Does Dawn Cause Smelly Sponges And Dish Cloths?

by Taylor

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I've gotten lots of reviews and experiences from readers lately, all sharing how Dawn has caused smelly sponges, dish cloths and rags.


This seems to be a relatively new phenomenon, since many also report that this didn't use to happen, and they've been using this dish soap for years.

However, there may be some formulation change, or perhaps its the antibacterial nature of some of the soap versions, but something is giving kitchen and cleaning sponges as well as dish rags an odor described as stinky, musty, or smelly.

Of course, you should wash your dish rags and cloths regularly, and really old ones will begin to stink if they haven't been washed often enough. In addition, sponges can harbor lots of bacteria so you should clean sponges regularly, such as in the microwave or dishwasher.

However, this phenomenon of stinky sponges and dish rags seems to occur almost immediately when you use Dawn dish soap, as opposed to building up over a couple of days -- so its most likely something in the soap instead of a build up of odor causing bacteria.

I'm still trying to research a cure for this problem, besides washing your dish rags and cloths daily, and cleaning and changing our your sponges often, or switching to a new dishwashing soap brand. (You can try a dish soap that is designed to keep your sponges smelling fresh, for example, like Palmolive Dish & Sponge Fresh which several people have reviewed at the link, although it has now been discontinued.)

Have you experienced smelly sponge syndrome with Dawn? If so, I'd love to hear from you, including what exact scent or formulation you're using that seems to trigger the problem. In addition, if you've got a cure for this problem, please share it with us all! I know many people are interested! You can share your experiences and/or cures here.

***Update: I've experienced this exact problem myself when trying out Dawn Direct Foam (click the link to read my review and problem)! ***End Update

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Dawn Dish Soap Leaves Stinky Smell On My Sponge Or Dish Cloth

by Sylvia
(MI)

Sylvia shared a problem she's having when using Dawn dishwashing liquid.

Sylvia says:

I love Dawn liquid detergent for its cleansing power. I can use a lot less than other brand to clean the same amount of grease.

The big puzzle is that Dawn leaves a stinky smell on my sponge or dishcloth.

I tested this a couple of time by changing to a new sponge and using different liquid detergent (Palmolive). That bad smell was gone.

Once I switch back to Dawn, there's a bad smell again. I hope Dawn's R&D can fix this problem.

Taylor says:

Sylvia, sorry to hear you're having this trouble with this dishwashing liquid.

Has anyone experienced anything similar with this or any other soaps, and if so, do you have any suggestions for Sylvia of what to do about it?

I would normally think the smell was coming from an old sponge, since they can get stinky after using them for a while if they're not properly cleaned. However, I'm not sure that is your problem, in this instance, since you say you switched to a new sponge.

Hope you can figure it out soon! Otherwise, check out the reviews of other dishwashing soaps here so you can hopefully find a new one that works as well as Dawn, but doesn't have that unpleasant odor for you.

Photo by the Original Muddog

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It Finally Dawned On Me Why My Sponges Smelled So Bad! (Pun Intended!)

by SR101 Reader

SR101 Reader says:

I happened to be reading the reviews about this soap and I finally realized why my sponges smelled so bad.

I had no idea. I thought that it was because I had left them without rinsing them or they hadn't had enough air circulating around them.

I have never had this problem before using Dawn.

Taylor's note: Picture courtesy of a reader, Keone, who said, "Dawn, Apple blossom does cause smelly sponges! Trust me!"

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I Think Dawn Stinks Too

by SR101 Reader

In response to the review above where Sylvia shared her opinions about Dawn leaving behind a bad smell, another SR101 Reader wrote in to agree with her.

SR101 Reader says:

I have tried numerous Dawn soaps and they all leave a nasty smell on my hands as well as the sponge.

It is not a matter of using an old sponge, it is the soap itself.

I had used Dawn before (years ago) and didnt have this problem. I started using Palmolive and I like it but it's expensive so I bought a few bottles of Dawn (in different fragances) and they ALL leave that nasty smell. Very disappointed. I went back to Palmolive.

Taylor says:

Thanks for sharing your opinion and experience with me.

I'll confess I've used this dish soap quite a number of times, but never really noticed this issue. Next time I buy it again though, I'll pay more attention.

I'd love to hear from even more people sharing their experiences with this brand of dish soap, or any other, telling me what you like, or don't about it, and why.

Photo by bimurch

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Dawn Makes My Sponges Smell Moldy

by Heidi

Does your sponge or dish cloth begin to smell almost immediately, despite cleaning it regularly? Your soap may be to blame. This happens with lots of soaps, but there have been a LOT of complaints about Dawn. Read lots of comments and stories from readers here to see if you can identify something similar happening in your kitchen. {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
I have had problems with all variants of Dawn dish soap as well in regards to it making my sponges moldy.

There is only one which hasn't and that's the direct foam.

I just checked ingredients and the direct foam is the only one with alcohol denat in it (basically like rubbing alcohol), but I have no idea if that's why it doesn't make everything smell moldy.

I have been using Palmolive and then I'm going to try some natural brands.

I would say it was the pH of the soap doing it, as mold likes more acidic enviornments, but Palmolive is on the acidic side too.

It's just weird.

All I know for sure is Dawn makes my sponges moldy, and if you touch the moldy sponge to anything, the odor transfers, even to hands, and it stinks. The odor is hard to get rid of. Yuck.

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Dawn Makes My Sponges Smell Horrible!!!

by SR101 Reader

I was using the Dawn Original Concentrated dish soap (the blue one).

At first, I thought maybe my sponges were not rinsed out or dried properly, but they still dried with a nasty moldy disgusting smell.

Then, after cleaning the same sponges with a different dish soap brand (Ajax) and very hot water, the smell suddenly went away that same day.

I think the makers of Dawn need to be aware of this. Maybe there is an ingredient in the soap that creates an unpleasant smell, or encourages the growth of bacteria.

I wish someone can do research on this, as I'm curious to know.
As for now...I will buy other dish soap brands. ;)

Photo by puuikibeach

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I Can't Stand The Smell Of My Dishcloth!!!!

by Kris

I too am having "issuse" with Smelly Dishcloth Syndrome.

I have been using Dawn for as long as I can remember. Right now, I have the ultra concentrated original scent Dawn dishwashing liquid.

I can't even go 2 days after doing dishes without the cloth smelling so bad it needs to be washed. It smells like it was left in the washer for 2 days in 100 degreee heat!! Very NASTY.

I kept thinking it was the quality of dishcloth I was buying, but after stumbling upon this site, I'm having second thoughts!

I don't want to change, but am going to to see if the problem goes away. :(

Photo courtesy of erix!

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I'm Throwing It Out & Going Back To The Cheap Stuff

by SR101 Reader

In the past, I have noticed a fuel-oil type smell on my hands and sponges and never knew why.

It went away and it was always puzzling to me but I forgot about it when it went away.

At some point, I inadvertently stopped using Dawn for other reasons a couple of years ago and recently bought some.

Now I notice the fuel-oil smell, and have just now connected it up to this brand of soap.

So today, I googled 'dawn dish soap leaves funny smell on hands' and saw your news on the subject.

It must be the degreasing agents that some other cheaper brands don't have.

I'm throwing it out. Anything that smells that bad CAN'T be good. Going back to the cheap stuff.

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It Not Only Makes Sponges Smell But Also My Fingers

by Chris
(Las Vegas )

I was looking for a solution to the smell of my sponges, even though I replace them frequently, and saw that Dawn detergent seems to be a common cause of this.

Funny, I really noticed it when I switched to Dawn because I was tired of the giant jug of another brand that I had been getting from Costco.

Now I see that my initial impression may have been right, so no more Dawn for me.

I am tired of my fingers smelly funny after washing dishes in clean, hot water.

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I Think Dawn Is Causing Stinky Dish Cloths Too!

by Rene

Wow! I accidently came across this "smelly" conversation!

Just a few weeks ago I was talking to my family about the funky odor on our dish cloths.

I make sure I rinse the dish cloths thoroughly and I wash the rags frequently, but in a day or two it never fails...the smell is there again!

The smell even stays on my hands after I've washed out the rag and dried my hands. Yuck!

I believe it has something to do with the formula also. I will no longer be using Dawn "Apple Blossom" Antibacterial. Are other different Dawn dish detergents smelling too?

Taylor says:

Rene, thanks for telling me which variety of the dish soap you're using that is causing the smell.

Some people have suggested it is the antibacterial versions, but others are using the regular blue Dawn version, which isn't antibacterial, and say it stinks too.

Let's all share which exact scent and variety we're noticing this problem with, to see if it is just a few scents, or all of them!

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Dawn Antibacterial Dish Liquid Caused Moldy Smell On My Sponge

by SR101 Reader

An SR101 reader also shared her experience with this product.

SR101 Reader says:

We always used Palmolive or another brand, but recently my husband got Dawn Antibacterial on sale.

Actually, first, I got Dawn ultra concentrated dish liquid to make some bubble solutions for kids. It's supposed to make great bubbles.

That's when my kitchen sponge started smelling moldy.

I didn't know why, so I threw it away and used a new sponge, and it got stinky again and again.

I was extra careful about drying them and everything.

So I googled it to find out what's up and how to deal with it. Then I saw some people mentioning about the same problems. It was the soap!!!

I am going to get rid of the soap. I din't like the fact it's antibacterial too....so toxic.

I would rather eat dirt than toxic chemicals...

Taylor says:

Thanks for sharing your experience.

I also got another similar quick review from another reader, Sarah Rath from New Orleans.

Sarah says:

Dawn has something in it that caused sponges to have a disgusting moldy smell within 24 - 48 hours. It makes you want to throw them away.

One might think the makers of Dawn sell sponges too.

Photo by Horia Varlan

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Thought I Was Going Crazy But It Does Make My Dish Cloth Smell!

by Shelley M.

Shelley says:

I seriously thought I was losing my mind.

I have used Dawn for years but in the last year or so I have noticed even after 1 use with a fresh cloth it smelled weird!.

We have a water softner and I though it was because the salt was low...but nope!

Then I switched dish detergents and I didn't have this problem.

It saddens me because I love Dawn. But I can not stand the smell of those dish cloths!

Although I am happy to know I am not nuts like my hubby thinks I am!

Taylor says:

Thanks for sharing your experience Shelley.

You're not the only reader who has told me they thought they might be going crazy because they couldn't figure out the smell. Another reader shared with me:
I like the soap. My wife is named Dawn so it fun to say Dawn always does the dishes even when I'm the one who gets the dish pan hands. :)

Every time I use the stuff the sponge smells nasty though. I can't tolerate the smell.

I wish they would find a way to fix the problem.

Also, thanks for this forum, I thought I was alone on this!

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Dawn Mediterranean Lavender Scent Also Makes Sponges Musty

by Lorraine
(Glendale, CA)

I just did a Google search on what makes a sponge musty and smelly, and came upon this site, along with several others.

Having just "nuked" my sponge in the microwave before finding this site, I now realize that it's the Dawn that's making it smell, not because it's dirty or old or whatever.

What a shame, because I really like Dawn and the lavender scent, and I don't want to stop using it.

But, I will, because that musty smell is horrible, and, constantly tossing sponges is money down the drain.

The manufacturer needs to be made aware of this. I'm sure they would take steps to eliminate it.

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Dawn Still Stinks In 2013

by David G.

It's been a couple of years now that this smell problem surfaced, first with Dawn plus power scrubbers.

The stink sticks to sponges, cloths, and worst your hands and it is hard to get rid of the lingering stink from you hands.

Our visiting family thought we let our cloths get smelly from lack of cleaning them. NOT!

So now it's 2013 and things may have changed so I decided to try Dawn Ultra bleach alternative last night, sold by the 5 minute power soak marketing glurg and the sale price and coupon.

It did not take long for the stench to start. Everything is stinking again.

If I recall last time even washing the dish cloth there was still a remnant of stench.

Called customer support who said they do get a few reports of this. But not a lot.

Perhaps it is usage. However we don't leave the sponge or cloth soaking. We rinse and wring and hang up the cloth. A few hours later it stinks.

They will send coupons for Ivory, and Dawn to try a different version beside the Power Lift

In the meantime as I told them I will be back to Palmolive for now.

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I Never Smelled Anything But My Mom & Sisters All Have!

by Jill
(Milwaukee, WI)

Funny thing is I have not smelled anything, however, my mother and sisters all stopped using Dawn dish detergent due to the fact they said their dishcloths STUNK.

I thought they were crazy and I kept using Dawn.

My mom was in town and staying at my house. When in my kitchen getting a glass of water she immediately could smell my dishcloth, since it was on the sink.

Right away she commented about the smell and told me I must be using Dawn, which I was.

She went out and brought me different dish detergent. I did not smell anything but I do not have a good sense of smell.

I tried looking up other people's thoughts about this, and found your site....thus reason for this post.

I'm not convinced it is the Dawn that causes the smell they are referring to, but for years my sister couldn't figure out why she gets the smell in the dishcloths she has...trust me, she is a cleaning freak, until she switched her soap. BIZZARE.

I love using Dawn....especially as a spot remover on clothes.

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Blue Dawn Power Clean Dishsoap Is Stinky!

by SR101 Reader

I'm so glad that others are experiencing the same problem!

I usually buy the big jug of Palmolive from Costco but they were out so I ended up with a big jug of Dawn Power Clean (the blue one) and it makes my dish water, my sponge and my hands smell awful!

It kind of seems like the longer I use it the worse it gets.

I know it's not the sponge's fault because it was brand new when I started using the Dawn.

I zap my sponge in the microwave but it barely helps.

And this Dawn is supposed to be extra strong with overnight soaking power in 5 minutes, but I soaked a jar for about half an hour and the jar now smells like stinky sponge even after repeated washing. So gross!

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Original Blue Dawn Causes Problem Too

by Lola

I thought I was going crazy until I Googled "Dawn and smell on dish cloths," and see it's happening to others.

I'm using the ultra concentrated original scent, not antibacterial, and it makes my sponge and dish cloth smell awful.

I tried the "Ajax" brand (only because Consumer Reports rated it very high) and NO SMELL.

A year went by, I'm thinking maybe Dawn changed their product, just bought some and ONE day later the stinky smell is back on my dish cloth - and it stays on my hands as well.

Wasted 2 bucks - it's going in the garbage.

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Yep, Dawn Kills Your Sponges

by SR101 Reader

Yes, it's definitely the Dawn.

We used Dawn at our restaurant for years (the blue stuff.) I used the perfume and dye free at home (see picture above).

A couple of years ago I started going through sponges at an alarming rate, even though I am meticulous about keeping them rinsed and dried.

After the mildewy, rotten food smell started I put the sponges in the dishwasher, soaked them in vinegar, microwaved them, boiled them, ran them through the laundry, etc. --- still smelly sponges.

It stopped when I switched to a different dish soap.

I had to buy an emergency bottle of Dawn at a convenience store during a camping trip last year, and my camping sponge was stinky by the next morning.

It's the Dawn, it's something new in the formula, and it happens even if you don't use the anti-bacterial formulations.

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It Never Dawned On Me It Could Be The Soap!

by John
(St. Paul, MN)

We've been having a problem with very smelly dishcloths for years.

I know we used to not change them for several days. But with the stinky cloth issue, we changed every day in the morning. And by the evening wash, just a bad smell again. Bad.

About a week ago, being just fed up, because I thought it was something we were doing, just for the heck of it, I thought to try different soap.

I changed to Palmolive....and voila....NO more stinky cloth.

We had been using Dawn. It never 'dawned' on me it could be the soap.

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Dawn Leaves My Dishcloth Stinky!

by Holly

Holly has also made a similar observation about how Dawn effects her dish cloths.

Holly says:

I have been noticing that my dishcloth smells musty/icky....like it needs to be washed just one day after I have gotten it out fresh.

This never used to be a problem.

I could use a dish cloth for 3 days at least before it smelled "musty" and icky.

Since I have been using Dawn antibacterial dish soap I notice that my dishcloths ALWAYS smell bad very very quickly.

Taylor says:

Thanks Holly for sharing your experience.

As you can see, there have been several readers who've all experienced this phenomenon, so I'd think its not coincidence.

Seems strange though, doesn't it?

I'd love to hear from even more people who've noticed this issue, sharing exactly what scent and type of Dawn they were using when they noticed this problem.

Plus, I'd love to be able to share solutions with you of how to solve this stinky problem. Please share your experiences or suggestions for fixing the problem here.

Obviously, one way to fix this problem is to switch to another dish soap brand. If you're interested, I've got lots of dishwashing soap reviews from readers that you can read to find a new brand for you. (Feel free to add your own review too for your favorite brand!)

Photo by Alexanderpf

Related Links At Stain Removal 101

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Dawn Dishwashing Liquid Reviews

Dawn Power Dissolver Reviews

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Comments for Dawn Leaves My Dishcloth Stinky!

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New soap helped
by: Anonymous

I switched to Palmolive from Dawn and my stinky sponge is cured.

It Stinks!
by: Amanda

Yes, I use Dawn and within just a couple of days my rag smells NASTY!!! I let it dry between uses and hang it up to air out. But it still smells like a**!! Palmolive DOES NOT have this effect.

My Suggestion For A Cure To This Problem
by: Anonymous

Try using unscented clean and clear dishsoap... you will never have the problem again... It is the scents in the soap that make the sponge stink.

Gross Sponge Smell
by: Anonymous

I have the same problem as all. Been using Palmolive for the longest time with no problems with SSS (Stinky Sponge Syndrome). Got a free bottle of Dawn Ultra Original Scent (blue). Within 1 day the sponge had that disgusting rotten smell, that got on your hands after washing the dishes. It wouldn't even come off after washing my hands. Needless to say I chucked the Dawn and am back with Palmolive. I have noticed the stink smell in the past with Lemon Fresh Joy.

