male in shower washing hair

This Has to Be the Most Unusual Use for Blue Dawn

There are days when I open my mailbox and have to sit down because I’m laughing so hard. Some things just strike me funny. Turns out this time, though, the last laugh was on me.

I am a cheapskate. I read your column for hot tips, particularly about Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Recently I have begun to use Dawn for a hair shampoo. My wife is aghast. She says my hair is going to turn blue and I will smell. She claims that shampoos have an acid base balance that ensures shiny luxurious hair. Do you have an opinion? How about using it for body wash, as well? Bill

male in shower washing hair

Dear Bill: l have to admit that I was a bit aghast myself as I read your letter. And I came this close to firing off a response siding with your wife. But I stopped short by sending myself on a research expedition so I could tell you exactly why you should listen to her and never ever shampoo or shower with Blue Dawn.

Boy, was I in for a shock. Not only could I not find credible reasons to not use Blue Dawn for personal care, I discovered a cult-like following of people out there who swear by the stuff not only for hair care and body wash but as a very effective acne treatment, too.

I found the list of ingredients for Procter & Gamble original Blue Dawn and compared it to the most expensive men’s shampoo I could find—Kérastase Capital Force. While not exactly the same (for starters, Blue Dawn has far fewer ingredients) and with full disclosure that I am not a chemist—let me tell you that I was stunned by the similarities. From sodium laureth sulfate to methylisothiazolinone, Blue Dawn and Kérastase Capital Force have what I found to be remarkable similarities.

I decided to take this research a bit farther—right into the shower. And not to clean the floors and walls. I shampooed, body-washed, and gave myself a complete Ultra Blue Dawn personal spa treatment using the super-concentrated “Ultra” version I had on hand.

I purposely didn’t follow with hair conditioner because I wanted to experience the best (or worst?) case outcome. I can’t remember the last time I and my hair emerged so squeaky clean. Of course, I assumed I just removed every last bit of moisture from myself, which I was willing to endure in the interest of product testing.

I styled my hair, as usual, using my regular routine and styling products. I waited a few days to declare the outcome. My hair was fantastic and so shiny—read it again: Shiny and, dare I say, luxuriously so. And super clean. My guess is the folks at P&G just might know something about what your wife refers to as acid-base balancing.

As for using Blue Dawn as a body wash, it was great. I felt so clean! I didn’t notice any difference at all from other body washes, other than it required a lot of rinsing, quite possibly due to the high concentration in the “Ultra” version of Blue Dawn.

I’ve done more reading and poking around and have now come to these conclusions:

  • Blue Dawn can restore hair in a number of ways because of its intense cleaning properties (remember the ducks and wildlife from oil spills)— oil, product build-up, and other grimy liquids and dirt that regular shampoo isn’t strong enough to clean.
  • Blue Dawn may lighten your hair if you accidentally color too dark.
  • Blue Dawn will deep clean your skin with no apparent adverse effect that I can detect so far, even to my super sensitive skin.

I’ve begun diluting Ultra Blue Dawn with as much as three, even four parts water and it still works well.

As for your hair turning blue or you smelling, I don’t think I would be concerned about either unless you decide to not rinse, which I do not recommend. In fact, I suggest that you rinse, rinse, rinse again, and repeat.

First published: 1-9-18; Updated with current info: 9-27-20

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  1. Alba says:

    So many questions here – I went to the official website for the product, and there is a world of information there ~ even videos & cleaning tips. But one thing I could not find is whether Blue Dawn dish soap os safe for septic systems. The product is used to wash wildlife that have been covered with policing oil spills so I would think it would be safe for septic systems, but there is such a delicate balance in a septic system to keep it functioning and breaking down materials naturally. Anyone out there in the septic business who could help shed some light on this topic???

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Some of the things you cannot use when you have a septic system include anything with bleach, antibacterial agents, antimicrobial agents, and phosphates. So, the answer to the question about Dawn is YES, it is safe for septic systems because it does not contain any of these things.

  2. Sheila Strehlo says:

    I have used blue Dawn on my hair and body for years after coming in from the woods around our home during the summer time. There is poison ivy in our area. A Dr. told me several years ago to wash the clothes immediately and take a shower using Blue Dawn from head to toe. I have not had any problem with poison ivy if I follow his advice. On another note: when my soap dispenser at the kitchen sink failed, the plumbing company told me to use blue Dawn in it. The soaps sold for hand soap through a soap dispenser at a sink has fine grains of particles in it. He told me the dispenser will last for years using blue Dawn.

  3. KAT says:

    I haven’t try it yet, but I wonder if it works good washing cars. The old Spic and Span cleaner did a marvelous job but I wondered if the finish of the car was destroyed in any way. I do not think that blue dawn would damaged the finish. It probably would enhanced it.

  4. peggy says:

    we shall watch p & G raise the price of dawn by multiples. i seen this happen b4. i used to buy a cleaning solution, 66 in the dollar store. it now cost $19.99/each since discovery. if ya like dawn, stock up now.

  5. Barbara says:

    After reading about using Dawn as shampoo in this site previously, I tried it and broke out with a mild case of hives. At a different time my five year old grandson poured some Dawn that was on the side of the tub into his bath water, and he also broke out with hives.

  6. Darlene says:

    Someone told me they use blue Dawn for eczema in their hair as a shampoo. The resulting studs rolled down their arms and found out that it helped their psoriasis. I told my husband and he started using it all over including his hair and the psoriasis got better. Who would’ve thought.

  7. Janice says:

    Hi Sheila, that is great it works for poison ivy. I will have to do that too! I live in the woods and for 20 years I was miserable all summer from poison ivy. Then a senior citizen told me about jewelweed. It grows near poison and the juices in the stem stop poison in its tracts. I make my own spray with it and spray myself with it. I have not had poison since I discovered jewelweed. Summer is wonderful again! You can buy already made on Etsy or google to find how to make. All I do is gently boil a chopped bunch in water. After 20 minutes I run through a sieve and then I am done. I freeze it so I have it ready for early spring before jewelweed grows wildly.

  8. Jenn says:

    Bought 1 bottle of the foaming Dawn for degreasing pots and pans, never bought another one since finding Dawn ultra. : quarter cup ultra dawn with water up to the white base of the foaming bottle.Works like magic. Thank you makers of Dawn, job well done.

  9. nina says:

    What is grwatvlinger ?
    I have used blue dawn in my liquid soap dispensers for a few years now. Also I pour a drop or two on stains, enough to saturate the stain and let it set before washing. Works well.

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