend part or most of its time outdoors? It’s especially important to bathe indoor/outdoor cats who may be exposed to elements and mud or dirt.

Also, the type of homemade cat shampoo you should use depends on your cat’s fur length:

Short-Hair – Dry Shampoo

Medium-Hair – Wet Shampoo

Long-Hair – Wet Shampoo

To make the dry or wet shampoo, you’ll need common, household ingredients (and maybe some you can purchase inexpensively). Adding essential oils and perfume-like ingredients could be dangerous, so only use natural ingredients.

For dry homemade cat shampoo, you may use oatmeal (yes, oatmeal), baking soda, or cornmeal. For wet shampoo, use things like vinegar and water. However, before you begin making your homemade cat shampoo, you should take care to prepare your cat for a bath and prepare a bathing area.

5 Easy Steps to make Homemade Cat Shampoo

Step 1: Brush Your Cat

Brush your cat’s coat thoroughly to loosen any debris and to get rid of loose fur. Be sure to turn her over and brush her belly and under her arms and legs. Also, remember to brush in the fur’s natural direction and not against it. If your cat has matted fur that doesn’t detangle with brushing, don’t pull on it or tear it out. If you are uncomfortable cutting it, take them to a professional groomer to have it clipped or removed.

Step 2: Prepare the Bathing Area

Ideally, you should bathe your cat outdoors. This will prevent a mess when your cat inevitably attempts to shake off the dry homemade cat shampoo. To keep him contained, use a large cardboard box.

If it is not possible to bathe him outside, use the bathtub or shower. Just be sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting messy. Put the shampoo on in a small room (like a bathroom) that can be easily wiped down and cleaned.

Step 3: Gather and Prepare Ingredients

One option for a dry homemade cat shampoo is oatmeal, as mentioned. This is great for if you want to deep clean your cat’s fur. To make the oatmeal shampoo, do the following:

• Pour oatmeal onto a baking sheet.

• Bake at 250°F for or until warm (about five minutes).

• Add warm water to the oatmeal mixture to make a paste, which will relieve dry, itchy skin.

For odor control, sprinkle baking soda into the oatmeal. If you are looking to give your cat’s coat shine, add cornstarch. All three ingredients can be mixed for the best homemade cat shampoo.

oatmeal ingredient for cat shampoo

Step 4: Apply the Shampoo

Use a towel to massage the dry shampoo into the cat’s fur and skin. You may need to employ a second person to help you hold the cat still. Once this is done, leave the mixture on the cat for at least five minutes. (This is where having a box will come in handy. Use it to contain the cat until the shampoo has set).

Step 5: Get Rid of the Excess

At the end of the five minutes, brush out the remaining oatmeal (if any is left it won’t harm the cat). Again, you will need a second person to hold the cat. Once her coat is free of the dry shampoo, bring her into the house and let her loose. She’ll probably groom herself.

How to make Homemade Wet Cat Shampoo?

There is an excellent option for those interested in making their own homemade wet cat shampoo; it’s a simple combination of natural dish soap and vinegar. Since dish soap is an integral part of making your own homemade cat shampoo, we’re going to talk about it for a moment.

To find a natural dish soap, look for soaps that don’t contain surfactants (i.e. sodium laureth sulfate) to make soap foamy, dyes, phthalates (fragrance chemicals that have been linked to hormonal issues in children, such as early puberty), and triclosan/antibacterial agents (which is toxic). Would you like to wash your furry friend with a soap laden with harmful ingredients?

Natural options on the market would be Better Life Dish It Out or Planet Ultra Dishwashing Liquid, which don’t use toxic ingredients. If you’re still not convinced, you can make your own natural dish soap using this recipe:

DIY Homemade Dish Soap

1 3/4 cups water

1/4 cup grated castile bar soap, tightly packed

1/4 cup + 2 T liquid castile soap

2 tsp super washing soda

1 tsp vegetable glycerin

Mix water and grated bar soap in a pot. Bring it to boil and mix it until the bar soap has completely mixed in. Meanwhile, add your liquid castile soap, washing soda, and vegetable glycerin to your container. Once your water and bar soap has completely mixed, add it to the remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Again, do not add essential oils, as they can be harmful to your cat. As you would with dry shampoo, brush your cat to remove dirt and matting before shampooing. Then, follow these instructions for best results:

4 Steps to Shampooing your Cat

making wet cat shampoo

Step 1: Making the Wet Cat Shampoo

Follow the above recipe to make your own dish soap or purchase a natural brand. Mix a cup of the dish soap with a cup of organic apple cider vinegar. Then, add 1/3 of a cup of glycerin. Pour the mixture into a quart of filtered water. You now can bottle your wet homemade cat shampoo for future use!

Step 2: Apply the Shampoo

Have someone hold your cat while you use a soft cloth or your hands to massage the homemade cat shampoo (in circular motions) into the cat’s fur and skin. Rub into a lather and completely cover your cats body with wet shampoo.

Step 3: Removing the Shampoo

By now, your cat is probably upset and thrashing and howling, but you still need to rinse off the soap. I find it best to bathe cats in a kitchen sink, especially if you have a detachable sink sprayer. If you opt to bathe them in a bathtub, use a cup to pour water on and rinse off their coats. (Just like you would rinse shampoo out of a toddler’s hair). Be sure to shield their eyes to prevent any discomfort.

Step 4: Drying your Cat

Gently pat dry your cat with a towel. You could also let them loose to air dry, which is my preferred method.


For readers who are new to making a homemade cat shampoo, we have taken the work out of searching for most effective recipes or the best homemade cat shampoo (dry and wet). This guide is a must read for new cat owners are those wanting to get away from store-bought shampoos that often contain chemicals in favor of homemade cat shampoo. Though bath time be a source of stress for you and your cat, what shampoo to use is one less thing to worry about.

If you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make the best homemade cat shampoo, feel free to share it. Don’t forget to leave your own thoughts and comments about homemade cat shampoo!

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