Stinky Dawn Dish soap
by: Anonymous

I have the same problem with Dawn. I can use any other dish soap and it doesn't stink up my sponges. I think it's a protein that is put into the dish soap that get's the grease out. The protein must grow bacteria at an alarming rate thus the stinky sponges. I used to use Tide in my front loading washing machine and the same thing would happen, the machine would stink. These heavy duty grease cutters produce a lot of bacteria/mold. Although they do work great. I just wish they didn't stink.

How To Fix The Problem
by: Anonymous

I love Dawn, it cuts grease and I just plain prefer it. You must rinse sponges very well to remove odors. The odor will remain in anything that retains soap or residue.

Dish rag smells like solvent
by: Helen

I use Dawn for hand washing dishes. I always rinse the dish rag out after washing the dishes and hang it over the faucet or dish drainer to dry out.

It always starts smelling like paint thinner or something similar after one or two days.

I throw it in the laundry and put out a clean rag every one or two days.

I don't know if it's just this brand though because a few years ago I was using Joy for the dishes and it started with the solvent smell, so I switched to Dawn.

I'm about to try another brand, but I'm wondering if there is some ingredient they are putting in dish soap in recent years that causes this.

I never had the problem prior to about 10 years ago.

Relieved to know I'm not imagining the stink!
by: Hampsteader

We're having the same problem with stinky sponges, dish clothes (and hands!) as many other Dawn users. I couldn't image what the cause was, as none of our other towels or linens stink when wet. We even changed brands - but made the mistake of trying Lemon Fresh Joy, which I see someone else also reported causes the same stink issues.

Will try Ajax or Palmolive or some other natural brand as recommended. Thanks for creating this site and sharing the information. What a relief to know the source of this problem!

Yes It Does
by: Anonymous

I have this problem with this brand. I used another dish soap, Sunlight, no problem. If I go back to Dawn it smells again. I will have to stop using this soap.

Another user that hates the funk
by: Linda

My roommate just asked if I could stop using Dawn (Direct Foam original scent) because of the funky smell. I love that I use a fraction of Dawn compared to Palmolive and I ALWAYS squeeze out the sponge and dish rag and rarely have the smell to the point it is intolerable.

He, on the other hand has a nasty habit of hanging up the rag and sponge wet, which only exacerbates the problem. Funny, the month he was gone, there were no funky smells. :D Why do men have such trouble wringing things out? (ex-DH had this problem too)

He suggested two sponges/rags but that's ludicrous, the kitchen's already more cluttered than I like - I think I am going to have to give in on this one though - maybe I'll agree to use his Palmolive and just save the Dawn for the really tough stuff and then put out a new sponge/rag after using.

Metallic Smell
by: Mab

I find it to be a repulsive metallic smell, and, I notice it from the get go. Meaning, the soap itself reeks. It never was like that YEARS ago. Switched to Palmolive Fresh Green Apple about 3 or 4 years ago and now that's been discontinued. Don't like the smell of any of the Palmolive reformations. So they have lost my business too. I've decided to head in the Eco-friendly direction and am giving Seventh Generation dish soap (Lemongrass and Clementine Zest scent) a try.

It leaves stinky smell on everything
by: Bill

For about a year now we have been experiencing a nasty, moldy, sour smell on our dish cloths, even though they had only been in use for one night.

I kept telling my wife that I thought it was the Dawn we were using, but she didn't think that was the problem.

Last night however, I proved my point. We had made bean soup and before we went to bed we emptied the pot into tupperware containers and rinsed the pot out. It was almost clean but my wife decided to let it soak overnight with Dawn and hot water. She also placed the lid on the pot.

Fast forward to this morning. As I was waiting on coffee I decided to wash out the pot.

To my surprise when I removed the lid I was hit with the same smell that our dish cloths get -- sour, moldy and nasty.

Keep in mind that only Dawn and hot water were in the pot. There was very little food residue.

We will now change to a different brand in hopes that the nasty smell this soap leaves behind will disappear.

Side note.....my neighbor works for P&G and I asked him if there had been any complaints about this issue. Guess what he told me? Never.....I then asked if they had problems with dish cloths stinking and he said, matter of a fact, we have.

He said it never really dawned on him that it might be the soap until I told him the pot story. Now he is going to check on it!

Problem even with new sponges
by: Dennie

I have tried several varieties of this soap and they all make my sponges stink. Even brand new sponges.

I switched to another brand to test and sure enough no smell. Back to Dawn and back to terrible smell that gets on your hands for you to smell all day.

I'm gonna have to switch for good. Hate to, because I like the way this brand lasts.

I Think It's The Ultra Version
by: Anonymous

I believe this stink started when they changed the formula to "ultra" Dawn. - The non ultra kind is still available in some dollar stores.

I thought I was going crazy...
by: Anonymous

I just threw out a pile of newer dishcloths, thinking maybe they were inferior. I bought some new, expensive North American made ones for this reason. Same problem. I am fastidious with cleanliness of my dishcloths, like to have tons on hand and change them out usually every 2nd day. I thought I was going crazy. So much so I had to google it. So glad I found this! I checked my detergent and it's Blue Dawn. Palmolive or Ivory for me tomorrow! Thank you for this.

It DOES create a bad smell
by: Ann

I am a clean freak and always store my sponges properly. But I find with Dawn soap no matter what I did - the smell would always come back. I specifically use the blue Dawn ultra with super suds bottle, in original scent. The only solution is to use new sponges every 3-4 days. I have not had this problem with other dish soaps.

stinky dish rags
by: Anonymous

I have had this problem for a while and its been with using Dawn. I decided to see if anyone else noticed it. Now I know I'm not alone. I was blaming it on the water in eastern NC. Then it happened here in the mountains. No more Dawn for me. Once it happens it even bleeds into towels that you wash them with.

I've not had this problem
by: Melissa

I've never had an issue with this and I exclusively use Dawn. Of course, I also thoroughly rinse my sponges after each use and put them in the microwave at least twice a week to kill any bacteria. Not sure if that's what keeps me from having a problem but my sponge is smell free!

It makes my sponges and hands smell terrible!
by: Steve White

I am so glad to find this page which confirms my observations! I am typing this now with fingers that stink, having just washed the dishes. We have gone throufh several cycles of buying Dawn vs. buying the cheap store brand. Each time the result is the same, Dawn makes the sponges and your hands smell terrible, the store brand does not. Whatever it is that causes the smell seems to soak right into your skin and won't wash out. Your hands smell bad all day. I am beginning to worry that whatever grease cutting chemical they are adding goes right through your skin and gets into your system.

Dawn does the dirty to sponges!
by: B$

Yes, I just realized that it's the DAWN making me constantly have to replace my sponges, giving them a mildew-y smell. I realized this because I was without this brand for a week and was using some hippie dish soap from Whole Paycheck (Foods) and my sponge was fine..... until I picked up a bottle of DAWN and within 3 days I can smell the stink starting to set in! Darn it Dawn, why did you do this to me!? I used to love your product, now I can't justify how many sponges it ruins!

Ultra blue version does it too
by: Anonymous

I began using Dawn Ultra Original Scent a few days ago. I quickly noticed a rank, musty smell coming from the new sponge I was using. The smell sticks to your hands after handling the sponge, but not if you wash your hands directly with the soap.

Not buying again
by: Jan

I've noticed lately that when I use this product my dish cloth is getting a really stinky smell. This doesn't happen with other dish wash detergents. Needless to say I am not going to buy it again.

My smelly sponge
by: Anonymous

I just googled "Dawn soap smelly sponges" and found this site right away.

I was using cheaper soap but then decided to upgrade to Dawn. I use less soap because it's so concentrated but I noticed my sponge was smelly. I switched out the old one for a new one and almost immediately, the new sponged smelled moldy. YUCK!

Everyone here is right. Dawn causes stinky sponges!

Stinky Dawn
by: Ava

I have always used the Blue Original Dawn Detergent. I thought it was just me until I discovered this site, quite by accident. It was a couple of years ago that I noticed my scrubbie getting a horrible odor. I tried to eliminate the odor by washing the sponge in hot water or putting it into the washing machine. The clothes that I washed it with picked up the odor. I even tried different methods in the microwave (hot water, vinegar, baking soda etc...) nothing worked. I have since switched to Palmolive Antibacterial soap with no problems.

No Problem Here !!!
by: Anonymous

I have used Dawn since the day it hit the market and I have NEVER had ANY KIND of problem with it. I have tried several different kinds of Dawn and my all-time-favorite Go To is the Original Blue Dawn.

Being a person who likes to "test the market," I have, over the years, tried different brands of dish shop ... Dawn is the BEST, hands down.

I don't use Dawn just for dishes. It is one of the ingredients I use in several of my "homemade cleaners." I even use it at time to shampoo my furbaby !!!

Personally speaking, it is Dawn all the way for me !!!

(I am not a paid spokesperson ... nor am I an employee, family member or friend of an employee) !!!

I thought it was something I was doing
by: Anonymous

I have had the same experience. I bought a huge bottle from Costco so it lasted a long time. It was just the regular Dawn dishwashing liquid. I thought that it was something that I was doing, not cleaning enough, not squeezing the water out enough. It was driving me crazy. After I ran out I switched to Melaleuca lemon brite dishwashing liquid and have not had any problem with the sponge going smelly. I will never, never use Dawn again!

Same problem here...
by: Anonymous

We've noticed the same problem. Going to try a new dish detergent and see if it goes away. It's a constant source of conflict in our house, not to mention the stink. :)

only happens with stainless steel sink
by: Marlene

I think it's using Dawn only if you have a stainless steel sink. From experience!

definitely the brand!
by: Karisa

It's definitely Dawn! I've used other brands and it doesn't leave them smelling yucky! It was on sale and bought it, it stinks!

describing the smell
by: Lindi

It's a weird metallic smell, not musty or moldy- it takes your breath away and can happen after the first use!

switched to Method
by: Mimi

I used to use Dawn (from Costco) and did notice the sponge getting smelly. Switched to Method dish soap and sponges haven't gotten smelly.

doesn't happen with Seventh Generation
by: Jessica

When I use Dawn my sponges stink to high heaven overnight, but using Seventh Generation nada. No stink.

I think it's all the chemicals
by: Debbie

My dish rags smelled awful after using this brand, even after 1 use. (I use 1 rag all day), but I honestly never believed it was the fault of the soap until I switched to Melaleuca's dish soap, and then to 7th Generation. Even by the end of the day, they don't smell anymore at all. I think it has something to do with the chemicals in the soap, which companies can change at any time without being obligated to notify the consumer.

no problem once switched to Shaklee
by: Karla

I don't know that it caused it, but more likely didn't *prevent* it. I switched to Shaklee and haven't had the problem since.

Palmolive Oxy better
by: Elisabeth

OK, here's my truth, and my Dad is the person who taught me this. Dawn = Stinky Sponge. Palmolive Oxy = You will never have a stinky sponge again! Sorry, Dawn fans, but Dawn just doesn't do the trick!

switched and now don't have this problem
by: Kristie

We have switched from this brand, and now after reading this I realize that we have not had a stinky sponge in quite some time.

hard to get stench off hands
by: Merrill

Is that what is causing that horrible smell? For real, it's been since I bought blue dawn for a 'recipe'. I'm going to go back to what I had before. Seriously if you get the stench on your hands it's hard to get off.

don't use this brand for this reason
by: Traci

I do not use Dawn because it does just that, makes rags and sponges stink!! I use the brand Seventh Generation. It's more natural and my rags/ sponges never stink!!

I've never had this problem - it's bacteria
by: Anonymous

I use this soap all the time. I have never had smelly cloths. If the cloths are rinsed and hung to dry properly they will not smell no matter what soap you use. It is the bacteria that causes the cloths to stink. When the cloths are not rinsed and dried properly the bacteria stays in the cloths.

I use Dawn
by: Anonymous

I have noticed that my dishcloth does not smell bad when I rinse it with cold water before hanging it to dry. I think the bacteria grows faster in a hot dishcloth.

stinky feet
by: Anonymous

I do not like it. It stinks on your hands. To me it smells like stinky feet. I will not use it any more.

Dawn Dish Soap May Not Be the Problem
by: Ari Ana

I've used several different sponges/dish soap brands and have concluded that it may be the fact that you don't squeeze out all the soap and water. By this I mean that you have to run water over your sponge while squeezing it to rinse out all the left over soap. This will allow the sponge to dry... Smell free.

Sponges should be tossed out every week or placed in the microwave once a week for one minute to kill bacteria. Hope this helps.

I use Dawn antibacterial soap daily and purchased my sponges from the 99 cent store. Brand is USO and love them. They are similar to Scotch brand sponges, but I buy them as a 3 pack for $1 =)

Switching to Ajax
by: Anonymous

I haven't noticed anything, but my husband has been saying that our dish cloths smell like something is rotten. We have switched to Ajax to see if it helps. Glad I stumbled on this post, I thought my husband was nuts!

No wonder
by: Sandy

No wonder my sponges always smell bad even when brand new. A brand new sponge smells after a couple of days. The smell lingers on my hands and it is disgusting. Time for new dish soap.

Place to write in concern
by: Old Bat

http://www.dawn-dish.com/us/dawn/support

I wrote the company to let them know my complaint about the stinky sponges and dish cloths.

Above is the link.

Not just cloths and sponges
by: Pauline

I washed an item at our church, and because all the dish towels and cloths were being washed, I use a paper towel and their Dawn. My hands smelled like 2-day old laundry. And it wasn't just where I had my hands in the water, it was wherever the damp of the paper towel touched me. :(

Noticed smell lately
by: Marlene M

I've used the green apple Dawn since it came out and have used Dawn the blue before that since I can remember, many years. Lately, I've noticed how the dish rags smell horrible!!! Just mostly the most recent bottle or two I've bought. I didn't have this problem before. I bleach all my dish rags in the wash too. I don't know if they've changed the formula or what but they need to do something about it. I'm not crazy about other dish soaps for one reason or another but I might have to buy something different next time. Just bought a new bottle of Dawn today.

slimy too!
by: Anonymous

Not just musty smelly but rather slimy too! I am going to have to abandon the Dawn and go Joy or one of the other brands, but Joy seems to not want to rinse off dishes well and leaves a soapy taste on glasses! Frustrating!

Smelly dish cloths & cracking fingers
by: Anonymous

Not only does Dawn leave my dish cloths smelly I also noticed my fingers "cracking" open on the edges of my fingernails. I switched to Palmolive and haven't had the problem anymore. I think the Dawn was overly drying to my hands.

Yes, it stinks
by: Anonymous

It not only makes my dishcloths smell, the soap itself smells yucky on my hands after rinsing. It didn't used to smell like this, they must have put something else in it to make it stink the way it does.

Solution for stinky sponge/cloths
by: Sue B

I use this brand because I believe it has the best grease cutting solution and like others, my dish cloths and/or sponges tend to stink after just a few uses. I prefer to use a bar mop cloth - plain white - and when I clean my kitchen sink with Clorox Clean up I also saturate the dishcloth with the "Clean-Up." Not only does it take the smell away, it takes all the stains out and whitens the cloth again. You just can't beat Clorox Clean-up in my opinion.

it's the Dawn
by: Melissa

It's Dawn dishwashing liquid. It makes my dish rags smell the same way too. I always wash them out and throw them into the wash.

Stinky Dish Sponge
by: Anonymous

Yes, my dish sponge stinks! I have been using Dawn with Bleach for the past year. Did not realize until this was posted. Dawn please fix this!

no smelly odor
by: Anonymous

I have never experienced any odor on my sponge while using Dawn dish soap. It could be the water you are using, maybe it's too hard or too soft? But I love Dawn. It's the best out there for me and my dishes.

Bad bad odor
by: Anonymous

Definitively Dawn soap fault. Never smell that odor before using Dawn. Back to Palmolive, odor gone! Worst soap ever.

remedy - cold water
by: Anonymous

I had a friend tell me if you rinse your dish cloths out good in cold water that they won't smell. So far it has been working but I never tried it with this brand.

no stink here
by: Anonymous

I've used Dawn for years and have never experienced that. After use wash your dish rag out good with cold water!

YEP
by: Anonymous

I even complained to the company. They sent me a coupon for free Dawn. I'm not gonna use it unless I know what's causing the smell! They said someone would get back to me on that-a month ago. I quit holding my breath :( So I switched back to Palmolive soap. And I don't use sponges, I use dish cloths and change it twice it daily. So I know it's not the dish cloths. It's the Dawn.

slimy sponges
by: Anonymous

My grandma and I use Dawn and it happens to our sponge too. I just squeeze it out real good and one spray of Clorox cleanup did the trick. They smell great and don't have that slimy feeling the next day. She uses the regular blue one and I use the clear.

think caused by bacteria
by: Anonymous

I think it is the bacteria in the cloths that cause them to smell. Maybe using Dawn removes bacteria from the dishes and is absorbed into the cloths? Rinsing them thoroughly and letting then air dry may be a solution.

smelly dish cloths
by: Sandy

I use Dawn and notice a smell in my dish cloths similar to gas or kerosene. It's terrible. Even when I buy new cloths, which I do ofter, soon after using they become stinky. I often wondered if it was the dish soap. Isn't it petroleum product based? If so that may be the problem. Input on this post will be appreciated. :)

Dawn...You stink!
by: Mrs. Dennis

I absolutely love Dawn Platinum dish detergent! I recently noticed a mildew like smell coming from my sink or at least I thought it was coming from my sink. It was actually my dish cloths that were smelling. I washed them all in hot water with laundry detergent, vinegar and baking soda. This always removed that mildew smell that towels and wash cloths sometimes have. After washing and drying the dish cloths and after a couple of uses the smell returned but only from the dish cloths. I guess it's safe to say it's the Dawn dish detergent.

smell bad after using
by: Susan Herbert

My dish rags, towels and sponges smell really bad after I use them with Dawn dishwashing liquid. This smell is so bad I usually bleach them to get the smell out. So I changed dishwashing liquid. Now no more nasty smells.

