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Home > Cats > Is Ajax Dish Soap Safe for Cats? Vet-Approved Reasons, Alternatives, & FAQ

Is Ajax Dish Soap Safe for Cats? Vet-Approved Reasons, Alternatives, & FAQ

Ajax Dish Soap

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Tabitha Henson

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Many know Ajax dish soap to be an effective dish soap that gets the job done at an affordable price. It can leave your dishes and utensils sparkling clean from grease, grime, and food build-up because it’s caustic. Other effects of a caustic soap are burning or damaging organic tissue—therefore, it is not safe for cats.

Read on further to understand why some people suggest Ajax as a flea-killing shampoo for cats, why you shouldn’t use it on any of your pets, how to keep your cat safe from the product, and what safer alternatives are available.


Can I Wash My Cat With Ajax?

There is a shockingly high number of websites that promote using Ajax dish soap as a shampoo for your cat. This is alarming because not only does the Ajax website clarify that you should never even think about bathing or shampooing with their product but using Ajax dish soap on your cat’s skin could leave it raw and vulnerable to infection. As it strips grease from your dishware, it’ll do the same to the beneficial natural oils on your cat’s skin.

You may be confused because you’ve stuck your hands into a sink filled with water and Ajax, and they’ve come out without any damage. Well, the pH balance of your skin isn’t the same as a cat’s, and it’s not the same as your dog’s either— which is why you shouldn’t use dog shampoos on your cat. Either way, you wouldn’t wash yourself with Ajax because you know it wouldn’t treat your skin kindly, so imagine how much worse it’d be for your cat.

Bathing your cat in Ajax can cause burns to their skin and, at the very least, cause infection due to unnaturally dry skin. The very worst outcome could be death. Not only will the product harm their skin, but the chemicals used in the product can easily be absorbed into their bloodstream.

Dish soap also leaves a residue, so even after rinsing and drying your cat, there will always be some product left in their coat. As excellent groomers, your cat will ultimately ingest the Ajax through their thorough licking.

If you can’t pronounce the ingredients listed in a product, they’re generally not safe enough to use on your pets.

Ajax Dish Soap Orange
Image Credit: Amazon

Is It Effective for Cleaning?

Although Ajax dish soap is effective for cleaning dishware, it is not effective for cleaning your cat. Technically, it is, but the dangerous side effects don’t make it a suitable candidate. Because Ajax dish soap is designed to strip grease from plates, pans, and pots, it would be able to rid your cat of dirt, skunk smell, oil, or car grease.

However, Ajax dish soap isn’t your solution even in these circumstances. For the best results, you should take them to a groomer or purchase a cat degreaser, such as the Davis Degrease Dog & Cat Shampoo, which is formulated for cats and won’t harm their skin.

Even if you have cat-friendly shampoo, it isn’t necessary to wash them frequently because they are natural groomers. The only time you should be washing them is if they have very long hair and need help with occasional grooming or are very dirty.

Does Ajax Dish Soap Kill Fleas?

Ajax dish soap is a detergent that kills fleas and many other products you shouldn’t use on your pets. Although Ajax dish soap is effective at killing the fleas on your cat, it can’t fix the core flea problem because the majority of the fleas will already be around your house.

Once your cat has had their bath, been dried down, and brushed, the fleas, eggs, and larvae in their bedding, on your sofas, and on your carpet will reinfect your cat, and your efforts will have been in vain. You’ll feel compelled to wash your kitty soon after to remove the new fleas, and that’s how the damage to their skin will worsen.

To sort the flea problem out, you’ll need flea treatment, which should be bought from your veterinarian. You’ll have to treat all your pets until the fleas, eggs, and larvae are dead and no longer a problem. Sometimes, your veterinarian may recommend you use the treatment on your cat indefinitely. You will likely need to treat the environment as well.

Don’t use Ajax dish soap, no matter how bad the flea problem may be. It won’t fix the core problem and is only a short-term solution that may result in worse problems for you and your cat. Instead, chat with your veterinarian and use the treatment they recommend for your furry friend.

close up fleas on cat
Image By: KanphotoSS, Shutterstock

How to Keep Your Cat Safe From Ajax Dish Soap

Thankfully, Ajax dish soap and most other dish soaps are generally non-toxic, and when in use, only a few drops are used in a large amount of water, diluting the strength of the dish soap. If your cat takes a few licks, it isn’t likely they’ll get too sick and might only have a bit of diarrhea or vomiting.

However, if you’ve caught your cat mid-lick and aren’t sure whether to be concerned about their health, it’s always best to ask your vet. They’ll be able to tell you if that particular dish soap is dangerous enough for your cat to be brought in or whether they’ll be completely fine.

It is quite unusual for cats to drink dish soap because it isn’t a smell or taste they’d enjoy. Typically, one lick of the dish soap will put them off. If they carry on drinking, it may be an indication that they’re dehydrated. Check to see if their water is fresh and clean. If it is, spark their curiosity to their own water by pouring fresh water into a new bowl and placing it in a different spot.

Instead of using Ajax dish soap to clean their toys, bowls, or equipment, stick to cat-friendly cleaning products. When using Ajax, make sure your kitty isn’t around until your dishes have dried. To prevent accidents, make sure to close it securely and store it in a closed cupboard that they can’t get into. Finally, always follow the directions correctly to use the product safely.


The 3 Alternative Products to Use

No matter the reason, it’s never okay to risk your cat’s health. Ajax dish soap may be cheap and always on hand, but it’s not a suitable product to use on your cat. You should only use products on your cat specifically formulated for them, use natural ingredients, are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and suitable for your cat’s coat type.

We’ve listed a few safe and effective shampoos for your cat:

1. Burt’s Bees Waterless Shampoo for Cats

Burt's Bees Waterless Shampoo for Cats

Burt’s Bees Waterless Shampoo for Cats is an excellent option because it takes the fight out of bath time. Many cats hate water and will scratch you to get away from it. This causes stress for both you and your cat. With this waterless shampoo, your cat can get their shine and softness back and be cleaned while having their skin nourished without any stress.

This product is great for cats with sensitive skin. It’s gentle, 99.8% natural, and is responsibly sourced.

2. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor

Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo

If you’re struggling with fleas and want to rid your cat’s coat of them, Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor will do the trick and prevent new flea growth in their coats for around 28 days.

This shampoo is suitable for cats with sensitive skin, and instead of stripping their skin from oils, it moisturizes and conditions it.

3. Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath

Vet's Best Waterless Cat Bath

Another excellent cat shampoo that requires no water is the Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath. It’s safe to use on your cat, formulated by vets, and doesn’t contain any harmful parabens, dyes, or sulfates.

This shampoo can be used on dry and itchy skin, and it not only moisturizes your cat’s skin but soothes it. It’s easy to use, and your cat will simply think you’re giving them a nice massage.



Although Ajax dish soap is cheap and easily attainable, it’s not the solution for your cat’s coat. Not only is it harmful to their skin, but it can go into their bloodstream or be ingested through licking. It’s not effective in the prevention of fleas nor beneficial to any other pet.

You can find many standard or flea-killing shampoos that are effective and affordable for your cat at the vet, pet stores, or online.

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Featured Image Credit: Amazon

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