Using Vinegar in your Groom Shop

Vinegar is a natural and inexpensive solution for a lot of the day to day problems in the groom shop. The many uses include:
  • Skin Treatments
  • Cleaning
  • Conditioner
  • Drying

Skin Treatments

Vinegar has anti-bacterial properties. You can treat and relieve a wide range of skin conditions on an animal by soaking the affected area with vinegar, or a 1:1 dilution of vinegar and water. These conditions include:

  • Mange
  • Rashes, both fungal and bacterial
  • Dandruff
  • Ticks and Fleas (Vinegar is not as effective as pharmaceutical grade flea treatments)
When spraying anywhere near the head, including the ears or throat, make sure you avoid spraying vinegar in the dog's eyes, as this is quite painful.


Vinegar is an excellent natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial treatment that you can use to clean your containers. Specific things to clean include:

  • Refillable Shampoo Bottles: Shampoo bottles that are used over long periods of time can mold! You might not even notice. Soak your bottles all night with a vinegar water mixture between refills. An ounce of vinegar per shampoo bottle of solution is enough to be effective. 
  • Kennels: These are filled with moist dogs on a day to day basis. You can spray the inside with vinegar in-between dogs to ensure a more hygienic shop. Do still clean it on a regular basis with bleach water.
Vinegar is non-toxic, which makes it safe to use during the workday, even on surfaces that the dogs might lick or rub against.

Using vinegar on a day to day basis, in-between your deep-cleanings, can reduce the amount of bleach an ammonia you use overall. This is both cheaper and less corrosive to your pipes and drains.


Vinegar works as an effective, residue free conditioner. Other conditioners can make fur fatty or leave a silicone residue by design. Ordinary vinegar can rejuvenate dry fur as well as any other conditioner. Simply spray some vinegar on the dog’s coat after the bath, and let it air dry. Do not rinse off the vinegar.

Putting this on dog's with flat, thin fur that is difficult due to static, or is difficult to pick up with your shears, then vinegar is your solution! Vinegar will give the fur volume and wipes out the static.

Disclaimer: Vinegar does NOT leave any smell behind once it dries. Vinegar only smells when it is wet. Both the acetic acid and water evaporate completely, leaving nothing behind.


Spraying vinegar on the dog’s coat has the added benefit of making it dry significantly faster. This works because the acetic acid that makes up the bulk of vinegar is a highly volatile substance, meaning that it evaporates easily and quickly. That’s why you can smell it strongly from across the room.

It is especially useful for drying cocker spaniel ears, just make sure to avoid spraying the eyes! Vinegar will be painful for any dog to get in the eye.

Vinegar Solutions

The recommended concentration of your solution for various tasks varies greatly from one groomer to the next. Some groomers use pure vinegar to be safe (it's completely non-toxic), while others dilute it significantly. What we use is indicated above, but we don't know the exact limits. It's up to you to find out what minimum concentration is required to be effective. The way we look at it, vinegar isn't that expensive.

If you need grooming advice, feel free to write us an email! If it's a common request, we will produce a piece here in our Learning Center about it.