Clean bacteria free kitchen rags and towels!
by: Anonymous

I've started using paper towels and Clorox wipes, since I saw on TV dish rags and sponges have more bacteria than toilet seat. However always have washed kitchen cloths and towels alone with detergent and Clorox. Can wash in dish washer or sterilize in microwave. Change often, rinse and dry cloths after each use!

I thought it was just me
by: Angela Scory

Yes I have experienced smelly sponges! I thought it was just me not cleaning out the sponge good enough after each use! I use a variety of Dawn dish washing liquid! I try to get antibacterial or some kind of extra strength, mega dirty dish type formulas! Good to know it's not just me going crazy!!

vet versus smelly stuff
by: Anonymous

I have this problem too but the vet says to use only Dawn to kill fleas so what's a girl to do?

It stinks
by: Nancy Hampton

Dawn also smells on bad my hands when I wash them with it. Don't notice the smell on the dishcloths because I change them out and wash them everyday.

Sponges are disgusting
by: Val

The problem is not the soap, it's the item. Sponges have literally proven to harbor more bacteria than the inside of a toilet. They are gross.

If you use them, make sure to rinse and squeeze out all liquid. I only use after it's been through the dishwasher and it gets tossed weekly. I honestly prefer paper towels for dish washing.

Kitchen towels should be cleaned daily.

I use Dawn with no issues but I change out my washing utensils frequently and make sure everything dries.

smelly rags
by: Anonymous

Yes. I couldn't figure it out. My cloths smelled soured after just one use. I was washing them daily and they were always smelling.

thought it was my water
by: Anonymous

I have used Dawn dish detergent for years. I used to use the Hand Renewal I think that's what it was called) now it's Dawn with Olay. I like the lavender although since they changed the name it doesn't smell as strong. I thought the smell in the sponge had something to do with my water. We used to be on well water then switched to city water. That is when I noticed the smell. I keep a bottle of Soft Soap next to my Dawn and when I get through washing dishes, I wash my sponge with the Soft Soap. I used to microwave my sponge but that seemed to enhance the bad smell. Washing the sponge in the washing machine did not help much either. I just throw them away and use a new one. Now that I've read your article I will try a new detergent.

no more smelly rags
by: Anonymous

I wonder if it is that now some of the Dawn says 2x's concentrate on it. We have always used this brand and it seems to me since it changed to 2x the rags are smelly because a friend of mine uses the Dawn with bleach alternative and her rags never smell. Hope this helps.

my dish rags smell awful
by: Kim

I thought it was just me but I do use Dawn ultra with active suds. My dish rag smells awful. I never connected the two. Glad to see others are having the same issue. I just smelled the dish rag I started using yesterday and it has an odor that I wouldn't want to wash my dishes with.

Wow
by: Deborah Bountifull Davis

OMG really? C'mon people. What are synthetic sponges made from? What is Dawn known for? Petroleum products! Dawn breaks them down, sponges are made from them. Get natural sponge, or better yet, USE NATURAL SOAP!

maybe it's the water?
by: Anonymous

I have this problem and always rinse them and hang to dry. I did notice when in Florida this year that my dishcloth only lasted one day before it got stinky. I always use Dawn. But at home the dishcloth will last a couple of days. Wondering if it could be something to do with the water??

dawn is smelly
by: Anonymous

I will not use Dawn because of how nasty of a smell it leaves on my sponges and wash clothes!!

no issues here
by: Ashley

I have not had that problem at all. I use the Dawn Advanced from Costco. I switch out my sponge/rags every day or two. Could people be using softener on their dish cloths? That could cause them not to get as clean over a period of time. Dawn is frequently used to help "strip" cloth diapers of build-up from detergents. I am having a hard time accepting that Dawn could be the problem! ;)

Yes!
by: Anonymous

This is so funny!!! I just threw out a sponge today because it stunk so bad, and it's not even 2 weeks old. I use Dawn antibacterial dish washing soap, so I'm assuming that is the culprit!! Will be switching tomorrow, so gross!

My dishcloth never gets stinky or slimy
by: Anonymous

I have used Dawn for years and years. My dishcloth never gets stinky or slimy. Immediately when dishes are finished I rinse my rag with hot water, as hot as I can stand it for at least a minute if not longer. This gets all the tidbits of food and any soap or grease that was left in your dishcloth out.

Me too!
by: Dorthy

I have been noticing a foul smell in my sponge and dish rags lately. I was puzzled as to why this was happening. I have used Dawn for YEARS. I think it might be time for a change.

I have noticed this for many years now
by: Debbie C

I have noticed this for many years now. I tried all different scents and formulas of Dawn and it still creates a very stinky sponge. My work only orders the GIANT Dawn bottle for our work kitchen - I REFUSE to use it. The sponge always stinks and I feel like my dishes are only getting dirtier. GROSS! Palmolive does not leave this stinky smell. And the generic brands just can't cut the grease or clean the dishes the same way. So I recommend anyone that has this problem - SWITCH TO PALMOLIVE - If you haven't done so already.

Solution
by: Julie

Mine get stinky moldy smell with Dawn also. I soak in Shaklee Basic G or vinegar in a soak pail until it's time to wash in the machine. After washing they come out clean smelling.

happy to figure out the problem
by: Anonymous

I am so happy right now! I have been having smelly dishrags and sponges and have not been able to figure out why. I have been going crazy trying to figure it out.

could be the newer versions, doesn't happen with the green one
by: Anonymous

I have used Dawn for years, but I use the generic no frills type. None of the newer ones that have come out. I always get the green. Could it be the newer versions.

after reading most comments, I can say I haven't had these problems
by: Jessica Faulk

I use non-concentrated Dawn with bleach for my dishes and miscellaneous cleaning. I use Dawn hand renewal, the pink peachy colored one I think it's pomegranate scent, as just hand washing soap. My sponge gets a smell only when someone rinses the soap completely out. I've use Dawn since I was a kid and love it, will yell at hubby if he dare buys any other kind. I always lightly rinse my sponge, never completely rinsing out the soap and it doesn't smell. I wash my sponges in the washing machine and reuse until it itself is not useable anymore and get a new sponge.

Everyone should report their experiences to the makers of Dawn so they can run tests!!

sponges smell like wet dog almost instantly
by: MJQ

Dawn must have done something the past 2+ years to their formula because that's about when our sponges started smelling like wet dog almost instantly. Great product, stinky smell. They need to change it back or I need to change brands because my hands have the same lingering smell for up to 12 hours after using the sponge.

Myth busters
by: Anonymous

Myth busters proved repeatedly that a kitchen sponge is THE dirtiest thing in your house. The toilet seat is cleaner. Don't use sponges.

Orange scent stinks
by: Penny

Dish cloths and sponges reek and must be changed daily, and I often cannot get the musty smell off my hands after handling the cloth or sponge. Will never buy this product again and as a matter of fact my son has gone through the same thing, and it's really too bad as I really like the performance of the dish soap but the smell of cloths and sponges is little to be desired.

blue version does it too
by: Shannon

After just a few uses of a new sponge it starts smelling REALLY bad and the smell stays on your hands. Awful. We have been putting them in a container; covering with water and microwaving for 5 minutes. The smell goes away but comes back after a couple of days. My son told us it was the Dawn detergent. He quit using it and has not had any problems since. Is it really the Dawn detergent causing this problem?

switched soap, problem solved
by: Lisa

I had issues with my dish clothes smelling and could never get the smell out. I mentioned to my sister and mom and they both asked if I was using Dawn because they had the same issue. The smell in the rags get on your hands and is hard to get rid of. I tossed all dish clothes and bought different soap and clothes and problem solved.

Orange color antibacterial does it too
by: Cathy

For the last six months or so I could not understand why practically new sponges were stinky already. It took me a while and then I finally started to think, this seems to happen when I use Dawn soap. So after about 20 sponge throw outs I said let me Google stinky sponges and Dawn. And here I find this website talking about the problem I am having. I know for sure it is from Dawn because I bought a different soap at Whole Foods and different sponges and and I use them for at least three weeks without a smell. During this time I hid my Dawn soap from my cleaning lady. The following week I forgot the Dawn soap on the counter and I came home to a stinky sponge after she used it for less than a day.

I'm going to use the rest of my Dawn soap for the bathroom and I will not be using that soap ever again. It's too bad because somehow they ruined a really nice product.

don't use it regularly anymore
by: Cristina

I love using it for stain removal but for everyday kitchen cleaning it makes my sponges and cloths stinky.

No problem here
by: Becky

I've used blue Dawn forever and never had this issue. Ever.

it's a real shame
by: Anonymous

I never expected to hear that it's my detergent that gives off the odor! Yet, I too have used DAWN for too many years to remember and only the last year or two have I been having a MAJOR problem w/my dishcloths (and hands) smelling 'funky.'

I'll put DAWN aside and try another brand - shame, tho', because I like the way DAWN cleans everything.

Mildew smell on sponge
by: Anonymous

I used this and my sponge smelled like mildew really bad. I have switched to Palmolive and got rid of the problem right away. I would never use Dawn again.

my rags stink
by: Cat

I was told years ago to always use Sunlight soap if I didn't want smelly rags. It was so true. I switched to Dawn and can't stand the putrid smell. I'm buying more Sunlight immediately.

Stinky Sponge
by: Pam

Yes! I thought I was going crazy. In the past 6 months to a year I have noticed that my kitchen sponges (which I wash and replace regularly) quickly develop a metallic smell that transfers to everything it touches, especially my hands. It drives me crazy. I switched to Dawn in the past year and I was wondering if there was a connection. Now it looks like there may be. I'm switching dish soaps and getting a new sponge!

My dish cloth is stinky too
by: Nancy

My dish cloth starts to stink In a couple of days! Never used to. It reminds me of a garbage smell! It never used to do this! I've started putting some Febreze Mr. Clean in my dish soap container, it seems to help some, but I can still smell the stinky odor eventually! Makes me feel like my kitchen is dirty!

I've experienced the problem with the blue, orange and some fruity kind
by: Lisa Dunlop

Thank you! I googled this for my fiancee because he thought I was crazy, because he smelled it too but didn't think it was that serious. Me, I have to wash my hands with soap 2-3 times cause the smell is so bad (after say wiping my counters after the dish cloth sat a few hours). I have been washing my dishcloths every day!

Dumb Question
by: DavidJRoth2002

This may seem like a stupid question, but has anyone actually brought this to Proctor & Gamble's attention instead of just whining about it on an obscure web page? I mean, there's an 800 number right on every bottle.

Taylor's note: Yes, DavidJRoth, people have complained to Dawn directly, as you would note if you read the entire page. Plus, this "obscure website" gets over 1/2 million page views a month. :)

Going back to my old dish liquid - Dawn makes them smelly
by: Joanne

I am so glad I'm not the only one! I've always been meticulous about washing my dishcloth every day, but when I switched to the Original blue Dawn, they became smelly immediately. The smell permeated the whole house. Now that I've stopped using it the smell disappeared immediately. Does anyone know if there is a cure?

I don't have stinky sponge syndrome
by: Audrey

First off, I do not use sponges. For at least 30 years I have used only white dishcloths and cleaning towels. I change my dishcloth daily, sometimes more than once if it gets grungy. I allow them to dry on the edge of the "dirty rag hamper" before tossing them in. I do a load of cleaning rags each week using bleach in the wash and an extra rinse with white vinegar added. In nice weather I sometimes hang them on the line to let the sun work it's magic. Yes, I admit to being a little OCD about cleaning, but it works for me. I buy the Dawn from Costco which is currently labeled Platinum. I use it for hand soap in both bathrooms too. I have Simple Human Pump Soap Dispensers filled with the Dawn in both bathrooms and at the kitchen sink. My husband wants Dawn in the bathrooms because it cleans well and he can't stand the way the other hand soaps "stink."

Washing Machines
by: Anonymous

I think the problem is front loader washing machines - they don't clean well! I use bleach for my dish rags.

Dawn original
by: Anonymous

I use microfiber sponges. I thought I wasn't drying them thoroughly but now I wonder if it is the Dawn.

Not just my dish cloths but my sink drain too!
by: Anonymous

We have a dishwasher and we use it but I do wash my pots and pans by hand daily. I use a dish pan in the sink and when I'm done washing I dump the dish water and then rinse and dry my sink. We have a problem with awful smelly black gunk growing in the drain on the side I dump my dish water and only on that side. I have to use bleach in it a couple times a week to get rid of the gunk. If I use my dish cloths more than one time before washing they get that same nasty smell. My husband said he thought it was the Dawn causing the problem. As much as I hate to admit it I think he's right...this time.

It's not just the sponges and rags...
by: anitat

I'd be interested in hearing from people with sensitive noses because I can smell that smell on DISHES a day or two after they are washed with Dawn, unless they are dipped in vinegar or bleach water before drying. I thought it was just my nose, needing to do the sponges and rags constantly.

I called Dawn company...
by: Old Bat

I called the Dawn Company and complained about my sponges and dish towels stinking after sitting for a bit.

1. They sent me free coupons,
2. Suggested rinsing them really well
3. When it smells it needs to be washed
(I put mine in the dishwasher in a little plastic container that has a lid to keep them from floating or falling off the rack.)
4. They are looking into what can be done.
5. When they smell it will alert to keep from bacteria growing. A safety measure a friend told me from her Home Ec. instructor.

Good Luck to Everyone!

Dawn foam
by: Anonymous

Dawn foam leaves an odor so I add Clorox in my water or directly on my sponge. Helps a lot.

Stinky towels.
by: Anonymous

I use Dawn dish soap & have noticed my dish rags, towels & sponges also sour within a days time. But my bath towels & wash rags do the same thing. Does anyone have any ideas of why or have the same problem? I thought maybe it was because of the weather until I read articles on Dawn soap. Wonder if some of the liquid bath soaps do the same thing?

Same thing, but an interesting twist
by: garyZ

This problem seems to occur from some interaction between Dawn and the Scotch Brite scrubber sponges which are often purchased together at warehouse stores like Costco. The problem doesn't happen with other soaps and those sponges, BUT the problem also does not happen if I use Dawn on, say, a paper towel to wash a dish, or if I just wash my hands with Dawn.

Now here is the kicker: Not everyone smells it! There must be some weird genetic component, because I have met a couple of people now who complain about the smell and comment that their spouses can't smell the same problem! So this is truly the perfect storm of unintended chemical and genetic circumstances. If your spouse says you're crazy, don't worry - it's just that some people simply can't smell the problem.

I'm writing this in August 2014, and wondering if Dawn ever acknowledged or addressed this problem.
Thanks!

Smelly Sponge and more
by: Maggie

I recently switched to Dawn Original dish soap (the blue one).

When I opened the Dawn I started with a brand new sponge. Within two days of using the soap my sponge had that terrible moldy knock-your-socks-off smell. Then I realized that my dish towels had the same smell as did a dish cloth that I use occasionally. After doing the dishes my hands smelled bad too.

I went on a mission to find out what was causing the problem. By process of elimination I was shocked to find it was the Dawn. Who would have guessed??

I switched to Ajax dish soap and have not had a problem.

Rather than throwing out the remaining Dawn my husband said he'd try and use it to wash the cars and to do other outdoor cleaning chores. When it's finally gone you can be sure I won't be buying it again.

A smell disaster
by: Anonymous

As someone who is seriously sensitive to fragrances I struggle with Dawn. I only have it because it was on sale, but what a waste! While I "toughed it out" with the fragrance (which is not pleasant in the least) but my clean dish cloth smelled mildewed the next day. It took me a while to make the connection between Dawn and the instantly smelly dish cloth, but that was the deal breaker. Now Dawn is only allowed in small quantities in my laundry room for taking out cooking grease spots on clothes. As soon as I find another treatment that works without that offensive odor that will be gone too.

stink
by: Anonymous

I have had to throw away my dish rags. Most of the time you can get rid of that smell by washing in a little bleach, even that didn't get rid of it!!! Wont buy it again.

I add bleach
by: Amy

I've used this brand for years. My dish rags and sponges don't stink. I also every load of dishes use bleach. Splash or two, depends on the load.

it reeks
by: Anonymous

Dawn original reeks on dishcloth and sponges. Palmolive dish soap doesn't clean as good as Dawn. Actually no dish soap cleans grease as well. Just this odor is rank!

I've experienced it
by: Anonymous

It happened with Dawn except for Dawn with Oxy. Joy also caused the same problem for me. I don't use either brand unless I get Dawn with Oxy.

Dawn's after effect
by: Anonymous

Dawn does make dish towels and sponges smell foul.

use unscented dish soap
by: Chris Castro

I have noticed that my sponge and dish cloths get smelly, sour smell after using any soap with a fragrance. I use the dish soap without fragrance and there is no problem, no yucky after smell of any kind. So I would have to say the problem lies in whatever is used when adding fragrance to the soap. I would love to buy lemon or apple or any great smelling dish soap but if it makes my dish cloth and sponge smell awful later then I can live without the perfume. Hope that helps.

never use same dishcloth twice
by: Anonymous

I have not noticed any bad smells with the use of Dawn.............but, I never use the same dishcloth twice. If I use a dishcloth in the morning, I use a fresh one in the evening. Just do not like the thought of bacteria growing on a used dishcloth & I never use sponges. Sponges just look like a breeding ground for germs. I'm really surprised to see how many people use the same dishcloth for a 2nd or even 3rd day......ewwwwwwwww!

Stopped using Dawn
by: Lizzy

I stopped using Dawn dish detergent when my husband brought to my attention that the sponge smelled bad. I informed him that I had just put a new sponge in the sink the day before. I am a sponge freak and change it out weekly. I couldn't believe that it had already had a smell but I changed it out for a new one anyway. The next day the same thing happened. When I saw a FB post about Dawn I figured I would test it out myself and found that the Dawn was the culprit. I was very disappointed because I used Dawn for so many household tasks including ridding my dog of skunk smell. Trust me a little Dawn, baking soda and water and your dog will be nice and fresh again.

