Saturday, June 3, 2023


Are you really washing your dishes correctly?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Fellow RVers, how do you wash your dishes? Do they stack up in the sink, making a stink, until the end of day? Or do you “clean as you go,” squirting a little dish soap on a sponge, wiping away at the dish grunge, and giving a quick rinse? If you’re doing the latter, dish detergent detective Procter & Gamble says you’ve got it all wrong. Here’s why:

Sadly, like a lot of us, things haven’t changed much in decades. OK, maybe sagging skin – but dish soap, no changes. Proctor & Gamble’s Dawn has been around since the ’70s, and was designed to work with water – lots of it. Fill your sink with water, add a squirt of Dawn, then toss in the dishes and wishy-washy to your heart’s content. Result: Clean dishes, ready for a rinse. But, squirt a dash of Dawn on your sponge or rag and rub away on the dishes – there’s just not enough foam to get the oils, grime, and potentially bacteria off of the dishes.

You know what’s coming next. Yep, it’s the dawn of a new Dawn! [Drum roll, please.] “Dawn Powerwash Dish Spray” comes in a spray bottle. Shoot squirts out of the spray bottle, now dash with the dishcloth, and hey! Presto! Give that dish a rinse and it’s ready for the next use. No sink full of water – which could be a real plus for the boondocking set. First, you’ll use less precious fresh water, and take up less space in the gray tank. And, it’s easier on the propane supply, as you’ll not need oceans of hot water to do the task.

And the dark side of this new anti-crud crusader? You saw that coming too, didn’t you?! The truth is at the checkout line – the new Powerwash Dish Spray and it’s nifty nozzle will set you back a couple bucks more than you’re paying for the “needs lotsa water” variety. But Proctor & Gamble says it will gamble that you’ll be happy to pay a bit more for the convenience. They already know that doing the dishes is the second-most hated household chore – cleaning the “terlit” is top of the list of “Let George do it!” activities. And the company also throws statistics up to make the higher cost go down easier – they claim using Powerwash Dish Spray is “five times faster” than doing dishes the old-fashioned way.

Look for the new cleaning goop in stores after the turn of the year.



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Sandy Perley
2 years ago

Would like to try it but bottle is too tall to fit in my cupboard under the sink!

Karen S.
2 years ago

I tried this product and note that it is a highly concentrated clinging foam. I don’t use it for all my dishes, but just as a pre-wash for the heavily soiled, or a greasy skillet. Spray on and wipe off with a papertowel or napkin, then a quick rinse. Saves water with less grease and stubborn food residue in my gray tank. Used in this manner, should last me a while.

Mike R
2 years ago

Before diving too deep with this soap, I’d consider that it may not actually “sanitize” or “disinfect” your dishes. So, if you don’t have an automatic dishwasher (I think many won’t in their RV) then you might consider getting a tub and some dissolving “3rd sink” / sanitizing tablets from Jon-Don or Webstaurant Store or somewhere so that you can dip your dishes in a sanitizer on the way to the drying rack. The Powerwash is great for removing grease, even when heavily soiled if you follow the instructions, but I’m not so sure it sanitizes your cooked-on eggs or gravy stains.

Ronald Payne
3 years ago

Chuck,the only time i liked Dawn,was with Tony Orlando!

RV Staff
3 years ago
Reply to  Ronald Payne

😆 —Diane at

Fred Wagner
3 years ago

We have a similar product. Dawn direct foam. We just refill the container with dawn and water. We have been using it at home and camping for years with the same bottle.

3 years ago

Original Dawn is great… washes well even in cold water. Dawn is also great for saving waterfowl and removing fleas and ticks.

This spray bottle is atrocious marketing of a disposable bottle of diluted soap. I make my own in a foaming sprayer using original Dawn.

Speaking of which, it is NOT the foam that cleans as claimed here. Foam dying is a symptom the soap molecules have emulsified all the lipids they can bind with. If your suds work keep cleaning; go flat, dump the tub. Foam is the effect not the cause.

