Clean on the Cheap: New Uses for Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

Streamline your cleaning product arsenal by using plain old Dawn dish washing liquid as a multitasking cleanser–it does more than dishes!

Floors and Carpets

  • Merry Maids recommends using a drop of Dawn in water to clean ceramic tile and no-wax/linoleum floors. Note: don’t use Dawn on wood laminate (Pergo) or hardwood floors–any residue may dull the finish and cause streaking.
  • We’ve got some smart cookies on our Blissfully Domestic forum! Member Darla offers this tip for spot cleaning carpets:
    • “Vinegar, water, and a little Dawn dish soap will do a remarkable job and it won’t build up oil on your carpet (like some products) and collect more stains.”

Windows and Mirrors

  • Clean your windows with this recipe from Merry Maids:  mix 5 drops Dawn in 2 gallons warm water.  Merry Maids advises holding back from using more:  use too much and you may see streaks.
  • For smaller jobs–like bathroom mirrors–mix 3 drops Dawn in 1 gallon water and fill a spray bottle with the solution.  Spritz and wipe as you would with any window cleaner.  (What do you do with the extra mixture?  Dump the soapy water into a plugged bathtub and scrub away the tub ring–Dawn is a great degreaser.)

Good Clean Fun

From Procter & Gamble (maker of Dawn):  Giant Bubble Recipe used in bubble makers at many children’s museums.

  • 1/2 cup Ultra Dawn
  • 1/2 gallon warm water
  • 1 tablespoon glycerin (available at any drug store)

Stir gently. Skim the foam off the top of the solution (too much foam breaks down the bubbles). Dip bubble wand and begin blowing. Have fun!

Pests and Pets

Rumor has it that Dawn also repels ants and kills fleas. If you have problems with either it’s definitely worth a shot.

  • For flea removal check out Home Remedies for Killing Fleas on Dogs from
  • To learn how to repel ants and find many more tips on using Dawn, see Original Blue Dawn–Not Just for Dishes from Mary Hunt’s Debt-Proof Living archives.


Try Dawn on your next greasy stain in place of your favorite pretreater–you may be surprised by the great results!  Note:  if you use a HE (High Efficiency) machine, wipe the Dawn away before washing–you may produce more bubbles than your machine can handle.

Multipurpose Cleanser

You can use the same spray bottle you mixed to do the windows and mirrors, or add a few extra drops for more cleaning power.  Use the spray on:

  • Bathroom and kitchen counters and sinks
  • Woodwork, e.g., baseboards, shelves, and wainscoting.  Dry as you go–wood doesn’t like prolonged contact with water.
  • Tubs and toilet seats (Do not use inside the bowl or tank–too many bubbles!)

Use full strength on:

  • Shower pans: cover greasy footprints with a coat of Dawn; let sit overnight.  Scrub away the gunk in the morning with a stiff brush.
  • Plastic wading pools: kiddie pools get gunked up almost overnight.  Dump the water, then scrub the pool with Dawn and a soft sponge.  More potent cleaners like bleach will weaken and dry out the plastic in the sun.

Clean on the Cheap: A 14 oz bottle of Dawn costs about $1.  Even if you use an ounce per month–unlikely if you’re diluting a few drops in a spray bottle–you’ll get more than a year’s worth of clean for less than ten cents a month.

How do you use Dawn?  Join the discussion in the Blissfully Domestic forum!

What do you think?



  1. 6
    Avatar PatStarfish says

    Thanks for the tips. I think I will start using phosphate dishwasher detergent and see how it work compared to what I’m used to.

  2. 7

    ROFL Now I am invisioning a toilet full of bubbles after someone has flushed!

  3. 8

    Dang–I’m going to have to try this!

  4. 9

    I love Dawn! It is the only kind of detergent I buy. My newest favorite way to use it is mixed with baking soda into a kind of paste – it cleans and whitens my sink better than Bartender’s Friend! It also works fantastic mixed with baking soda for soap scum in the shower . . . love it!

  5. 10

    Very cool stuff to know. I had no idea Dawn was such a miraculous thing. 🙂