Original Blue Dawn
by: M. Butler

Wow . . . Glad to see this post. I thought somehow my dish clothes and sponges were just getting the case of the funk. I wash my dish clothes, towels, and sponges every few days. I have been known to buy my dish detergents in bulk . . . Do they possibly have some sort of a shelf life expiration?

not me
by: Anonymous

I have been checking all the time since I first heard about this. I have not had any odor. Only when it is time to wash anyway can I smell even a slight scent. I love Dawn.

It has been driving me crazy
by: Debbie

I am so happy to read this. It has been driving me crazy. I couldn't figure out what was causing my dish rags and sponges to have that rank odor. I have been using the regular blue Dawn. After using the rag one day it has to go in the wash. Thank you for this information.

squeeze water out of sponge
by: Anonymous

I noticed it happens more if you don't squeeze all the water out of the sponge.

happens with hand renewal and platinum versions
by: Cindy Dean

I've used both the scented version (hand renewal) and the platinum version, and noticed the foul smell within a couple of days. I'd love someone get to the bottom of this. I've even tried washing the dishcloths in the dishwasher. Still doesn't help.

how I've resolved the problem
by: Anonymous

Any kind of Dawn leaves a smelly rag. The only way I have resolved this problem is to rinse and rinse my dish cloth, running clear water thru it, air drying it doesn't help as the smell is there once it's wet. What's up, I only use dawn.

Dawn Ultra active suds
by: JV

The liquid soap itself scent is so awful it is not the sponge or something else and I think it is the ingredient used in it. A good thing is that I bought the small bottle. And I will never ever buy this product again.

For those who will read this comment. Stay away from the blue Dawn Ultra. Don't buy this.

If you are curious you can also try it and just buy the small bottle.

I've been racking my brain
by: Elizabeth Hauswirth

I have been racking my brain as to what is making my dishcloths smell so bad. It is so offensive. You can smell them as soon as you approach the sink. I do wash them regularly and keep them rinsed and wrung out and placed so they can keep from being wet constantly. When I launder them I use bleach. Since I read this article some time ago I have switched to a different dish soap and the smell is gone! I loved Dawn Original and swore by it for years! If they change it back to the "Original," I'll be a loyal customer once again!

Dawn smell or not
by: BW

I've used blue Dawn for decades and have not had a problem with it. The problem I do have is with the bacteria that grows on dishcloths & sponges that are NOT rinsed well and allowed to dry. I use dishcloths over the sink divider in lieu of one of those rubberized mats and it is constantly wet which allows the bacteria to grow. The sponge is in constant use and neither my husband nor son are good at rinsing it well and squeezing it dry so it stays wet & gets smelly from bacteria. When I squeeze it well & place it where it can dry completely overnight it never gets smelly. When I've handled either when they have become smelly and that mildew (which is what it is) transfers to my hands, I use the blue Dawn to wash my hands, getting between my fingers really well and REMOVES the mildew smell. I have also now switched my dad from Joy to blue Dawn. He was having a lot of trouble with mildew-smelling dishcloths...but again, it was the same reason, he doesn't rinse them well and allow them to dry completely, and leaves them wet in the sink using them for days.

No problem with Dawn
by: Anonymous

Ive used Dawn for years & never had a problem with odors; I always spread my dish cloth over the last pot I wash, so it dries between uses.

Couldn't figure this out
by: Anonymous

Thank you. I cannot say 100% for sure that Dawn was causing this but I think you may be correct. I'm going to change brands and see if it goes away.

It stinks
by: Shanmuga

I was searching for anyone else experiencing similar issue and here it is...

The dish soap leaves stinky smell on the the sponge, dish, sink and hands.

The smell was extremely strong when I once washed a hot vessel removed from the stove. I guess it could have something to do with the temperature of the water too, as I don't experience this every time.

finally an answer
by: Paul Cottrell

Answers the question finally.

Removing the musty
by: Charlene

I, too, have been using Dawn blue for years. I've noticed the (very) strong musty smell on my dish rags for about a year and a half or so. I was thinking it was our water, but now that I've seen this it makes perfect sense. If I think about it when I purchase dish rags I'll buy chlorine-resistant ones so that I can wash them with the whites. If not, I soak them in a vinegar mix (50:50) with water, then throw them in the regular laundry loads.

Is this a scheme?
by: Hodibear

I use dawn all the time. I have never had any odor on my hands or my dishcloths. Don't use sponges. They get stinky no matter what you use. Maybe you are not rinsing them when you are through washing dishes. I love it. Is this some type of propaganda because it is so popular?

Taylor's note: No, this is not "propaganda." This all started with readers sharing their observations about something with me. Obviously some people agree it smells, others don't. I do not get paid by any dish soap company to discuss this issue. It is just a topic that seems to be popular.

add baking soda to soap bottle
by: Nancy

I had this problem all the time when i was using Dawn and one day out of nowhere I was like I wonder if I add a touch of baking soda to my soap bottle and voila that did the trick. No more smelly sponges or hands.

Stainless steel sink?
by: Anonymous

If you have a stainless steel sink the smell may be able to be removed from hands by lathering hands and rubbing them on the sink while rinsing them. I use the upright part between my double sinks to get between fingers. Works for other smells too (onions, garlic) - every time.

Dawn Ultra Antibacterial Apple Blossom
by: Dish Guy

August 2014 and Dawn causes funky smelling sponges within two or three days. Hate to throw out the new bottle but I hate the stink on my sponge and hands.

This has surprised me
by: Janice Giddens

I have been using Dawn for ages, but have never experienced this reported problem with "stinky" sponges or dishcloths. This article was a surprise to me.

Use Vinegar
by: Anonymous

I keep a spray bottle of part vinegar part water by my sink. I mist it on my dish rags and counter tops. Vinegar is a natural cleanser and will reduce odors. I know you are probably thinking that the vinegar smells worse, but the vinegar smell does not linger.

stinky here also!
by: Anonymous

Wow that's crazy because I have been using Dawn for years and lately I noticed always having stinky sponges and hands! I was thinking it was because they weren't being cleaned right. Keep getting out new sponges. Glad I saw this post! Maybe I'll switch soaps!

It's not just Dawn
by: Louis D

I think all "Ultra" dish soaps do this. We've tried Joy, Dawn and others. We now use Ajax, the cheapest on the shelf. It works fine and we have no more stinky sponges. Save yourself some money and frustration. Buy Ajax.

Yes! Yes, I have!!
by: Jodi

I hadn't put it together that it is the Dawn dish soap but I just started using it and then recently noticed the stinky cloths. Assumed my kids hadn't wrung them out properly or left them in a heap on the counter or something....but now this explains it!! I use the plain blue version.

It has never left my sponge smelling bad
by: Jean

I have used Dawn and only Dawn for years. I have never had any stinky sponge experiences. I am meticulous about my sponge care and go to great measures to make sure I squeeze every last drop of water out of my sponge before I let it dry in a well ventilated area. I routinely sniff my sponges to check for a bacterial problem brewing. Following my sponge habits I rarely have problems.

Orange scent ultra antibacterial now stinks
by: Anonymous

Been a Dawn user for many years. Love the Orange Scent Ultra Antibacterial until now. New bottles have a change in formulation. Smells like some sort of solvent. Not like it used to. Old formulation Triclosan 0.10% - new formulation Chloroxylenol 0.30%. Smells so bad will not be using again. Bottles and labeling look identical except for active ingredient.

YES !!!!
by: Kristina M

I almost have always used Ajax dish soap simply because it's inexpensive and worked. It was the middle ground for me. When I moved into my new place there was a half bottle of original Blue Dawn here. I thought "great! I don't have to buy dish soap for a while". After just 2 days I noticed a smell... my hands, the sponges. I'm thinking I must have washed something really dirty. I soaked the sponge in bleach for a while, rinsed it out and let it dry. It seemed clean to me. Until a few days later. Darn sponge was stinking again! I threw it out and got a new one. A few days later SAME THING! I was going nuts!! I finally figured it MUST be the dish detergent. I quickly bought a bottle of Ajax and within ONE DAY the smell was gone. I haven't used Dawn since. Fast forward 4 years 8 months. Dawn ultra goes on sale. They had nice scents... Pomegranate and New Zealand Springs. Wouldn't you freaking know it.... just ONE DAY after using the New Zealand Springs with a BRAND NEW SPONGE... that darn smell is back!! So I tried the other one. Cleaned sponge w/ bleach and tried again. SAME THING! I am SO DONE with Dawn dish detergent! How can anyone possibly use it without smelling that horrid bacterial smell? I can smell my hands right now. There's the tiniest hint of scent but it's overridden by that bad smell. Good thing the Dawn was on sale for 96¢ so I only wasted $1.92. Back to Palmolive Ultra and Ajax!

Smelly Dish Cloths
by: Carol Herdman

I have found that Dawn causes my dish cloths to smell moldy.

I had used this product for years and this has only happened for approximately the past 3 yrs. I have discontinued using it for dishes, but do, however keep it on the shelf for laundry stains.

this hasn't always been a problem, but it is now
by: Ann

I am so glad I googled this subject, although I really didn't expect to find anything, but there are numerous sites and zillions of entries on each, almost all of which point to Dawn Dish Detergent, which I have used for years. Something has changed, though, because the sponge stink has not always been a problem and it seems to have worsened recently. I was sitting at my computer a few days ago and could smell that same stink, and couldn't figure out where it was coming from. I finally realized it was my hands! The sponge wasn't the culprit that time, either - I had just done the dishes a while earlier and bleached the sponge before I started doing them. I used to nuke my sponge when it started to stink, but then the odor was all through the house, so I switched to bleaching the sponge, and need to do it about every second day. I'd like to know WHY this is happening!

I hate Dawn
by: Anonymous

I used Dawn in the past and we were getting sick with dirty sponges. I told my wife to change the sponge frequently or microwave it to clean because it smelled horrible after a few uses. After a couple of arguments she started microwaving and cleaning and still complaining about it as not her fault. Finally, I asked my cousin about having the same problem. He uses the Palmolive and he never had a problem. So I switched to Palmolive and I am crossing my fingers at this point. But Dawn has made us sick with body aches and headaches sometimes like allergy symptoms. Every time we change sponge, symptoms improve but comes back with continuous usage of same sponge. I am going to continue my observations and see where it ends. I will update my results soon. I bought this at Costco and going to complain about it to them too.

sad, but probably switching back to Palmolive
by: Sue

I love Dawn Ultra, except for the stinky sponge issue. I used to use Palmolive and had no issues with my sponges. I recently switched to Dawn and I think it works better overall. I love using it on grease stains on clothing too! I think I may switch back to Palmolive but keep a small bottle of Dawn for the laundry room.

Oxyclean works...
by: Anonymous

I have noticed the same thing with Dawn. I did find a way to remove the odor. I put the sponge in water and boil it with a little bit of Oxyclean powder for a few minutes. When I removed it the smell was gone. I suppose it will be back again when I use Dawn, but at least for now the sponge smells fine.

never realized it could be my dishwashing soap
by: Anonymous

I never realized it could be my dishwashing soap, but I did wonder why the washcloth I use in the bathroom hardly ever smells but the kitchen ones smell all the time. Could it be that easy, that it is the soap? I do understand that I need to change the cloths regularly but twice or three times a day?

Stop stinky sponges
by: Anonymous

A few drops of Clorox in the dish water stops this!

Same here!
by: Milena

I've noticed the stink on my dish cloths also! I use the original Blue Dawn, it also seems to be the only dish soap I can use with out an allergic reaction! I've tried others to get away from the smell but I always end up in hives or irritation! So I only use a dish cloth once and wash it shortly after in the washer with vinegar in the rinse to get the smell out!

If anyone has a soap that doesn't cause an allergic reaction and doesn't cause the stink I would greatly appreciate the tips!

Ewwww
by: Anonymous

Yes! I'm so pleased to have stumbled upon this post. My husband and I have noticed this most awfully pungent scent that seems to be completely exacerbated by the Dawn detergent, now that you mention it. Two things: 1) we haven't insisted on using Dawn until more recently and 2) we haven't noticed the constant existence of the smell until more recently. It's a terrible, indescribable smell--one I haven't smelled anywhere else, ever. It's the times we accidentally use the washcloth without smelling it first and then want to cut off our hand to rid ourselves of the lingering smells. Oh, so awful. Awful, awful, awful. We'll be reconsidering our soap purchases now, I'm sad to report. Thank you so much for this miraculous--and unfortunate!--insight!

stinky metallic odor in my dishrag as well as me sponge
by: Molly

I use the regular Dawn blue, grease fighting brand, and have noticed a stinky metallic odor in my dishrag as well as me sponge. Thoroughly rinsing them in cold water after each use helps but chlorine bleach is the only working solution I have found.

have trusted it for years, but now disappointed
by: Bobbie Jo

I've used Dawn dish soap for years and years and now I've become very disappointed in it. My rag-sponges smell within 24 hrs after washing my dishes using it. I rinse my rags/sponges out very well so that is not the cause, so please can you explain why this is happening now after years of use? I'll always use it for stains but now I'm thinking of switching my dish soap cause a stinky rag makes me not so happy about the product I have trusted in for years.

Outdoor relief
by: Anonymous

Yes mine are very stinky! To the point I have to hang them outside to dry till I can wash them. They stink up my laundry room till they dry. Yuck.

thought it was the sponge brand . . . no, it's the soap!
by: Rowynna

I have been using Dawn with Olay for months now and I've noticed that my sponge stinks even just after a day. I clean the sponge every 2 days and change it to new ones every 10 days. At first I thought it's the sponge that I'm using. So last week I bought a new brand of sponge and it's the same. So it's the dishwashing soap I'm using.

Rinse with cold water
by: Kariland

When I was a waitress years ago I was taught to use cold water to rinse out the wash cloth and then hang it. Rinsing with hot/warm water gives bacteria an environment it needs to grow. I do this in my own home with sponges and wash cloths and it works. I have used all kinds of dish soaps from Dawn to Great Value to Gain. If the washcloth ends up not being rinsed properly or laying in the bottom of the sink it's going to stink.

only a problem when sponge left in the bottom of the sink
by: Anonymous

I have used Dawn since the beginning of time, and only have this problem when the sponge is left in the bottom of the sink. As long as I rinse out the sponge and place on the counter to air dry my sponge is fine. I also throw it in the dishwasher too.

switched and no stink!
by: Anonymous

Yes, Dawn causes smelly cloths. I switched to Palmolive Oxi dish soap and the smell is all gone!

Fed up with smelly cloths and sponges
by: Anonymous

Yes. I have noticed this. I wash my sponge in the dishwasher every week and change to a new sponge at the beginning of every month and it still smells! I also wash my dishcloths at least every second day and they still smell. Why is this?

the type I use doesn't cause a stink!
by: Anonymous

Dawn with Bleach.....no stinkers.

do they stink? - yes, fiercely!
by: Anonymous

Yes fiercely. I wash them or put some in microwave seems to help!

It made my sponge stink!
by: Lisa Zain

Yup! That is true! My sponges never, ever smelled bad before. I am constantly using them and I have noticed that. Well, recently I noticed my sponge smelled and was surprised. I did recently start using Dawn. Going to use up what I have and be done with it! Don't like those stinky sponges.

Sometimes I put some bleach in the soap, so that might help?

Blue Dawn seems to be the worst offender
by: Anonymous

I have used the regular Blue Dawn as well as others. The blue seems to be the worst offender as far as making dish rags smelly. It also makes them kinda slimy. I also have good municipal water. The fruit scented doesn't seem as bad.I still use it because it makes wonderful bubble solution too.

The only way to clean the rags is by baking soda and bleach. I have tried the microwave, but no luck. I only use the dobie scratchy sponges and they go in the dishwasher every time it runs.

never had this problem
by: Edye

Have been using regular (non foaming) Dawn for years, clean my sponges regularly and have never had this problem!

always wondered about this
by: Anonymous

Yup. I use Dawn and always wondered why my sponge stinks. Just smells moldy and it is not old!!!!

something to do with citric acid?
by: Anonymous

I use Dawn cause a lot of them have citric acid in them an that is bad for granite and sand stone counter tops. Maybe that is why it stinks. I change my dish rag out daily any ways. Scrubbers and brushes I put in dishwasher.

Dawn Ultra--yuck!
by: Sally F.

I have used Dawn for years and have noticed that in the last couple of years my sponges stink as soon as I use them with this brand. Dawn definitely does the best job cutting grease, but I can't stand the smell. If I microwave my sponge every night it can last almost a week. If I miss a night, there's no going back. I minored in microbiology, so I'm meticulous about wringing the sponge out and keeping it clean. I've been using Dawn Ultra (blue) and Dawn Ultra Antibacterial (green), and both definitely cause the problem. Bummer. I'm going to be throwing away two large bottles of Dawn. But I'll recoup the money by using my sponge for more than a few days.

And I thought it was just me...
by: Denise

I have the same problem with Dawn Ultra Escapes Hawaiian Pineapple. Gonna find a new brand!

No stinky problems at my house!
by: Anonymous

I use Dawn and always have. Currently am using the bleach alternative. No smelly problem with it or any other fragrances. I use bamboo dish cloths and the purple sponges made by scotch, called stay clean. The sponge is guaranteed no food to be left trapped. I am in Ky. Maybe the complaints stem from the area you live in and your water supply.

I used to think it was because people didn't rinse their sponges, but no, it is the soap!
by: Cheryl

I have actually had this problem for years and thought it was because people didn't rinse the cloths good enough. But when I switched soaps that went away. Now I never smell the dishcloth no matter how old. Hey, I have 4 teenagers so they get dirty but they don't smell if I don't use Dawn.

stinky stinky
by: Anonymous

Well, I can say that I'm glad it's not just me going through this. Yes, I too use Dawn. After this new bottle I just opened, I'm switching as I cannot afford to throw anything away at the moment.

Rash from Dawn
by: Anonymous

Dawn also makes my hands break out in a rash. Method is best!! Re-fillable.

