The Joys of Original Blue Dawn

Take a look under the sink where you keep your cleaning products. See a bottle of Original blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid? Say “Hello” to a very versatile and surprisingly multi-purpose household product.

ICE PACK.  Partially fill a strong zip-type sandwich bag with Dawn dishwashing liquid, close and freeze. Just to be safe, double bag it. Freeze. The liquid soap stays cold much longer and it can be re-frozen many times. It will conform to the place you need an ice pack.

BUBBLE PARTY. Combine ten parts distilled water and one part Dawn Dishwashing Liquid to make your own bubble solution. And add 1/4 part white corn syrup (like Karo) if you want to make more sturdy bubbles. Gather up things like clean soup cans that have both ends cut off or Hula-Hoops with makeshift handles attached. If you want to, you can pour the solution into a plastic kiddy pool and make huge bubbles. Turn it into a scientific experiment and go on a hunt for bubble-making items in your kitchen. This is a super cheap idea that’s lots of fun.

HAND DEGREASER. Forget those pricey automotive hand cleaners. Full strength blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid cuts through grease and gets hands and nails clean with no harsh chemicals.

CLEAN AUTOMOTIVE TOOLS. Soak them in a solution of Dawn dishwashing liquid before you put them away to remove all the oil and grime. As a bonus Dawn will help prevent rust from forming on the tools.

MANICURE SECRET. Soak fingers in full-strength blue Dawn. It makes the cuticles soft and easy to work with. And it removes the natural oil from the fingernails, which allows the polish to adhere very well.

REPEL ANTS. Spray countertops, cupboards and any other area where you see ants with a solution of Dawn and water. Wipe dry. The slight residue of Dawn that remains will not be a problem at all for kids or pets, but ants hate it. Should you see a trail of ants, go ahead and hit them with the Dawn spray. You’ll see. It will kill them.

BATHROOM CLEANER. Original blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid has some kind of miraculous quality about it that makes it “melt” through stubborn soap scum and hideous build-up on showers and tubs, no matter whether porcelain, acrylic or fiberglass. Use it straight up and you’ll bless the day you read this column.

HAIR PRODUCT BUILDUP. Once a month use original Dawn as you would shampoo. It will remove excess oil from your hair and scalp and strip away any build-up of styling products—without any damage. Perform this once a month and you won’t have to buy expensive salon products that do the same thing.

STAIN SPOTTER. Original blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid used full-strength gets just about any kind of spot out of washables. Keep a small squeeze bottle in the laundry room so it’s always handy.

BONUS: Dawn Dishwashing Liquid is biodegradable, while other chemical solvents may not be.

Question: Do you use original blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid on things other than your dishes? Tell us here


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  • J.A. Hart

    Blue Dawn mixed a little stronger than for dishwater, makes a great flea bath for your dog. It’s strong enough to kill the fleas, but won’t irritate the dog’s skin.

  • Kay

    Dawn mixed with white vinegar makes a great spray cleaner for the tub and shower.
    I also use it in the dogs bath for fleas.

  • RN

    If you use Blue Dawn as a dog wash be aware that you will have to wait several days before applying a topical monthly flea preventative as the Dawn will have removed the natural oils needed to spread the flea preventative.

  • ML

    I use a small amount of original Dawn in a large bowl of water to clean my fruits and vegetables. I swish them around as long as it takes to say one “Our Father” prayer and then rinse them thoroughly in clear water. I figure if it is safe enough to clean petroleum spills off of baby sea animals, it should be safe for my family in small amounts.

  • Cynthia

    three tablespoons of borax and 3 of washing powder, in a gallon jug, mixed 1/2 way with hot water. then add cold water to fill,and at the end, add 2 tablespoons of blue dawn. Makes a great laundry detergent. Use one to two cups per load. I have doubled the strength, and it was still easy…I even bring it to the SPCA to do the laundry there twice a week. (we add two cups of bleach to each load there…disease control) But it works. I have been using it for about 3 months.

