DIY Rat Shampoo
Rat Care 101

How To Make DIY Rat Shampoo

Can You Really Make DIY Rat Shampoo?

DIY rat shampoo is easy to make – and will help keep your chubby bubby clean and smelling nice.

Rats are animals that naturally like to feel clean. They are constantly grooming themselves and one another. However, from time to time your pet rats might become dirty enough that they could greatly benefit from a real bath. That’s especially true when you’ve let cage cleaning slide a little too long. There are several different ways that you can go about giving your rat a bath. Yet, it’s important that you choose the right shampoo with which to clean your rats.

Baby Shampoo’s Not a Great Choice

Baby shampoo is a popular choice among rat owners, but any human shampoo won’t be perfect for the skin of a rat, as they have very different pH levels from us. As the skin of a rat is more similar in pH to a dog’s than to a human’s, dog shampoo may seem like the best alternative to using baby shampoo. However, these are not always safe for your rats, especially ones that contain ingredients used for flea and parasite control.

While baby shampoo isn’t going to do damage to your rats, it does not really offer any particular benefits other than just cleaning the fur. For this reason, a rat owner should consider making their own shampoo at home. The formula for this rat shampoo is reported to work much more efficiently than commercial shampoos and can even keep fleas away from your rats, along with making the coats look shiny and amazing. A rat can start looking sleek and shiny by using this shampoo recipe.

DIY Rat Shampoo


DIY Rat Shampoo

Add 1 cup of liquid natural dish soap, preferably with no dyes. Dawn is a good brand, as fleas dislike it and it has even been reported to remove fleas or sometimes mites that are already present. It’s also great for removing the buck grease that males get and they’ll look super clean. Or, you can go with liquid Castile soap, which is kind of a miracle soap – gentle and strong all at the same time.

Add 1 cup of distilled water.

Add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. You may be wondering if this is going to make your rat smell like some salad or a bag of chips. Keep in mind, the vinegar helps the pH of the coat to balance out and it also neutralizes odors that cling to the fur, like urine. The vinegar is also very useful for rinsing the shampoo and delivering a shine.

Add ⅓ cup of glycerin. This will help add a rich consistency to the shampoo so that the fur can be coated. It can be found with first-aid materials.

Add 1 tbsp of vitamin E in liquid form. This will help to soothe any itching resulting from fleas, mites, and dry skin.

You can store your mixture in a container such as Tupperware, a large bottle, an old shampoo container, a milk jug, etc.

To use, just mix up the ingredients, apply to the rat, lather it up, and rinse it out with the vinegar and then water.

Rinse and Sniff

There you have it, folks. Easy-peasy DIY rat shampoo for when your ratto could use a little help getting squeaky clean. See what I did there?

26 thoughts on “How To Make DIY Rat Shampoo”

    1. Thanks, Emma! We love our readers even more than cheese itself! (Actually, rats shouldn’t have much cheese, but it’s still a good visual, right?) This is definitely worth a try with dogs. Our dogs get so dirty – and one’s got a skin condition going that has her kind of greasy – so we usually use Dawn liquid on them… but if they were a tidier bunch, we could use this recipe for sure.

  1. Oh my gosh!! I’m dying… Your rats ARE worth it! Do your rats really sit well for it? I just think about giving a dog a bath which is terrible. Do they get super slippery? So many questions…

    1. Haha – wondered if anyone would remember that ad campaign! One reason rats are way easier to bathe than dogs is just their size. A handful of wet, wiggly pet is much easier to deal with than an armful. They do get slippery, but with such a relatively small area of furry fella to clean, it’s pretty manageable. We’d love to hear any other questions you’ve got, Nicole!

    1. You’re a good friend! It can be tough to find rat babysitters – so many people are afraid of rats. I bet they had a much better holiday knowing their babies were safe and well cared for.

  2. I wonder if this would work well for my cat, too. It sounds similar to a cat, that they like to keep themselves clean but need some help with it now and then.

    1. It sure might! Of course, your kitty may have other ideas about whether it’s time for a little help 🙂 Maybe keep some Band-Aids handy?

  3. Fascinating – I never thought of this! I wonder how well it would work for other pets? I know that regular shampooing is helpful for keeping dander down, for people with pet allergies…

    1. It’s gentle enough you could try it on most pets, I’d imagine. Maybe do a spot test just to be sure there’s no sensitivity? Rats are typically super clean, but it’s good to have an alternative when needed!

  4. Interesting topic… I hope you don’t mind but I had a good laugh when I saw your title. I imagined rats sitting under hair dryers. Anyway, I applaud your devotion to the subject.

    1. Me, too! Any bath and body products (or home care) I can make at home feels a whole lot safer than what we can buy. I’ve been using avocado oil on my own skin (nice!) and make laundry detergent from Castile soap.

    1. LOL… PLEASE take video if you do try it! I’ve never had a cat that would put up with such an indignity as being bathed by a mere human 😀

  5. Wow! I think I haven’t taken care of pet rats since I was in second grade and my teacher let me take our class pet home for the winter brake. I have dog though and he hates taking a bath always tries to jump out of the bath tub lol… These are some great tip’s though!!

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