Dawn Platinum
by: Gloria

My dish cloths have become very odorous! I just use the cloths to clean dishes. The product is great on dishes but please if a cure for the odor. I was daily never reuse same cloth. I've used vinegar and baking soda, etc...no help!

Green Apple Antibacterial scent
by: Anonymous

After just a bit they smell awful! Would SO love to know how to get rid of it- Love the dish soap- HATE THE SMELL!

I have noticed this very recently
by: Anonymous

Funny I have noticed this very recently myself. I have been using only Dawn and was not sure what was happening. I now use dish rags so I can wash them daily. Sponges seem to really smell the worst of a moldy/musty odor.

Nope, I do NOT have the problem of smelly sponges
by: Jo Le Mere

Nope, I do NOT have the problem of smelly sponges because I use the original Dawn for our dishes and I do put them in the microwave for one minute daily. And, yes, I do believe it is probably the Anti-Bacterial Dawn formulations that are causing the stinky sponges and dishcloths. I also change our sponges every 2 weeks and I use the good brand of sponges/scrubbers, not generic.

maybe they changed the formulation
by: Kate

I've used Dawn for years, have never had this problem until now -- maybe they changed the formulation. I have tried both Dawn with Olay and Dawn Ultra (2x suds). Both make the sponge STINK within 2 days. I buy the sponges that are anti-microbial. I hate to do it but I'm going to switch and try a different soap on a new sponge.

nothing to do with bacteria/mold
by: garyZ

Folks, this has nothing to do with bacteria or mold or keeping a "clean" sponge. At least not the problem I've run into and several have written about. It's some sort of chem reaction between Dawn (maybe just some kinds) and certain sponges (3M scrubber sponges sold at Costco, for instance). The smell gets on your hands and doesn't easily wash off. Worst part is, genetically some people simply can't/don't smell it, so they look at us like we're crazy. If I use Dawn with paper towel, no smell.

Used it for years
by: Suzanne in NJ

I've used Dawn for years and have never noticed this issue at all. I don't use a sponge, just a scrubby and a disposable dish rag.

Just tested this theory
by: Stephanie

I use Dawn. I love the way it cleans. I have never noticed a smell. So I tested it. Made a sink of soapy water and did dishes. No smell other than the soap. I only use dish rags so I did not try sponges. And I only use my rags one day. Any time you leave a rag or sponge out longer it grows bacteria and gets a smell. Sponges just harbor bacteria. I saw Gary above posted about a chemical reaction with the sponges. I would agree. And those who use rags, it's probably a reaction with something you are using in your laundry.

Never had this problem with the original kind
by: BRDR

I always buy the old original Dawn. It's located on the bottom shelf at Walmart, the bottle looks generic and unattractive, and actually costs less than the other options. They even have a large economy size to pour into your own bottles. It works great, smells nice, and doesn't leave an unpleasant odor on the dishcloths. I've never tried the newer formulas, but I have tried other brands and I prefer Dawn. Maybe it's just me, but I've never had the odor problem and am a longtime, loyal Dawn user. As long as they offer the old original standby, I'll stay loyal.

Biodegradable and Antibacterial
by: WALT

Microwaved my sponges after Dawn and the smell disappeared. I'm wondering how Dawn managed to make antibacterial and biodegradable dish detergent at the same time in the same bottle. How anything could have these to qualities at the same time? How in the world that could even be possible?

use bleach when washing dish cloths
by: Rita Stokes

I find that my dish cloths get smelly. I usually wash my dish towels and other items for the kitchen and use bleach. That takes all the smell out and keeps your dish cloths white. I usually use white dish towels and dish cloths. I usually do this at least once a week.

switched to Palmolive, plus add baking soda
by: Angela

With all my dish soap use I've started boosting it with baking soda! Just because I enjoy the texture :) strange but no longer do my dishes sit in the sink! It's fun to use! Lol
K I'm strange!
BUT! No smelly sponges, or cloths!
I've switched to Palmolive as well, so try it :)

I boil my sponges and dishcloths every night
by: Dawn

I buy Dawn all the time, {I won't buy nothing else!!} and yes the formula was changed. I never had no problems with my sponges or my dishcloths smelling "sour" or having a "rotten" smell to them. After every night of dishwashing I take my towels and dishcloths and my sponge and I put it into a boiling pot of water. Yes, it sounds like a lot of work, but you have sterilized dishcloths and sponges. Not only that, but they are extra clean!!! and when they are in the pot I am scrubbing down the sinks, the countertops, and cleaning the floors!!!

It stinks! Literally!
by: Emily J.

After years of buying anything but Dawn (I just don't like the price) I ended up with a bottle. After using it for ONE day there is a funky smell on my kitchen sponge that I recognize all too well. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law both have the most disgusting smelling kitchen sponges and rags. For years I have avoided using them or have to wash my hands several times to get the smell off my hands. I was sure they were full of gross bacteria because the smell was so bad. I even snuck a brand new sponge into my MIL's kitchen once. I never said anything but I would owe them an apology as it is clear to me now that the Dawn dish soap is the culprit. They both use Dawn too. I never put it together because the dish soap itself does not stink but there is no other explanation. Now my sponge smells just as bad as theirs!! I checked the internet and found many other similar stories. I'll never buy another bottle.

Use Clorox bleach
by: Annie

I'm a big fan of Clorox bleach. I add a few tablespoons to my dish soap and is a great solution for smelly sponges. Also it is a great disinfectant and germ killer.

Smelly Sponge and Hands!!!
by: Anonymous

I narrowed down that the smell was coming from the Dawn dish washing soap and then looked online to discover that I am not alone. It smells like a bad chemical or combination of them has been added. It smells toxic to me!!!

New formulation for apple blossom scent = pew
by: Barney

Contacted Dawn just the other day and while customer support is concerned about reports of bad odors while the 'apple blossom scent' is used, it's not about to revert to the old version. I won't buy this particular product again and hope others will file suit.

Never Dawned on me too!
by: Sheryl S.

I use the original blue Dawn and have to soak my dish rags in bleach several times a week! I'll have to switch detergents to see if it really is the Dawn we're using.

my heavens, didn't realize until now
by: Dodie

My heavens, I thought it was just my kitchen drain, then I noticed my dishcloths. I change mine every other day. I put Dawn down my drain regularly to "degrease." Now I notice my drain smells musty. Also I use a dishwasher pod that has Dawn in it and my dishwasher smells musty too. I wonder if they changed something? I have used Dawn forever and never had this odor.

why is this happening?
by: Sherry

I use Dawn ONLY! My sponges stink to high heaven! Why?

not Dawn, but Tide!
by: Eli

I don't use Dawn so have not had this issue, BUT I have a similar problem when I've used the laundry detergent Tide. I finally stopped using it years ago after repeated problems. Any wash that sat in the washer, after having gone through the wash cycle, for more than a few minutes would smell sour. Sometimes it wouldn't be noticeable right away. I'd put the laundry in the dryer, dry and fold and put away. It was only after I'd be wearing something that I'd notice the foul odor! yechhh!

Dawn in silver bottle caused this problem for me
by: Gina V

I HAVE noticed the sponge smelling. I do microwave mine, but not every day. It took me a while to figure out where the smell was coming from. It started when I switched to the new Dawn in the silver bottle. It's supposed to be so potent and everything, but honestly it does the same job, just smells different, and then now this. I'm switching back to the orange one after this is gone.

I have to buy unscented dish soap for this very reason
by: Anonymous

I find this happens to me when I use any dish soap that has a fragrance, not just Dawn. I have to buy one that is fragrance free and that completely eliminates the problem. I miss the smell of fresh lemons or apples but I don't like musty, sour smelling dish towels or sponges.

caused my daughter's thermoses to be a stinky musty mess!
by: Anonymous

I normally do not use Dawn but had a coupon and it was free so my daughter's thermoses are a stinky musty mess! We have had them for years and have never had this problem! I have them soaking in a vinegar water solution to hopefully salvage these. Has anyone else experienced this? They are stored for the very few days when not in use open and are drained in a wire dish drainer so it is not because they were sealed while still damp.

I would love to find out why this is happening
by: Anonymous

I use Dawn original blue dish soap and love it and always will, however I have to agree on the smell. Every time I'm rinsing something or washing a pan my sponge stinks and the smell doesn't wash away. I would love to find out why.

Souring kitchen rags until I switched brands, and now no problem!
by: Rachel

I have always used original blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. I have noticed the rapid souring of my kitchen rags. I thought it was the material, so I bought new ones. But same problem continued. I saw a previous post about Dawn being the cause. I switched dish soap and what do you know? my rags have not soured before I'm ready to wash them! I'm sad to stop using Dawn. They need to correct the problem!

Dawn soap = sour clothes
by: Anonymous

It took me weeks to figure out what was causing souring clothes. I blamed my new washing machine, changed soaps 2 times, disinfected it, etc., until I realized it was DAWN. And when I run them through in the washing machine it spread!!!!

Dawn Orange Smells Different
by: Susie W

Bought a new bottle of orange Dawn antibacterial dish soap this week. I have used this product for the last year and noticed a distinct change in the smell of the recently purchased bottle. Interestingly, the smell reminds me of the scent used in McDonald's restaurant pump soap which is strong and medicinal. Although the Dawn liquid is not as powerful a smell as McDonald's the scent stays on my hands after using it. Possibly the antibacterial ingredient has changed.

No admission
by: GaryZ

Unfortunately the Dawn folks don't seem to admit or even acknowledge the problem. I emailed them and got a coupon back for Dawn! Useless to me. I would have preferred to know that they are looking into the situation, but it's been like this now for years, with no changes. You would think if we all ran into it they could reproduce it and debug it easily enough in a lab, isolate the offending smelly compound that's being formed, and update their formulation to eliminate the problem. Instead they are losing buyers and probably are worried about liability.

Dawn is Funky
by: Anonymous

First time I noticed this Dawn funk was camping! The sponge smelled so bad that even after cleaning and rinsing the sponge I noticed traces of the stink in my hands-gross! I was using the foaming Dawn (blue I think). Second time was at home and I came home to a stinky kitchen from the little scrubber sponge I use. I have never bought Dawn products since.

switched brands and now don't have this trouble
by: Cheryl

We have always used Dawn dish soap and I'm thinking in the last 6-9 months we started noticing our dish rag smelling. Tried new dishcloths without any difference, but then saw a post about Dawn dish soap. We switched brands and no longer have any problem. It's a shame because I really like the way Dawn cleans much better than other brands.

won't buy it anymore
by: Ruth

I use a sponge and a dish rag, they both started smelling bad within 24 hours. Dawn cleans great, stopped using it for years because of this very reason. Then needed dish soap and didn't like the other options, so I bought Dawn. Equaled disappointment. Whether the original blue or the green apple scent that I bought, that is not what I smell on my sponge or my dish rag. YUK! Won't buy it anymore.

Ivory dish soap stinks too
by: Anonymous

I have used Ivory dish soap lately, I think lemon Joy also. I agree that it's a new formulation that is causing the odor. It never used to happen. I'm wondering if it's the 1,4 Dioxane added or similar chemical. I have recently switched to Dishmate dish detergent and am pleasantly surprised I no longer have the instant stench on my dishcloths. Try it!

has stunk for years, but it is a great grease cutter
by: Anonymous

It's been years since Dawn dish soap did not make the sponge stink. To us it smells like cockroaches. I use Palmolive and Kirkland brand of dish soap, they do a great job but I keep a small bottle of Dawn for it's excellent grease cutting power. I use it for the kitchen drains with hot water as a drain cleaner. Squirt all around the sink and let the hot water run for a few minutes. Fourteen years and the drains still flow like new.

I never thought it was the dishsoap
by: g. nash

I never would have come to that conclusion. I love Dawn for its great cleaning. But yes my sponges, rags etc. smell like moldy stale water and subsequently so do my hands, glassware etc. I thought it was me and I wasn't allowing them to dry properly, but it happened with a brand new sponge that I took extra care with in air drying and I'll be darned I grabbed it to wipe a counter and after putting the sponge down smelled my hands and they smell like old water. How do I fix this?

So that's it!
by: Anonymous

I have been having trouble with my dish rags smelling foul even after they have been washed and dried. I had to throw some away. I never even had a clue that it was Dawn dishwashing liquid. I have been using it for over 20 years and it never happened until the last year or two. I think I will go back to the original brand and see if that works.

generic Walmart version doesn't do this
by: Cindy

I have to say I have not noticed but it could be because I am using the Walmart generic version of Dawn. I also use a clean dish cloth every day. I notice a smell after 24 hours, have for as long as I can remember so just change it daily. Maybe the generic has not caught up with the name brand yet.

moldy smelling sponge
by: Anonymous

I change my sponge once a week. I've used dawn for years. Just a couple months ago I noticed my sponge was smelling after only using it twice. I have found if you leave soap in it, it doesn't smell as fast. I never thought about it being the Dawn. I use the regular blue kind. I will have to find something else to use. I don't like Palmolive. I feel like it doesn't get the greasy feeling off the dishes.

Amen
by: Sue

I have noticed the same problem with the blue Dawn liquid. I change the cloths daily, rinse them out, and hang them to dry before laundering. Even dry they have that stink smell. Years of this problem.

sponges can be washed, too...
by: Jennifer

I throw them in the dishwasher every week, and this keeps the funk away. When we didn't have a dishwasher I threw them in the washing machine with the rest of the dishcloths and towels.

I've noticed it with other brands, also, though. Yes, Dawn is usually the strongest yuck smell. My theory: it lifts the grease off of things and the cloth or sponge absorbs it, so your left with a stinky food smell, not a stinky soap smell. I also think that how hard your water is can play a part in the problem, just as it effects the smell of cloth diapers.

smells bad always
by: Sheri

At first I thought I wasn't rinsing the Dawn out thoroughly, so now I rinse in hot water only. That did help but it still makes my sponge stink anyway, just not as fast. I can spray Windex on the sponge and that seemed to solve the problem. I just have to rinse the Windex out before using it on dishes.

Palmolive does it to
by: Anonymous

I use Palmolive dish detergent and have the same problem. Dish rags and sponges smell rancid. I've even thrown some away thinking it's the cheaper brand of towels I've bought. I've been trying to put everything in the dishwasher which uses lots of electric.

Noticed this myself
by: Anonymous

I use Dawn Original and have noticed it myself. I thought I was going crazy. However it's the only stuff my husband wants to use.

toxic Dawn
by: Laura

It's likely the chemical makeup of Dawn. The antibacterial versions contain ingredients including Triclosan. Try using a natural brand like a robber or Ava Anderson Non Toxic. Since switching to a natural brand I've never had this problem.

it's not soap
by: John

If you don't hang your dish cloth to dry it will always smell real bad. Nothing to do with soap.

I don't think it's the Dawn!
by: Louise

I have been an avid Dawn user for years. I change my dish cloth out every few days. Sponges are breeding grounds for bacteria! I also use bleach every few days in my dish water. Just a capful or two. But it's not Dawn, it's the dish cloth. It should actually be changed out after every meal, or at least once a day. Think about the food you cook with and combining that with a few more days of food, of course it's going to stink. You shouldn't be worried about the smell, you should be worried about the bacteria that is being transferred around your kitchen!

blue Dawn
by: Anonymous

I use blue Dawn all the time. I have never had a problem. I even put it on stains and it works amazing. I love Dawn. Never have stinky rags nothing.

stinky dish towels
by: Lizsette

I also have experienced the problem with smelly dish towels after using Dawn. Sometimes the smell is still there after they are washed so I've thrown a lot of them away. Even when I wash them out after washing the dishes by morning they smell up my entire kitchen. I've started soaking my dish towels in bleach over night to get rid of th the odor.

big bottle from Costco does this too
by: Anita

I had stinky sponges so I changed them, and sure enough, within just a few days of using Dawn the sponge started to stink almost a mildewy smell.

happens with lots of soaps
by: Rose

Not just Dawn. I've tried others and I still get the same result. Smelly sponges.

No one thought to contact the company?
by: Anonymous

Just curious as to why no one has attempted to contact the company and complain about this? They have obviously changed the formula and if enough file complaints? I'm sure they'll revert back to the original. Just sayin'.

finally confirmation!
by: Rebecca

I'm extremely sensitive to odors and I've been saying this for a year. My family thinks I'm nuts but now I finally have confirmation that I'm right!!! I used to love Dawn so I too hope their researchers can resolve this problem!

Smells like mildew
by: Anonymous

I use the traditional Dawn and we have had this problem for a while now. The odor even transfers to your hands. It normally occurs within 24 hrs of getting out a new cloth. And I've tried rinsing them till they run clear and making sure they are able to dry properly but nothing helps. We buy new cloths constantly because I have a lot of medical problems and was unsure if this was adding to it. We've had the same problem with other soaps as well. No dishwasher here so we have to wash by hand several times a day. I honestly think it's the bacteria in the water more then it is the soap or cloths. I did a test on our water for hardness not long ago and it registered at the highest end.

Dawn Clear
by: Claudia Lee

I have the same problem, stinky smell on my sponge/ towels. It starts pretty much on the same day I start using Dawn.

I'm switching back to my old standbys
by: Celia

I am a 70 year old woman. I have washed a lot of dishes in my time. I started using Dawn about a year ago because I was hearing what a great grease cutting detergent it was. I could not figure out why my towels, sponges, etc. started smelling bad. After reading a few articles today it's clear it's something in Dawn. I will start using my old standbys again until I hear Dawn has fixed their problem.

Gain vs Dawn, smelly sponges
by: Lily90n34p3

I use Gain, but remember using Dawn. My sponges stink but not my hands? Thank goodness, is it the degreasers?

switched to other brands after using Dawn for over 20 years
by: Sandy

I have used Dawn for 20+ years. Over the past 5 or so I have been accusing my poor husband of not rinsing the dish rag and hanging it to dry. Same with the sponge. I started doing dishes more, as I am no longer working outside the home. I rinse the rag and hang to dry. The next day the rag smells very musty and old. I have used all the formulas and scents, all with the same outcome. My solution, I now use Gain or Palmolive.

happens daily
by: Anonymous

I have the same issue. Horrible smell sometimes I can't even remove the smell from my hands. It happens every day.