Donald N Wright
3 years ago

I put the paper plates and bowls in the campfire, wash everything else.

Mark B
3 years ago

Tub in the sink method.

Dawn spray bottle. It will improve your life…or will it. They are selling you a bottle of water with very diluted soap and creating more waste that can’t be recycled. Improving your life? it’s a good money maker for manufacturer and store, if you own their stock it could be a plus. If you didn’t know, detergent and soap containers are thrown away at the recycling facility because it takes too much water to clean before recycling plastic. These new soap sprayers have metal and other pieces that can’t be recycled either, so the whole thing is tossed.

A spray bottle for dishwashing is marketing that is like the marketing of “zero emissions electric car”. Sounds great until you actually think. Sure, it is zero emissions while you are driving for 200 miles, but when you plug in to charge, unless you are using solar or windmill, you are charging with electricity created by burning coal. In this country, at least 63% of our electricity comes from coal. So, is an electric car really zero emissions? No. Maybe an electric car is more efficient than some other engines, but if you plug into electrical power grid, it still pollutes.

Reduced footprint dishwashing method. Goals:
– Able to wash dishes with a single bowl sink
– Use as little water and soap as possible (minimize using your fresh water use, reduce grey water needed to be disposed of)
– If desired, grey water can be carried outside for watering a tree

Wipe dirty dish/silverware with your napkin.

Put your disk in a tub in the sink that contains enough water to cover your dish(es) while soaking. When ready to wash a batch:
1) take tub out of sink, while pouring soaking water down the drain (or take outside and water a tree)
2) plug sink and transfer dishes that have been in soaking tub into the sink
3) wash tub while saving that water in sink with soaked dishes
4) fill tub with enough water for rinse. Sanitize notes below*
5) soap/scrub dishes in the plugged sink
7) put slightly soapy dish into rinse tub
8) pull rinsed dishes from tub and set on drying rack/towel

Note: I usually heat a pot of water on stove for my hot rinse and pour that into tub. This saves heating all the water in my hot water heater, for a such a small need. Check below for how to sanitize*

Note: Your hot rinse water now becomes the soaking water for next batch, put tub back in sink.

Note: With baby bottles heat pot on stove and use to sanitize* (use tongs). Also could use pot for silverware. Then pour that water into tub for hot rinse for remaining items. I have a thin campstove pot I use for this (and other stove top boiling). It’s taller than wide and was well used when I got from a garage sale more than 40 years ago. Maybe something like the “AceCamp Aluminum Cooking Pot”. It isn’t a backpacking pot, rather a camping pot.

*Sanitize is 170F for 30 seconds. Sanitize can also be a cool gallon of water with tablespoon of unscented bleach. (Hot water will prevent bleach from sanitizing.) For the non-germaphobe, many germs are eliminated by washing w/soap and then rinsing with water from 80F-120F.

Roy Christensen
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark B

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, all fossil fuels account for 64% of electric generation in the U.S. (October 2019)

3 years ago
Reply to  Mark B

Wish more people had your common sense. Thank you, it is refreshing to hear that someone understands.

3 years ago

I make my own foam with Dawn diluted about 1 to 3 with water in a recycled Dove foaming hand wash dispenser. A squirt and I have it washed with a quick rinse to follow.

3 years ago

Just bought a bottle to try when boondocking only. Will see….

3 years ago

The new Dawn sounds like it would be great for boondocking, a single person, or for that rest area gulp and go lunch. I prefer the standard Dawn. Just seems that more water would get the dishes cleaner. After reading my comment, I just realized that I have entered the “we always did it that way” age bracket.

3 years ago

How about making your own. A bit of Dawn and water in a spray bottle…like using a concentrate! Dish washing hack.

3 years ago

I’ve been doing the spray for years. Mix my own Dawn with water in a spray bottle. Works great, cheaper than buying theirs.

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