29 Surprising Ways to Use Dawn Dish Soap Outside of the Kitchen

published Aug 13, 2022
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It’s no secret that Dawn’s grease-cutting power makes it the go-to cleaner for the toughest kitchen jobs, including crusty casserole dishes and greasy cabinet doors. But there are dozens of other uses for this concentrated soap, both inside and outside your home.

Turns out, there’s no need for expensive specialty cleaners when you have a bottle of the blue stuff around! Here are 20 surprising uses outside of the kitchen where you can put Dawn to good use. 

1. Spiff up patio furniture.

Outdoor chairs, tables, and kiddie pools that have gotten dirty over the summer or even mossy over the winter clean up fast. Mix 1/4 cup Dawn with one gallon warm water, then sponge away the grime. Rinse off and towel dry.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Shine up your dirty grill.

For greasy, caked-on grill grates, just mix 1/2 cup baking soda with enough Dawn to make a thick paste. Scrape the big debris off your grill grates, then coat them with the mixture, and let sit for 30 minutes. Scrub and rinse, and they’ll be good as new.

You can also use this mix to degrease the inside of the firebox too. Sponge it on, then scrub with the scrubby side of the sponge. Replace the drip tray with a bucket to catch the gunk, then rinse all the grime away with warm water. 

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3. Wash off the pavers.

Stone or cement pavers marred with bird poop? Moss? Sticky residue from messy trees? Just wet the surface well, mix 1/4 cup of Dawn with one gallon warm water, and use a brush to scrub it away. 

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4. Whip up a DIY, non-toxic weed spray.

Mix one gallon white vinegar, one tablespoon Dawn, and one cup of salt in a garden sprayer. Or cut the recipe down and mix the solution in a spray bottle for smaller jobs. Spray directly on the weeds on a sunny day, and they’ll brown in no time.

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5. Wipe grime from garden and automotive tools.

Don’t put your tools away muddy or greasy. Mix one teaspoon Dawn with one gallon water, and use a sponge or rag to wash away the gunk.

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6. Rinse off tire rims.

Using Dawn to wash a car won’t hurt it, but keep in mind it will strip away any wax and leave it unprotected, which is why car experts don’t recommend it. However, everyone agrees it works great to clean street grime from your tire rims. First hose off any debris. Then mix one tablespoon Dawn in a gallon of water, sponge it on, and rinse away.

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7. Wash vinyl siding.

Eliminate dirt and moss from your vinyl siding, and make it look like new again. Mix one part Dawn to 10 parts water and use a soft automotive brush to apply it and scrub the grime away. Be sure to rinse from the top down to avoid getting water under the siding.

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8. Eliminate bugs from your plants.

Dish soap dissolves the protective coating on bugs, such as aphids, mites, and ants, causing them to dry out and die. Mix two to five tablespoons Dawn with one gallon of water.

Test the mixture on just a couple leaves a day or two before spraying the whole plant to make sure it doesn’t cause damage. When spraying the plant, aim for the bugs. Be sure to apply when the plants aren’t in direct sun or they may burn.

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9. Mix a DIY garden spray.

Neem oil is a great way to kill garden pests without damaging plants, but it needs an emulsifier to blend with water. Enter: Dawn! Combine one teaspoon Dawn with two tablespoons pure neem oil in one gallon of water. Spray on the buggy plants weekly until they’re gone.

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10. Wash off oil stains on driveways.

If the oil has puddled, sprinkle non-clumping cat litter or baking soda to soak it up first. After removing the solids, apply Dawn directly on to the stain. Let it sit for about an hour, then scrub the area with warm water and rinse away.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

11. Make de-icer for the sidewalk.

When steps and sidewalks get icy (but not piled with snow) pour on a mix of one teaspoon of Dawn dish soap, one tablespoon rubbing alcohol, and a half-gallon of warm water. The solution will keep the water from refreezing. 

Credit: Brooke Fitts

12. Have some bubble fun with the kids.

Want huge, long-lasting bubbles? Gently mix 1/2 cup Dawn with a half-gallon of warm water, and one tablespoon glycerin (look for it at drug stores) or corn syrup.

13. Trap pesky fruit flies.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 vinegar and a few drops of Dawn. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a few holes. The vinegar lures the flies through the holes. Once the Dawn gets on them, they won’t be able to escape the mix. 

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14. Make fireplace bricks look better than ever.

Mix one gallon warm water with two tablespoons Dawn in a bucket. In a separate bucket, mix one gallon water and one cup white vinegar. Wet the bricks well with water, then apply the soapy mixture with a scrub brush. Rinse with a sponge dipped in the vinegar mixture to remove any remaining soap residue.

15. Treat your pet’s fleas.

Use Dawn to quickly get rid of adult fleas on pets. Here’s how it works: Soap will coat the fleas and make them sink and drown. It’s the perfect gentle treatment for puppies too young for flea treatments. Follow the bath with a flea comb to remove any stragglers and eggs. Keep in mind the soap can irritate sensitive skin, so dilute it well. 

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16. Remove buildup on hair.

If your hair is weighed down with product buildup or grease, you can skip the expensive clarifying shampoos and just use Dawn!

17. Unstick other sticky things from hair.

Little kids are notorious for getting things like gum, silly putty, homemade slime, Vaseline, or lotions in their hair. Just apply Dawn, and you can massage it out — without resorting to cutting your tot’s hair.

18. Clean hair brushes and makeup tools.

Soak combs and brushes in a little bowl of warm water and Dawn. It’s great for removing makeup from sponges, too.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

19. Melt stickers and labels.

Rub Dawn on the gummy residue from stickers and labels, and watch the goo rinse right off. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

20. Work wonders on windows.

Mix two cups water, 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar, and three drops of Dawn in a spray bottle. If cleaning outdoor windows, you can double or triple the recipe and mix it in a bucket. Spray or sponge on, then wipe or rinse off. The mixture is especially effective at cleaning windows that are exposed to grease and soot.

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21. Remove soap scum.

Just squirt Dawn all over the tub, and use a stiff-bristled brush or broom to lather and scrub it away. For really tough jobs and hard water stains, combine equal parts Dawn and distilled white vinegar in a bowl or spray bottle. The vinegar dissolves the minerals, and the Dawn cuts the grime.

Credit: Cat Meschia

22. Unclog the drain.

Pour 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of Dawn into a clogged sink or toilet. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. For sinks, just run the hot water for a few minutes, and the water and soap should get the clog moving.

For toilets, heat a pot of water until hot but not boiling. Add the hot water to the toilet bowl, and let it sit for a few minutes before flushing. 

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani

23. Pretreat clothing stains.

Oily stains from food, makeup, and automotive grease are no match for Dawn. Apply directly to the stain, let sit overnight if necessary, then wash as usual. You can add a little to the washing machine if laundering a full load of greasy gear, but be careful not to use too much or the suds can overload your washer.

24. Add to your first aid kit with DIY gel ice packs.

Fill a zip-top freezer bag partially full with Dawn and freeze. The soap won’t harden like water, so the pack can contour around sore muscles. Plus, it stays cold longer. Re-freeze as often as you like. 

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25. Take care of paint and grease spills.

Use Dawn to remove paint or grease from hands and paint brushes. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

26. Mop up dirty vinyl, linoleum, or tile floors.

You can mop these types of floors with a simple solution of one to two tablespoons of Dawn and a gallon of warm water. Your floor will look good in no time!

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27. Soak grimy air filters.

Soak the washable mesh filters on air purifiers, air conditioners, vent hoods, and even pool filters in a sink or bucket filled with warm water mixed with Dawn, then gently sponge and rinse. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

28. Wipe down vinyl or metal blinds.

After dusting or vacuuming the slats, wipe each one down with a mix of one part water to one part white vinegar and a few drops of Dawn. For super-dirty blinds, fill a bathtub with a few inches of warm water, add a few splashes of vinegar and squirts of Dawn. Let the blinds soak for an hour before wiping and rinsing.

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29. Give your jewelry a boost.

Going out to a party? Need to spiff up your accessories? Mix a few drops of Dawn in a bowl of warm water. Add your jewelry, and let it soak for five minutes. Rinse and buff dry with a microfiber cloth. If you need to give it a gentle scrub after soaking, use a new, unused baby toothbrush (remnants of toothpaste may have an abrasive residue).

How do you use Dawn dish soap beyond the kitchen? Tell us your tips in the comments below.