Dawn dish soap is a popular brand of liquid dishwashing detergent or washing-up liquid.
It is known for its effectiveness in cutting through grease and removing tough food residues from dishes, pots, pans, and other kitchen items. In fact, it’s the go-to dish soap for many people globally.
Dawn is widely recognised and used in the USA and some other countries—but, unfortunately, the UK isn’t one of them.
If you live in the United Kingdom, you’ll probably be looking for an alternative to Dawn dish soap in the UK. So, what is the British equivalent? Keep reading to find out!
What Is Dawn Dish Soap Called in the UK?
The equivalent of Dawn dish soap in the United Kingdom is often considered to be Fairy washing-up liquid, often known simply as “Fairy Liquid.”
Both these branded dish detergents serve the same purpose—they are used for washing dishes and cutting through grease, and both are highly effective.
The same parent company produces both Dawn and Fairy Liquid: Procter & Gamble. This is one of the largest and most well-known companies globally in the fast-moving consumer goods industry.
Other brands under the Procter & Gamble umbrella include Pampers, Gillette, and Head & Shoulders.
What’s Special About Dawn Dish Soap?
Dawn and Fairy are the leading washing-up liquid/dish soap brands in their respective countries.
In Great Britain, an estimated 21.2 million people used Fairy Liquid branded detergents in 2021.
The situation is similar in the United States, with Dawn dish soap generating 624 million USD worth of sales in 2017 and being the leading detergent brand.
The reason these two brands are customer favourites is partly because of their strong brand representation but mostly because of how well they work:
- Grease-cutting power: One of the most distinctive features of Dawn and Fairy is their exceptional ability to cut through grease and oil. They are more concentrated than other brands and quickly bind to and remove hydrophobic substances, making them a go-to choice for tackling tough, oily messes.
- Long-lasting bubbles: Dawn and Fairy produce long-lasting bubbles that help maintain cleaning power throughout the dishwashing process, meaning less scrubbing is required. You’ll also need to use less per washing-up session, with reports that these formulas last at least twice as long as other top brands.
- Versatility: While Dawn and Fairy Liquid are primarily designed for dishwashing, many people have discovered their versatility for other cleaning tasks. They have been used for removing stains from clothes, cleaning household surfaces, unblocking toilets, and even as components in DIY cleaning solutions.
- Variety of formulations: Dawn and Fairy offer various formulations with different scents and added features to cater to various preferences, such as dish detergents for sensitive skin. E.g., you can purchase Dawn Ultra, Regular Dawn, Dawn Platinum, Fairy Original, Fairy Antibac, and Fairy Platinum.
What’s the Difference Between Dawn Dish Soap and Fairy?
Dawn Soap and Fairy are undoubtedly two of the best washing-up liquids globally.
However, despite their similarly effective grease-cutting abilities, they’re not identical. They are produced by different branches of Procter & Gamble and are marketed in different regions.
Therefore, while both are designed to clean dishes effectively, there are differences in formulation, fragrance, and packaging.
These distinctions can stem from regional preferences, regulatory requirements, and variations in the manufacturing process.
- Formulation and ingredients: The exact formulation of each brand’s dish soap might differ, as regulations and ingredient preferences can vary between countries. So, although Dawn and Fairy focus on effective grease removal and dish cleaning, they might use slightly different combinations of surfactants, enzymes, and other cleaning agents.
- Packaging and marketing: The bottle designs of both Dawn and Fairy are typically the same, either in their thinner clear plastic bottle or their newly redesigned bottle that dispenses the soap from the bottom. However, the labelling and marketing might differ. Fairy is also popular throughout Europe, so the labels might use different languages.
- Dish soap colour: Dawn dish soap is blue and has been since it was first produced around 50 years ago. The colour is so heavily associated with the brand that the detergent is often called “Blue Dawn Dish Soap.” On the other hand, Fairy Liquid is traditionally green. Today, you can find yellow, orange, blue, and purple Fairy varieties.
- Fragrances: Both Dawn and Fairy are available in multiple fragrances. Their “Original” scents are clean and neutral, but you can now find products with scents such as apple, lavender, lemon, and pomegranate. However, the exact fragrances available in the UK and USA might vary between the two brands.
It’s important to note that the actual differences can vary over time, P&G may reformulate their products, change their marketing strategies, or adapt to new regulations.
If you’re looking for specific information about the differences between the current formulations of Dawn and Fairy, it’s best to refer to the product labels, manufacturer websites, or other official sources.
Where Can I Buy Dawn Dish Soap in the UK?
For most people, the differences between Dawn Dish Soap and Fairy Liquid are marginal. Both belong to the same ownership group, are known for their long-lasting bubbles, and are available in a variety of formulations to meet your needs. Therefore, Fairy is a fantastic equivalent.
But if you really want to get your hands on Dawn dish soap in the UK, it is possible. You won’t be able to find it on supermarket shelves, but you can buy it online from marketplaces like Amazon.
However, you won’t be able to find the full Dawn range of liquid washing detergents. Instead, you’re limited to their original formulation, Dawn Ultra Original.
Other UK Alternatives to Dawn Dish Soap
Fairy Liquid isn’t the only alternative to Dawn dish soap in the UK.
If you’re looking for other, the following brands are readily available in the United Kingdom and – depending on the brand – might be more eco-friendly or affordable than Fairy:
- Ecover: Ecover is a brand that focuses on eco-friendly cleaning products, including dishwashing liquids. It has gained popularity among consumers who are conscious of their environmental impact because it is better for the planet than Dawn or Fairy.
- Method: Method is another brand that offers eco-friendly cleaning products, including dish soaps. They are known for their visually appealing packaging and naturally derived ingredients, and their products tend to be heavily scented with delicious fragrances.
- Supermarket brands: All major UK supermarket chains (Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, etc.) produce their own line of washing-up liquids, which are often affordable and readily available. However, they don’t work as well in cold water or foam as readily as Fairy Liquid.
- Homemade formulations: You can alternatively make a DIY washing-up liquid by combining liquid castile soap base with water, white vinegar, and essential oils. However, this won’t be as effective as commercially available dishwashing liquid.
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.