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Does dawn kill fleas in flea trap?

The Dawn Dish soap causes a chemical reaction when it's combined with water, and that allows it to shed oil and grease and create a sort of surfactant that penetrates the exoskeleton that allows fleas to stay afloat.

March 15, 2022

7 min read time

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Dawn dish soap


Most people don’t bother with killing fleas trapped in flea traps. They forget that dealing with a flea infestation is often more complex than trapping and killing adult fleas.

A lot can happen in the day or so it takes for the fleas to die. Your pet or kid might stick their fingers in the trap, or the odd flea might even escape.

When you’re dealing with an impromptu flea infestation, a popular bug control solution/ preventative like dawn dish soap can come in handy.

What is Dawn dish soap?

Dawn dish soap is a powerful dish-washing detergent that took the world by storm.

Dawn dish soap

It sets itself apart from other dish detergents with its unique surfactant or chemical compound that reduces the surface tension of water and cuts out grease. During testing, it was crowned the best dish soap for removing grease and food stains.

It became popular among the pest control and animal care industries when a video aired that showed the Dawn detergent used to clean wild birds who’d been affected by an oil spill. It got people curious, and soon they discovered that Dawn detergent could be used to kill fleas and help infected pets.

How do you know you’ve got fleas?

Fleas are small, speck-sized wingless bugs that are brown or black. Adult fleas are about 0.1 inches long, so it’s easy to confuse them for dust or dirt when you spot them on your pet.

Fleas can jump really high– up to 3.9 feet in fact–and use their powerful legs to rapidly move from one host to the next. It’s not uncommon for adult fleas to take up residence in humans too. There are over two thousand types of fleas, and each species has a preferred host. Dog fleas don’t feed on cat fleas and vice versa. This trait makes it somewhat manageable to target and kill fleas.

A common household flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day, and 10 of those eggs are statistically likely to hatch. Within a few days, your entire house could be overrun with fleas if you don’t act fast.

Why you should use Dawn dish soap to repel fleas

Flea traps like the Thanos are powerful and can reach up to 30 ft. in all directions, but they are not versatile enough to handle a full-blown flea infestation in days. Thanos flea trap, for example, comes with multiple glue strips that kill fleas, and each one was designed to last weeks.

You’re often operating on a shorter time frame when you’re dealing with a surprise infestation. Dawn dish detergent delivers instant results.

You can treat all your infected pets with a dawn bath and quickly control the flea populations around your home before you start using flea preventatives and other serious control efforts.

How to use Dawn dish soap for fleas around your home

There are a few things you can do with Dawn dish soap that will instantly help you get a handle on your flea problem.

Using Blue Dawn Dish Soap for emergency pet flea treatments

In normal circumstances, we don’t recommend using dawn dish soap for a flea bath for your puppies or your cats.

However, if you’re desperate to prevent the infestation from spreading, you can set up a quick bath by following this short step-by-step guide.

  1. Prepare the following for your pet path: some dawn dish soap, a flea comb, a towel, a dog collar, and a leash.
  2. Pick a location, preferably somewhere outside, with easy access to water and secure enough to keep your pet from bolting.
  3. Fill the bowl with plenty of lukewarm to warm water (somewhere around 70 degrees is ideal).
  4. Lead your pet into the bathing bowl and wet your pet’s fur with plenty of water. Make sure to use as little water for their eyes, nose, and ears. They are incredibly sensitive around those areas, and they could get an ear infection if the water does not dry out completely.
  5. Apply dawn soap starting from the top part of your pet’s head and neck and continue down to their feet. It’s important you start at the head because all the fleas will start to flee towards the area with little to no soap water.
  6. Make sure to wash your pet’s skin, their belly, underside, in between their paws, armpits, and tails.
  7. Leave the dish soap on your pet’s body for two to five minutes and run your flea comb through the deepest part of the coat of your furry friend. If they have a serious infestation, this should help them remove fleas from their coats.
  8. Once you’re done combing, rinse all the soapy water off your pet’s coat. If the infection was serious, you’ll notice more than a few dying fleas in the water. Turn out the soap water and start rinsing again.
  9. When you’re sure you’ve removed all the dawn soap and dead fleas from your pet’s skin and coat, you can dry your pet with a dryer, towel, or let them shake off most of the moisture. Don’t forget to dry the ears too.
  10. One last time, comb through your pet’s fur for fleas that you might’ve missed. Have a bowl of lukewarm to hot water handy so that you can drop them in the water.

Mix Dawn Dish Soap with other insect repellents

Using Dawn Dish soap as a base, you can create a flea repellent to kill the pests you have trapped in your trap and prevent future flea infestations.

  1. Coconut oil
  2. Tea Tree oil
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. Lemon Juice
  5. Salt
  • Buy a spray bottle and mix two tablespoons of any Dawn dish soap, one of the highlighted ingredients, and half a cup of water. Spray it directly on the glue pad or any of the infected spots around your house.
  • Dawn dish soap and white vinegar are great for spot-by-spot flea control.
  • Table salt, peppermint oil, and some dawn dish soap help with preventing future invasion of your pet’s fur. Massage the solution into your pet’s coat periodically for the best results.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar and Dawn dish soap help with flea treatment and control.

How long does Dawn need to kill fleas?

Whether you’re treating your animal with a bath of spraying down an infected or overrun trap, you can expect blue dawn dish soap to kill adult fleas and hatching fleas in two to five minutes.

Wrapping Up

Dealing with a severe flea infestation can be a stressful and challenging experience, even if you’re prepared for one. You’re worried about your pet’s health and are desperate to prevent attacks.

Dawn dish detergent and good traps shine in these desperate situations. They are cheap, provide immediate results, and are safe for your pet– for the most part. If you follow the pet and home cleaning guide, you should easily get through your first week.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use other dish soaps aside from a dawn detergent?

Yes, you can. Dawns detergent is great for killing fleas in emergencies, but it’s not your only option if you have to deal with a flea population.

Any regular dish soap will work as a great stand-in for some dawn detergent. However, if you have options, choose detergents with the simplest and eco-friendly ingredients. They’re less likely to cause serious skin irritation.

Does Dawn dish soap kill flea eggs and larvae?

Yes, it does. Dawn dish soap can kill flea eggs and larvae. It does so by breaking down their exoskeleton with a chemical compound. You can use dawn detergent to efficiently target and kill any larvae or eggs stuck on your pets or your person.

Is it true that Dawn dish soap kills Fleas?

Yes, it is.

The Dawn Dish soap causes a chemical reaction when it’s combined with water, and that allows it to shed oil and grease and create a sort of surfactant that penetrates the exoskeleton that allows fleas to stay afloat.

After a minute or two, the compromised fleas sink to the bottom of the washing bowl. Dawn dish soap kills flea larvae and eggs too. It does so by interfering with their metabolism and suffocating them.