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Does Making Your Own (Cheaper) Dawn Powerwash Work? I Tried It So You Wouldn’t Have To

Spritz it, then let it sit


As soon as Dawn Powerwash hit the shelves, I bought a couple bottles. They were on sale, they promised to clean my dirtiest pans, and they were made by one of my favorite brands — Dawn. (Who can forget that “Wildlife” campaign, when rescue workers cleaned animals in oil spills with dish soap?)

Unfortunately, I was addicted to this amazing cleaning product by the time it went off sale. Dawn Powerwash (Buy from Amazon, $16.88) costs a pretty penny at its regular price, but it was hard to say “no” to it when it cut my dish scrubbing time in half. So, when I saw a trick on TikTok for making your own Powerwash, I knew I had to try it out.

How to make Dawn Powerwash at home

According to TikToker Stephanie Booth, DIY Dawn Powerwash requires just three ingredients (and an empty Dawn Powerwash container):

  • ¼ cup Dawn Platinum Advanced, 90 oz (Buy from Amazon, $15.89)
  • 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol
  • Enough water to fill the remainder of the Dawn Powerwash container

Instructions: Pour the ingredients into the container, shake it up and it’s ready to go.

This homemade version seemed simple enough. To prep for the cleaning test, I dirtied a stainless steel pan by making ground chicken for dinner. Then, I let the pan sit (uncleaned) overnight to make it an extra challenge.

My thoughts on the DIY Powerwash

The next morning, I got to work. Unfortunately, measuring out the dish soap and funneling it into the Powerwash container was a pain. It almost made me write this trick off as a waste of time, because the thick dish soap took so long to drain into the container. Still, I recognized that using the original container was important, because the nozzle uses special technology to release a continuous foam spray. (If you tried to use a different spray container, the soap wouldn’t come out as foam, and it might eventually clog the sprayer.) I finally got the hang of it and finished out the experiment with a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and water.

When I sprayed the mixture into the right half of the pan, I expected to be disappointed. Instead, I was shocked to see a beautiful spray coat the stainless steel surface. It worked! The soap was incredibly thick and didn’t evaporate while I let the pan rest. I sprayed the left side with regular Dawn Powerwash, then waited for both cleaning mixtures to do the work.

Dawn Powerwash Soap in a pan next to DIY Dawn Powerwash
Left: Dawn Powerwash. Right: DIY Powerwash

As you can see, the original Powerwash is finer and foamier, while the DIY Powerwash has plenty of aerated bubbles. I wiped down both sides, and found that I only had to do a little bit of scrubbing on each side. In other words — the DIY Powerwash worked just as well as the original. The original still had the DIY version beat in terms of smell (I love the subtle, fresh pear scent of Dawn Powerwash), but beyond that, I was extremely impressed.

Now, I have to admit: I don’t have a huge need for the Powerwash because I rarely use stainless steel anymore. I switched to the best nonstick cooking pan I’ve ever discovered: the Fusion Guard Fry Pan (Buy the set from Fusion Guard, $79.99), and I’ve never been happier. Regardless, a special soap comes in handy anytime I have really caked-on cookware. I’m so relieved that I found a way to save money while achieving the same result!

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