• Dilution Ratios - I Did the Math!

    By Barbara Bird
    Originally written in 2009 for her GroomWise.com Blog, and now archived here in Resources. Barbara's web site is www.bbird.biz. Please visit her site today.
    Copyright 2011 Barbara Bird All rights reserved

    Figuring out how much shampoo or conditioner to use to obtain the proper dilution ratio can be confusing to some groomers. Being great at math is not in our necessary skill set. Here is an explanation of how to figure it out, and a chart that gives the amounts of product for 32 ounce mixing bottles and one gallon. I hope this is helpful for someone, because as you were out and about having a life last Saturday night, I was sitting here grappling with the math. Who loves ya'?


    Most products come with a suggested dilution ratio expressed as the parts water per one part product. For example 16:1 would be sixteen parts water to one part shampoo. To determine how much shampoo to mix, first convert the size of your container into ounces (32 oz mixing bottle, 128 ounces for a gallon) and then divide by the ratio desired. In a 32 oz bottle, 16:1 would be 32/16 = 2 ounces shampoo. A gallon amount would be 128/16 = 8 ounces product.

    Here are some common dilutions rounded to the nearest ˝ ounce.


    4:1 8 oz. (1 cup) 32 oz. (4 cups)

    8:1 4 oz. (1/2 cup) 16 oz. (2 cups)

    10:1 3 oz. 12 oz. (3/4 cup)

    12:1 2.5 oz. 10.5 oz

    16:1 2 oz. (1/4 cup) 8 oz. (1 cup)

    24:1 1.5 oz. 5 oz.

    32:1 1 oz. 4 oz. ( 1/2 cup)

    50:1 .5 oz. 2.5 oz.

    84:1 (1/3 oz) 1.5 oz.

    For best performance of products, it is important to measure accurately. Failure to measure is a waste of money and can result in poor performance of some products. To avoid product contamination, mix only what you will use in a day or two. Many groomers use a bartender’s shot glass as a measure for mixing shampoos and conditioners. Remember that the average shot glass is 1.5 ounces. A “pony shot” is typically one ounce.

    Excessively hard water may require a slightly higher ratio of shampoo for best performance. High mineral content can impede cleaning ability of surfactants and can require an adjustment. Increase the concentration in small increments. For example, if you are not getting good cleaning at 12:1, change to a 10:1 mixture.

    Pump type bathing systems that recirculate product can perform under entirely different dilutions. For products offering 10:1 or 12:1 dilution, start with a one ounce of shampoo per 1.5 gallons of water. For products suggesting 32:1 dilution, use only ˝ ounce shampoo per 1.5 gallons. Adjust according to your results. With conditioners, start with 1-2 ounces per 1.5 gallons water for light conditioning, up to 4 ounces per 1.5 gallons for maximum softening, detangling or deshedding.
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. pinkpoodle's Avatar
      pinkpoodle -
      Wow, thanks for that...sure made it easy!!!
    1. Smart-n-Pretty's Avatar
      Smart-n-Pretty -
      Finally! I got tired of taking my shoes off to do the math!
    1. SLR90's Avatar
      SLR90 -
      This is awesome! I am going to write this down for my reference binder, thank you!
    1. coldnose's Avatar
      coldnose -
      I lost mine glad I found this link.
    1. TootsiePie's Avatar
      TootsiePie -
      Me too, m y boss was wrong.
    1. Brit's Avatar
      Brit -
      Found this again, thanks.
    1. blingwithfur's Avatar
      blingwithfur -
      My boss at one time didn't know the difference between 20 to 1 or 50 to 1. Our eyes would roll. Sometimes the shampoos were thick as mud, and next time watery as my eyes with an allergy.
    1. violet2's Avatar
      violet2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by blingwithfur View Post
      My boss at one time didn't know the difference between 20 to 1 or 50 to 1. Our eyes would roll. Sometimes the shampoos were thick as mud, and next time watery as my eyes with an allergy.
      OMG funny. Note to bosses, know your dilution rates.
    1. 10muddypaws's Avatar
      10muddypaws -
      OH good I needed a new chart.
    1. violet2's Avatar
      violet2 -
      We laminated ours and I posted by mix area.