I don't have this problem
by: Marilynn Layden

I use Dawn to wash dishes and Tide HE liquid to do my laundry. I just checked my dishcloth that I have been using for over a week. No smell on it or on my hands. I was wondering if it could be a water problem? I live in Colorado and there is very little or no additives added to our water. Just a thought.

switched to orange Palmolive and no more stink!
by: Geejayduty

I also was using the Blue Dawn original scent and my dish rags always smelled. I am changing the colors in my kitchen so I picked up some orange Palmolive so it would match my kitchen (I know who matches their soap to kitchen colors, it's an OCD thing). I have a pretty decanter that holds my soap and it is clear, so the matching orange was important. Wow I was amazed no more stink since I made the switch. I am so pleased I am going with orange in my kitchen instead of blue.

I've written to Dawn/P&G - you should too.
by: garyZ

Not sure this posted the first time....
I have contacted Dawn/Proctor&Gamble a couple of times on this, the last time was about two weeks ago. I referred them to this discussion list. (So if you see a slew of "I don't have this problem at all!..." posts, judge for yourself. ;-)

They said they would look into it, because I ranted. The first complaint was met with the usual first-level, offshore canned response and a coupon for Dawn!!! I asked them to "escalate" the second comment I sent. I told them this was harming their sales and business. You should too.

I've found that, amazingly, not everyone smells the mustiness/stink. Something genetic there. Weird, so people who can't smell it think we are nuts. Frustrating.

thanks for the info!
by: Anonymous

I have been puzzled as to why my kitchen sponges smell so terrible! It has a metallic smell to it that transfers and lingers on my hands for while! We do use Dawn so will be discontinuing the use because of that nasty nasty smell! Thank you for the information!!

Not alone
by: Anonymous

Been helping my mother out for a few months and have been tossing sponges like crazy. Like everyone else, the smell become unbearably bad and sticks to your skin. It takes alcohol to remove the odor. You have to wonder? What's in the new Dawn? & yuck! Done with Dawn and that nasty odor.

No smell, but I use a scrub brush
by: Carol

I have never noticed a smell and I have used Dawn for years, however I don't use sponges, and rarely use cloths, I mostly use a scrub brush!

How I beat the smelly sponge...
by: Mae

I had this same issue and switched dish soap, which only caused me major allergy issues. Well about a few years ago Scotch Brite introduced this new sponge called Stay Clean. I bought one to test it out and I have not used any other kind of sponge since. I went back to using Dawn and there is literally no gross smell anymore. The only thing I do to keep the sponge fresh is after I'm done cleaning up, I'll wring the sponge out under cold water then put a little drop on it and rub it in front, back, and sides, then wring it out under warm water, it will leave a little bit of the soap in there (it's very beneficial). Then lay it sponge side up on the sink or wherever you place your sponge and let it air dry. I have been doing this for the last few years and I don't have to replace my sponge as much as I used to. Hope this helps.

I thought it was imagination!
by: Coco

I thought it was my imagination! I have to wash dish rags and towels every day with Tide, baking soda, and white vinegar! I had suspicions it was the Dawn. AH HA!!

Yuppir...same thing here
by: Blake

I've found the same thing with Dawn, no matter which fragrance or concentration. Now I microwave the thing for 1-1/4 minutes on full power, then CAREFULLY place it on the edge of the sink beside the faucet. It is HOT and steaming.

We've tried Joy & Palmolive, and neither makes that horrendous stench, but the boss prefers Dawn, so...

Dawn Ultra Escapes, Fugi Cherry Blossom Scent
by: CS Cronmiller

I don't like the scent of some of the dish detergents or some liquid laundry detergents as many remind me of the smell of a public restroom toilet bowl freshener smell. This particular scent of Dawn was nice though. But a day after I started using it my dish cloth began to stink and no matter how much I rinsed it, it never went away. The same thing happened when I tried Original scent Ultra Gain Dishwashing Liquid. When I switched back to my usual Ajax Super Degreaser Lemon and/or Orange Scents, the stink didn't happen. I bought new dishcloths before I started using the Dawn and Gain. So there must be some chemical in the fragrance that is used.

Mrs Meyer's doesn't smell
by: Diane

I didn't realize it was Dawn making my dishrags smell until I switched to Mrs Meyer's dishsoap and did not have the same smell problem. It isn't always easy to find in the standard grocery store. It is in Target & Whole foods. I picked up a bottle of Ivory thinking it might be a milder soap for my hands, and again, my dish rags were stinky by the next morning. I am going to contact Proctor & Gamble and see "what the heck!". Anyway, a plug for Mrs. Meyer's. A little pricey, but not hard on hands.

Awwwwwww😝
by: Anonymous

I thought my husband was crazy telling me it was the Dawn dish soap that was causing our kitchen towels to stink. I love using Dawn, but after reading this article I'm convinced it the Dawn dish soap now. I will now be switching to something else to see if the smell goes away. I was thinking we have the problem that our washer stinks (we clean the machine regularly). Do you think it could be the Dawn that is causing our washer to smell too?

I have noticed this phenomenon too!
by: Curt

Old Dawn did not do this, but all the new stuff for the last several years, blecho, great job on grease, but not worth the nasty stink on sponge!

They need to get their head out of their butts and fix it!

Dawn's response when I wrote in to complain about this
by: Anonymous

I wrote to Dawn, and this is the response I received;

Thanks for contacting Dawn and for being a loyal consumer.

I'm sorry you’re disappointed with the cleaning performance of our Dawn hand dishwashing liquid. We’ve upgraded our formula by 10% to improve the grease cutting performance, so your report is a surprise as we would expect our formula to quickly and easily take care of the toughest jobs and dirtiest dishes. Your years of loyalty is very important to us, so we appreciate you bringing this to our attention.

There are some factors that can lessen the grease-cutting and cleaning benefits of a hand dishwashing liquid. Hard water, which contains a lot of dissolved minerals, is the number one cause of reduced effectiveness. It may help to know that hard water conditions can change day by day depending on environmental variations, and can cause you to have different results from sink load to sink load.

In addition to the issue with your sponge, here are some possible causes as to why this may happen;

•When leaving dishwashing detergent in a soaking solution; food soils are emulsified.
•Hot water necessary for cleaning dishes speeds up spoilage of food soils.
•As the water cools, the dissolved food soils and the product thicken, forming an unpleasant odor and/or a sort of slime which coats the dishcloth. To prevent this from happening, don’t allow washcloth to soak in dish water.

I hope this information is helpful. We’d also love for you to give our product another try so I’m sending you a coupon good towards a future purchase of any Dawn product. Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery via postal mail.

Thanks again for taking the time to write.

Shellyann
Dawn Team

Need to get back in touch? Please do not change the subject line, just hit reply. This makes sure we receive your message.

I do not think this was helpful!

Dawn Power Clean smells great at first, then...
by: Ashley

I think the Dawn Power Clean works great and smells great straight out of the bottle.

The problem is all of my dish rags smell disgusting now.

Soon after (maybe and hour or so after) using it on any of the dish rags and towels they start to smell like soured laundry that's been forgotten in the washer for a week.

A few sat in my laundry room for a day or so and the smell was overwhelming, throughout my whole house. Not just regular soiled laundry smell, but more like extremely stinky shoes, or mildewed clothing.

aha
by: Anonymous

I did notice the stinky dishcloth issue. I just didn't put it together that it was the Dawn. I use just the regular Dawn. I've also noticed that my dishcloth sometimes feels slimey.

switch out dish cloths and sponges daily
by: Yvette Elliott

It's simple, would you bath in the tub two days in a row with the same wash cloth no matter what soap it was? I'm just saying. Wash daily, cut them smaller, use peroxide to kill odors.

Rinse rinse rinse
by: Anonymous

I found this to happen sometime ago. I find if I rinse out my dish rag well after doing the dishes and drape over the middle to dry smell is significantly less.

Yep
by: Cathy

Yep. They stink. It also takes moisture out of my hands.

had to switch brands
by: Margie Romero

I had to switch to Ajax brand dish soap from Dawn because my kitchen was starting to smell so bad. My sponges and dishes did not feel clean and the dish soap didn't seem to be getting my dishes clean either. I am not sure what is causing this. I am wondering if it isn't some sort of residue that builds up or something because Dawn seems to be very difficult to rinse from surfaces or dishes. I am just as perplexed as everyone else.

My theory...
by: Jennifer Prekopa

I find that it doesn't just happen with Dawn. While some issues, I believe, are related to water quality in a specific areas, I find that the soaps that have the worst lingering odors do the best job removing the grease from the dishes. I feel like the odor isn't caused by the soap as much as it is caused by the grease that the sponges/clothes are absorbing from the dishes as a result of the soap lifting it off of the dishes. Soap doesn't dissolve grease...it breaks it up and cuts through the grease. It has to go somewhere. So, into the dishwater and onto the sponge it goes. When they air dry, the grease left behind causes them to smell. I throw my sponges in the dishwasher when I run it and it keeps them fresh and extends their life ten fold.

Dish rag maintenance
by: Anonymous

I have not experienced any unusual odor with the Dawn (Lavender) that I use. However, each night I place the damp rag in the microwave for 1 minute, wait for the cloth to cool and then wipe the microwave out with it. Then rinse and hang to dry.

Original Dawn
by: Sheryl

We use original Dawn for dishes and for stain removal of my oil based clothing stains. I air dry those clothes and they all have that mildew smell when they get washed or wet. Our sponge not so much. Have no idea what is up but we have increased our clean cycle frequency in our washer. Doesn't appear to help either.

Cheap fix for smelly dish sponges
by: Nancy

I was looking for info on a soap a lot of people seem to be using lately that smells terrible to me when I found this page.

I just pour rubbing alcohol over my dish sponges when they get smelly. I use the ones with the plastic handles you can fill with dish soap. I always thought the handles might melt in the microwave so I tried the rubbing alcohol and it works like a charm. I use Dawn, too, but I never considered it might be the soap that was causing the funky smell. I just figured it was from the food residue on the dishes.

Depends on the water
by: Anonymous

I have used Dawn for years and never had a problem with smelly sponges. I moved in with my boyfriend about a year ago and started noticing the smelly sponges. My dad lives across town, near my old house and does not have this problem. It has to be the water.

I've always had this problem
by: Anonymous

I have always had problems with Dawn stinkiness. No matter the formulation. I tried every kind. I have switched to Palmolive many years ago and don't have that problem.

how to get rid of the smell
by: Lisa

Put your sponge in the microwave WET for 3 minutes to get rid of the smell.

Dish cloths smell bad
by: Deborah Huggins

I have been using Dawn Platinum and my sponges and dish cloths smell really bad after only a few hours. I have put my sponges in the dishwasher and they come out clean smelling then after using them for 2 to 3 hours they stink again. I wash all my dish towels with baking soda to help get rid of the smell. HELP! Make the smell go away!

love Dawn !!
by: Anonymous

I have always been taught (long before Dawn) if you rinse in cold water the odor causing bacteria can't grow ?? Works for me 😊

Absolutely I have smelly dish cloths.
by: Anonymous

Just by chance came across this page and I read to my amazement that I do have this. Used a clean dish cloth last night to do dishes and hung it up in my usual place. This morning ONCE again it is smelly like mildew. I have used the simply clean Dawn. The bottle is about empty and I will switch dish washing soap when I go to the store and see if this is the problem with the dawn. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I was really puzzled on what was going on.

Dawn stinks
by: Anonymous

Dawn dish soap stinks all by itself.

Smelly sponge, smelly sponge! What are they feeding you?
by: Anonymous

I have experienced this multiple times, especially with any of the blue versions of Dawn. Sometimes the smell shows up as quickly as a day! I've found a solution to it, however. When I'm done washing dishes, I rinse my sponge thoroughly and then wring it out like a towel. You have to twist quite a few times to get all the water out. Your sponge should look dry when it's wrung out completely. That's it! I've been using Dawn (with bleach alternative) and the same sponge for four weeks now using this method and no smell! Hope this helps. 😊

smelly towels
by: Anonymous

Yes they stink! Only if I do not rinse and hang them to dry after each use. When my 14 yr old son washes the dishes, omg the towel really stinks. He won't rinse it. Washing and rinsing is the key to keeping the problem under control.

how I clean my sponges
by: Anonymous

I have cleaned sponges in the dishwasher and then microwaved them to keep them clean.

I've not had this problem
by: Anonymous

Unlike those of you that have posted I have not had this issue. And I will continue to use my favorite dish soap. DAWN!!!

Dawn Apple Blossom Dish Soap
by: Erin

I have been using Dawn Apple Blossom Dish Soap (in the green bottle) for well over 10 years and preferred it over any other brand. I just opened a new bottle and noticed this awful chemically smell when I was doing the dishes. I thought it was coming from the tap water at first then I thought it was the sponge itself. Then I thought it was the non-stick cookware I was washing. Then I noticed my hands had the chemical smell after using the soap. I finally realized it was the Dawn dishsoap that smelled. I was looking up online for any recalls and stumbled on your page. It's not a musty smell it's a real strong awful chemical smell. I hope having used it on a few loads of dishes doesn't cause long term effects. I will be buying a new brand first thing tomorrow.

antibacterial soap seems to be the worst
by: Anonymous

Antibacterial soap seem to be the worst. This soap works fine but the odor returns in a day. I don't have this problem with green soaps. Only blue and yellow varieties of soap.

while on the subject
by: Anonymous

Yes, I refuse to buy Dawn for this exact reason. While we're on the subject of it, I am disgusted with so many trusted name brands that have been around for as long as I have been alive, I have noticed being reformulated, replaced, discontinued, and/or counterfeited and passed off as products that had long earned my loyalty and, "consumer confidence". And I am offended and insulted by it all! If you are still reading this thank you. Now let me ask you. Have you noticed an increase in your pepper consumption? In case you hadn't noticed it is now ground LITERALLY to dust! This is only one example among easily a 1000 I could name you off the top of my head. I can only assume the reason behind this was to hasten the consumption. or perhaps it's not the manufacturers but the real products, in transport, have been replaced buy cheap knockoffs, for whatever reason. In either case I wished someone would investigate into all these phenomenons!

This surprised me
by: Anonymous

This surprised me. I never think about the dawn dish soap, I was thinking the stinky smell in my sponges were my fault because I don't squeeze good or dry it after each dish wash, but now i think I'm going try another brand maybe that change, I hope!

Dawn works great but I can't stand the dishcloth smell!
by: Val

I've always used Dawn and always hated how my dishcloths smell. I recently bought Palmolive because it was on sale. Though I didn't care for the smell of the dish soap itself I enjoyed not having smelly dishcloths. When I bought Dawn afterwards I decided to research this to see if I was the only one. I will be contacting the company next!

true
by: Anonymous

I thought it was the weather change with humidity going up, but after one use with Dawn a sponge started to stink. Never happened to me before. It smells of mold. So there must be something in Dawn that accelerates the growth of mold on a surface. I'm switching back to Method or Mrs Meyers, not a problem.

yuck
by: Anonymous

I thought it was just a problem I had but now I know it's just not me! Yaaay!! I wont buy dawn because of it, it leaves my sponges and rags smelling like spoiled laundry!! Hate it so I use Gain dish soap. It works great!! No smelly sponge etc. You ladies should switch and the gain dish soap is pretty cheap.

Slimy
by: Dena

I stopped using regular Dawn because my dish water felt slimy before I was finished with my dishes. I do not use sponges and use a clean cloth every time.

same here
by: Dinbajerr@aol.com

I noticed this too about a month ago. Please fix this problem.

stinky sponge
by: Anonymous

After reading this it has made realize that it now makes sense. The smell is way worse faster with Dawn than with other brands. Will be testing it out again to check and make sure it really does.

Smell rags from dawn soap
by: Carol

I've used Dawn for years because it cleans the dishes so well and yes I have the stinky dish cloth. Lately I've been making a conscious thing to remember to rinse out the rag really good and hang it over the faucet. I can go 4 or 5 days before they start to smell, then they get thown in the garage and when I wash it with laundry soup and oxi clean in hot water and let it soak for 30 minutes and it's works great, wish i could get the smell off my hands as easy.

Blue Dawn
by: Alissa

I have not noticed a bad smell with Blue Dawn. It is the only thing we use.

Apple Blossom
by: Nancy

I don't use sponges so that is not a problem for me. I did get a bottle of the green Dawn (Apple Blossom). This Dawn stinks as soon as you open the bottle. I put it up and bought another scent no problem!

my only use for this brand
by: Anonymous

I only keep dawn to bathe dog between groomings. It kills fleas.

Mine too!
by: Linda

I asked my mother to pick me up new dish cloths the other day when she was out for this very reason, they smell, and washing them wasn't helping. The first time I used them again, the smell was back.

I had assumed that they weren't drying out well. I am a Dawn user, so now that I've read this post I'm going to try switching my dish soap to see if that solves this problem!

remedy?
by: Anonymous

I've always used Dawn dish soap and didn't have this problem before. I started adding a little bit of bleach to my dishwater and I found this to lessen the dirty dish rag smell.

very frustrating!
by: Anonymous

I have the same problem with Dawn. All their liquids for doing dishes. Once my washcloth and dishtowel is wet a musty like, mildew smell comes out and is left on glassware and/or anything hand washed. Very frustrating. I am changing detergents!

bleach water helps
by: Vinci

Because of the awful smell I've started misting my sponge and dish cloth with 10% bleach water. It killed the musty, moldy smell.

wringing out thoroughly helps
by: Kristie

I used to have stinky sponges and dishcloths but when I rinsed and squeezed (or wrung out) until the water ran clear, it went away. Then I use the really well rinsed cloth or sponge to wipe down sink and counter before I am done with the final rinse.

