There’s a little something likely sitting near your sink that is basically a life hack in a bottle. We’re talking about the cleaning wunderkind known as Dawn. Did you know that there are more uses for Dawn dish soap than just washing dishes? Seriously, this seemingly simple solution is a powerhouse.
We have you covered with tips on how to use it in the bathroom, laundry, kitchen, outdoors, and more. Before we share all of the tips, it’s important to note that not all Dawn dish soap uses are created equal. In fact, there are some that don’t get the approval of the medical community. These uses are a bit controversial and, while very popular online, should be used with caution (or not at all). We’ll get to what’s safe and what’s not in just a minute.
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What’s so special about Dawn dish soap?
Dawn dish soap is a customer favorite because of how well it works on so many things. The formula is more concentrated than some other brands, resulting in less scrubbing while using less dish soap. Moreover, Dawn is an excellent cleaner for all sorts of stuff, not just dishes. As you’ll see in our list below, there are dozens of ways the liquid cleaner can remove grease, grime, and dirt.
The brand also commits to sustainability and helping wildlife with their Dawn for Good initiative. They hope to aid in a 25% reduction in at-home water use, increase their use of post-consumer recycled content in their bottles, and continue to protect wildlife including aquatic birds and animals.
What is the main ingredient of Dawn dish soap?
Dawn’s main ingredient is water. But its cleaning power likely comes from its blend of surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, among others. Surfactants are chemical compounds known to decrease the friction between a liquid and a gas, solid, or other liquid. This is what makes scrubbing grease and caked-on food so easy to remove with Dawn dish soap.
Is Dawn dish soap safe for dogs?
The short answer is no — Dawn dish soap isn’t safe for dogs.
Veterinarians don’t recommend using the soap on pets because it can irritate and dry out their skin, ears, and eyes. Since Dawn dishwashing liquid isn’t labeled for canines or felines, let the professional dog shampooers handle your fur baby.
And, while we’re posting disclaimers, avoid using Dawn soap on your face as a daily wash for the same reasons as with your pets.
Does Dawn dish soap kill fleas?
As a temporary solution, Dawn dish soap for fleas can be effective to manage the pests, but it doesn’t prevent them. According to PetMD.com, when soaps like Dawn interact with the fleas’ external skeleton, it creates a surface tension that drowns and kills the flea.
24 Surprising Uses For Dawn Dish Soap:
1. Use Dawn Dish Soap in toilets that need unclogging.
Plungers are so yesterday. I’m sure you never thought you could unclog a toilet with dish soap, but you can! Just pour a cup of Dawn dish soap into the toilet bowl and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. From waist-high, pour a bucket of hot water into the bowl. Dish soap in the toilet = easy and cheap unclogging!
Now go tell your friends how to unclog a toilet with dish soap.
2. Pretreat grease stains on clothing with Dawn soap.
Get the stain out of your favorite shirt or pants by adding a dot of soap to the spot. This tip is one of the most common Dawn dish soap uses. Allow the soap to sit for 5 – 10 minutes. Scrub the spot with a bit of water, then throw it in the wash. The grease stain will be gone.
3. Defog and clean eyeglass lenses with Dawn soap.
Rub a drop of Dawn dishwashing liquid onto your eyeglass lenses. When wiped clean, it will leave behind a thin layer of film that’ll prevent your glasses from fogging up. This tip is especially useful if you’re wearing a mask (or even swim goggles).
4. Use Dawn to make your own laundry detergent.
Adding Dawn to laundry as a spot remover is cool, but what about making your own laundry detergent? Here’s what you need:
That’s it. Mix the ingredients together in a large container for squeaky-clean laundry.
Not into making DIY detergent? Shop smarter with these detergent coupons and deals:
5. Make your own hard water spot remover with lemon juice, Dawn soap, and white vinegar.
Use this cheap DIY hard water remover solution to remove hard water stains from glass and in your toilet. In a 24-ounce spray bottle, add 1-1/4 cup of water, 1 cup of vinegar, 1/4 cup of Dawn dishwashing liquid, and 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Shake it up, aim, and start cleaning.
