Dear Mary: I love all the tips you give for making your own cleaning solutions. Sadly, over the past year, my youngest daughter has developed a severe fragrance allergy. This means I can no longer use blue Dawn in any of my cleaning solutions. Do you know of any substitutes for Dawn that would work as well in the homemade liquid laundry detergent (everydaycheapskate.com/laundry-detergent)? Would liquid castile soap be a good alternative? — Jenny
Dear Jenny: You’re not the first to inquire about substitutes for blue Dawn, for a variety of reasons. I decided to test your suggestion by substituting the very popular Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap for the 3/4 cup of Dawn called for in the recipe. My immediate reaction was that it mixed up just like blue Dawn.
I ran a few loads of laundry using this alternative recipe. A few days later, I began a laundry load by shaking the container to remix the ingredients that typically settle, but it felt weird, like it had thickened. It wasn’t easy to pour; it was gloppy and slime-like. And by the end of that week, my husband noticed the return of that annoying itchy feeling he gets with commercial laundry products.
That test detergent kept getting thicker and gloppier until after 10 days, it solidified! I threw the entire mess out — plastic jug and all.
My conclusion is that Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap is not a reasonable substitute for blue Dawn in our homemade liquid laundry detergent. If