Please help fix this problem!
by: Mary Jane Laws

I am 63 yrs old. I have been using Dawn since it's introduction into the market. My mother taught me to always rinse the soap out of the sponge and dish rag. In recent years I have noticed the sponge and dishrag and EVEN the green scrungy with no fabric getting sour. For a long time I blamed my kids and husband. Now that I live alone it's happening more frequently. Usually I just soaked the sponge in soda/water for half a day, and it would be ok for awhile. I clean homes for a living and I noticed other people living busier lives did not have this problem. I noted they were using an off brand. I used it, and sure enough it was the solution to the problem. I don't want to use another product that doesn't have the cleaning power of Dawn. I always use it for windows and large bathroom mirrors. (just a squirt in a bucket of water). I have other recipes for Dawn uses also. Please help.

Ultra Original Scent
by: Kris

This dish soap instantly makes a clean dish cloth or sponge smell like it's been used at least a week! Mildewy, sour smell. Yes, it's still great for cleaning grease, but since I'm forced to change my cloth on a daily (sometimes twice daily!) basis, I will never use Dawn again.

Antibacterial version
by: Bambi

This brand of Dawn has caused some very smelly dish rags and sponges at my house. The smell starts almost immediately or within an hour of using it. The best way that I have found to get rid of the smell is to use vinegar in the place of fabric softener. It works great to get rid of the smell but doesn't fix the smell once detergent is applied again.

Works great, but is stinky...
by: Janet

I think Dawn works the best on grease/greasy dishes. But, yes, it makes my dish cloths stink.

I no longer use sponges, I use a new dish cloth every day. That works for me.

We used Dawn when I was a kid, and I don't remember the stink. My mom did not wash the dish cloths every day, either. Perhaps they changed the formula?

I know that Dawn contains oil in the ingredients. For some reason (I'm not a scientist) oil helps to remove oil/grease. That's why they use Dawn on animals after oil spills.

I'll probably stick with Dawn.

It's true!
by: Keatta

It's true! It happened to my dish cloth as well. The bad smell stopped when I added a cap full old Clorox or fabuloso all purpose cleaner to my dish water.

Have you tried Liquid Organic Cleaners??
by: Anonymous

I have been using Liquid Organic Cleaner, Legacy of Clean dish soap and it is absolutely fantastic. It cuts through a sink full of greasy, dirty dishes with just a few drops. Patented formula with aloe vera and shiso extract delivers the cleaning power you need while leaving your hands happy.

Smelly sponges
by: Peggy

I have had the problem of the smelly sponge. I always use Dawn. I kept blaming my husband for not cleaning and squeezing out the remaining water in the sponge. I just put a new sponge out and in 1 day I got that mildew smell. I thought I was nuts. Thank God I saw this on Facebook.

Power Clean And Original Version Both Stink
by: Cathy

I have used Dawn for years and started smelling a stinky smell when I used the Power Clean. Now the original Dawn is doing the same thing. I thought it was the brand of sponges but nope. It's the Dawn. That smell transfers to the sink, hands and dishes and glassware. It's horrible. I love Dawn as it gets the grease off and cleans well, but that smell and replacing the sponges every few days is getting costly. A lot of the time cleaning the sponge in the dishwasher or microwave does not remove that smell.

Oh yes it does!!!
by: Anonymous

I have found that with just one use of any Dawn formulation that my sponge takes on a sour mildew smell that transfer onto whatever I am cleaning with the sponge. I change sponges frequently and I have tried using Dawn with a brand new sponge to the same stinky result. It is so disappointing because i love how it cleans but I refuse to purchase it ever again.

I want testing!
by: Anonymous

This is not some conspiracy theory! There is definitely mold or mildew or some form of bacteria present in all of Dawn's products and I wish that an independent company would test the soap to get to the bottom of this issue - who knows what we will be exposed to.

BINGO On the MILDEW
by: Julie Holcomb

I have been cursed with a hyper sensitive nose to mildew. If I let my laundry sit for more than a couple hours I smell mildew. And I am extremely allergic to mildew. I'm telling you right now that there is mildew in some form in that soap prior to even using it. Mark my words they will announce eventually that there is some form of mold or mildew or bacteria existing in that soap!

If the company hears from enough people...
by: garyZ

Email P&G from here:
https://pgconsumersupport.secure.force.com/ContactUs?brand=Dawn&country=United+States+of+America&language=English-US

So Glad I Read This
by: Anonymous

I like using Dawn because I know they help with animal clean up after oil spills. However, I do not like smelly dishwater or sponges especially before the day is even over! And a lot of times I haven't even washed pots and pans ... Just a couple of cups and plates ... Pretty much all scents even the new ones !! So glad I read this. I will definitely be switching to another brand. My husband claims it's because I don't use bleach! Bleach is not good for your hands. So sorry Dawn you have to go !!

Metallic Smell
by: Andy

I get a metallic smell after a day or two. A splash of bleach in with the last sink of dawn and it doesn't happen.

The same here!
by: Anonymous

Wow, I never get Dawn for my dishes but my husband bought it this time and I used it. Immediately the kitchen sponge started smelling bad. I threw it away and I got a new one, couple days later, it happened again! I decided to Google it and this is what I found from many sites. DAWN makes the sponge smell bad! So, why do people keep buying it?

Use a bit of bleach along with your dish soap!
by: Anonymous

I have never encountered smelly sponges for dish washing, perhaps it's because I always put a squirt of bleach in my dish water along with the soap.

Stopped the smell when stopped using the antibacterial variety
by: Anonymous

It is the anti bacterial soap that causes the smell. Once I stopped using that type of soap the smell stopped.

smelling it is genetic
by: plr

Like garyZ said, it's clearly genetic: some people smell it and some people don't. There's lots of things like this: to some people, cilantro tastes like soap, and they know what genetic changes cause this.

Maybe we can get 23 & me to figure out where the genetic variant is?

And, ICK! I *hate* it!

Smells like 10W30 to me!
by: Anonymous

After using Dawn for the first time in years it smelled like I changed my car's oil. Of course the partner said I was silly. There is a definite petroleum smell. It is absolutely horrible. I thought soap was supposed to smell clean. The only thing I can think of is that there is a petroleum product in it to help degrease since like sometimes gets rid of like. I'll stick to Dr. Bronner's or Seventh Generation for all my soap needs.

Vinegar Wash
by: Day

Sponges are gross. I use Dawn and change out my dishrags and towels every day. I throw vinegar in the wash and I have never had a stinky towel.

makes my whole kitchen smell, especially around the sink
by: Anonymous

This dish soap make my dishrags smell so awful it will gag you. I used the kind with bleach, which does not smell like bleach. I lived in a small apartment and my dishrags make my kitchen smell bad, especially around the sink.

sticking with Dawn
by: Anonymous

I have used Dawn for years and I have no issues at all with smelly dish clothes or sponges. I use the classic blue Dawn because I can not tolerate scents. I am also very sensitive to moldy mildew smells so I would have had to make a change. I'm sticking with my Dawn.

I've got the same proplem.
by: Julie C

I start every day with a clean dish rag. It stinks by noon. I never thought it might be the Dawn dish detergent, but I'll have to try something else. I thought my husband wasn't rinsing the dishrag after washing up his breakfast dishes. (Yes, he washes up on the days he fixes bacon & eggs.) And then I thought the problem would go away in colder weather, because I've had it happen before in summer, but not winter. But it still stinks. Very odd.

Who Knew?
by: Gina

I've had the stinky sponge syndrome forever. I would never have thought it was the soap. I use the original Dawn (blue). I am going to switch for a while to smell the difference.

Same here
by: EditorSEM

I had a couple of bottles of original blue Dawn sitting around, so when I ran out of my usual Method dish soap I reach for that instead. I do not use a sponge for dishes, I have a yellow/orange ChoreBoy scrubbie that dries out pretty quickly, but I noticed within a day or two that it was stinky. I tossed it in the dishwasher as I do from time to time and it was fine the next time I washed up, but the day after that, it smelled again already. I went out for a new bottle of Method as quickly as I could and haven't had a stinky scrubbie since then. The only thing I use Dawn for now is stain removal on clothes and cleaning the shower/bathtub...but even that might change when the bottle I keep in the bathroom runs out.

Made my hands stink
by: Sondra

Finally, I took the time to go on line to see if I could find out why my dishcloths are so smelly! I use a clean cloth one day and when I go to use it the next day it is smelly. I have to wash my hands with hand soap and water to get the smell to go away. I've been using the pink Dawn Hand Renewal dish soap because it does not dry out my hands and I don't seem to have the soap scum some dish soaps leave on my clear glasses (and other dishes I'm sure!). However, I hate the smell so I will be trying other brands of dish soap. So glad I have found the problem causing smelling hands.

Rinse after use
by: V DeFrance

As for the smell, I was always told to rinse the dishcloth in hot water, followed by another rinse of cold water. That helps, especially in hot weather. Otherwise, I change my dishcloth every time I wash a new batch of dishes. Mostly, because I wipe down the counters and stove top afterwards and I don't want to transfer bacteria or dirt to the dishes. I too use Dawn, so I will be anxious to know what can be done of the smell.

Bleach gets rid of smell
by: Rita

I have used Dawn for a number of years for the cleansing power. However like you said, it leaves a fowl odor, so I wash them in a bleach mix of water and bleach. I do this for both my sponges and dish clothes. I also use bleach on my dish towels for the sanitizing.

Done with Dawn
by: Janice

I just opened a new bottle of green apple dawn dish soap and kept smelling something smokey so I checked the dish rag, which I change daily, the disposal, and after a couple of times with the same smell I realized it's the dawn soap. It was always a great and more expensive soap but I'm going back to cheap ajax. After reading the review from the lady with moldy sponges I'm throwing it away. I looked for recalls but there are none.

Makes sponges smell awful
by: Betty Trotto

I have also noticed dish cloths smells soured, musty too! I soaked my dish cloths in bleach and water to get the stink gone. It works for about 2 washes, then they go back to their stinky smell. I really like Dawn but I can't keep going with the side affects. Dawn please fix the formula please!

Smell like petroleum
by: Anonymous

I've noticed that my dish cloth smells like petroleum from using Dawn green. Is that the smell you are talking about? I have to switch because I can't stand that smell.

Used for years
by: Bev

I have used Dawn dishsoap for many years, but in the past few months, I have been noticing a sour smell on my hands and sponge. The last time that happened, I immediately got out a fresh clean sponge and the same day it smelled just as bad after washing a few dishes and using Dawn. I like the way Dawn cuts grease, but I will be changing dishsoap brands if this issue can't be resolved.

Made me switch
by: Anonymous

I just went back to using Dawn after having bought a less expensive brand and starting having the stink problem! I had experienced it before with Dawn but thought it had something to do with water in our new home. I did use cleaning wipes that seemed to work with eliminating the smell and gave up on sponges. Has to be the Dawn.

Never had a problem
by: Mary

I've been using Dawn dish soap for many years and I have never noticed any bad odor. I start with a new rag or sponge every morning and throw it in the dirty laundry every night.

Husband thought I was crazy
by: Anonymous

My husband thought I was crazy but I have the same problem when I use Dawn. Problem disappeared when I use Palmolive so its definitely the Daws

Never had problem
by: Darcie

I've been using the original/plain Dawn & haven't ever had a problem.

Experienced this in workplace kitchen
by: Anonymous

I've experienced smelly sponges at two different workplace kitchens. I've never spelled that kind of funk before and thought it was interesting it was only at work. Could it be because both places didn't have a window in the kitchen? Not sure until recently I had some leftover Dawn Professional Pot and Pan. I used some to wash some dishes. About a day or two later the sponges smelled exactly how the stinky work sponges smell. Odd because the songs weren't more wet than usual at home and it seems very fast to develop that kind and concentration of mold. I then realized it may be the Dawn because it is very likely both work places used Dawn detergent which is probably the cheapest and most common detergent. At home we never use Dawn. We use the Target brand or some other middle priced detergent. Not sure what it is in Dawn or maybe even other similar ingredient detergents but it is causing hear stinky sponges. Before Dawn I have never had a stinky sponge like this. Anyone out there want to experiment and find out what in Dawn is causing this and if in fact this is bacteria or just some by-product smell of its ingredients?

Never had problem
by: Judy Lowe Bostick

I have not had the stinky sponge wit Dawn dish soap and it is the only brand that I use. However I find it sanitary to change wash rags and sponges out daily. You are working in a kitchen, I would never entertain the thought of using the SAM rag, sponge or dish towel for more than one day.

Tested this theory
by: Anonymous

My brand new freshly washed dish clothes started to stink almost as soon as I started using them. My daughter told me that she started having the same problem and heard that it could be from Dawn dish liquid. I checked and sure enough I was using the dawn. So, I tried an experiment and started with a fresh dishcloth and only used Ajax liquid. After three days (which I usually change clothes after one day) no smelly cloth! Dawn liquid will no longer be in this house! The smell was disgusting and would transfer from the cloth to my hand. Peeeeeeyouuuuuuuu!

Same problem
by: Desiree

This was a problem for us since around 2007. It would only be a couple of days and the smell was horrible even with putting in dishwasher each night to wash with my dishes. First we switched soap to Palmolive. That solved the problem. Then in 2011 I was introduced to Norwex and that has been the best thing ever. Got rid of the sponges and chemicals in my home.

Not an issue
by: Anonymous

I have used Dawn for over 30 years and never have had any issues. I do make sure I ring out my sponge or dishrag and leave it out to dry. I wonder if it is a combo of things, new formulas, water, what sponges are made out of etc.

Made me change
by: Anonymous

I've used the same brand sponge for years and I suddenly started having this problem about 6 mos ago. I tried all kinds of remedies and tossed several sponges after just a few uses. It never occurred to me that it could be the detergent but I'd never had this problem before, bye bye Dawn.

Clean sponges in microwave
by: Karen

I have only seen suggestions for cleaning sponges in the dishwasher or microwave. I wonder, however, if throwing sponges in the washing machine cleans them appropriately. I have been doing this for decades, usually two or three sponges a day get tossed in the washing machine. I can't figure how it would be different than throwing dishclothes or towels in the washer. I probably throw three towels a day into the laundry. I don't dry the sponges in the dryer. They wear out too quickly from the high heat. When the sponges wear out, I pitch them. Any thoughts?

Result of removing the phosphates?
by: Charlene Funkhouser

Could this be a result of removing the phosphates from the formula?

Why I don't use
by: Anonymous

Because of this I never use Dawn alone on a sponge or rag to wash dishes. I do use it as an ingredient in some of the home made cleaning products recipes you can find on line. Used half and half with vinegar and heated in the microwave to clean the shower stall-nope, can't say that there's much of an odor of anything but vinegar.

Wrong
by: Anonymous

I do not think this has anything to do with Dawn dish soap because it also happens to washcloths and they are nowhere near Dawn dish soap! And no matter what dish soap you use, the same thing happens. I am positive it is something in the LAUNDRY soap.

Never for me
by: Wendy

I have used both Palmolive, and, Dawn. I have found that both are excellent products! It just so happened, that I have been using Dawn for the last few months. Both the Lavender, and, the Antibacterial (orange color). I have NOT had any bad/stinky/foul smells in my dishcloths, or, my hands! I will say that I only use a dish cloth and towel once, allow it to dry, and put it in the laundry basket. I never use a sponge to clean dishes. If I ever start to smell 'anything' I will recant my statement!

100 year old trick may help
by: Judi

Smelly sponges, dish rags and mops harbor bacteria and other debris. One solution to the smell problem I learned from my grandmother years ago. Once you are finished rinsing out the item, do a good final rinse with very cold water and hang to dry. Bacteria cannot grow in a cold environment. I also do this with wash rags and even my toothbrush. Seems to work quite well for me! Give it a try.

Never a problem for me
by: Anonymous

I have used Dawn for years and have never had the problem. My thought on the subject it is because
I always put a small splash of Clorox in the dish water. Everything stays smelling clean and fresh and I know I've flushed any germs down the drain. PS it also helps keep the garbage disposal smelling good too.

My experience too
by: Anonymous

I have always used Palmolive. I switched to Dawn Platinum a few months ago & finally figured out (I think) that the metallic smell is from Dawn. I had also purchased new cotton dish cloths around the same time so I though is coming from them. I have a stainless steel sink & figured that might have something to do with the smell but it is affecting the old dishrags too. I just bought more Palmolive yesterday & already this morning I don't smell the metal. Weird!

Disgusting
by: Anonymous

I completely understand what everyone is talking about. Thankfully I learned early on because I am very sensitive to smells and bad smells make me literally sick. I have avoided the blue and green Dawn like the plaque and rarely buy Dawn out of fear that a new scent may do the same. Unfortunately, someone thought they were helping me out and purchased a huge bottle of Blue Dawn. I'm not even missing 1/4 of a cup out of it and already have gone through 3 sponges. I'm trying to figure out how not to waste this huge bottle and not stink.

Add vinegar
by: Linda Car

I like Dawn but I add white vinegar to my Dawn 3x. Dawn in the pump bottle is not good. I use Dawn and white vinegar for all house hold uses. I change my dish rag everyday.

Yup, happened to me
by: Anonymous

Never had stinky dish cloth problem until I bought Dawn (original). I thought it was a coincidence. I wash my cloths regularly and even tried soaking them overnight with a bit of bleach. Regardless, as soon as I use the freshly washed cloths with this soap, they stink instantly! The solution? Switch brand!

It IS stinky.
by: Anonymous

I quit using Dawn because of the bad, repulsive smell it created on my sponges, hands, dishtowels,and counters. It leaves the smell on dishes, too. I wish they would do something about this problem. After years of using other soaps (which I have no issues with ) I recently bought a bottle of Dawn hoping it has been improved. But it was as bad as ever. I've tried most of the scents and they all have this problem. No more Dawn for our household. They need to stop selling this stuff. Gross !!

