Making Mealtime Meaningful: Discover how we're giving back with the 12T Cares program →

Dawn is a dish soap — maybe the only dish soap — that has an almost cult-like following. It cleans dishes like no other, it gets stains out of clothes incredibly well, it’s even used to clean wildlife after oil spills, and the smell is perfectly pleasant. Or at least it was. Recently, for unknown reasons, Dawn up and decided to change their signature scent and fans are up in arms. Many people report that the new scent smells awful. But even with lots of feedback, Dawn says they have no plans of turning back.

I first noticed the change when using the Powerwash spray at work — the smell makes me recoil a bit every time I’m washing dishes after a recipe shoot but I thought the horrible scent was specific to that particular product. But no! I was horrified to find out that Dawn was actually rolling out that scent across the whole product line. I turned to Reddit to see if anyone else was as upset as I was. And they definitely were:

“I’m here because I’ve been thinking my sink was leaking sewage gas for 3 days after doing some plumbing work. Turns out it was Dawn’s new scent. It smells like sewage gas.”


“Sewage gas” is not an ideal scent, by any means.

“I literally thought my wife accidentally filled the dish detergent dispenser with laundry detergent. Then I thought maybe someone emptied the dawn and filled it with laundry detergent (no clue why). I was just totally incredulous that dish detergent would smell like this. Then I finally looked at the bottle and saw “new fresh scent!

Wtf dawn. You have two jobs – wash oil off of ducks and not smell like anything.”


Preach, whaletacochamp. Preach.

“I gave my cat a bath recently and I ALWAYS use dawn. I noticed that it really smelt, to the point where I thought maybe my cat either peed or pooped in the water. But then when I went to do my dishes I noticed that it smelt that way… I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed how bad it is!”


You are definitely NOT the only one who’s noticed.

“As you all know by now, Dawn has permanently changed the scent of their soap to something horrendous and absolutely unpleasant. Their scent, which used to mild and actually smelled like soap, now smells like stinky, stinging cleaning chemicals. My experience with it is not good at all: it smells like dog feces but showered with Febreeze. It’s terrible, and I just can’t understand why Dawn would mess with something as simple as this. What Einstein in the Procter and Gamble HQ thought it would be a good idea to make this product smell like it came from a sewer? And Dawn’s website is flooded with extremely negative reviews. It’s staring to rise to “New Coke” levels of hate.”


But the people managed to get New Coke changed back! Maybe there’s still hope for Dawn.

And this user’s theory on why Dawn would do this to us:

“Hear me out. It’s almost like they said “man our margins are so thin and our shareholders need to be impressed” “What do you propose?” “Well, I spoke with the team that specializes in hiding fart and poop smells. Maybe we can replace the one chemical that costs one penny per one hundred gallons of soap with one that is slightly cheaper, like one tenth of a penny cheaper. It’ll barely be noticeable to basically everyone, and we will save a trillion dollars.”


Dodland, your title that Dawn now smells like a Febrezed fart is 100% accurate.

OMG! I’m glad it’s not just me. I Just purchased a new bottle and it’s my first time using this new scent today. I can’t believe how horrible it is. I honestly hate hate hate the new scent. To me it smells like a baby powder bathroom deodorizer. Not what I want on my dishes and hands. It’s way overpowering. YUCK.


I hate the smell of baby powder. I hate the smell of new Dawn more.

Yeah… that new Dawn scent was so bad I can only describe it as honeysuckles and farts. I threw it out and brought an HEB brand. I am glad I’m not the only one who noticed… truly AWFUL!!


Farts is better than dog feces, at least.

“I’m a veteran of the fragrance industry that develops scents for products. This smells like cost-cutting. It’s really off-putting. It has an over-ripened pear note; smells like fruit that’s been sitting in the compost. Bad decision. I will join this group in not making the mistake of a second purchase. Now just have to get my husband to not make the mistake when picking off the grocery shelf…. “


I think this commenter is right on the money.

“That’s too bad. Dawn is a nostalgic scent for me. It reminds me of my grandma. She was the only person in my life that used Dawn (everyone else used whatever was cheapest). I love smelling it and thinking of her.”


Dawn, you’re even hurting us emotionally now.

“I opened up a bottle of dawn and it stinks. It made me feel a bit nauseated and gave me a headache. The stink lingers in the sink. First the Platinum had to go because of the new scent made my husband and I gag, and now the regular blue smells disgusting. Why do they do this? Strong chemical scents are just awful and stick to certain items. I absolutely love Dawn and have been using it my whole life. The whole ‘cleaning Exon-Valdez oil spill animals’ was great marketing, especially that cute baby duck they use now. Looking at the baby duck mascot on the bottle while I scrub dishes all day boosts my morale.


What will the poor baby animals think of this awful scent?!

So, how do you know if your Dawn has been afflicted?

Well, one whiff and you’ll know. I promise. But you’ll also notice a half moon sticker on your bottle that says “New Fresh Clean Scent.”

But as you can see from the above, the scent is definitely not fresh OR clean.

What can we do?

Some people suggest turning to a new brand of soap entirely. Maybe Palmolive, or Mrs. Meyers, or Seventh Generation. A couple of people have suggested turning to Dawn Professional, which you can find at Home Depot and doesn’t have an offensive odor. You could try a different scent of Dawn (green apple, maybe?). And, most importantly, you can always write a strongly worded letter to Dawn themselves.

Or, you can do what I did: Try your level best to find the original scent on shelves somewhere, anywhere, and when you do, stock up. I have four precious 38 oz bottles of original and you can pry them out of my cold, dead hands.