this thing's incredible

This Spray-On Dish Soap Deep Cleans Like No Other I’ve Tried

Photo: Chloe Anello

I’ve met people who love to bake (or cook), and I’ve met people who love to clean, but I’ve never met a person who genuinely enjoys doing both. (Perhaps, in some universe populated exclusively by Monica Gellers, they exist.) My passion for baking stems from dietary restrictions that include being gluten and lactose intolerant; at some point, preparing my own food became a lot more appealing than poring over ingredient labels or settling for something subpar. Over time, baking became fun too. I can’t say the same about doing dishes. Between brownie-crusted pans, bowls splotched with batter remnants, and beaters caked with frosting, cleaning everything I bake with can almost take longer than whipping up a concoction itself. And the more dishes I do, the more I loathe doing them.

A big part of this comes down to patience. For whatever reason, the patience I have for baking does not extend to dish washing. Like others who cook a lot, I typically soak every dirty bowl, pan, and utensil because it requires less scrubbing afterward. But soaking takes time, and although I can spend that time doing other things in the kitchen, I still think about the dishes I have to finish washing, which doesn’t exactly make the process feel efficient.

While watching Blue Bloods one night — yes, I realize this and my affinity for baking means I’m fast becoming my suburban mother — a commercial for a new-to-me dish soap from Dawn played during a break. Called Powerwash, it came in a spray bottle and promised to wipe away the most stubborn gunk from dishes, pots, and pans with one rinse, no soaking or tedious scrubbing (or both) required. I have tried similar sprays from Palmolive and Mr. Clean that claimed to quickly dissolve messes from any surface, but both were underwhelming (or fine at best). So the Powerwash, I thought, seemed too good to be true. But when I saw the dish soap on my next trip to the supermarket, I couldn’t resist buying a bottle and putting it to the test that night.

I don’t remember what I made for dinner, but it was messy enough to crust a pan with something difficult to clean. Before spraying the soap evenly on the whole pan as instructed, I did a test squirt in a small spot then wiped it off with a slightly damp sponge. After just one wipe, the test area I had sprayed with Powerwash looked so much cleaner than the rest of the pan that I actually said “Wow,” prompting my boyfriend to rush in and look for himself. I sprayed the rest of the pan, washed it clean in what felt like no time, and then felt a (teensy) pang of disappointment when there was nothing else to rinse right away. I’ve since used the Powerwash on bowls caked with dried oatmeal, eggplant-parmesan-crusted pans, pots sticky with mushroom risotto, and countless other dirty kitchen utensils, each as easy (and fast) to clean as the next.

I’m no chemist, but in comparing the ingredient lists of regular Dawn dish soap and Powerwash, I noticed the latter’s first (and most prevalent) ingredient is a potent alcohol, while the regular dish soap’s is water. This formulation seemingly supports the brand’s claim that Powerwash is five-times stronger than its non-ultra standard dish soap. While it’s not all-natural, Powerwash does come in a “free-and-clear” version that lacks any dyes — I actually prefer the free-and-clear version because it has a nice pear scent. (The standard Powerwash smells more like dish soap.) Even though I use it almost every day, one bottle lasts me about three months. Part of this, I suspect, is because I use less — the spray application is more precise than your standard dish soap in a squeeze bottle, and I’ve found you rarely, if ever, need to coat something entirely in Powerwash as instructed (a little goes a long way). Plus, you don’t need to toss the spray bottle when it’s empty because Dawn sells refills that come without the spray head attached, so you aren’t wasting as much plastic when you restock.

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This Spray-on Dish Soap Deep Cleans Like No Other I’ve Tried