percolator coffee pot sitting on table

Ask Me Anything: Why is Dip-It No Longer Available, Laminate Floors, Unscented Dawn

Growing up in Boise, Ida. (shout out to all my Gem State readers) my parents had a percolator. I can still hear that coffee pot perking away in the mornings. My mom used something called Dip-It powder to keep the thing clean. That’s a memory that sent me into research mode, prompted by today’s first reader inquiry.

dipit with percolator

I purchased a vintage electric coffee percolator several years ago. It’s still working fine but now I’m having a problem purchasing Dip-It by Reckitt Benckiser to clean it. I understand they’ve stopped making it. Why is Dip-It no longer available? I have tried using vinegar and it did not work very well. Do you have any ideas on how I can make a Dip-It like product myself? Vickie

 

Dear Vickie: Yes, but first a little history. Dip-It Coffee Food and Beverage Stain Remover for Percolators and Cookware by Rickitt Benckiser was acquired by the Lime-A-Way company, which continued manufacturing the powdery product for a while until it changed it to Lime-A-Way Dip-It Coffeemaker Cleaner liquid (7-ounce bottle) with a completely different formulation designed for modern drip coffeemakers.

All that to say, I too wondered why is Dip-It no longer available? Well, not to worry. I have a process that reasonably duplicates the venerable Dip-It results for keeping your coffee percolator beautifully clean, provided you do this in steps rather than combining cleaning ingredients:

Step 1:

Pour 1 tablespoon citric acid (the active ingredient in all descaling products) into the pot. Add water to the maximum fill line.

Step 2:

Position the vertical tube, basket, and lid just as if you were making a pot of coffee. Plug it in and let it perk away for a complete cycle. Unplug the machine, pour the water out and scrub away any coffee stains that remain. You’ll be surprised by how dirty that water appears. Scrub the inside of the pot and the apparatus as necessary to remove all traces of coffee stains.

 

  • Used in canning to improve the flavor and color of some foods
  • Organic cleaner for dishwashers, coffee machines
  • Removes hard water stains
  • Made in the USA

 

RELATED: How to Clean a Coffee Maker and How Often You Should

 

I don’t have a tip but I need one! I have laminate floors and would like to know of a good cleaner. Right now I am using vinegar and water and after mopping, I have to get on my hands and knees and dry the floors or they streak. Any suggestions? Thank you and I love your column! Amy

 

Dear Amy: The best cleaner for both laminate and hardwood floors that I know of is the one you can make yourself. And you can make it in any quantity you want to have on hand or that you need at the moment. But first an explanation:

Vinegar is acidic. Used on flooring that has a finish—as both hardwood and laminate flooring do—it will dull that finish over time and in some cases even make it sticky. Tap water contains minerals that when allowed to dry on these types of flooring can cause streaks and eventually a haze-like buildup. That means no vinegar and no tap water in your cleaner.

The solution is alcohol because it cleans really well, is not acidic, and evaporates quickly together with distilled water because it is mineral-free. Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 part alcohol (rubbing alcohol, vodka, or gin)
  • 4 parts distilled water
  • Few drops Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid

Mix this in a spray bottle each time you clean the floors. Or if you make it up ahead, be sure to label it well and keep it out of the reach of children.

To use, simply spray a small area of the floor then scrub well with a mop or sponge and immediately wipe the area dry with a microfiber cloth. I’ve written more extensively about this recipe and how to use it well in How to Clean and Care for Wood and Laminate Floors.

You recommend Blue Dawn quite often. Does Dawn make an unscented cleaner that works as well? Ann

 

Dear Ann: I do recommend Blue Dawn because I have found that it is a remarkable cleaner around the house and in the laundry.

Procter & Gamble, which owns and manufactures the Dawn products, does not have any version of Dawn in any color that states clearly “unscented.” P&G does, however, manufacture Dawn Free & Gentle Dishwashing Liquid, which is Hypoallergenic and Dye-Free. This version of Dawn seems to enjoy highly rated reviews, however, I don’t find that it is as surfactant-rich as Blue Dawn.

I have researched to discover why Blue Dawn is different than any other color of liquid Dawn product, and the answer is surfactants. Blue Dawn has more powerful heavy-duty surfactants (that’s what makes any cleaner remove grease, soil, and dirt) than any of its competitors. And Blue Dawn has more than the other colors and fragranced Dawn products. However, Blue Dawn cuts grease like none other—Original Blue Dawn , Ultra, Platinum, and any other version of Blue Dawn.

