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. Penny Clabaugh says:

    Wow, is it possible that I get to include a use for Blue Dawn that you have not listed yet?
    I love mushroom hunting ever spring an I am allergic to poison ivy, so ever time I come out of the woods, I take a shower using Blue Dawn to get rid of any poison ivy off my skin. I only break out with poison ivy every 5 years now and I’ve found that happens when I wait too long to launder my clothes with blue dawn and I catch it from the clothes worn in the woods when I grab an arm load of clothes to take to the laundry room. I’m pretty sure it helps with the ticks that come home with me too.

  2. Tina J Kuesel says:

    As any wife of an auto mechanic will tell you, Dawn is a miracle worker! My husband regularly keeps a bottle of it in the shower for cutting through the grease, oil and grime. I love the stuff!

  3. Pat says:

    People with sensitive skin should avoid using Dawn (or any soap containing sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate) on their skin or scalp. It took me decades to realize that the sores on my skin and hands were from using Softsoap to wash up and washing dishes using Dawn without wearing gloves.

  4. Ginger says:

    The man I hired to wash the outside of the windows of my house, seemed to be skipping the rinsing step. He washed and squeezed. No rinsing, and the window were sparkling clean with no streak. I asked him what he was using. He said “Dawn. It has something special in it that other window washers don’t. I don’t need to rinse.”

  5. JD WOLFE says:

    some hair – mine – will ‘grab’ the base color of a shampoo or conditioner. i must be very careful what color shampoo i use on my hair. now that my hair is naturally white, i must use clear, blue, or purple shampoo and conditioner. if i used green or red or yellow, i’d wind up with hair with that ‘cast’ of color for a couple weeks. i prefer my natural white. that said, soap is soap. blue dawn has been my favorite since it came on the market. i use it for many things, including laundry detergent – mixed with borax, of course (see mary’s recipe). i haven’t seen a need for super concentrates or whatever. just the plain old original blue dawn. i buy it at the dollar tree.

  6. Cheri says:

    I have been using the blue Dawn for about two years for shampoo. It’s GREAT! I also will use it as a shower soap when I run out of my lavender soap. One time I had a rash on my chest that was taking forever to go away, used Dawn when I showered, and it was gone in two weeks. it’s amazing stuff!

  7. BILL SHERMAN says:

    I am the Bill of the above question to “
    I have two new uses for Blue Dawn. Who hasn’t prepared hot chili peppers and then touched their eye or nose. Burns. After pepper preparation apply a liberal amount of blue dawn and rub in thoroughly, Rinse and all the Capsin is gone. No more burning!
    I still shave with a safety razor. Use blue dawn as a gel instead of shaving cream. The razor glides like a dream. Apply blue dawn to the razor after rinsing and the blade sharpness will last longer.

  8. cherie says:

    vet and breeder both recommend blue dawn as dog shampoo! Particularly for those that get frequent washing [I have an allergic kid so we wash more frequently than otherwise necessary]

  9. Debbie Corley says:

    I use Blue Dawn dish soap for many things and love it. I use Blue Dawn dish soap in my foaming hand soap dispensers — fill them almost all the way with water and then put a few drops of Blue Dawn dish soap in the dispensers — shake and it is ready to use … doesn’t separate either. I haven’t bought any hand soap in ages!!

  10. Debra Rieck says:

    Blue Dawn, or any Dawn, will also remove that white hair spray build up on your hair. I used to use vinegar or baking soda, but now just a little Dawn takes it right off my bangs. I then shampoo as usual.

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