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Is Palmolive Dish Soap Safe for Cats? Safety & Efficacy Explained

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By Nicole Cosgrove

tabby cat taking a bath

Palmolive dish soap is considered safe for cats, but it should not be your go-to cat cleaner. Because this dish soap is not specifically formulated with the cat in mind, there are more risks when using Palmolive dish soap than cat soap. So, it’s best to use Palmolive dish soap only in emergency situations.

Because the health and safety of your cat are so important, do as much research as possible before using any soap not specifically formulated for cats. Keep reading to learn more about using Palmolive dish soap on your furry friend.

hepper-cat-paw-dividerIs Palmolive Dish Soap Safe for Cats?

Generally speaking, Palmolive dish soap is safe for cats when used in emergency situations. The soap is not outright dangerous to cats’ skin, and it is effective for removing fleas, oil, and stains from your cat’s fur. In this regard, Palmolive dish soap is considered a safe pet shampoo.

However, Palmolive dish soap is not a good routine cleaner for your cat. As a dish soap, this cleaner has not been specifically formulated with your cat’s body in mind. As a result, this soap does not match the cat’s pH level, which can irritate the cat’s skin and fur.

Furthermore, Palmolive dish soap contains ingredients that are dangerous for your cat to ingest. Because cats lick themselves so frequently, the cat could end up ingesting the Palmolive dish soap during or after bath time.

cat bath
Image Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

With all of this in mind, Palmolive dish soap should not be used as your cat’s go-to shampoo. The Palmolive dish soap will do more harm than good since it can irritate your cat’s skin and have more dangerous side effects than actual cat shampoo.

That being said, if your cat gets itself in a serious mess and you don’t have any shampoo on hand, Palmolive dish soap may help you to clean up the cat quickly before you head over to a pet store to find a cat-specific shampoo. In other words, only use Palmolive dish soap in an emergency situation.

hepper single cat paw divider

Are There Any Dangers With Using Palmolive Dish Soap on Cats?

Even though Palmolive dish soap is not outright dangerous to cats when applied to their skin, there are some potential drawbacks to be aware of. Here are some dangers to keep in mind before using Palmolive dish soap on your furry feline friends:

pH Level

Very few cats are actually allergic to Palmolive dish soap, and your cat will likely not have any form of reaction if the dish soap is only applied to its body. Still, Palmolive dish soap does not have the right pH level to adequately care for your cat’s skin and fur. Because of the different levels, your cat’s fur will likely become stiff, matted, and tough to brush out.

Oil Removal

Something else to keep in mind is that not all oils are harmful. On the contrary, oils are necessary for your cat’s skin and fur health. If all oils are removed, your cat will have flaky, dry skin and unhealthy fur. Since Palmolive dish soap is designed for cleaning up excess food, this soap is meant to remove all oils that are present.

Consequently, using Palmolive dish soap on your cat’s body will leave your cat feeling dry and itchy. If you continually use this soap, your cat might develop a serious skin condition.

Dangerous to Ingest

There are a few ingredients within Palmolive dish soap that are actually dangerous for cats to ingest. The most dangerous is sodium xylene sulfonate. This ingredient is carcinogenic and can cause diarrhea, vomiting, contact dermatitis, and irritation in the eyes.

wet cat in the bathtub having shower
Image By: Vladeep, Shutterstock

Is Palmolive Dish Soap Effective for Cleaning Cats?

So far, we have learned about the safety associated with Palmolive dish soap. Even though it is partially safe, you might be wondering if it is effective. Generally speaking, this soap is effective for getting any excess oil, dirt, debris, and insects off your cat.

For example, Palmolive dish soap is sometimes used for eradicating fleas. This dish soap is effective at killing adult fleas, but it will not kill eggs or juvenile fleas. Even so, this flea-killing benefit is notable for some pet owners.

Once again, the soap itself is actually effective at cleaning. After all, the purpose of Palmolive dish soap is to cut through tough greases and mess. For this reason, Palmolive dish soap is effective at cleaning cats, so much so that it is too effective and removes more oils than you want.

Are All Palmolive Dish Soaps Equal for Cats?

There are different types of Palmolive dish soaps available at stores. It’s best to use the green variant instead of the Palmolive bacterial soap. The green variant is slightly safer and won’t irritate the cat’s skin as much. It is still effective at removing most oils and debris from your cat’s fur.

Keeping your pet's skin and coat clean and healthy is very important, but finding a great shampoo can be harder than the actual grooming! We love our Hepper Pet Shampoos because they makes grooming so much easier. These pH-balanced formulas are made with natural ingredients like oatmeal, cucumber, and aloe. They are free of phthalates, sulfates, and soaps and very gentle on your pet's skin. Now you just need to decide which formula is best for your fur baby! Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right option for your pet’s next bath!

Hepper Oatmeal pet shampoo
Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo

Hepper Waterless No Rinse Pet Shampoo
Natural cucumber & aloe scent
Natural cucumber & aloe scent:
Natural cucumber & aloe scent:
Safe for cats & dogs
Safe for cats & dogs:
Safe for cats & dogs:
Rinsing required
Rinsing required:
Rinsing required:
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients:
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients:
Lathers easily
Lathers easily:
Lathers easily:



Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, Palmolive dish soap is not the ideal cleaning method for your cat. Although it is effective, it is dangerous for your cat because of how strong it is. It will irritate your cat’s skin, and it can be toxic if your cat consumes the soap by accident.

If you find yourself in an emergency situation and need a cat shampoo quickly, the Palmolive dish soap green variant will work. Try to use as little of the dish soap as possible and apply some sort of conditioner to your cat’s coat to restore some of the oils after shampooing.

Otherwise, it’s best to always go with a cat shampoo specifically formulated for your cat’s sensitive skin and fur. A specialty shampoo will not overly clean your cat or result in dry, flaky skin. Instead, it is made specifically with your cat in mind so your cat can enjoy clean fur without the uncomfortable and dangerous side effects of Palmolive dish soap.

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Featured Image Credit: Marie-Claude Lemay, Shutterstock

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