Did You Know

15 Frugal Ways To Use Dawn Dish Soap That Don't Involve Washing Dishes


Growing up, my family did not have a lot of money, so we always tried to find ways to reuse, recycle, and re-purpose.

When I started my own family, I incorporated some of that frugality into our home. I'm constantly on the lookout for ways in which I can use things I already have in my cupboard for more than one task. I mean, why bother spending money on a bunch of different products when one can do the multiple jobs?

One product that never ceases to amaze me is Dawn dish washing detergent.

The soap is useful for more than just washing dishes, and it's also a lot more gentle and affordable than many harsh chemical-filled cleaners that a lot of us have in our homes.

Here are 15 ways you can use Dawn dish soap beyond the kitchen:

1. Stain Remover


Dawn gets your dishes clean because it is formulated to fight grease. This is also why it is a great oil-based stain remover.

If you ever need to get rid of lipstick, oil, or a pen ink stain before you do laundry, simply apply some of the detergent directly on the affected area, then scrub it with a small brush until the stain is no longer visible.

Toss the garment in the wash with the rest of the load and wash it as usual.

Alternatively, you can fill up an empty spray bottle with equal parts Dawn detergent and water, and use it as a replacement for store-bought stain remover.

2. Control poison ivy


The liquid detergent is useful for killing poison ivy and for minimizing the spread of blisters after you come in contact with the plant.

If you spot poison ivy growing in your yard, combine two tablespoons of Dawn, a gallon of white vinegar, and one cup of salt, mix well, then pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the poison ivy in your yard to kill them.

If you did come in contact with poison ivy, you can stop the itchy blisters from spreading and dry them up by washing the affected area with Dawn. It may seem weird, but don't worry, dish soap is formulated to be safe for your skin.

3. Unclog the toilet


Forget the harsh chemicals and use the gentle blue detergent to get your toilet flushing properly again.

Pour a cup of Dawn into the toilet bowl, let it sit for about 15 minutes, then chase it with hot water to unclog the pipes.

4. Insect repellent


The last thing you want is a bug infestation in your home.

The easiest way to keep pesky insects, like ants and spiders, at bay is to fill up a spray bottle with water and a few drops of detergent, then mist counter-tops, cupboards, and indoor plants.

Keep reapplying it weekly until you notice that the bugs are gone.

5. Make an ice pack


Dish detergent stays cool longer than other liquids and can be easily refrozen.

Fill a zip lock bag with Dawn and freeze it for a few hours before applying it to the affected area.

Remember that you should never apply the cold pack directly to your skin or for an excessive amount of time.

Use the Dawn ice pack on the injured or sore area for about 10 minutes at a time, three times a day.

6. Shower and tub cleaner


Stop spending your hard-earned money on chemical-laden cleaning products, not only are they harsh on your skin, they can also have some serious side effects on your health in the long run.

Instead of using chemically-heavy products, mix one and a half cups of Dawn with one and a half cups of warm white vinegar in a spray bottle, then cover the shower and tub with generous amounts of the cleaner.

Let it sit for 30 minutes, then scrub if needed and rinse well with water.

The cleaner will get rid of mildew and soap scum and leave your tub sparkling without the nasty fumes.

7. Defog eyeglasses


If you wear glasses then you know that there is nothing more annoying than when they fog up when you move from a cool to warm place and vice versa.

To keep your second set of eyes from fogging up, rub a small amount of Dawn on the lenses and once it has dried, buff it clean with a soft cloth and you'll be seeing clearly again.

What the detergent does is build a transparent layer on your lenses which protects it from fogging up and other harsh outdoor elements.

8. Clean your pool


Considering all the bodies that soak in the pool, it can get dirty really quickly, even if you have chlorine in it.

For a fast-fix, pour some Dawn into the middle of the pool, and watch all the dirt and grease from suntan lotions and hair products move to the edge of the pool.

The dish soap will also get rid of all those pesky water bugs in your swimming pool.

In order for these insects to live in the water, they have to come to the surface to breathe. When you add the dish soap into the pool, it changes "the surface tension of the water so that they are unable to stand on the water" or "make any bubbles of air to carry with them underwater." As a result, they will drown.

You can repeat this process as many times as you like until all the bugs are gone.

Dish soap is pH balanced and biodegradable, so it won't affect your pool at all.  

9. Remove rust


Automotive tools tend to get greasy and rusty after they've been used a number of times.

To get them looking pristine again, soak the tools in  a mixture of Dawn and warm water for a few minutes and rinse and pat dry.

If you have gasoline or oil spills on your driveway, you can scrub it clean with Dawn and some water.

10. Remove grease from hair

Every once in a while we end up oil and product build-up in our hair.

You can get your locks looking clean again by washing your hair with Dawn dish soap. It will get rid of the excess oil and gunk without causing any damage.

It is recommended that you do this only once a month, but if you find yourself in a greasy hair mishap before the month is up, feel free to shampoo with the detergent.

12. Clean your windows


Merry Maids recommends mixing three drops of Dawn in one gallon of water, then add the solution to a spray bottle.

Use the mixture in the place of your regular window cleaner.  

For streak-free windows and glass surfaces, use a microfiber cloth instead of a crumpled newspaper.

Once upon a time, using a newspaper was effective, but nowadays, they're printed on thinner paper, and will leave ink marks on the glass.

13. Soak your fingers


Dawn dish soap is formulated to be gentle on your skin, which is why it makes for a great manicure soak.

Immersing your digits in a bowl of Dawn for a few minutes will soften the cuticles and remove the oils from the nails so your polish can stick better.

It might sound weird, but to help your nails get even stronger, coat them with mayonnaise and let them sit for a few minutes. The condiment will moisturize your cuticles and heal dry, brittle nails.

Once you're done painting your nails, you can help them dry faster by spraying some cooking oil on them.

14. Wash your pets

You can pamper your pets by taking them to the groomer every once in a while, but for the rest of the time, you can use Dawn to get rid of pests on their fur, including fleas.

It's a much cheaper option than buying shampoos formulated for pets.

You can also clean your pet's litter box by using warm water and dish soap after your empty it out. You can also add vinegar to the mixture for even better results.

Dawn can also be used to clean your pet's toys, so they're free of mold, yeast, and bacteria.

15. De-ice sidewalks


Salt is effective in making your sidewalks and driveway less slippery, but it also eats away at the concrete, ruins your shoes, and creates a mess every time someone walks into your home during winter.

Instead, use one teaspoon of Dawn, one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and half a gallon hot water to make a de-icer that will prevent the sidewalks from freezing again.

Have you ever used dish soap for more than just washing dishes? Let us know!

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.