Does Palmolive Kill Fleas?

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My friend, Jodi, recently adopted a new puppy; unfortunately, when she got it home, she realized it came with some tiny friends. Yep, the puppy had the dreaded fleas!

Jodi called with the good news that the puppy was home but with the bad news about the fleas. Jodi didn’t want to bring the puppy inside the house until she could get rid of the fleas.

Of course, this whole thing happened on a Sunday, so her vet wasn’t open.

She mentioned she saw the article about using Dawn to Kill Fleas and wondered if Palmolive would effectively kill fleas too.

I told her to hang tight in the yard, and I would be over in a few minutes to help her tackle her flea issue so she and her puppy could get on to the important stuff like playing and snuggling.

Related: Does Lysol Kill or Repel Fleas?

Does Palmolive Kill Fleas?

Yes, Palmolive kills fleas.

It is a simple solution to get rid of adult fleas quickly. However, remember, if you are dealing with a flea infestation, there’s a lot more to rid your dog and home of fleas than just killing the adults.

First, if you don’t kill the flea eggs and larvae, you will have adult fleas hopping about a lot sooner than you would like.

Palmolive does not interrupt the flea lifecycle, which is a critical step when dealing with fleas.

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So, killing just the adult fleas with Palmolive is not the most effective method available.

But, if your dog has picked up fleas recently, and I mean hours, it’s possible the fleas have not laid eggs. If this is the case, Palmolive may be an effective option for getting rid of fleas quickly.

The other bad thing about using Palmolive in the fight against fleas is that it is not a flea preventative and will not repel fleas from hitching a ride on your dog.

Related: Does Lime Kill Fleas on Dogs?

How Does Palmolive Kill Fleas?

Palmolive compromises a flea’s exoskeleton eliminating its ability to float. And if a flea can’t float on the water, it ends up sinking to the bottom of the bath, drowning the fleas along the way.

Using a dish soap that does not impact a flea’s exoskeleton may help rinse the fleas off your dog’s coat, but since the fleas float, they will crawl back on your dog, which is why it is critical to use the Palmolive brand.

How Long Does it Take for Palmolive to Kill Fleas?

Palmolive goes to work quickly, and after lathering up your dog, you should allow the Palmolive to sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing your pup off.

Is Palmolive Safe for Dogs?

Palmolive is technically safe for dogs and may be the better choice for young puppies under six weeks old.

However, Palmolive is far from the best choice to kill fleas. Though it is not toxic, Palmolive can cause significant skin irritation, especially on dogs who show signs of flea bites.

Also, Palmolive is made for dishes, not dogs. It has specific ingredients that break down grease and oil, which can disrupt your dog’s natural oils leaving their skin to dry out and become itchy and flaky.

How to Use Palmolive for Fleas

If you do not have any other choice than to use Palmolive for fleas, you can first bathe your dog as you would with any other shampoo. However, after lathering your pup up, let it stand for 2 minutes.

Rinse your dog thoroughly and towel them dry. Be sure to roll the towel up gently and place it in a plastic bag or immediately into the washing machine to be washed immediately.

Promptly taking care of the towel will help ensure any fleas still alive, and caught in the towel, don’t get scattered throughout your home.

Next, place your dog on a sheet or large bathmat so that any fleas or debris land on it when you comb your dog out.

Using a flea comb, go through every inch of your dog’s coat, especially their undercoat, to remove all fleas and flea debris.

Though the comb is tedious, the tiny teeth will catch dying fleas, eggs, and larvae. The debris is what the larvae feed on, so removing it will help in eradicating them.

How to Make Palmolive More Effective

To make the Palmolive bath more effective and easier on your dog’s skin, consider adding coconut oil, Epsom salts, or essential oils to the Palmolive.

Epsom salts, coconut oil, and specific essential oils have been effective at killing the different life cycles.

And the essential oils will act as a repellent helping to reduce the chances of another flea infestation.

Plus, coconut oil helps nourish your dog’s skin and not cause it to dry out, as would be the case with just Palmolive.

Epsom salts will help soothe any open sores caused by flea bites.

Palmolive with Epsom Salt

  • Add Epsom salt to your dog’s bathwater and use this water when wetting your dog down.
  • After lathering your pup up, drain the bathwater and refill with tub with fresh water and Epsom salt to rinse your dog.
  • Epsom salt acts as an anti-inflammatory and will help soothe your dog’s skin.

Palmolive with Coconut Oil with Essential Oils

  • Use equal parts Palmolive and coconut oil.
  • 2 drops peppermint oil – Do NOT use peppermint oil on a puppy
  • Mix with your hands until combined; the body heat from your hands will help melt the coconut oil making it easier to blend without overheating the oil
  • The peppermint oil will help act as a repellent but be careful not to use this near your dog’s face
  • Leave on for 5 minutes

Palmolive, Coconut Oil, Essential Oils, and Epsom Salt

The best option by far is using both of the above methods together.

Plus, when combining Palmolive with Epsom salt and coconut oil, you will kill both the flea eggs and larvae.


Though Palmolive will kill adult fleas, it is not a method I would recommend because ultimately, it only fixes a fraction of the problem and only for a short time. Thankfully, there are several natural ways to kill fleas at all life stages and work as a flea repellent.

Plus, there are several commercial solutions available that are fast-acting and more effective than Palmolive.


Can I Use Palmolive on My Dog?

Yes, though it can cause skin irritation and will strip the natural oils from your dog’s coat. It is better to use Palmolive with coconut oil to help keep your dog’s skin and coat from drying out.

Does Palmolive Kill or Repel Ticks?

Yes, Palmolive will kill ticks, but it will not repel them[1].

Is Palmolive Bad for Dogs?

Palmolive isn’t excessively harmful, but it isn’t the best choice for your dog either. Instead of using Palmolive choose a dog-specific flea shampoo instead of Palmolive.


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