Jell-O. Kleenex. Onesies.
Popsicle. Q-Tips. Sharpie.
We might not realize it, but we use proprietary eponyms—when a brand name becomes synonymous with a particular item—all the time. It doesn’t seem to happen so much anymore—then again, we hear Just google it a lot these days.
Grocery store shelves, however, are full of products that have attained the kind of cult-like status that makes marketing executives weak in the knees.
Which brings us to a famously blue product launched in 1973 called Dawn. Maybe you’ve heard of it. The dish soap has launched a thousand lists for an endless array of uses.
Think I’m overreacting? Just google it.
This column was not sponsored by Procter & Gamble, Dawn’s parent company; I promise. This column was, however, inspired by the whopping variety of ways consumers claim that Dawn has saved the day—some of which I’m not sure I believe. You be the judge. All I know is, spring is on the horizon and the act of deep cleaning may find its way on many of our to-do lists.
Aside from its most popular job of dishwashing, Dawn has also been highly touted for its grease-removal capabilities: Remember how Dawn cleaned up the cute little ducks who fell victim to the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon oil spills many years ago?
But wait, there’s more. Like, a lot more:
Remove Gum from Hair
It’s been said that all one has to do is apply Dawn to the gum and then wait for it to start breaking the piece down. Full disclosure: I’ve never tried this—thank goodness, I haven’t had to. But rest assured, should my daughter (or I) find ourselves with this particular conundrum on our hands, I’ll be desperate enough to give this remedy a try.
Moldable Ice Pack
Make a moldable ice pack that doesn’t completely freeze by simply mixing equal parts Dawn and water. Then put the solution in a Ziploc bag and stick it in the freezer. I haven’t tried this one, either, but I figure it’s worth a shot. (I would double my Ziplocs, though, just in case.)
For this problem, Dawn works in two unique ways. First, you can clean your glasses by rubbing a small dab of soap onto the lenses and then wiping it off with a soft, dry cloth—which I totally stand by; I’ve done this. It works! The second perk of this tip is that the invisible film created by Dawn will apparently prevent your eyeglasses from fogging up in the future.
Showers and tubs
We all know it seemingly takes a mere nano-second for showers and bathtubs to become filthy. And the more time between scrubs, the more difficult tiles and tubs are to clean. But here’s the hack: Microwave equal parts Dawn and vinegar, pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and then spray on the surfaces. They say you’ll never go back to conventional products again.
Banish paint stains
Man, I wish I had known this back when my husband and I were painting our children’s rooms several years ago. We tried mightily not to get paint on our hands, but mishaps of this kind are an unfortunate inevitability. And as you probably know, removing paint from your hands can be a pain in the you-know-what. But evidently, it’s not when you wash your skin with Dawn.
They say that Dawn even works as a spray for killing bugs. Who knew? To protect your garden’s fruits and vegetables, put two teaspoons of Dawn and one quart of water in a spray bottle, then shake well. While you might see a film on your plants, experts insist it won’t harm the plants—just the insects. The soapy water is thought to wash away a bug’s protective coating, so the pest dries out and dies. Once the soapy water has dried, it no longer has any effect on garden pests and should then be rinsed off the plant.
Stubborn stain removal
Kids come home with the darndest stains. And sometimes, we adults are no better (hello, red wine!). Once again, Dawn, they say, can save the day. Applying the dish soap directly on the stain and then scrubbing with a toothbrush, prior to laundering as usual is all it takes. I haven’t tried this one, either, but I wholeheartedly plan to the next time I run out of my usual stain remover.
Courtney Conover is wife, mom, yoga instructor, and Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor who has called Wayne home since 1995.