bearded dragon with a long neck

Can You Use Soap on A Bearded Dragon? [Best Alternatives]

Due to its harsh chemical composition and abrasive nature, soap should not be used on bearded dragons. Bearded dragons have extremely sensitive skin, and using any soap, such as dish soap or baby shampoo, can be extremely toxic and harm your pet. 

Hard soaps are made with lye or sodium hydroxide, which can be toxic to reptiles, whereas liquid soaps contain dyes and sodium laureth sulfate. Because of this, it is best to avoid using soap altogether when caring for your bearded dragon.

Reasons Why Soap Should Not Be Used on Bearded Dragons

Harsh Chemicals Can Cause Skin Irritation

Harsh chemicals can cause skin irritation, so avoid using traditional soaps on your bearded dragon. Chemicals found in common soap can cause burns, abrasions, and irritation. These issues can persist and even become fatal if not addressed. 

Because bearded dragons have extremely sensitive skin, using any soap, including dish soap, can be harsh and irritate their skin. 

However, there is one exception. Dawn soap is gentle and effective and will not harm your bearded dragon. Bathing your pet on a regular basis with Dawn soap is an effective way to keep them clean without harming their sensitive skin.

With that said, we still don’t use any soap on our bearded dragons.

Soaps Can Be Abrasive

Soaps, detergents, and even essential oils can be too harsh and abrasive for the delicate skin of a bearded dragon. In addition to irritating their skin, they can also remove the natural oils that keep it healthy. 

Alternatives to Using Soap on Bearded Dragons

Bathing your bearded dragon in warm water is an excellent way to keep them clean without using harsh chemicals. You can also gently wipe away dirt and grime with a damp cloth. Reptile baths are also available that are specifically designed to clean reptiles without using soap.

Bathing in Warm Water

Bathing bearded dragons in warm water is a good alternative to using soaps and detergents on them. Remember that a well-hydrated bearded dragon has a more efficient digestive system, so make sure your dragon has plenty of access to fresh, clean water. 

Fill a tub or box with hot (not boiling) water when you’re ready to bathe your bearded dragon. When bathing your dragon, use a soft brush or simply pour water over them.

Use a Damp Cloth to Wipe Down the Bearded Dragon

Another safe option for cleaning your bearded dragon is to use a damp cloth. A microfiber cloth is an excellent option because it is gentle on their skin and will not harm them in any way. 

Wet the cloth and wring out the excess water before gently wiping down your bearded dragon. This can aid in the removal of dirt, debris, and bacteria from their skin while also being gentle on their scales. 

This method is especially helpful if you only want to remove stains or light dirt from their skin. Rinse and dry the cloth thoroughly before using it again, as bacteria can spread quickly when wet.

Use Specialty Reptile Baths

Specialty reptile baths are another safe alternative to using soap on your bearded dragon. These baths are designed specifically for reptiles and offer a gentle, safe way to clean your dragon. 

Reptile baths are non-toxic and contain natural ingredients that will not irritate the skin or cause other problems. 

They can also soften and remove debris from the skin while also moisturizing it. When using these products, always follow the instructions on the label and rinse your dragon with clean water afterward.

Signs Your Bearded Dragon Needs to Be Washed

Excessive shedding is a sign that your bearded dragon needs to be washed. They typically shed their skin every 4-8 weeks, but shedding more frequently may indicate that they require a bath. 

Odors that are out of the ordinary can also indicate that the bearded dragon needs to be cleaned. If the tank or enclosure smells musty, bacteria and other contaminants may be present. 

Finally, if there is visible dirt and grime on the beardie’s body, this indicates that it needs to be washed. 

Let’s discuss each of these in more detail.

Excessive Shedding

One of the signs that your bearded dragon needs to be washed is excessive shedding. If your bearded dragon is shedding more than usual, it could be a sign that their skin is too dry or itchy and requires additional hydration. 

A warm bath with no soap or detergent can help their skin retain moisture. After their bath, gently pat them dry with a soft towel before returning them to their enclosure.

Unusual Odors

Odors that are unusual can indicate that your bearded dragon needs to be washed. Bearded dragons typically don’t have a smell to them, so before giving your bearded dragon a bath, be sure the odd smell isn’t just coming from the enclosure. 

Visible Dirt and Grime

If you notice your beardie has accumulated dirt and grime, remove them from their tank and bathe them in warm water. 

If soap is used, make sure it is designed specifically for reptiles. Otherwise, a damp cloth or a specialty reptile bath, if available, can be used to clean the bearded dragon. 

Proper Hygiene for Bearded Dragons

Proper bearded dragon hygiene is critical to their health and well-being. This includes keeping their surroundings clean and giving them regular baths. 

Make a habit of regularly cleaning any messes in the tank and removing any feces. You can keep your bearded dragon happy and healthy with proper hygiene and care.

Clean the Food and Water Dishes Regularly

Your bearded dragon’s food and water dishes need to be cleaned regularly. Throw away any leftover food and thoroughly wash the dishes with soap before replacing them in the vivarium. 

Spot Clean the Tank

Spot cleaning the tank is a quick and easy way to keep your bearded dragon’s habitat looking and smelling good. To remove dirt, grime, and odor, spray and wipe down the walls, floors, and vivarium itself with a solution or special disinfectant. 

Make a point of getting into every corner of the tank to keep your reptile healthy and happy. 

Remove Any Feces From the Tank Daily

Maintaining proper hygiene for bearded dragons requires daily removal of feces from the tank. This will not only prevent the spread of diseases and ensure the safety of the environment, but it will also help keep the tank from becoming smelly. When removing feces, wear gloves because it can contain bacteria that can be harmful. 

Key Points

  • Soaps should not be used on bearded dragons because they contain harsh chemicals that can cause skin irritation.
  • Soaps can cause abrasions while also removing natural oils from the skin.
  • Bathing bearded dragons in warm water is a good alternative to soap, as is wiping the dragon down with a damp cloth.
  • Specialty reptile baths, which are non-toxic and contain natural ingredients that are gentle on reptile skin are another safe option.
  • Avoid using soaps and detergents on bearded dragons because they can harm their delicate skin.