Sometimes being frugal isn’t about avoiding commercial products. Sometimes it’s about knowing how to put commercial products to their best use! There are a lot of inexpensive products out there that can do the job of more expensive products. One of my favorites is Dawn dish soap! Here are 20 Frugal Ways to Use Dawn Dish Soap!
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Note that the following uses apply to cases where you use the blue Dawn soap (Dawn Ultra). They may or may not work with the other types of Dawn due to variations in the formulas. Though if you’re concerned about the blue dye of Dawn Ultra, it’d be worthwhile to try using the dye-free Dawn Pure Essentials instead. These also may or may not work with other brands of dish soap, but again, in most cases it probably doesn’t hurt to try. To test your soap, you can take a small amount of it and just put it on a small part of the surface you want to affect and see how it works.
And this isn’t a sponsored post. I just truly find Dawn to be a very useful (and frugal) soap!
20 Frugal Ways to Use Dawn Dish Soap
1. Emergency Hair Cleanup
If your kids (or you) get something grease-based in their hair, like gum or a sticky toy, you can use Dawn dish soap to help clean it out! Just put a little Dawn on your fingertips, and rub it onto the sticky stuff, using your fingers or a comb to nudge the stuff out.
2. Weed Killer
One of the more interesting ways to use Dawn dish soap is as a weed killer! A mixture of Dawn (1/2 teaspoon), salt (1/2 cup), and white cleaning vinegar (1/2 gallon) can help keep weeds under control. You can spray or pour it directly on the offending plants, being sure to avoid any of the plants you want to keep! If you have a really bad weed situation, or stubborn weeds that even this mixture can’t kill, you may want to try this natural vinegar based weed killer that’s 6 times stronger than distilled household cleaning vinegar!
3. Concrete Safe Driveway De-Icer
Using salt-based de-icers on your driveway and sidewalk can damage the concrete over time. A safer substitute is a combination of a gallon warm of hot water, 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and 2 teaspoons of Dawn in a bucket. Pour this mixture over the frozen concrete areas, and they’ll melt and keep from refreezing! I also have some tips on frugal ways to de-ice your windshield!
4. Clean Outdoor Furniture
Over time, your furniture on your porch and patio likely has gotten a little nasty looking, especially if it’s made of plastic. To get it clean again, mix a little Dawn with some warm water, and wipe down your furniture. Then rinse your furniture clean with a hose or clean bowl of water.
5. Toilet Unclogger
If your toilet gets clogged, you don’t need any pricey chemicals! Instead, pour a cup of Dawn into it and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. After that, pour a bucket of hot water into the toilet, holding it a few feet above the toilet (around the height of your waist). That should do the trick! If it doesn’t, check out this drain clog dissolver. It’s safer to use than Drano, and it’s biodegradable!
6. Grease Spill Cleaner
Another of the many ways to use Dawn dish soap is as a grease spill cleaner in your garage or driveway. First, clean up the spill as well as you can (cat litter can easily absorb it). Then use a mixture of Dawn and warm water and scrub it onto the spot to clear up the rest of the spill!
7. Glasses Defogger
If you wear glasses, it’s likely that you get irritated with how your glasses can fog up at times. To prevent this, rub a drop of Dawn on each lens of your glasses, then wipe them clean. The film that’s left behind will be hardly noticeable, and will keep your glasses from fogging! Make sure you use a microfiber cloth to wipe down your glasses. We’ve been told by our optometrist that rough fabrics or rough paper towels could potentially scratch your glasses, especially if they have any sort of special coating.
8. Hair Product Remover
Over time, the hair products we use build up in out hair and don’t get totally washed out. To help reduce hair product buildup, ever 4 weeks or so, wash your hair with Dawn as your shampoo. It’s a safe way to remove hair product buildup from your hair! If you don’t feel comfortable using Dawn on your hair, you could instead try using this hair detox shampoo and conditioner.
9. Ant Killer
Yet another of the many ways to use Dawn dish soap is as an ant killer! All you need to do is put a teaspoon or two of the soap in a spray bottle full of water, mix it up by shaking it around, then spray any ants you see. If you don’t want to have to go on an ant hunt, a good (and natural) alternative is to use food grade diatomaceous earth. Just sprinkle it in areas where you think ants are travelling. It’s pet safe and kid safe, and the government of Canada even specifically has mentioned it as an effective non-chemical alternative to pesticides!
10. Flea Killer
Did you know that Dawn can help kill fleas, too? You can use the same formulation as the ant killer above. Spray that on any flea-infested areas, let it sit for about 30 minutes, during which time it’ll kill the fleas. Then you can vacuum up their remains. You can also wash your dog with Dawn. Just be careful to avoid getting soap in their eyes, and make sure to rinse them off thoroughly afterward. Also, don’t use Dawn as your dog’s regular shampoo, just use it if they get fleas. Using Dawn on your dog frequently can dry out their skin. If you have a cat, use a flea comb to pick the fleas out of their fur, and drop the fleas in a bowl of water that has 3 teaspoons of Dawn in it, in order to kill them.
Do note that if you find a tick on your pet (or on yourself), using Dawn can actually hurt more than help. While putting Dawn on a tick may help you pull it out easier, it also causes them to vomit. If the tick carries Lyme disease, that will just push the disease into you or your pet’s bloodstream. So stick with just using Dawn on fleas.
11. Homemade Window Cleaner
One of the best ways to use Dawn dish soap is in a homemade window cleaner recipe! All you need is a quart of water and 1 drop of Dawn in a spray bottle. Use this mixture like you would your usual window cleaner!
12. Find Tire Holes
If you suspect that one of your tires is leaking air due to a puncture, mix some Dawn with water and cover the tire with the mixture. If you see an area with bubbles, that’s where the air is escaping. Knowing this, you can patch the leak using an inexpensive tire repair kit!
13. Keep Away Houseplant Bugs
No one wants to see bugs on their houseplants! To keep them away, put a few drops of Dawn in a spray bottle filled with water, shake to mix it up, then spray your houseplants’ leaves.
14. Door Lubricant
An easy way to fix a squeaky door is with just a drop of Dawn! You can also use it to lubricate the tracks of sliding doors.
15. Make Your Own Ice Packs
There’s no need to go to the drug store for an ice pack! Instead, get a zip top gallon freezer bag, fill it with Dawn, then freeze it. When you need it, use it until it melts a lot, then re-freeze. Though I would recommend having a reusable hot/cold pack in your first aid kit, ideally one like this one that has a Velcro strap so you can strap it on the hurting area.
16. Manicure Enhancer
One of the more surprising ways to use Dawn dish soap is as a way to improve your manicures. If you soak your fingers in a small bowl of Dawn mixed with warm water for 5-10 minutes you’ll soften your cuticles and remove oil from your nails. The lack of oil will make it easier for your nail polish to stick.
17. Safer Plastic Pool Cleaner
If you’re in the habit of cleaning your kids’ kiddie pools with bleach, you’ll find your pools don’t last as long as they could. Luckily Dawn won’t weaken the plastic on kiddie pools, making this a great way to use Dawn dish soap!
18. Catch Fruit Flies
Fruit flies can be so annoying! To catch them, put a few drops of Dawn in a small container of white vinegar. Then put the container where you’ve seen the flies (likely in your kitchen). They’ll be attracted to the container by the white vinegar, but will get stuck in the mixture because of the Dawn. Then you can just throw them out. For more frugal tips on how to get rid of fruit flies, check out this post.
19. Poison Ivy First Aid
If you or your kids get poison ivy, Dawn dish soap can help! First, wash the affected area with Dawn and cool water. This helps to remove lingering oils from the plant, which will stay active on skin (even under nails!), clothes, and other surfaces for years until cleaned. After washing all the oil away, cleaning the area with Dawn and warm water will help soothe the itchy blisters. Many people report that washing with Dawn helps reduce the severity of the rash, and that it clears up faster. You can’t get the same effects with regular hand/body wash because those soaps don’t have the oil-fighting properties of Dawn, and will just spread the poison ivy oil around as you wash.
Do note that poison ivy is not spread by oil from the rash’s blisters. It is only spread by the plant’s oils. So what you’re trying to do with the Dawn is not clean the blisters, but remove the poison ivy’s oils. But it is important to keep the blisters clean, as scratching them open could lead to them getting infected. To keep from scratching, keep this poison ivy anti-itch cream in your first aid kit. If you’d prefer a natural solution, this naturally derived herbal salve has great reviews.
20. Grill Cleaner
Yet another one of the frugal ways to use Dawn dish soap is to clean your grill! Just put your cooled, greasy grill rack in a big bag that you can seal shut (like a big trash bag). Then pour a gallon of water and 1/2 cup of Dawn into the bag. Let the bag sit about 10 hours or overnight. The next day you can just scrub your grill down with your wire brush, cordless drill brush attachment, grill cleaning block, or wood scraper. Then give it a rinse, and it’ll be nice and clean!
Have you ever used Dawn as anything other than dish soap?
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