6 Best Dog Shampoos & Conditioners For Maltese with our Whitening Pick

Today we’re going to be talking about one of the most adorable, most recognizable, and most loved breeds on the planet – the iconic Maltese. Their long pure white coats are the pure definition of glamour, but you’re probably not going to be surprised to learn that it takes quite a bit of effort to maintain (which is why picking the best shampoo for the Maltese on the market is super important).

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However, there’s more to the care and maintenance of the coat of the Maltese than simply picking a good shampoo. So with that in mind, we’re going be providing you with everything that’s worth knowing about grooming and bathing a Maltese in a supersized article today.

We’re going to be sharing hints and tips, we’re going to be talking about skin and coat issues the breed suffers from, and we’re going to be answering a few frequently asked questions our readers send us on a regular basis.

The most important part of this article, however, is our Maltese shampoo review section. We’ve carefully (and impartially) reviewed countless shampoos to find products that we are comfortable recommending for the breed – and we have found 6 awesome options that we’re going to be sharing with you later on.

Grab a coffee and comfy, because this is going to be a long one.

Let’s get started.

Popular Types Of Maltese Shampoos

So before we look at specific product recommendations it’s a good idea for us to take a look at the kinds of issues that the breed suffers from that can be addressed by a good quality shampoo.

Skin Care Shampoos

The Maltese is a breed that unfortunately suffers from quite a wide range of skin issues. Their thin single layered coat makes them very delicate, and dryness, redness, and other general irritations are all too common with the breed. The Maltese isn’t alone in this issue, and as such there’s quite a large demand for shampoos and conditioners that take care of a dog’s skin.

Due to this, it’s reasonably easy to find shampoos that contain some kind of active skin care ingredient – however, they are not all created equally. For example, you’ll find shampoos plastering huge “Aloe Vera!” stickers on their bottles, but when you look at the ingredient list the amount of it in the bottle is almost negligible.

Ensure that any shampoo you are buying has a significant amount of skin care infusions in its formula – but also ensure that the brand is reputable.

This is easier said than done, and unless you know what you’re doing we recommend sticking to the brands we’re going to mention later in this article instead of shopping around on your own.

Soothing Shampoos

The Maltese is known to be a reasonably nervous breed in certain situations, and as you might already know – bath time is one of them.

There’s nothing you can really do to make your Maltese enjoy hopping in the tub and getting all soapy and wet – it’s a fact of life that most dogs dislike the bathing process. However, where there’s a problem the market usually finds a solution, and as such, soothing shampoos were born.

The way they work is very similar to the way aromatherapy works in humans, and in fact, many of the soothing compounds in dog shampoos are the same compounds we humans use ourselves. The combination of several relaxing scents calms your pooch down and makes them a little less stressed about the bathing experience.

The efficacy of these infusions is the subject of much debate, and despite anecdotal reports saying owners notice a notable improvement in their dog’s mood while being bathed – it’s a hard thing to scientifically verify. We personally think that soothing shampoos with relaxing scent infusions do work to a certain extent, and they’re a welcome added bonus to an otherwise high-quality shampoo.

Just remember, these infusions aren’t some kind of magic potion straight out of Harry Potter, they’re not going to make your pooch instantly chill or enjoy bathing sessions – but they should help at least a little bit.

Whitening Shampoos

The final kind of shampoo that’s popular with Maltese owners is whitening shampoos.

Whitening shampoos have got a bit of a bad reputation due to the harsh chemicals that were used historically in dog whitening shampoos – however, these days things have changed. It’s possible to find gentle whitening shampoos on the market that contain no peroxide (bleach) or other hash nasty things – they’re much gentler and more wholesome. They use optical whiteners and other natural tips, tricks, and techniques to make your pooch sparkle and shine like a puppy.

However, once again, it’s important to trust the brand that you’re purchasing this stuff from – some lower quality less reputable companies still use harsh chemicals in their formulas which can harm your pooch.

We’ve recommended one whitening shampoo later in this article. We’re sure that there are a few others out there that are worthy of your consideration, but this is the only one we came across that we’re comfortable staking our reputation on by suggesting.

4 Tips On Maintaining The Perfect Maltese Coat

So now we know about the kinds of skin and coat issues that need to be addressed with a good Maltese shampoo. In this section, we are going to share a few grooming tips with you that can be used to make grooming easier for both you and your pooch.

Groom Daily

It’s super important that you groom your Maltese daily.

This seems unnecessary to some people, but it’s actually a time saver. By keeping on top of the grooming you’re transforming a large job once every 2 or 3 days into a quick 5 minute daily “top up”. It’s much easier to fit around your other daily responsibilities, and you’re much less likely to put it off until “tomorrow” if it’s only a quick 5-minute job.