  • Josephine Eckert

    I kicked over a can of paint on my carpet and was mortified at the sight. Then I remembered the original Blue Dawn that I always have. I got up as much of the paint as I could with paper towels and proceeded to mix the Dawn in a bucket with water and washed the area with a stiff brush and rinsed with clear water. Carpet was good as new. I would never be without the original Blue Dawn.

  • Susan

    I use it to clean stains off of my upholstery in the house as well as in the car. I love it!!

  • kay

    After a 400 mile round-trip road trip, both sides of my car were covered with oil. An extensive wash at the car wash took off some of it, but much remained. I realized if Dawn could get oil off ducks, maybe it could save my baby-blue car. With Dawn and a scrubby sponge I rescued my car! And, after reading the comments of others, I know Dawn will be my bottle of choice from now on!

  • rubysloppers

    For bubble making form bungee cord into a loop and hold at the place where the ends come together. Dip in soap mixture and swing lightly. 1/2″ thickness cord is better than thinner.

  • Julia

    I have started adding a squirt of blue Dawn to my dishwasher, along with the Cascade. The dishes were coming out greasy instead of “clean”, but Dawn fixed that. Love all these great tips!

    • Emjay

      Since Cascade has taken the phosphates out of the dishwasher detergent, and new dishwashers do not have the same cleaning ability as the older models, our appliance repairman told us to prerinse as well as use a squirt of Dawn with Cascade. It does work.

  • Jennifer

    Mary, when you refer to “Original” Blue Dawn in your articles do you mean the original non-concentrated liquid? It is hard to find and usually comes only in a small bottle. Most stores carry the Ultra-concentrated version of Dawn now. Are both versions equally good? Should we be using smaller amounts of the Ultra in your “recipes”? Thanks for all the great ideas!

    • RN

      Not Mary but yes we are talking about the ‘Original’ Blue Dawn. Worth hunting for and every once in awhile I find a coupon I can use for it and stock up. Has lots of uses: if you have ants coming into your house, use a flashlight and follow the ant trail back to where they are coming in- squirt some dawn in that spot and no more ants. It’s also good to wash the ant trail away with a mixture of dawn and water after you’ve closed the hole.

    • I get my original blue dawn in a huge bottle at Sam’s Club. Wal-Mart also carries it in a large bottle–though not as large as the one at Sam’s.

  • Great as a box elder bug killer, kills them in minutes, justadd about half a cup to an old windex size bottle and fill with water, then spray directly on the bugs, kills them by the thousands and not harmful to plants and pets or children

  • Miriam

    I have a question: what makes Dawn different than other dishwashing liquids?

  • kkb

    I have a spray bottle in my kitchen which has a mixture of 1/8 cup blue Dawn, 1 cup vinegar, and one cup water…..I use this as a stove top and counter cleaner. Fast, effective and inexpensive.

  • Saundra

    I use 1 Tablespoon of dawn in the rented carpet shampoo machine to remove stains. I use it with the commercial carpet cleaner I purchase or as a substitute. It cleans just the same.

  • Doug

    I use about a cup or so of white vinegar and about two and a half to three gallons of hot water and approximately a table spoon of Dawn detergent to clean the hard floors, and believe me I’ve got a lot of them. Nothing cleans like this mixture and the the cost makes it out of this world!

    And the best thing about Dawn is the original intent, the dishes, it does a bang up job of cleaning the dishes!

    Great uses for Dawn though, I would like to see more. Give them if you’ve got em!

  • Jacie Phx Az

    Blue DAWN is the accepted bathing chemical used to wash wild animals and birds that get tangled in oil and other chemical spills, but I did not know it had so many other uses. I also mix about 1/8th teaspoon into about 4 oz distilled or RO water and spray it on my glasses. Give each side of each glass a brief scrub with an index finger, spray again, rinse and lightly rub a cotton cloth (the shirt tail of a clean old t-shirt). If you got the grease off while washing, one swipe of the cotton cloth should leave them spotless!

