Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Feb 26, 2014 in Home & Garden, How To | 17 comments

Dawn and Vinegar: The Dream Cleaning Team

I’m in love with a dynamic duo that will allow you to replace half the store-bought products in your cleaning arsenal with two simple and inexpensive ingredients: Dawn and vinegar.

There are a tons of  uses for Dawn dish soap and vinegar together, in different concentrations, to tackle just about every corner of your home. Here are just a few of  the ways I use it, all with fantastic results!

Soap Scum Remover: 1 part Dawn to 1 part Vinegar

If you have soap scum in your tub or shower, this duo is your new best friend. Add equal parts Dawn and vinegar to a spray bottle and shake gently to mix. If you have really tough deposits, you can heat the vinegar in the microwave before mixing for a little extra power. Spray all over the tub/shower and let it sit for a few minutes to a few hours, depending how yucky the target. Since the spray is thicker, it clings to the walls and shower doors rather than running right down. After it sits, scrub if you need to, but you’ll probably just be able to spray it off and have sparkly surfaces. It’s a little stinky while it sits, but I much preferred the vinegar smell to the nasty chemical smell of other commercial cleaners, and this worked a ton better! Once you rinse, the leftover smell is more like Dawn than the vinegar.

Toilet Cleaner: 1 part Dawn to 1-2 parts Vinegar

After you do the shower/tub, use what’s left to clean the toilets. The thicker concentration will cling in the toilet bowl, and you can add more vinegar to clean the rest of the toilet. Vinegar has some natural disinfecting properties too!

Carpet Spot Treatment: 1 part Dawn to 2 parts Vinegar

Words cannot express how thrilled I was with the Dawn and vinegar spot treatment. Regardless of my rules about food and drinks on carpet, somehow my children have managed to stain up much of the house. I had stains that included mystery blobs, trails of random sippy-cup beverages, and (as much as I hate to admit it) what might have been spots of ground-in Pop Tart filling. Ugh.

This magic combo did an amazing job with almost all the spots in the house (there were a few marker stains in my daughter’s room that it didn’t completely get out, but it faded them some). I’m not sure what it is in the combination that got things out so well, but it even loosened the sticky ground-in stuff and took care of the dark stains. I sprayed, let it sit for a while, then scrubbed and blotted with a towel. It also worked well as a pre-treater for using the SteamVac–on milder spots I just sprayed, let it sit, then let the carpet cleaner do the scrubbing for me. Excellent results!

For sickies on carpet, I’ve had a lot of luck with a Dawn, baking soda and peroxide combo.

General Surface Cleaner and Floor Cleaner: 1 part Dawn to 2-4 parts Vinegar

For general cleaning, like kitchen and bathroom counters, you can use a little Dawn with more vinegar. You can play around with the proportions to see what works for you–more Dawn in the mix can lead to a more suds, which can require a second wiping after cleaning. If the vinegar smell is a little strong for your liking, you can dilute it with a little water too (although I found that the smell went away pretty quickly and it just smelled clean).

To do my floors,  I used the same bottle of spray, spritzed down the floor, then went over it with a damp mop. If you have some leftover Swiffer pads, you could use them with this as well! I’m also intrigued by the new microfiber mops that have a removable, washable pad, and a spray reservoir for your own cleaning solution. I’ll wait for a deal on one, but I think they would be awesome with this cleaner

Wood Floors – 2 Tablespoons of Dawn

To do my wood floors, I just add about 2 tablespoons of Dawn to a bucket of warm water. I’ve only used blue Dawn for the last six years on my wood floors. They remain clean and shiny! They’re not too slick either!

A few notes…

Most of the information I saw on this cleaning combo specifically mentioned using blue Dawn. I don’t know if there’s something magical about that color, or if it was just a way to distinguish the Original Dawn from the kind with ingredients for hand-softening that might not be as effective for this cleaning recipe. I suspect other dish soaps would work fine in this recipe, but I happened to have cheap, blue Dawn in my stockpile, so that’s what I used.

Guest blogger Sara Steigerwald is a DealPro and founder of She believes couponing can help your family and community, and loves seeing and hearing of others paying it forward! 


  1. Unable to purchase Dawn in Australia what other products can I use I have Finish dishwashing liquid

    • Hi Lorraine, I did a little digging – do you have a brand called “Fairy”? Looks like it’s the same thing as Dawn. I also saw that it’s (possibly) now available in Costco’s there. If you can’t find either of these options, let me know and I’ll keep looking. It could also be regional – where in Australia are you?

  2. Can I use Dawn dish dish soap mixed with vinegar & water fir laundry soap with a few drops if essential oils for fragrance?

    Do you know how much if each U should mix together & shake?



    • Renata – try this mixture:

      2 teaspoons of dish soap to 1 cup of vinegar for fabric softener. Essential oils – use as desired.

  3. The dish soap & vinegar solution might help control ants in the kitchen. I’m going to give it a try.

  4. How about a dirty stain on a jean material? Can anyone recommend a solution? Thank you in advance!

  5. Could I use this on my microfiber couch cushions?

  6. I usually use a mixture of liquid dish soap and some vinegar and it works wonders on any spotted stain on my carpet (i have two big dogs). After i’ve applied the mixture, I absorb the liquid by putting some baby powder on the area. I let it dry then I vacuum it up. At very least, the urine smell is gone.

  7. I rub some of the 1:1 mixture on my underarms before I get in the shower. It gets off the antiperspirant that can build up on your skin, and has never caused any irritation. 😉

    • You might want to try baking soda as a deodorant. I’ve used it for 25 years. A only a small pinch is needed

      • Interesting idea Lala, we’ll have to try that. Thanks!

  8. I do not understand? how do i get the receipes for these?

    • Hi Debera,
      It depends on what recipe you’re looking for.
      Soap Scum Remover: 1 part Dawn to 1 part Vinegar
      Toilet Cleaner: 1 part Dawn to 1-2 parts Vinegar
      Carpet Spot Treatment: 1 part Dawn to 2 parts Vinegar
      General Surface Cleaner and Floor Cleaner: 1 part Dawn to 2-4 parts Vinegar
      Wood Floors – 2 Tablespoons of Dawn

  9. I like the combination of vinegar and Dawn, it works great when it’s time to clean the kitchen. It’s better than any store-bought surface cleaner, plus I prefer to make my own, natural cleaning solutions. Only this way I’m sure there are no harmful ingredients and everything is non-toxic. Greets!

  10. Thank you a lot for the incredible natural cleaning recipes! I use a mixture of one part white vinegar and one part water to clean my windows. It works more than amazing! Regards!East Dulwich Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

    • Great post! Been reading a lot about cleaning with vinegar. Thanks for the info here!

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *