Not Just for Dishes
Move over Rubber-Ducky. Up on the "soap box" I go to give some thrifty, frugal-friendly advice to our readers. This issue's Helpful Hint is about dish-washing liquid and its amazing uses. Take a quick glance; you'd be surprised.
(And, many thanks to reader, Penny Wise--okay, maybe that's not her real name--for asking me if she really needs to buy all those different soap products that lurk under her kitchen sink. The simple answer: "NO.")
When it comes to dish-washing liquid, I buy the original, blue Dawn, and I'm not alone. For over 35 years, Dawn has been the detergent-of-choice for wildlife conservationists to remove grease from animals caught in oil spills and it's biodegradable and contains no phosphates. (You may have a favorite brand you want to use -- that's fine. Just make sure it's high-quality; those cheaper brands may be watered down or highly salty.)
LET'S START WITH THE OBVIOUS:
Dishes, Pots & Pans: For tough, baked-baked on debris, let the item soak in warm, soapy water for 30 minutes, then a little touch of elbow grease and a pot scraper will do the trick.
Hand Wash: I use a drop or two for washing my hands. It's as gentle as any hand-cleaner on the market. Paint & Grease Remover For Hands: Combine soap with a drop of corn oil and rub over dirty hands. In combination, they dissolve and remove paint and grease in a flash.
Window Cleaner: Add 3 or 4 drops to a gallon of warm water. Stir and add to a spritzer to spray on windows or use a diaper and a pail. Squeegee and your done.
Floors & Multi-Purpose Cleaner: Again, add 2 drops to a gallon of warm water to clean no-wax, vinyl floors and ceramic tiles. A cloth diaper works best and so does our Washing Floors hint (look under Archives at the end of this page).
Pretreating Laundry Stains: For oil-based stains, such as lipstick, butter, cooking oil, grease, etc., apply the dish-washing liquid directly to the stain and scrub with an old tooth-brush until the oil is gone. Launder as usual.
NOW TO THE FUN ONES:
Bubbles: Children's museums use a combination of 1/2 cup Dawn "Ultra" in 1/2 gallon warm water and 1 tablespoon of glycerin (you'll find it at a drug store or white Karo syrup will work in a pinch). Stir, skim off the foam, dip a bubble wand, and pucker up!
Ice Pack: Fill a freezer, Ziplok quart-size bag with Dawn, close and freeze. It stays colder longer than water and can be refrozen several times. Better yet, it conforms to the shape you need.
Fleas & Pets: Use Dawn to bathe your pet. It's gentle and much cheaper than animal shampoo. Also, many pet bloggers agree that it is an excellent flea shampoo.
Squeaky Hinges: Dawn is a super non-toxic lubricant for door knobs and hinges.
Plant Spray: Don't let aphids and other crawly things get your plants next Spring. By adding 2 tablespoons of biodegradable dish-washing liquid to a gallon of water, you can create your own safe insect spray. Poison-ivy? Wash the area with Dawn (it dries out the oil and helps to keep the inflammation from spreading).