Thank you
by: Anonymous

I've wondered for years why my sponges started stinking and now I know it's the Dawn so we will not buy it again. Too bad because I liked it. We found that putting used sponges in the dishwasher would clear out the stink for about 36 to 48 hours. If you don't have a dishwasher, forget it. Tried microwave, alcohol, vinegar, boiling, leaving out in sun for days, leaving outside after washing dishes, putting it through the washing machine, nothing but the dishwasher works for getting rid of the stink for more than a couple hours.

Bummed
by: Holly

I've had the same brand of sponges for months,(big pack from costco), I just moved recently and thought maybe it was the water? Nothing different in storing the sponge, besides the soap change. But after reading online I'm guessing it's the Dawn! It's Dawn Ultra Platinum kind. Moldy smell.

Use a Dobie
by: Dot

I've never liked sponges or dishrags because I always thought they smelled, and I wasn't using Dawn. I started using just a Dobie (or generic brand) for dishwashing and I rinse it out and put on a little rack to dry right away. I use Dawn and have never noticed any smell at all.

Add vinegar
by: Kristi B

I had this problem with a dish scrubber, the kind you put the dish soap in and has a sponge on the end, until I added some vinegar to it. No more bad smell! It has been a month and still no smell.

DAWN is the problem!
by: Anonymous

I used to always buy Palmolive but we recently moved and all of a sudden all of our sponges were smelling after a few days. I couldn't figure it out until I got to your website. I didn't think it was the dish soap since I don't buy DAWN but remembered that we got some dish soap as a housewarming gift. Sure enough, it's DAWN soap! Throwing it away and going back to my old soap. Thank you so much!

I don't blame this soap
by: Diane

I use regular blue Dawn a lot and have had no bad sponge smells or any such issues. I tend to use a sponge for a while then toss. They're inexpensive. But to switch from Dawn is not an option. Love the product - no smells, just clean grease cutting efficient product. I have had smells come out of some greasy residue I've cleaned. Maybe chemical reaction between the grease/seasoning residue in roaster and the Dawn as it does its job? But it's seldom and I don't blame the Dawn.

stinks after one use
by: Anonymous

I am also experiencing the stinky smell in my sponge and wash cloth after one use with Dawn. I love the dish soap but cannot stand the smell. I will try and use a different brand and see if that works.

changing brands because also makes the dishes stink
by: Michelle

I have been using Dawn Ultra original scent for years. Within the last year my husband will say all he can smell is the scent of a dirt on the rag when I am washing dishes. Even when it is a brand new sponge. He also smells the dirty rag scent on the dishes. The smell of the dawn reminds me of a balled up wet cloth. I am ready to change brands.

no odor because I regularly disinfect
by: Anonymous

My preferred washing up liquid is Dawn Blue. I've noticed no odor issues. However, I regularly disinfect my sponges/ wash cloths in the dishwasher or microwave. Other times I place those items on a draining tack and dowse them with boiled water, leaving them to air dry.

disappointed
by: Anonymous

Omg I thought I was crazy or the worst cleaner. I noticed the stink. Chemically. Horrible. Spread to my hands after using a sponge. Microwaved the heck out of the sponges but still the stink since using dawn. Disappointed.

Didn't happen once I switched soaps
by: Anonymous

Yes!! I had this happen for years and figured it was just what happened to sponges until I bought Clorox Greenworks brand of dish soap and it NEVER happened anymore. I finally realized it was the Dawn soap. Since then I've used Dawn that was given to me and I didn't want to waste it but almost immediately it happened again. It didn't take me long to throw it out. I'm so glad someone else noticed this. I told my MIL once and she thought I was nuts! Soap causing mildew..lol

Use only natural dish soap
by: Pam

When I switched from a traditional dish soap to a Certified Natural Dish Soap - with no SLS or ALS - , my sponges do not smell-EVER!

Lauryl Sulfates wrought and this causes that musty mildew smell in sponges, dish cloths, bath towels and washing machines. Get rid of the toxins in your laundry and cleaning products and you will get rid of smells - all smells.

My microfiber sponge has been sitting at my sink for well over 1 year and has never smelled.

Sulfur like smell in dish rags
by: Anonymous

I've tried everything. I use a freshly washed dish rag & by the end of day it smells. It is so annoying that I am switching from Dawn. It's the blue one I've used. I add baking soda after use now until my Dawn is gone! It seems to help the problem. Why break it if it's not broken?? They're not getting my money anymore.

Stinky dish rags
by: KG

I'm so glad to find this article! Lately my dish rags smell after only using for less than a couple hours. I read this and looked and realized I had started using Dawn just recently. I was starting to wonder if it was something in our water because it didn't do this a month or so ago. I am definitely running out to get another brand right now to see for sure. My kitchen and laundry room stink all the time and so do my hands, yuk and thank you!

tired of this
by: Anonymous

Yes Dawn Ultra and Dawn original makes all my sponges smell bad all the time I'm going to try another brand, tired of this.

switching back to old brand
by: Anonymous

I started using Dawn original scent dishwashing liquid about two months ago and noticed the bad odors coming from my sponge and dish cloth. I'm going to switch to another brand because I never had this problem before. I had been using Seventh Generation Free and Clear before without problems.

even makes hands smell
by: Diana Barajas

Hello I've used Dawn a lot before it would smell but now it even makes you hands smell moldy or stinky and even old. So I've used other dish soap and new sponges even time and I don't get those results. Even if I use a new sponge with Dawn after it starts to smell again Dawn dish especially the blue soap it must have some type of chemical that makes it smell. I have even wash my sponge with bleach and dawn and it still smells. I've used bleach with other soaps and it doesn't. So my advice to Dawn company you should change it or find out why or a way? And to all my lovely people out there, just stop using it or maybe use the Dawn dish soap, wash it with bleach once a while, and maybe it can help but not too much. Final advice, just get a new soap dish and problem solve no more stinky, old moldy soap smell.

musty smell
by: Syllvia Piserchia

I too have experienced smelling sponges since I switched over to the Dawn dish soap. A shame because I love how it cleans. Hope something is done about this because I for one don't feel it is worth dealing with the musty mildewy smell. It is awful. I will be switching back to my old brand.

Stinky dish rag
by: Mary

I can only use it for one use then into the laundry it goes. I never thought it could be my Dawn soap. I even went out and bought all new ones as I thought that was the issue. Wow I hope they fix this issue because I really like this soap for cleaning.

Yay! I'm not imagining this problem
by: Lynda

So glad to see that I am not imagining the smell--a metallic sour odor that transfers to my hands--its yucky !! ONLY with Dawn--new/old sponges --doesn't matter --it happens within hours. Back to the dollar store Palmolive--never leaves any bad smell at all. Is something reacting with the sponges? Would love to know--Come on Dawn people --do a little research.

smells like stagnant water
by: Nicole

I quit using Dawn because it causes my sponges and dishcloths to smell like stagnant water. I buy new sponges frequently and always rinse them in cold water to discourage bacteria growth. I also bleach my sponge if I have forgotten to buy a new one or feel it necessary. I change my dishcloths frequently as well. After just one use and a few hours of using any type of Dawn, they stink and so do my hands. I don't have this problem with Ajax, Palmolive, or Gain. I refuse to buy Dawn ever again.

Dawn Ultra Antibacterial Appleblossom
by: Regina Roush

After my daughter bought Dawn Ultra Appleblossom dish soap, I've noticed the rags and sponges stinking faster than normal, seems like a day!! I couldn't figure out what was going on. Later I read about Dawn causing stinky rags on Facebook Household Management 101. I did an experiment, I used the Dawn Ultra with the evening dishes then checked the next day around 11:00 a.m., and the rag and sponge were stinky!!! (They were fresh and clean the night before). There was another dishrag I used the night before but not with Dawn. It smelled clean!!!!

I normally use Dermassage dish soap (my daughter recently purchased the Dawn), because years ago I discovered Dawn caused me to develop eczema on my hands. I tried natural expensive dish soaps but discovered Dermassage was not only cheaper but It also worked well and was gentle on my hands, no breakouts.

How we are solving the Dawn problem, we no longer purchase Dawn!!

Dawn Mediterranean Lavender dish washing saop
by: Nona Kohn

So, since Palmolive discontinued the Soft Touch/Aloe light green dishwashing soap, I decided to try Dawn. Whew, what a smell it left on each and every scrubbie I used, new ones, old ones, Scotch Brite, Rescue 2 pads, Greener Clean Naturals. I called Procter and Gamble and of course they do not have any other complaints registered yet it is all over the internet. Who cares now that they have lousy customer service. I will have to go back to some other Palmolive one since my scrubbies never smelled even when they were old.

Dawn Ultra Active Suds, blue color
by: Lis

Switched to this Dawn product last month. Since then I've had issue with sponges smelling like mildew and odor on hands after using. Threw them away but new ones began stinking within a week. Thought of testing water so googled to see what might be in water to cause this. That's how I found this site and revelation about Dawn. Switching back to Palmolive. Thanks for sharing this eye opening information.

Dawn Ultra platinum advanced power
by: Lorraine

Yes, this dish soap causes my sponge to be smelly after 1 or 2 days. I used to use Palmolive and did not have this problem.
Thanks.

I didn't realize
by: Judy Knowles

I find that every day I have to get a new dish towel because mine gets a musty smell to it and the only way I get rid of it, instead of going through 12 towels a day, is to put more Dawn on it and rinse it. Is this how they get us to buy more Dawn? I didn't realize it could be the dish detergent I am using.

I want to use it, but . . .
by: Jill

I also have this problem and I only use Dawn regular. I want to use Dawn because of their environmental work with oil spills and it's the best soap, but I hate the smell it leaves on sponges that are even new.

switching back to something else
by: Cassi

Growing up, my mom religiously used Dawn dish soap. It works great, except for the smell. As an adult, I have used different brands of sponges and settled on the Lysol blue sponges. I love them. Until they started to smell right after I used Dawn dish soap. I was using Gain and before Gain I was using Ajax. After I am done with this bottle of Dawn, I will definitely be switching back to Gain or Ajax dish soap. I am also crocheting my own dish cloths. After one use, the dish cloth that I used begin to smell horrendous and I had to throw it away and make new ones.

I don't have this problem since I let my sponge dry between uses
by: Tiffany

I use both Dawn and Palmolive. I haven't had problems with either. It may be because I use a sponge stand, which allows it to dry. I assumed it to be similar to the concept of downy mildew and leaving damp clothes in the washer for a longer period of time.

I agree!
by: Anonymous

Yes, I agree it makes sponges and dish cloths smell musty even after 1 day. I switched and it hasn't happened since.
Joy, Palmolive and even the Costco Kirkland brand work just as well and don't make things smell.

all my experiments
by: Blake

For most of a year I've noticed a terrible smell to our kitchen sponges. We buy the Scotch sponges from Costco in, of course, huge packages. I've tried Dawn regular and anti-bacterial, Ivory, Joy, Palmolive, and Sun brand dishwashing liquids.

When using Dawn Antibacterial, a new sponge develops a bad smell in a day or two. Untreated, this smell is atrocious. It seems to be some sort of a chemical stench, and you can't get it off your hands, clothes, or the dishes, unless you re-wash them, or cycle them through the dishwasher. I've thrown the dishtowel in the laundry, only to have to re-wash that load to get rid of the smell!

Now, after doing the dishes, I rinse it as clean as possible, then zap it for 1 minute in the microwave. I remove it from the oven, hot & steaming, and set it in a saucer near the sink so it dries completely. Doing this will get a couple of weeks out of a sponge, so that's the system I'm using at this time.

Dawn regular and concentrate - the sponge is nearly worn out before it starts to smell, so I usually pitch it. About the same with Ivory, Palmolive, and Joy, but the smell is just the normal "old sponge" smell.

When using Sun, the sponge doesn't develop much of a smell before the sponge is worn out, so no big deal. I don't like the performance of the detergent, however, so I don't count this as a win.

I'd be very interested in learning what the cause is, because, as it stands, when I finish this drum of Dawn, I'm switching back to Palmolive.

definitely a cause and effect relationship between Dawn dish soap and smelly sponges
by: Joan

There is definitely a cause and effect relationship between Dawn dish soap and smelly sponges. I have used different scents of Dawn and the same thing happens. I had bought Palmolive dish soap on sale and amazingly there was no smelly sponges while using it. I went back to Dawn, being my preferred brand, when the Palmolive was gone, and the problem started again. Immediately. Microwaving the sponge was a very short lived solution as the smell came right back with use. I won't be buying Dawn again unless their formulation is changed.

called customer service and told to clean my sponges and dish cloths
by: Kathy Keating

Last 2 bottles I purchased I have noticed a sour smell. It's not just in sponges or dishcloths. I burned a pan and put cold water and some dawn on it to soak (there was no food particles in the pan). Same dour smell. I have used this product for years and never had this problem. I contacted the company and was given a nice tutorial on cleaning my sponges and dish cloths.

smell fills entire kitchen
by: Kenda A

I have noticed that my sponges have started to have a very noted smell that actually fills my entire kitchen. I have used Dawn original, the blue, exclusively for 5+ years. I usually buy a small bottle from Walmart (which I do not notice the smell as much) and then buy a very large bottle from Sam's filling the smaller bottle with the larger one. I notice the smell definitively from the larger bottle from Sam's.

I am a nurse, have been for 10 + years, so smells don't usually bother me. But the smell is a putrid, moldy stink that smells like the sponge has been harboring for years instead of just hours. When I am finished with dishes, I always microwave the sponge for 2 minutes to "clean" it. But it does continue to contain the Dawn.

Now it makes sense
by: Anonymous

I clean dishes every usage in my house. I do not let them sit around. I thought it was just my sponges getting bad quickly but this makes sense. I use them strictly for dishes nothing else.

rancid smell
by: Brian K

Caused our kitchen sponges to have a rancid smell that was so strong it permeated our whole kitchen, dining and living room area with a pungent musty, mildewy odor that burns the nostrils.

Dawn Platinum
by: Alicia

For years we have used Palmolive Clear. Recently, our favorite grocery store stopped selling it. We switched to Dawn Platinum. While it smells lovely, we found our dish rags stink after one use. I am going to try the baking soda/vinegar boil and see if that helps, along with hunting for my regular dish soap.

I've tested the Dawn and the smelly sponges syndrome.
by: Anonymous

Totally true. I clean houses and I have a customer and my Dad that strictly use Dawn. While I agree with the cleaning power and sudsing, it leaves a horrible mildew smell on sponges that ends up on your hands and is gross! I use everything from dollar store dish detergent to all natural organics and never have smelly sponges. Dawn w/bleach was on clearance this week and I took a chance. After 2 days....stinky, smelly sponge and hands!!! ARrrrrgggggghhhhhh. WHY?!!!

causes stinky dish cloth
by: SewNeat55

I thought that I was going nuts as my dish cloth was so stinky constantly. I was so shocked that it actually occurs with other people that use Dawn (when I googled it). With other dish soap, like Sunlight or Palmolive, I have never had that problem. I always change my dish cloth frequently, but using Dawn, I have to change it daily. It is so gross. I only bought Dawn because I had a coupon. I will NEVER buy this brand again!

Believe it or not, it's genetic
by: garyZ

I've posted a few times waaay up the comments list, and I've complained to P&G a few times too. Just to reiterate an interesting thing I noticed about this issue: Not everyone can smell the must/rancid/moldy/icky smell. I don't know why, but my girlfriend thought I was nuts for forbidding Dawn use with 3M scrubber sponges (both sold at Costco and frequently purchased together). Then I talked to a few other people about it, and found a woman with the exact same problem - the smell made her nauseous, but her husband smelled nothing and thought she was crazy. I conclude there must be some genetic thing that makes some people smell it, and others not. That's why you have a lot of people on this list saying, "just clean your sponges better and don't let them sit wet". They don't smell it, so think the problem must be one of sponge hygiene. Nope. For those who smell it, this smell gets on your HANDS and stays there through a washing or two. It's really awful. But only some people can smell it. If I put Dawn on a paper towel and wash dishes with that, or use another brand of sponge (other materials), I don't get the smell. For me it's only with those 3M "Scotch-Brite" scrubber sponges.

For years
by: Anonymous

I have noticed this smell on sponges and clothes used to wash dishes with Dawn -- not Palmolive -- for at least ten years. I don't use it but when I go to my son's house or to visit friends and I use one of their cloths or sponge and notice the smell I ask what soap they use and the answer is always Dawn.

It's a distinctive smell that stays on my hands. It's a strong "mildewy" smell. I can't stand it!

Dawn Soap Leaves Stinky Smell
by: Anonymous

I noticed that my mason jars would stink after I washed them with Dawn and left them to dry. I bought a new scrubber/dish soap dispenser and noticed that it stank the same the day after I put in Dawn soap. Have to go buy some other soap. No wonder a bottle of Dawn was only 99 cents at Walgreen's.

causes stale-smelling sponges & rags
by: Lourdes

I went through several bottles of Dawn before deciding to switch back to Palmolive, which I'd been using for years. Within hours of washing dishes, my sponge smelled muggy and stale. Having to wash my sponge and clean rags out prior to doing dishes became bothersome.

what happened to my Dawn?
by: Super Clean Guy

After using Dawn Ultra 2X and constant rinsing of sponges I did get the Smelly odor, so I must boil to refresh them. I would like to know what happened to my favorite hard working Dawn.
Now I must buy the Dawn 3X with no scent to be effective.

Stinks
by: Anonymous

Every time I use that soap. The sponges stink so bad in a few minutes after washing the dishes. Going to stop using Dawn. Not worth it to use it any more.

smell
by: Anonymous

I have had the same problem with Dawn. I recently switched to Dawn and noticed the smell immediately. I thought it was perhaps my sponge, so threw it away and opened a new one. The sponge began to smell the same day. It is quite disgusting.

It stinks.
by: Anonymous

I have been a loyal Dawn dish soap user for years. However the last couple years I too have noticed the awful smell. I have thrown away many dish cloths now. I know I am not nuts and it is the dish soap after reading this. So I am going to ditch the Dawn.

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