6. Freeze Dawn dish soap to make an ice pack.
If you need a quick DIY ice pack, simply fill a gallon or quart freezer Ziploc or Hefty bag with Dawn soap, then freeze it. The soap won’t freeze solid but instead creates a gel. You can re-freeze the gel pack numerous times.
7. Deep clean your broom by soaking it in a bucket of warm water and Dawn dish soap.
Brooms are a magnet for dust and germs, so it’s a good idea to periodically deep clean them. Add a few drops of Dawn dish soap in a bucket of warm water, and soak your broom for an hour. Rinse and let it dry completely before storing it away. Don’t forget to clean the dustpan, too! Spray it with disinfectant or use a bleach wipe.
8. Use peroxide, Dawn dish soap, and baking soda to make a glass stove top sparkle.
To clean your glass stove top with minimal scrubbing, pour a layer of Dawn dish soap onto the surface. Then, sprinkle on some baking soda. With the baking soda covering the surface, squirt on some hydrogen peroxide.
Allow the ingredients to sit for 10 minutes. Using a plastic scrub brush or sponge, scrub the stove gently. You’ll begin to see the grime lift and the glass sparkle. Wipe away the mixture with a damp cloth.
For stubborn stains, check out these easy ways to clean your glass stove top that actually work.
9. Use Dawn dish soap to remove dirt and dust from your earbuds.
This gentle cleaning application will disinfect your earbuds without damaging them. First, scrub your earbuds with a dry toothbrush to remove dirt and dust from the crevices. Then use a diluted mixture of soap and warm water applied to a soft cloth or Q-tip to clean the outside of them.
10. Remove oil stains from concrete with Dawn.
With a little elbow grease and a couple of items, your driveway could be stain free again. Grab a scrub brush or scrub broom, Dawn dishwashing liquid, and a bucket of hot water. Depending on the size of the oil spill, you could absorb some of it with kitty litter first and sweep it up before cleaning the area. Next, dip your scrubber in the hot, soapy water and clean the area until no visible oil is present.
11. Remove grime from outdoor furniture with Dawn.
One of the most common Dawn dish soap uses is on outdoor furniture. Thanks to its grime and grease-cutting ability, it can break down and remove dirt very well. To make your patio furniture sparkle again, just add 1/4 cup of Dawn soap to a gallon bucket of warm water until foamy. Use a towel or sponge to wash down the furniture with soapy water. Rinse with clean water and let air dry.
12. Use Dawn soap to gently clean platinum, silver, white gold, and gold jewelry.
The easiest way to clean most types of metal jewelry is with a few drops of Dawn dish soap and warm water. Soak your jewelry for 20 – 40 minutes, and use a soft toothbrush to scrub it clean. Rinse and dry.
Related: For a more in-depth look at jewelry cleaning, check out our guide for how to clean rings.
13. Clean carpet stains with Dawn dish soap, white vinegar, and water.
We’ve all had to deal with stains on our carpet, so here’s an easy way to clean them with Dawn detergent. Pour 1/4 cup of white vinegar and one tablespoon of Dawn dish soap into a spray bottle. Fill the bottle the remainder of the way with water. Spray the carpet liberally and let soak for 5 – 10 minutes. Blot with a clean, dry towel until the stain is removed.
14. Use Dawn and warm water to help remove grease from kitchen cabinets.
Grease in the kitchen is a natural occurrence, but it’s still gross and should be cleaned more often than not. Add a few drops of Dawn soap to a container of warm water and scrub those greasy areas using a sponge. Use a non-soapy sponge to rinse the area completely. For stubborn stains, you may need to apply the soap directly to the sponge.
15. Clean a greasy range hood filter with Dawn soap.
The grease filter’s entire job is to collect grease, so it’s no wonder it gets disgusting. Twice a year you should remove the filter screen and soak it in boiling, soapy water with Dawn soap and baking soda. Let it soak for about 30 minutes, then scrub it with a dish brush. Rinse, let dry, and then reattach.
16. Clean the inside of a reusable straw with a pipe cleaner and Dawn dish soap.
Do you have a reusable water or smoothie straw that you can’t quite get clean? Pour Dawn soap directly onto a pipe cleaner and push it through a grimy straw. Rinse thoroughly. If your straw is wide, use two pipe cleaners twisted together.
