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Alternative uses for Dawn dishwashing liquid

By on June 12, 2011

Frugal consumers are big fans of multipurpose products. Baking soda and vinegar top the list of thrifty household staples. I’ve shared tips for many other versatile products, such as baby oil, witch hazel, cornstarch, Borax, dryer sheets, and Fels-naptha, to name a few. Sometimes specific brands have more flexibility to perform a variety of tasks. One example is original blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Its grease-cutting properties make it useful for more than just dishes.
Here are a few ways to use it around your home.



Clean windows inside and outside with this recipe.

2 cups rubbing alcohol (70 percent isopropyl)
1/2 cup ammonia
1 teaspoon Dawn dishwashing liquid
Top off with water until you have 1 gallon of window cleaner
Mix and pour into your bottles.

Use a scrubber and squeegee if windows are really dirty.


This is great for small bumps or bruises. You’ll need two zip-enclosure freezer bags and some Dawn dishwashing liquid. Partially fill one bag, seal it, and encase it in a second freezer bag. Place it in the freezer. Wrap it with a cloth before applying it to the skin. It’s more pliable than a hard ice pack and can conform into whatever position you need it. It’s reusable, too.


Apply full strength on grease stains on clothing. Then launder as usual. One reader, Polly from Pennsylvania, adds: “I make my own laundry pretreater that gets grease out every time. In a clear spray bottle, add some Dawn dishwashing liquid. Then fill the rest of the way up with water, leaving a bit of room to shake the bottle for proper mixing. Spray on stains. This stuff is great and gets out food stains, too!”


In a spray bottle, mix Dawn dishwashing liquid and vinegar. Spray your tub, sink, vanity counter, tub/shower surround or bath tiles to remove any build-up. Rinse off. For more stubborn soap scum, use Dawn dishwashing liquid full strength and a 3M green Scotchbrite pad to scrub. Add a couple of squirts in a tub of warm water to soak and scrub clean your shower curtain liner, too.


Combine 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup baking soda, two teaspoons Dawn dishwashing liquid. Wet your pet’s fur and lather the mixture like shampoo. Leave the mixture on for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse. Another reader, Moor, from Ohio, shares: “When I bathe my dogs, I alternate between regular Dawn dishwashing liquid and their regular pet shampoo. I let the Dawn set for 5 minutes, just like I would a flea shampoo. I have been doing this for years and never have any problems with fleas!”


According to, Dawn dishwashing liquid makes great homemade bubbles for kids. You simply use Dawn, glycerin or Karo syrup and water. Visit for the recipes.


Use a microfiber cloth and warm water or Dawn dish washing liquid mixed with warm water on a sponge or dishcloth. Rinse the cloth with water, wring it out, and wipe the counters. Then dry with a soft cotton/flannel cloth. Don’t use excessive soap, or you’ll get buildup. Wipe up spills as soon as possible, too. Use your recommended granite cleaner and alternate for occasional cleaning to keep the cost down.


The bottles can be reused, too. Visit for creative ways to reuse them.

photo by Ali Smiles


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  2. Cheryl Lane

    6/27/2011 at 9:08 pm

    One of the uses I have found for liquid dishwashing detergent is to kill flies and gnats. Just use about 3 parts water and 1 part detergent and spray away.

    • Lynda

      7/12/2015 at 2:09 pm

      I use Dawn liquid full strength on fire ant bites and wasp stings. It takes the pain away and prevents the fester of an ant bite. We have lots of fire ants in SE Texas.

      • Dave

        7/4/2016 at 11:19 pm

        Yep, tried this tonight bc it works great on poison ivy if you get it off right away. Worked great on the ant bites!

  3. Jacqui

    4/13/2012 at 5:20 pm

    I had a case of poison ivy that defied my doctor, shots and prescription meds for 4 weeks. The pharmacist told me to scrub with Dawn with bleach in the shower instead of soap. Poison ivy gone in 4 days!!!! He said that the bleach killed it and the Dawn got rid of the poison oil. Worked for me!!

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