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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  1. Alice Dean says:

    I was born in ’51. My mother breast fed all 4 of us at the behest of an old nun at St. Mike’s hospital(Toronto). It may not be popular any more but it truly is the best for both baby and mom. Breast milk is actually a living organism and has been known to kill bacteria in a lab setting. No judgement intended but if you can, please do. If you need help or have questions, the La Leche League is recognized as the experts.

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