17. Trap fruit flies and gnats with red wine vinegar and Dawn soap.
Just when you thought there weren’t enough uses for Dawn and vinegar, this combination can be used to get rid of annoying fruit flies and gnats around your house.
Combine two tablespoons of red wine vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid in a small glass. Stir gently to prevent bubbles. Cover with plastic wrap. With a skewer, poke a few holes in the plastic wrap. The flies get in but can’t get out. And the soap helps to make sure they break through the surface of the liquid.
18. Combine Dawn dish soap, warm water, and baking soda in a soap-dispensing sponge to clean your bathtub.
Cleaning with Dawn detergent doesn’t have to be limited to a toilet or greasy kitchen cabinet. Fill a soap-dispensing sponge with dish soap, warm water, and baking soda. Make sure to add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (peppermint is the best!). Scour your wet bathtub and fill your bathroom with the scent of essential oils at the same time.
19. Eliminate mattress stains with Dawn liquid, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda.
You know about using dish soap for laundry, but there are even Dawn dish soap uses for freshening your mattress. Using the hose attachment on your vacuum, suck up any loose debris. Then mix together eight ounces of hydrogen peroxide, three tablespoons baking soda, and a drop of Dawn dish soap in a spray bottle (you’ll need to use this mixture immediately!).
Spray your mattress completely, then let sit. Once it’s completely dry, vacuum again. Periodically sprinkle with baking soda, then vacuum to keep your mattress smelling fresh.
20. Make your own all-natural Dawn weed killer.
For a very potent (but all-natural) solution, combine pure white vinegar, salt, and Dawn soap. Funnel the mixture into a spray bottle. For best results, treat weeds with the mixture at the sunniest time of day.
Here’s the weed-killing recipe:
- 1 gallon pure white vinegar
- 1 cup salt
- 1 Tablespoon Dawn dish soap
- 10 – 15 drops orange essential oil (optional)
If you only have time to spray your weeds on a cloudy day, add 10 to 15 drops of orange essential oil. The orange and vinegar combination will give the solution an added punch. Think of it as the weed-killing boost you’d normally get from the sunlight.
21. Kill aphids, ants, and bugs on plants with Dawn dish soap.
Among the unusual yet effective Dawn dish soap uses is its ability to protect your plants and shoo away the bugs. Mix one tablespoon of Dawn and four cups of water in a spray bottle. You’ll want to very lightly spray the solution on your plants’ leaves infested with pests.
Similarly, you can also use Dawn dish soap and vinegar natural pesticide for getting rid of ants. Killing fire ants with Dawn dish soap also works. You’ll just need a few items:
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of distilled vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons of Dawn dishwashing liquid
- 3 Tablespoons of salt
- Spray bottle
Combine ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. Spray liberally where the ants are crawling, then wipe the area with a paper towel after movement has ceased.
22. Keep your kids entertained with homemade slime made from Dawn.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make slime with Dawn dish soap, we have good news: you probably already have all of the ingredients to make it!
- 1⁄2 cup craft glue
- 1 Tablespoon Dawn
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons water
- 1 cup baking soda (add in 1/4 cup increments)
- Gel or liquid food coloring (optional)
- Glitter (optional)
- Measuring cups/spoons
- Large spoon
- Mixing bowl or disposable plastic container
In a large, clean container combine the glue, Dawn soap, and water until it starts to become foamy. Stir in any optional food coloring or glitter. Gradually add the baking soda until the slime is smooth and not sticky. Store the slime in an airtight container with a lid for up to five days.
23. Clean paint or makeup brushes with Dawn soap.
Dawn soap is an artist’s best-kept secret. Use it on paintbrushes covered in oil-based paint to clean them completely. Put the soap in the palm of your hand and swirl the brush around, rinsing it periodically. Repeat until the water runs clear through the brush.
If you’ve asked yourself how to clean makeup brushes with dish soap, the same method applies. To clean them, you can use a container or hold them in your hand. Just wet the brushes with warm water, add 1-2 drops of Dawn soap until sudsy, and rinse until clear. Let them air dry before use.
24. Use Dawn soap to find small air leaks in a tire.
File this step under resourceful Dawn dish soap hacks! Find a leak by adding a squirt of Dawn soap and water to a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the tire. Bubbles will form where you have a leak.