  • I put 1/2 c original blue dawn in a 32 oz spray bottle and fill the bottle with white vinegar. I use this as an all purpose spray cleaner around the house. Shines my stainless sink and chrome like crazy!

    I also use this same spray as a pre-wash spray for my clothes before putting them in the washer. Takes all of the stains right out!

    When my parent’s van was stolen and recovered, there was white powder all over the interior along with a lot of black fingerprint powder all over the interior. My brother used the above spray on the interior and it took everything out–even removed the black fingerprint powder from the upholstery and carpet! Great stuff!

    I live in an area that uses well water that contains a LOT of sulfates, lime and other minerals. Buildup is a real problem! I mix 1 c blue dawn with 1 c hot white vinegar in a spray bottle, spray down the shower, let sit for a couple of hours and then just wipe down and rinse. Sparkling clean shower with NO crusty lime buildup left! NO rubbing and scrubbing at all! Great stuff!

    I only basically use Blue Dawn and Vinegar to clean almost everything in my house–including the outside of my house (which is a 5th wheel) by using a bug sprayer with a T blue dawn, 1 c bleach and fill the rest up with water. Spray on the outside of the RV (or house siding) with the spray, let sit, but don’t let it dry! Then spray off with a power washer or a hose with a jet sprayer attachment. The power washer is better, but the jet sprayer is better than nothing. Just remember–DON’T let the dawn/bleach mixture dry. Work in small areas and before you know it–you will have a wonderfully clean RV or house siding!

  • Shelly

    blue dawn mixed with hot water in a spray bottle easily removes wallpaper. Score the paper, saturate with the dawn/water mix and the paper peels right off and the glue scrapes off easily with a putty knife with no elbow grease or wall damage.

  • Sandy

    I have been using a mixture of Dawn and peroxide for years for laundry stains, especially blood and ink. Spray it on just before laundering and it works wonders!!! Wouldn’t use anything else.

  • Joyce

    I use Blue Dawn when I wash the cat litter box. When I ran out of an expensive pet friendly brand, I tried this product since I saw it had been used to clean wildlife. Works great.

  • Kathy

    I have read that you can use Blue Dawn to remove hair color if you have had color that turned out too dark. I have not tried it, so I am curious to know if one of your readers has.

    • Renn

      I have done this many times, with great success. If your new color is too dark or brassy, washing it with a small amount of Dawn seems to do the trick. Be careful not to overdo it; the combination of coloring and Dawn use can really dry your hair out.

      I usually follow with conditioner just to be safe.

  • Darlene Dennis

    I use a squirt of Blue Dawn and a couple glugs of ammonia in hot water to soak tarnished sterling overnight. The tarnish wipes right off.. Occasionally, I use a bit of a plastic scrubber to get at some of the crevices, A friend gave me all of her 1920’s sterling — tea set, 16 place settings that I use as my kitchen flatware, trays and bowls, along with an ornate 19th century shallow bowl and a a hand made sterling compote. I also have 16 ornate place settings and extra serving pieces of my own for company. I live with and enjoy these pieces every day and cleaning them with Blue Dawn and ammonia makes keeping them clean an easy matter.

  • Lora

    I use original blue Dawn mixed with laundry detergent when bathing our pinto ponies for horse shows. Everyone always comments how sparkly their white is!

  • woody

    Can someone pls tell me if you use the ultra concentrated? Do you adjust the recipes? What makes Blue Dawn so much better than other dishwashing soap?

    • pplanet

      I can’t find the original blue Dawn where I shop so I do use the blue ultra concentrated. I use it the same way and in the same amounts that the various “recipes” call for and it works fine. (I suppose one could experiment with using less because it’s concentrated.)

  • carol

    We mix with water and spray on skin to repel mosquitoes. Also make laundry soap and shower/floor cleaner using vinegar, borax, washing soda, & blue dawn

  • Anna P

    I was surprised that a grease stain remover quality was not listed. I once thought i ruined a pair of light colored overalls by washing and drying a lipstick with them. I treated each stain with Dawn and rewashed and redried with perfect success. I don’t use anything else on oil splatters on clothing from cooking. I can count on Dawn.