Inspect For Skin Issues

When you’re doing your daily grooming as recommended in the tip above, you should also be inspecting your Maltese’s skin for any issues that might be starting to rear their head. By looking around for dry, red, damaged, or flaky skin on a daily basis you’re ensuring that you’re going to catch any issues when they first appear.

Noticing skin issues before they become a bigger problem is a huge benefit for your pooch, as you’re going to be able to treat them much more effectively (and quickly). When you notice issues you should look around for allergens or any other things that could be causing skin issues, and you should consider changing up their food and shampoo too.

If these changes don’t produce a change in the skin condition, book an appointment with the vet to get it professionally inspected – things that seem like normal skin issues that don’t clear up on their own can be signs of something a little more serious that requires medical attention.

Groom From A Young Age

As you already know, grooming is going to be a huge part of your life from the very first day you bring a Maltese into your home. Every day you’re going to be breaking out the brush and grooming your pooch from head to toe. Obviously, this process is going to be much more difficult if your dog doesn’t enjoy the experience.

Getting your pooch used to being groomed should be done while they are a puppy. Within the first few days of getting your pup home for the first time, you should be breaking out the brush and giving them daily grooming sessions. Reward your pooch with treats when they stay still during the first few sessions, then when that’s easy enough – reward them when they let you touch their feet and legs.

Sometimes for excitable pups, the brush itself can be a little bit of a distraction, if this happens you should “groom” your pooch with your hand instead of the brush. When they are happy enough with this, bring the brush back gradually.

Invest In High-Quality Grooming Equipment

This is something that we don’t recommend for every breed. Usually, we like to suggest people pick mid-range grooming products that give you decent quality for a reasonable price. However, for the Maltese, we suggest you splash the cash a little more than you perhaps otherwise would and get premium grooming equipment. You’re going to be using your grooming kit every day for the rest of your dog’s life, it’s something you and your pooch are going to be getting up close and personal with regularly.

Premium grooming equipment has huge benefits over “decent” equipment. They’re easier to clean, they’re more comfortable in your hand, they get the job done quicker, and most importantly – they feel better for your pooch too.

Overall Best Shampoo for Maltese

Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner

It’s time for us to stop talking in generalities about the breed and get stuck into our Maltese shampoo review section.

For this part of the article, we have compared and contrasted countless products to see which ones are suitable for the needs of the Maltese. We found quite a large number of shampoos that we are comfortable recommending, and we will mention some of them later on in the article. However, we had to choose an overall winner, and we think that the best Maltese shampoo on the market in 2024 is the Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner by Buddy Wash.

This is an awesome product from an awesome brand, Buddy Wash has an almost unbeatable reputation in the canine shampoo world – and when you purchase one of their products you’re getting premium quality without the premium price tag.

This all-natural shampoo is one of the best of all of their offerings. It’s a completely organic shampoo that uses coconut extracts for the sanitizing power it provides (as it’s a soap-free and alcohol-free formula). It’s a product that’s going to leave your pooch smelling better than you ever thought possible, and the thick lather it generates is very impressive considering the lack of soap (which is usually an issue).

The conditioner in this product is also excellent. It uses a range of natural extracts like chamomile, sage, and rosemary to nourish and enhance each and every individual hair on your dog’s body. They’ll come out of the bath looking better than ever, and they’ll have an unmistakably glossy sheen to them that makes them look picture perfect.

The conditioner also contains a nice healthy dose of aloe vera in the formula to care and protect for your dog’s skin. You probably already know about the skin healing properties of aloe vera, it’s one of nature’s best skin care compounds – and it works just as well on dogs as it does humans. Any redness or irritation that your pooch might be experiencing will be soothed and aided by this infusion – and for a breed with skin as sensitive as the Maltese, this is a huge plus point.

The final thing we liked about this product is the aromatherapy infusions of lavender and mint that give the shampoo its name. These are two of the most popular scents for aromatherapy in the world (for humans and dogs) and they’ll calm and soothe your dog’s nerves a little while they’re in the tub. As we mentioned earlier, this isn’t a magic bullet that’s going to make your pooch enjoy being in the tub, but we’d be surprised if you didn’t notice at least a slight improvement in their mood.

The best thing about this product, however, is the price. At around $7 for a 16oz bottle, it’s one of the best value products on the market right now.

A great product, from a reputable brand, that’s priced much cheaper than it should be.

What’s not to like?