Notice that some Blue Dawn versions are also highly concentrated like 4X or even 5X. That means you can dilute it to get the same job done. I go for the highest concentration and then for daily use, I dilute Blue Dawn Ultra Platinum 5 parts water to 1 part Blue Dawn.

First published on Everyday Cheapskate  5-10-22;  Revised & Updated 1-27-24


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21 replies
Newer Comments »
  1. Pam says:

    Hi Mary… I have also had great results with Dawn. However, I would like to let your readers to know that Dawn should not be used on prescription eye glasses. I recently destroyed my prescription sunglasses by putting one drop on each lens and running under water. I have always used liquid dish soap in this method to clean my glasses and they always came out beautiful. Unfortunately, Dawn leaves a permanent film that even my eye doctors office could not fix.

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      I have to say that I have never heard of this kind of problem with Dawn. I use it straight up on my prescripiton lenses both clear and sunglasses. I can only assume that there was something else going on with your lenses. I can find no consensus at all that Dawn leaves a permanent film on eyeglass lenses.

      Reply
  2. Linda Radosevich says:

    Mary, I follow you daily! You are always a bright spot in my day! My question for you: I clean my bathroom mirrors with straight peroxide, wipe dry with microfiber leaning cloths that I wash with themselves, not cotton or other fabrics. I notice smearing on my mirrors, and wondered if you have a DYI formula for mirrors. Window cleaners also leave smears.

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      I don’t think its the “cleaner” you are using but rather that microfiber cloth. I’m going to guess that the detergent your using to launder the cloths it has not been fully rinsed away. That’s the challenge with microfiber. It absorbs so well, and those prickly fibers catch and grab. Try laundering the microfiber in very hot water but don’t add any soap or detergent. It could take several repeats to get all of it out. Again without a lot of info, this is my guess of what might be the problem.

      Reply
  3. Wendy Tucker (Tockman) says:

    I have a Bona hardwood floor cleaning spray mop with prefilled cartridge. Can I remove the cap when empty, refill w/my own solution, and replace. Similar to your method of refilling Swiffer cartridge–?? These manufacturers really try to get users with need to buy proprietary refills, and I appreciate your investigations into outwitting them. Thank you.
    Now…what about printer cartridges. :)?

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      I have not test a Bona spray mop. However, the process would be same … figure out how to get the lid of then yes, fill it with your homemade cleaner! Let us know how that goes…

      Reply
  4. Sandra C Wegmann says:

    I am 81 and my kids are in their 50’s now — when they were babies we fed them Carnation evaporated milk, with water and a tiny bit of Karo clear syrup — they thrived on it — it was before Similac and Enfamil were invented in the 60’s! Any grandmas out there that remember the exact ratio of water, syrup, milk and was there anything else we had to do to it??? The young moms that are so upset about the shortage of formula would be glad to be able to make some up and save money as well!! Kids born in the 50’s and 60’s thrived on it!!

    Reply
    • Dianne Evans says:

      Absolutely Sandra. I fed all 6 of my children when they were babies (1950’s) homemade formula!!! It was with evaporated milk water and Karo syrup. They are all now grandparents….must have worked…haaa

      Reply
  5. Susan says:

    The detailed information about Dawn was very interesting and instructive. I must confess, however, that I’m a bit confused about what I should have on hand as an “all purpose” Dawn, as often mentined in EC. Should I have the product labeled “just plain” Dawn, or shoud I have Original Blue Dawn, or what? Thank you so much for all the valuable articles!

    Reply
  6. Lori Leuthardt says:

    Just a little humor to add to the shared recipe for laminate floor cleaner: vodka, gin (add to solution). May however be consumed separately with a different concoction of mix while your admiring your clean floor.

    Reply
  7. Diane says:

    Do you have any suggestions for cleaning luxury vinyl flooring? I don’t use vinegar, but I do use tap well water.

    Reply
  8. ronnie says:

    hi I read you article about dip-it I really miss this stuff it wa great for coffee makers and corning ware where can I get citric acid to make my own I never commented on this before

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      Ronnie … There is a link in the post … the words “citric acid” are linked so just click on that and it will take you to Amazon where there are several choices! The link goes to the one I buy (it lasts a very long time). You can also find citric acid in most grocery stores and supermarkets; Walmart, Target. It’s with the canning supplies, usually near the baking and or spice aisles.

      Reply
  9. ronnie says:

    hi I read you article about dip-it I really miss this stuff it wa great for coffee makers and corning ware where can I get citric acid to make my own

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      Check the post … there is a link in it (the words “citric acid” are linked), the brand I use and buy from Amazon. You can also get citric acid in most grocery and supermarkets. It’s with the canning supplies. Also you cn find it at Walmart and Target.

      Reply
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