male using Blue Dawn shampoo in the shower

A Most Unusual Frugal Use for Blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

There are days when I open my mailbox I have to sit down because I’m laughing so hard. Some things just strike me funny. Like yet another use for our beloved Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Turns out this time, though, the last laugh was on me.

male using Blue Dawn shampoo in the shower


I am a cheapskate. I read your blog and newspaper columns 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

Dear Bill: l must admit that I was a bit aghast 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 to tell you exactly why you should listen to her and never shampoo or shower with Blue Dawn.

Boy, was I in for a shock. Not only could I not find credible reasons not to 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.

Let’s compare

I found the list of ingredients for Procter & Gamble’s 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, 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.

Serious research

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

I purposely did not 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’d just removed every last bit of moisture from myself, which I was willing to endure in the interest of product testing.

Conclusive outcome

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

Blue Dawn Body Wash?

As for using Blue Dawn as a body wash, it was great. I felt so clean! I didn’t notice any difference from other body washes, other than it required a lot of rinsing, 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 it too dark
  • Blue Dawn will deep clean your skin with no apparent adverse effect that I can detect, 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.

Blue Man?!

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

First published: 1-9-18; Updated: 1-24-23

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  1. Chris Kealoha-Hall says:

    Does the Green Dawn work the same or does it have to be blue? I heard on a radio station that Dawn was also helping with getting hair to grow back for those who were loosing there hair?

    • Cheri Thompson says:

      I haven’t tested as a shampoo yet as my coloring only last a couple of weeks (severe grays), but you’ll love it as a body wash.

    • Sarah says:

      Do not use on color treated hair! It will strip your color out. I love Blue Dawn for making household cleaners, but it’s so effective because of its grease removing properties. I wouldn’t use it on my skin either. We need to keep some of our natural skin oils.

  2. Pat says:

    As I read this post I suddenly thought of the “blue hair ladies” of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. They used a blue rinse to counteract the tinge of yellow in their gray hair. I will try Blue Dawn (which I always have on hand) as my shampoo to see if it works in the same way, since I have been unable to find a product to get rid of the yellow. I refuse to pay the exorbitant prices charged by salons for any kind of color.

    • Emy Young says:

      If you have a Sally ‘s beauty supply store in your area, ask for a blue shampoo(Shimmer Lights). It works better than the old fashioned blue rinse. Once you are happier with your hair color, cut back on use to only every second or third shampoo, otherwise you could hear children ask about the blue hair lady. But then again, they may just be admiring the color.

    • Glenda Steffee says:

      My hairdresser says the yellow tinge comes from copper pipes in old houses. He suggests rinsing with filtered or bottled water.

      • Sarah says:

        Yes, Clairol Shimmer Lights is a good purple shampoo. Not expensive, either. There are other brands out there too. Blue Dawn is not going to do the same thing. It literally strips color out…please don’t use it on color treated hair, especially dark colors. Unless, as Mary said, it’s too dark. Then, go ahead and use Blue Dawn, it will strip some of that color right out.

      • Maxie says:

        I have white hair and I wash it every day! I’ve used Dawn for 3 years and love it! My hair is thicker now than it was and I get several comments on how pretty white it is!! I now use It as a body wash! A bottle lasts for a long time!!

  3. Mary says:

    I had actually heard about this from my son. He is attending a technical college doing an automotive technology program. He had run out of money, but he had his Blue Dawn dish soap. He had told me it worked great as a hair and body wash and getting clean from his time in the shop. Go figure!

    • Sherry says:

      If you go look on Dawn official page they show a clear dawn .. I’ve never seen it untill tonight . I couldn’t believe it .I took a snapshot but I didn’t know how to share it

      • Mary Hunt says:

        The clear version is “free and clear” and Lavender Whisp. It is pretty highly scented and is not the same as Blue Dawn.

      • April Bagley says:

        I never seen any clear dawn either . I can’t find the old real one I can only Fong the blue ultra concentrated . I think
        That’s the one everyone talking about but they sell other colors and scents yes but I also never seen a clear one. I seen clear dish soap other kinds . Are you sure it’s dawn refill you bought ? Maybe someone sold you the wrong thing .

    • Judy Jones says:

      Yes, diluted apple cider vinegar and water does help get rid of the suds. White vinegar will as well but, won’t give you the added benefits of nourishing minerals that are in the apple cider vinegar. Also, try to remember if you aren’t diluting the Dawn that a little bit goes a very long way. I use to use Dawn all the time but, haven’t been for a while but, I am going to go back to using it even though I don’t really use any hair care products. The other benefit of the vinegar is that you probably won’t need conditioner and if you do you can water it down and just spritz it on as a detangler.

      • Jan says:

        Those great nourishing minerals in cider vinegar will turn gray hair yellow. Please use white vinegar, it will brighten our gray.

  4. Deborah Corley says:

    When I finished using one of the foaming hand soap dispensers, I filled it with mostly water and a bit of Blue Dawn dishwashing soap. It works great, foams the same, and is so cheap to use. I keep it at my kitchen sink and the bathroom sinks!! I also have been using your homemade laundry detergent recipe as well for a long time and convincing other people to use it as well. Thanks for all your advice!!

    • Angel says:

      Oh my goodness! I have one of those soap dispensers so I did this, and you just saved me a fortune if buying overpriced foamy soap washes

  5. Marla says:

    I used it to lighten my hair that was colored too dark just a couple months ago. It did work – it did lighten it, enough that I didn’t resemble Elvira anymore, but still had to get highlights added by my stylist to be happy with it. But it DOES work for lightening too-dark color….I used it 4 times in a 5-day period, so you do have to do it multiple times depending on how dark your hair is, etc.

  6. Lorrie Ney says:

    Sounds great to me! I raise miniature Schnauzers and use a watered down combo of generic head and shoulders plus blue dawn to wash my dogs. It cleans them well and is a natural flea killer and repellent. Then I use an inexpensive human conditioner. They smell grwatvlinger and their hair is beautiful!

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