Safe Cat Shampoo Alternatives You May Already Have At Home

Safe Cat Shampoo Alternatives You May Already Have At Home

There’s a popular myth that cats hate water. But the simple truth is that they don’t.

Just like how some dogs hate bath time, most pets just don’t like being forced to have their fur get wet if they don’t feel like it. In fact, experts suspect that cats avoid water because of evolutionary reasons. They are extremely independent creatures that like to groom themselves.

But uh-oh! What if your cat decided to go on a little adventure and you needed to bathe him? Unfortunately, in this hypothetical situation, you just ran out of cat shampoo. Human shampoo is out of the question since it can cause various skin issues and you’d end up with a scratching machine of a cat.

What can you use as a safe alternative cat shampoo?

Baby Shampoo

Alright, I know I mentioned that human shampoo isn’t an option. But baby shampoo contains a gentler formula that’s more suited for cat skin compared to adult shampoo. And to avoid other irritations, baby shampoos that have the “no tears” formula that can be used for your cats. If you have a child in the house, you can use their shampoo on your cats in case of an emergency bath.

Baby Wipes

Since we’re already talking about baby products, you can use baby wipes if your cat just needs a little bit of help cleaning up. But as there are many options as well when it comes to wipes, it’s better to stay safe and use nonfragrant, water-based baby wipes or those labeled for sensitive skin.

Another convenient product you can use is pet wipes. As they are made specifically for pets, there are no downsides if you use them on your cats for quick cleaning!

Baking Soda

Cats are sometimes called loaves of bread on the internet because they’re cute and fluffy. Cats also like kneading when they’re happy, and that kinda makes them more associated with bread. Alright, enough of this tangent.

It’s known that baking soda is used in cleaning, but did you know that you can also use it on your pets? It’s a great product for removing odors and some dirt. Just sprinkle some over your cat and massage it into their fur, but avoid getting it on their face! Leave the baking soda for a few minutes before you brush it out and rub off any remaining powder with a dry rag or towel, as you don’t want your cat accidentally licking and eating a concerning amount of baking soda that’s left on their fur.

Castile Soap

For those who are unfamiliar with this kind of soap, castile soap is a natural, vegetable-based soap and is traditionally made of olive oil. Castile soap can be used in a lot of different ways, from using it on your body to using it as a household cleaner, and to also wash your pets. Just make sure that the castile soap is pure. Like with using baby soaps or wipes, added ingredients can cause irritation.

An alternative to this alternative is to use coconut oil instead of olive oil. Coconut oil is safe for cats, and it’s able to act as a moisturizer as well! Use only a small amount, massage, and brush it through your cat’s fur.


We’ve got another powder shampoo alternative! Just like how you apply baking soda, sprinkle cornstarch over your cat’s fur, massage it into their coat, brush it out, and rub a dry towel to remove any excess powder! And just like baking soda, cornstarch is a great alternative if you just need to make your cat smell a little cleaner.

Dawn Dish Soap

At this point, Dawn has become popular for many reasons aside from it being a dish detergent. It’s used as a multi-purpose household cleaner and is marketed as having an extremely gentle formula. Dawn is also known for being used to help wildlife affected by oil pollution, so that can be enough proof that Dawn is safe to use on your pets. Although it’s safe to use on pets, it’s not recommended to use it frequently. If you do decide to use this alternative, try diluting it first before putting it on your fur babies.

DIY Shampoo

Okay, so you may not have the resources to go to the store to buy cat shampoo, but what you do have is the time and energy to make your own DIY shampoo. It basically works the same as baking soda and cornstarch. Only, we make this one fancier, as our cats deserve to have fancy things in life.

So if you have extra oatmeal in your pantry, grind some up and mix it with cornmeal or cornstarch. Mix equal parts of both ingredients. You can warm up the mixture in an oven on a low setting (around 250 degrees) for 5 minutes or just use it as is, then sprinkle it over your cat’s fur. Again, brush your cat’s coat, massage the mixture into its fur and skin, and leave it for around five minutes before brushing it out again. Use a dry towel to remove any excess powder.

If your cat needs a little more cleaning, try making a DIY wet shampoo instead! Mix a cup of ground oatmeal, half a cup of baking soda, and 4 cups of water. You can also add a tablespoon of Dawn dish soap for a light scent and added bubbles. Massage the mixture into your cat’s fur, let it sit for 5 minutes, and then properly rinse it off with warm water.

All of the above options are safe if you use them once in a while. Again, these are just temporary alternatives and not complete replacements. Also, watch out for any allergic reactions to any of these options. Clean and rinse out any alternative shampoo you used to avoid irritating your fur babies!

Louise Peralta

A homebody who's in a never ending journey of being my own person.

A dog mom, a gamer, and a graphic designer.

I've been balancing my time between working for myself and for my family and have been enjoying my free time by either reading books, listening to music, or playing games.

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