  • Maggie

    I have been a massage therapist for 32 years. If massage oil gets on the massage table (which are vinyl) we just wash it with Dawn detergent and it
    cleans perfectly. I always say, if it cleaned up the Valdez oil spill in Alaska, it will take the oil off the massage table!!

  • LLAW_O

    I agree that blue Dawn has many useful properties. My husband used to do commercial window cleaning. With a few drops in a couple gallons of hot water, white cotton rags (without softener in them), and a squeegee, you’ll get professional results.

    The “down side of Dawn” is that if breaks down good quality gold in jewelry. When the posts on my diamond needed frequent rebuilding so I didn’t lose my set, the jeweler asked me if I used Dawn when I do dishes. Yes, I sure do. He said, that reacts with high quality gold (white and yellow both) and breaks it down over time. While in the store another time, I heard him tell the same thing to another lady. So don’t use it in dishwashing if you have rings on, or use gloves.

  • Sandtruck

    Can no longer buy the “original” here, just ultra concentrated.

  • Sarah

    So I am hearing that Blue Dawn is a powerful degreaser that kills fleas and bugs and melts grease and paint and carpet stains and road grime off our cars, not to mention the myriad of other toxic substances that it miraculously dissolves and melts. I would add a word of caution… as the mother of a 19 yr old who contracted Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and was told by her doctor that she probably got it from “something she came into contact with during her life”. I would not be putting something this powerful on my warm head in the shower when all of my pores are wide open. I also would not soak my hands in it for any length of time. I would rather suggest that any time it is used, rubber gloves be worn to keep it from contact with the skin. Our skin is not a barrier… it is more like a sponge. It might be great as a cleaner, but needs to be respected as a chemical.

    • CJC444

      I deeply regret the disease of your daughter. The cause of Hodgkin’s and other leukemia-type blood disorders is still unknown. But it most definitely not caused by dish soap penetration into the skin.
      Everything is made of ”chemicals”, Sarah. Your physician made a misstatement in his comment you state in your comment.
      Having contacted Hodgkin’s at age 19…?…..does not represent
      a ”lifetime” of damages from Dawn. Even if she drank it, there
      is no connection to causing Hodgkins’s etal. Take Care.

  • Judie

    I found a recipe for a toilet cleaner using blue dawn and white vinegar. Fabulous. Fill a spray bottle half full of white vinegar. Pour back into a microwave safe container and heat for about 1 minute, pour back into the bottle and fill with blue dawn. I use it to clean showers, tubs, vanities,commodes, just about anything. Good stuff.

  • Jenna

    I use it on my laundry when i get cooking oil on my clothes

  • NF

    This tip may be somewhere in all these wonderful ideas, but I’ll add it again. We just had a plumber snake out out a main drain that connects to the kitchen sink, dishwasher and washing machine. He loosened 20 years of gunk(not all of it ours) from the drain after snaking 3x’s. I had been doing regular drain mtce. with baking soda and vinegar plus enzyme cleaners but the buildup was too much and way past where the products could reach. Before he left, he recommended using blue dawn and hot water on a regular basis to maintain the pipes. 1/2-1 cup blue dawn followed by really hot water, preferably sitting overnight, rinse well or drain will be a bubble machine. He said this also works on bathroom drains. He also recommended ONLY using blue dawn to do dishes. I haven’t tried it, but after doing some research, it does come up numerous times as a way to keep drains clean and unclog some slow running drains. Makes sense.
    That might also mean the MH homemade laundry detergent might serve two purposes. Clean clothes and cleaner pipes!
    Will let u know how this works! Fingers crossed, certainly can’t hurt.

  • kat

    When clearing poison ivy; I carry a small bottle of dawn in my wheelbarrow. If the ivy touches my skin; I apply dawn and wash within the hour. I rinse all my tools with dawn. I fill a dish pan with dawn and water and sit my boots in there to kill poison ivy. It is the only dish detergent I have used for many years. I found it was the very best for cleaning plastic lunch dishes.