Homemade Rat Shampoo And How To Bathe Rats (Safely)

If you have pet rats at home, you would surely know that one of the most stressful and time-taking activities is to figure out how to groom and bathe them.

You want to keep your pet clean, so he doesn’t get fleas or mites, but several questions pop up when you want to bathe your rat. One such question is, what shampoo should I use for rat bathing? Can I make my own homemade rat shampoo?

Yes, you can make your own homemade rat shampoo with very simple ingredients, such as a clean bottle, distilled water, dish soap and vinegar.

While several shampoos are available in the market for bathing pets, not all are suitable for rat bathing.

This is because the skin pH level of different animals varies, and if you don’t use a shampoo suitable for the pH of that particular animal, your pet’s skin can get damaged.

A quick solution to this dilemma is to use a homemade rat shampoo. All you have to do is follow a few easy steps to make your DIY Rat shampoo with readily available ingredients.

What You’ll Need For A Homemade Rat Shampoo

  • Clean bottle or container (Free from chemicals)
  • Dish soap (1 cup)
  • Distilled water (1 cup)
  • Apple cider vinegar (1 cup)
  • Glycerin (1/3 cup)
  • Vitamin E oil (1 tablespoon)
  • Few drops of almond oil (Optional)

How To Make A Homemade Rat Shampoo?

Follow the steps below to make a vinegar rat shampoo. This combination discussed below also works as a flea shampoo for rats.

Step 1: Get a Clean Bottle or Container

Make sure to have a clean bottle or container available before you start making your homemade rat shampoo.

You must keep in mind to never use a container or bottle that previously had chemicals or cleaning solutions in it, or the remains can mix up with the shampoo and cause skin reactions.

Even if you clean it very well, some chemicals are easy to completely erase from a container.

Try to get your hands on some other containers and clean them thoroughly before use. Wash it with water and lay it upside down to dry or dry it with a towel.

Once dry, the container will be ready for your rat shampoo.

A good example is to use a gallon of milk or big water bottles to store the shampoo!

Step 2: Add the Ingredients

The next step is to add all the ingredients of the shampoo and combine them.

The first ingredient is dish soap. Add 1 cup of any dish soap to the bottle. It is better if you go with a soap that does not have any dye or color in it and is transparent.

Now add 1 cup of water to the bottle. It will be best if you can obtain distilled water for this purpose.

Then, add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. This looks like a strong choice at first, but the benefits it brings to the rat shampoo are abundant.

Apple cider vinegar ensures your rat’s skin pH is maintained and removes any other smells coming from the rat, leaving it with a shine.

To keep your rat’s coat thick and full, use one-third cup of glycerin in the shampoo. You can also add 1 tablespoon of Vitamin E oil to make sure there is no itching or dryness of the rat’s skin due to fleas or mites.

This makes the resulting mixture work great as a rat shampoo for mites and fleas.

Step 3: Let it sit and use

The ingredients mentioned above are the main ones to add in your homemade rat shampoo, but you can also add a few drops of almond oil to curb the smell of the vinegar and give the shampoo a nourishing finish.

After adding the oils, mix well and let the rat shampoo sit for a while or overnight. Shake well, and it’s ready to use the next time you bathe your pet rat.

Do Rats Like Baths?

People with rats ask one question repeatedly – do rats like water? There is no one answer to this, as some rats like splashing around in the water, while others get scared of it.

It completely depends on the individual rat.

If your rat likes to splash and play around in the water, bathing it will be much easier compared to a rat scared of water.

pet rats relaxing in a mini bathtub

But most of the time, you won’t have a hard time bathing rats, as they are comfortable in the water.

They are actually excellent swimmers, as you can read right here! The important thing is to introduce them to water, slowly, before giving them a full bath.

Can You Give Rats A Bath?

You can give your rats a bath once a month or as needed. Most of the time, rats are great at keeping themselves clean, so you don’t need to look after them too often.

If your pet rats are healthy, they’ll have no problem keeping themselves clean and groomed. However, an older pet rat might start being a bit more careless with cleaning.

On the other hand, if your pet rats played with messier toys, like digging boxes, or had a especially sticky and messy food they might get too dirty and need help from you.

When this happens, a bath is in order, so they can be comfortable and cleaned. Pet rats do not enjoy feeling dirty, so they’ll appreciate your help!

It’s also important to keep your pet rat’s cage clean, so there’s no chance of bacteria and other parasites appearing. 

This way, your pet rats can keep themselves cleaner for longer as well!

Can You Wash Rats With Human Shampoo?

It is not recommended to wash rats with human shampoo.

Despite the similar pH levels, human shampoo contains fragrances and other chemicals that can harm rats. Rats also have sensitive skin, and the harsh ingredients in human shampoo can cause skin irritation and dryness.

Not only that, but rats have unique grooming habits and rely on natural oils to clean and maintain their fur. Human shampoo can strip their natural oils, leaving their skin and coat vulnerable to infections and parasites.

Choose a specially-made rat shampoo (like our own homemade rat shampoo in this article) or a mild baby shampoo instead, and bathe only when necessary!

Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe for Rats?

Dawn dish soap is preferred as an ingredient for homemade rat shampoo.

This is because it is free from dyes and odors. The dish soap is also effective in keeping fleas and mites away from your rats.

How Often Should I Bathe my Rat?

As mentioned above, you don’t need to bathe your rats as often since they are pretty good at cleaning themselves.

If you do feel the need to clean them due to smell or insects, bathing once a month will be enough. 

Just check to see if the rat looks clean and bathe when you think it’s needed. Most of the time, you can leave them to their devices.

In the summer, if you live in a particularly warm place, it’s good to let them play with some water from time to time.

It’s a good activity for them, will let them get more used to water and keeps them refreshed!

Your pet rats might also take the opportunity and bathe themselves while playing.

What Else Can I Use to Bathe a Pet Rat?

You can use a waterless shampoo found at most pet stores.

This is especially good for rats that hate water. All you have to do is spray the foam shampoo on the rat, rub it clean, and wipe it off with a towel.

You can also buy other pet shampoos, but they may not be catered to the pH of rat skin. So, be sure to read the labels.

Do Pet Rats Actually Need To Take Baths?

Pet rats are mostly clean on their own. They are hygienic pets and even clean themselves after being touched. 

In fact, if you notice their routine, they’ll spend most of their time grooming each other!

Still, it’s a good idea to bathe your rats, as some might not perform the self-cleaning ritual. Senior pet rats will start having some difficulty cleaning themselves for example. So it’s a good idea to help them from time to time.

Bathing also keeps away any mites or odor and can be good for the rat’s skin.

Hope this article helps! Be sure to share it with fellow pet owners looking for a safe DIY rat shampoo, and reach out to us with your own homemade rat shampoo recipes.

how to make homemade rat shampoo, pinterest cover