4-Legger Hypo-Allergenic, Lemongrass & Aloe Dog Shampoo

Runner Up – There was a second product that we really liked the look of that we came across during our research, the Hypo-Allergenic, Lemongrass & Aloe Dog Shampoo by 4-Legger. This product was very nearly our overall recommendation instead of the Buddy Wash product above, so it’s more than worthy of your consideration.

This is a super gentle shampoo that’s free from any kind of artificial compounds or chemicals. The soap and alcohol-free formula uses lemongrass as its main sanitizer and deodorizer, which is one of the most effective (and expensive) ingredients used in canine shampoos. Lemongrass is antibacterial and antifungal, and it also protects against ticks and fleas slightly (and it’s fully compatible with most topically applied dedicated pest control treatments).

We love the conditioner in this product, the wide range of natural infusions and essential oils have been hand-picked to work in perfect harmony with one another. Your pooch is going to look better for longer after every single strand of its hair is nourished and protected by the thick lather that this stuff generates. Again, there’s a huge dose of aloe vera in the formula that will nourish and protect your dog’s skin while promoting recovery from existing issues at the same time.

This is a super concentrated formula that lasts a lot longer than most other products on the market, you need to use less product per bathing session which makes it more economical than it otherwise would be too. This is useful because it’s not a cheap product.

At around $15 for a 16oz bottle (the same size as our overall pick above) it’s not exactly cheap and it’s a premium product with a premium price tag. If you’ve got the budget for this stuff, then we recommend you try it instead of the Buddy Wash product above. It’s arguably a better shampoo, and you’ll understand where every single cent of your additional investment has gone.

Nature’s Miracle Odor Control Natural Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner

Best Maltese Puppy Shampoo – We quickly wanted to mention a great shampoo we came across that is perfect for the delicate skin of a puppy Maltese. The Supreme Odor Control Natural Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner By Nature’s Miracle does everything you need a good shampoo for a Maltese to do – without breaking the bank.

The cleaning and cleansing power of this product is second to none (considering how gentle it is) and it’ll keep your pup fresher for longer. The conditioner is equally as impressive, and while it’s not as effective as adult formula conditioners – it’s much gentler.

The thing we really like about this stuff is the tearless nature of the formula. It’s one of the gentlest products on the market, and it’s not going to cause your pooch pain – regardless of how much product accidentally gets into their eyes.

3 More Top Rated Dog Shampoos For A Maltese

To finish this article off we’re going to talk very briefly about 3 other shampoos that we came across during our research that are well suited to specific issues that the Maltese can suffer with.

Veterinary Formula Solutions Snow White Whitening Shampoo for Dogs

This is an excellent shampoo that is best used on older dogs that might have started to lose some of the brilliance in their white coats. As dogs get a little bit older, their white fur can start to yellow slightly, when that happens – a little “rejuvenation” from a whitening shampoo like this can help.

It uses natural compounds and non-harmful optical enhancers to whiten your dog’s coat, leaving them looking better than ever. There’s no bleach or other harmful stuff here, and it’ll give your pooch a good clean and conditioning at the same time too.

Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Dog & Cat Shampoo

This is a product you should be considering if your pooch has a serious skin issue that needs something a little more powerful to deal with. It’s a chemical product that uses compounds that are much stronger than any natural shampoo can provide.

It’s been designed from the ground up to treat and soothe dry, red, irritated skin. It’s one of the most powerful non-prescription products on the market, and if this doesn’t solve your dog’s skin issues – you need to book an appointment with the vet.

Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog & Cat Shampoo By Earthbath

The final product we want to recommend is a general all-rounder. It’s an all-natural product from a highly reputable brand.

The cleansing and deodorizing power of this shampoo are exceptional (and it’s the main reason we’re recommending it here). Oatmeal is almost as good as lemongrass in terms of odor reduction, and if you’ve got a pooch that’s a little on the stinky side – this is a product that’s more than worthy of your consideration.

4 Tips On Bathing Your Maltese

So as we approach the end of this article we now know about the kinds of skin and coat issues the Maltese suffers from, and we know about a few of the best shampoos on the market that are suitable for the breed. In this section, we are going to share with you a few bathing tips that will make bath time easier and less stressful for you and your pooch.

Brush Before Bathing

Brushing your Maltese before bathing is an essential piece of grooming advice that is more of a rule than a “tip”.

People think that brushing your pooch before putting them in the tub is a waste of time, or at the very least – slows things down. However, that’s not true.

When you get tangled or matted hair wet it becomes much more difficult to remove by brushing, and as such, you’re going to spend more time grooming your pooch after the bath than you would if you simply brushed them before bathing.

However, the main reason we suggest grooming before bathing is due to the huge amount of water that matted hair can hold. When your dog’s hair is all bunched together in a tangled mess it kind of acts like a huge sponge – absorbing and retaining water even after towel drying.

Because these wet bundles of hair are close to your dog’s body, they get quite warm – which makes them the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria that cause your pooch to stink. As a result, your pooch will get smellier faster than they otherwise would, which is obviously less than ideal.

Get rid of the tangling and matting before getting your pooch wet and you avoid these issues entirely, it’s a no brainer in terms of odor control and grooming time.

Rinse Well

The delicate skin of the Maltese needs to be looked after properly to avoid redness and skin issues from rearing their head. One of the most common ways that owners accidentally harm the skin of their pooch is by not properly rinsing them after bathing.

Even the most gentle and natural shampoos on the market will cause harm to your pooch if they remain on their body after the bathing session is over. The compounds in the formula are designed to be removed entirely after application, and they can dry out or otherwise irritate the already delicate skin of your pooch with ease.

When you’re rinsing your pooch ensure you do the entire process deliberately. By this, we mean that you should go from top to bottom over the entire length of your dog’s body thoroughly. Once you’ve done this first rinsing session, go over them again with a lighter rinse to ensure any soap you missed the first time is removed – leaving you with a happy pooch with healthy skin.

Bathe Them In The Sink

Because of the small size of the Maltese breed, it’s often a better idea to bathe them in the sink instead of the bathtub. The experience of being in a huge enclosed tub for a dog the size of the Maltese is a stressful experience, it’s essentially a big prison that they know they cannot escape from without your help – and it’s filling up with water.

As you can imagine, this is an unnatural and stressful experience that is best avoided if possible. By bathing your pooch in the sink you remove this stress entirely – it’s much more suited to their size and as such it feels less claustrophobic for them.

As an added bonus, it’s easier for you too as you don’t have to crouch down and bend over the tub!

Remember, you should only do this if your sink is large enough to comfortably fit your pooch in, and the kitchen sink is usually the only one in your home that’s going to be suitable for this kind of job.

Remember: Never bathe your dog in a sink that has curved sides (like most bathroom sinks). They are difficult for your pooch to stand on and accidents can easily happen.

Run The Bath Ahead Of Time

We’ve already talked about the nerves of the Maltese breed around bath time, so anything you can do to reduce the amount of stress they feel is going to be a welcome addition to your bathing routine. One of the easiest things you can do to make things a little less stressful for your pooch is to run the bath before you call them in.

Waiting around for the bathing session to start is often more stressful for your pooch than the actual experience of being bathed itself. The sound of the loud running water and the scent of the shampoo will bring back memories of previous bathing sessions – and your pooch knows what’s coming next.

By running the bath ahead of time and getting everything ready you are eliminating all this stress from your dog’s life. Call them in when the bath has been run, and then immediately pick them up, put them in the tub (or preferably the sink), and get on with the job.

FAQ Regarding Bathing a Maltese

In this final section of the article, we’re going to be answering some of the most frequently asked Maltese bathing questions that we receive from our readers on a regular basis.

How Often Should I Bathe A Maltese?

The Maltese is a breed that benefits from reasonably regular bathing. Their white coat can easily get dingy and dirty, and they are a reasonably stinky breed considering the small stature of the dog.

You should ideally bathe your pooch around once every 7 to 14 days. Never bathe them more frequently than this because you’ll strip their skin of the essential oils it requires to keep itself in tip-top condition.

Additionally, you should get a natural shampoo if possible (or at the very least, one that’s gentle on the skin). Always read the label on any product you purchase to ensure that it’s suitable for the regular bathing routine the Maltese needs.

Can I Use A Hairdryer On My Maltese?

Yes, you can, but you have to be super careful.

The sensitive skin of the Maltese is more delicate than the skin on most breeds, and as such, it can burn very easily. You should never use a human hairdryer on a dog of any breed, and if you want to ensure your Maltese is 100% dry after bathing, you’re going to need to invest in a dedicated doggy hairdryer.

If you’ve got delicate household furniture that can’t deal with a very slightly damp pooch then investing in a doggy drier might be a good idea. However, to be totally honest, the thin coat of the Maltese combined with the small size of the breed means that you can get them more than dry enough for most people’s needs without resorting to a hairdryer.

Remember: Dogs often react to hairdryers the same way that they react to vacuum cleaners. If you’ve got an excitable Maltese, it might be more hassle than it’s worth.


So there you have it, that’s all there is to know about bathing and grooming the adorable Maltese.

If you follow the hints and tips we’ve given in this article and combine them with any of the products we’ve mentioned here today – then we’re certain that you and your pooch are going to have better bathing sessions than you ever thought possible.

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