In the wide world of couponing, rarely a day goes by when a retailer isn't trying to lure new customers through the doors by offering great deals on dish soap. So even if you planned to use your growing stockpile of dish soap solely for washing dishes, you can still expect coupons to save you a bundle on this necessary home expense annually. But what if you knew you could also use that same stockpile of dish soap to perform other tasks—tasks that are usually much more expensive to accomplish? Now, that would be a true moneymaking score! Learn what you never knew about dish soap—and how it can save you hard-earned cash.

1. Unclog your toilet

Oh yes. That nasty overflow can be tamed with the cheapest of powerhouses—hot water and dish soap. This solution is much better than a plunger (I can personally attest to this)—and it keeps your hands away from the bowl.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Turn off the water source to your toilet.
  2. Take off the toilet lid and be prepared to push down the stopper if the water level rises.
  3. Pour about 1 cup of dish soap directly into the toilet bowl and let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. In the meantime, heat up a gallon of water on the stove—remove it just before it boils.
  5. Pour the water directly into the toilet bowl.
  6. Let the soap and water mixture percolate for several minutes.
  7. Flush the toilet.
  8. Repeat as needed. (When I did this, it worked the very first time when nothing else had!)

Cost comparison:

  • Water + dish soap: $0.00 + $0.67 (14 oz Dawn from Google) = $0.67
  • Drano toilet declogger: $5.85 (11 oz from Soap.com)
  • Plunger: $7.76 (from Walmart)
  • Plumber visit: $100-$500 per visit

2. Kill weeds

As it turns out, weeds dislike dish soap—a lot. Even better, dish soap is a much safer alternative to toxic commercial pesticides, and it works just as well.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Get a bucket.
  2. Fill it with one gallon of vinegar (white), one cup of salt, and one teaspoon of dish soap.
  3. Take a measuring cup and use it to pour the solution directly onto areas where weeds are growing, as well as into cracks and crevices where weeds often sprout.

Cost comparison:

  • Dish soap + vinegar + salt: $0.67 (14 oz Dawn from Google) + $1.82 (64 oz from Walmart) + $1.49 (Morton 26 oz from Google) = $3.98
  • Ortho Weed B-Gone (32 oz from Amazon.com): $8.47

3. Say goodbye to ants…and wasps

Summer pests can quickly bite and sting their way through your picnic or pool day, ruining everyone's fun in the process. Dish soap to the rescue!

Here’s what to do:

  • For ants: Mix equal parts white vinegar with dish soap, then pour into a spray bottle and spritz over the ants' pathway (you can wave goodbye if you like).
  • For wasps: Mix equal parts dish soap and hot water, then spray directly onto the wasps' nest (be sure to stand back and wear protective clothing and goggles for any strays who may be returning to the nest while your eviction is in progress).

Cost comparison:

  • Dish soap + vinegar: $0.67 (14 oz Dawn from Google) + $1.82 (64 oz from Walmart) = $2.49
  • Dish soap + water: $0.67 (14 oz Dawn from Google)  + $0.00 = $0.67
  • Raid Wasp Killer (17.5 oz from Walmart): $4.47
  • Terro Liquid Ant Killer (1 oz from Amazon): $3.49

4. Find leaks

If your hoses, spigots, tires, or inflatables have begun to leak or deflate but you can't find the leak, dish soap can. (The secret is in the bubbles, which can't resist popping out of any open area).

Here’s what to do:

  • Mix one quart of water with a few drops of dish soap. Use a paint brush to brush the water/soap mixture across the surface of the leaking item. Look for the bubbles so you know where the leak is hiding out.

Cost comparison:

  • Dish soap + water: $0.67 (14 oz Dawn from Google)  + $0.00 = $0.67
  • Sherlock Commercial Gas & Air Leak Detector (8 oz from Tundra Restaurant Supply): $16.19

5. Remove paint from skin (or prevent it from sticking in the first place!)

Dish soap isn’t only good at removing spray or spreadable paint from skin, but it can even prevent the paint from adhering to skin at all.

Here’s what to do:

  • Prevention: Drip some dish soap into one hand, then rub over any bare skin—repeat with the opposite hand. The paint sticks to the dish soap rather than to your skin, so it will wash right off during cleanup.
  • Removal: If you have accidentally sprayed or spread latex or water-based paint on your bare skin, mix warm water with a drop or two of dish soap, then simply rub a soft cloth over the area as the paint comes off.

Cost comparison:

  • Dish soap + water: $0.67 (14 oz Dawn from Google)  + $0.00 = $0.67
  • Klean Strip turpentine: (1 QT from Walmart): $6.47