Proper storage and dispensing of grooming liquids

Groomers will often ask us for sound advice on dilution, storage, and dispensing of our products. Occasionally we’ll receive a call concerning possible skin reactions from our products. More often than not we find a direct correlation between one’s particular sanitation protocol and any skin reaction occurrences. It's important to acknowledge that bacteria are the enemy of shampoo and conditioners.

For example, folliculitis is a common skin infection you may have come across characterized by small clusters of itchy bumps. These are typically caused by bacteria that amass in contaminated shampoo bottles due to unsanitary storage, dilution, and dispensing practices. Pseudomonas is another bacterium that’s responsible for many canine skin and ear infections. These bacteria are easily transferred in water and damp environments.

So we’ve put together some detailed guidelines, facts, and tips to help maximize shelf-life, improve your results, and minimize unwanted surprises.


Please note that grooming liquids containing proteins, botanicals, and essential oils are more susceptible to heat and moisture.

1.     Always store grooming liquids in a climate controlled room (preferably below 80oF) because prolonged exposure to heat exhausts the preservatives within the mixture, leading to rapid spoilage.

2.     Freezing temperatures may also affect liquid performance. Upon receipt, examine your product packaging for damages or cracks that may leak and cause spoilage.

3.     Secure the lids tightly at all times to prevent humidity and air borne debris from contaminating contents.

4.     Keep unused/unopened product in its original container. Do not mingle or combine contents in bulk containers.


Water Quality and Dilution
Tap water does vary and can hinder bathing results. Well water can be acidic, hard, and even more challenging to work with. Call your water utility provider for a free quality assessment report or consider testing it yourself. Water testing strips are available online or at pool supply stores. It’s important to know what you’re working with.

1.     Adding water to a shampoo compromises its preservative balance and begins the countdown to spoilage.

2.     Water quality factors like pH, mineral content, and bacteria levels influence product performance. This explains why many competition groomers and handlers often use distilled water for consistency in results.

3.     Dilution rates are merely guidelines. It’s not uncommon for most Best Shot products to successfully stretch beyond what is recommended. In fact we encourage diluting to preference and experimenting with results.

4.     When diluting with water, only mix what is anticipated for each scheduled work session.

5.     Never pour diluted product back in with its original undiluted source.


Using Bathing Systems
Best Shot products are safe and effective to use in any bathing system device.

1.     Be certain all shampoo system maintenance and cleaning protocols are followed in accordance with the manufacturer’s specific guidelines.

2.     When using premix shampoo application systems such as Cosmos® or Prima®, only mix what is anticipated for each scheduled work session. Please understand how contents will go rank if not depleted from each system within a reasonable time period.

3.     When using Metered bathing systems like BatherBox® or BathMaster® which syphon liquid directly from the gallon jug, make certain all fittings are securely fastened and do not leak air or moisture inside. Open jugs with loose or compromised fittings are susceptible to contamination.

4.     Recirculating bathing pumps like the original Hydrosurge® Pump or Bathing Beauty® require ongoing sanitizing. Please clean and dry filters, nozzles, and hoses daily.

5.     Please make sure there is no cleaning chemical residue left behind in your bathing system that could risk contaminating a shampoo mixture or irritating a pet’s skin.


Using Mixing Bottles
Misuse of mixing bottles is common among grooming salons and often leads to cross contamination.

1.     Designate a dilution bottle for each specific liquid product used, preferably an empty one of the same item.

2.     Do not reuse empty bottles from another product to avoid cross contamination.

3.     Use hot water and dish detergent for cleaning. The sanitize cycle on a dishwasher is very effective.

4.     Do not use bleach, disinfectant, essential oils, or vinegar to clean reusable bottles.

5.     Do not reuse empty bottles that contained bleach, disinfectant, pesticides, essential oils, ammonia, and/or peroxides for mixing shampoo. These tainted bottles will contaminate grooming liquids and should be disposed.


Using Hand Pump Dispensers
Open pumps breathe, allowing air and condensation back into the container leading to unwanted spoilage.

1.     Make sure pumps are fully twisted shut or securely covered with a tied plastic bag when not in use.

2.     Designate one specific gallon pump for each product used to avoid mingling with other products and cross contamination.

3.     Write the product's brand name on each dispensing pump or mixing bottle to match its designated gallon jug.

4.     The best way to clean reusable dispensing pumps is to disassemble then run through a hot dishwasher cycle.

5.     Do not clean plastic pumps with essential oils. Oils act as solvents, which soften plastic, making it porous and susceptible to harboring bacteria.

6.     Please be sure each pump is fully dry before placing them back into a gallon of product.


Managing Inventory More Effectively
Best Shot guarantees its products within 45 days of purchase. Try writing both the item purchase date and the day it was opened directly on the container with a permanent marking pen to keep track.

1.     During extreme weather months it’s important to order from a supplier close in proximity. Shorter delivery times reduce the likelihood of both damages and premature spoilage to your product.

2.     It’s also best to place orders earlier in the week rather than later to avoid shampoo baking in a hot trailer during summer, or freezing in the winter over a long weekend.

3.     Hold on to receipts for proof of purchase. You can often return or exchange defective product within warranty.

4.     Since liquid grooming products are so susceptible to spoilage, try to avoid making larger bulk purchases beyond a 3 month supply. Turning your inventory more frequently reduces the likelihood of any spoilage occurrences.


A huge thank you to Best Shot Brands for all this great information! 

Best Shot products are Animal cruelty free, Made in the USA, and 100% Biodegradable.