While many commercial dog shampoos can get the job done, they often are packed with chemicals. Plus, having an active adventurous dog, we are always giving baths and DIY shampoo is a huge money saver! This homemade dog shampoo recipe actually cost me nothing because I had all these ingredients on hand.
diy oatmeal shampoo
What you need...
The best homemade dog shampoo recipe contains just a few common household ingredients and a few not so common! For this recipe I wanted everything to be food-grade. Meaning, if I wouldn’t eat it, I wouldn’t use it. So, as shown above we will be using xanthan gum, which is a natural thickener. This is basically fermented sugar. It will help to give this recipe a shampoo consistency that’s not liquidy.
The other not so common ingredient (which is optional) is potassium sorbate. This is a preservative most commonly used for making wine. Potassium sorbate will allow your shampoo to remain shelf stable for a few months. If you choose to make this recipe without this ingredient, keep the shampoo in the refrigerator, use within two weeks, and cut the recipe in half.
The last not so common ingredient here is coco glucoside. This is a natural surfactant that will act as the cleansing component to this recipe. While this is not something I would consume lol it is gentle enough to use on our dogs sensitive skin and will help give a good lather.
Tools you need...
If you have a food scale, this will give you the most accurate measurements. If not, I will still have the conversions below. Next, you’ll need a peeler for the aloe leaf, a hand whisk for mixing all the ingredients, a hand electric mixer for blending the aloe gel, and cheesecloth for the oats. Not pictured, but a funnel and container for your shampoo. The funnel will be super helpful to pour the shampoo into an airtight container.
Also, not pictured and is optional, are PH test strips. I will go into more detail about this below, but if you use the exact ingredients and proportions I do, this recipe will give you about a 7 PH.
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Heat water up until it is just about to boil. While you’re waiting for the water to heat, measure out the oats and add them into cheesecloth. Remove water from heat and add in your “oatmeal tea bags.” Cover with a lid and let the oats steep in the water until it cools.
While the oatmeal steaps, prepare the other ingredients. If you’re cutting a fresh aloe leaf off a plant as I did, you will want the leaf to stand upwards to drain the yellow sap out of the leaf. This yellow sap is irritating to the skin. Once it has drained, rinse with cool water. Use your peeler to peel the inside skin of the leaf. Then take a spoon and scoop out the gel.
Add your aloe gel into a small container and blend into a consistent texture. Alternatively, you can blend this in a blender if needed. It’s just such a small amount! Try to get as many green pieces out as you can. A few are fine but not a whole bunch.
Once your oat water has cooled down, you should notice some slight separation in the water. Take the cheesecloth and squeeze it until all the liquid has drained. Discard the oats in cheesecloth and then add in the xanthan gum. Whisking this in will take a bit of time to dissolve but you will notice it getting thicker.
Continue adding each ingredient one by one in this order. Potassium sorbate, Aloe Vera, coco glucoside, then coconut oil. If you have chosen to use PH strips, go ahead and test now, before adding in the apple cider vinegar. See the PH correction tips below if you are having trouble balancing between 6.5-7.5PH.
Why is PH important?
Just like people, everyone’s skin differs. There are some moisturizers and products we use that make us feel dry and some that make us feel great and hydrated. This is the same for our dogs! Humans have a natural skin PH that falls more acidic, between 4.5-5.5. Dogs, however, their skin is more neutral and falls between 6.5-7.5PH. This is why you shouldn’t use human shampoo on your furry friend, amongst other reasons. When trying any new topical product, we want to make sure we look out for itchiness. If your dog is itchy that most likely means your shampoo is too acidic.
Correcting your PH formula: You can add more water if it’s only slightly lower (6) but if it’s at a 5 for whatever reason, shake in some baking soda 1/4 teaspoon at a time until it gets back up where it needs to be. If your PH is too high (8+) add-in 2ml of apple cider vinegar at a time until it’s within 6.5-7.5.
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dog shampoo – Recipe
Prep Time- 20 minutes
Cook Time- 15 minutes
Total Time- 35 minutes
- Heat up water to just under a boil.
- Place oatmeal in cheesecloth and tie close.
- Remove water from heat and add in oat bags. Cover with lid and steep until cool.
- Cut aloe leaf and stand it vertically to drain yellow sap. Rinse with cool water.
- Using the peeler, peel one side of the leaf and scoop out the gel with a spoon.
- Use your electric mixer or a blender to blend the aloe gel into a consistent texture.
- Check on the cooled oat water. There should be some separation. Squeeze the remaining liquid from the cheesecloth into the water and discard the oats.
- Whisk in xanthan gum. May take a few minutes to get it fully incorporated!
- Whisk in potassium sorbate.
- Add in Aloe Vera and mix.
- Pour in Coco Glucoside and mix.
- Whisk in coconut oil.
- Test the PH (mine was about a 9 at this point)
- Add 2ml Apple Cider Vinegar as needed to get the PH lower to 6.5-7.5
That’s it! That’s how to make the best homemade dog shampoo. Hope your furry friend loves it as much as we do. Check out how to clean your dog’s ears at home. Follow me for more, just like this!
If you liked this recipe and want more like it or have special requests, leave a comment below! Share this page or, Pin to your Pinterest account for later (: