June 2017: An influx of reports from a number of people has us re-evaluating our recommendation of Dawn Pro Manual Pot and Pan and Dawn Professional as preferred detergents. We recommend that you try Dawn Ultra and Dawn Platinum in addition to Dawn Pro until this matter is resolved. See "2016 Dawn Pro Formulation Controversy" below.
Procter and Gamble manufactures two dishwashing liquids referred to as Dawn Pro. One is labeled Dawn Professional (as the product line name) with the detergent name "Manual Pot and Pan Detergent". There is another detergent labeled simply Dawn Professional with no subtext. The two detergents seem to be equivalent in performance, but it is not clear whether they are the same detergent with different labeling or not. The consensus seems to be that the two are either identical or functionally identical.
On this site, when we talk about Dawn Pro, we mean either.
The question has been raised on SBF, the Soap Bubble Fanciers Yahoo Group, whether there have been some changes to the formula over the past few years. Again, this claim is disputed.
Many consider it the detergent closest in behavior (as of Sept. 2011) to the Non-Ultra Dawn favored by many but which was discontinued sometime in the 2009-2011 time period. (During that period, it was available in dollar stores in some parts of the country but was not available at all in others).
2016 Dawn Pro FORMULATION CONTROVERSYEdit
In June and July 2016, quite a few bubblers reported here and on SBF, the Soap Bubble Fanciers Yahoo Group from people that they felt that the performance of Dawn pro had changed significantly some time in the previous several months. There was also a label change for Manual Pot and Pan and Dawn Professional that coincides with these reports. (See Images section below). When the infomation was initially reported, we had more reports indicating that performance had not changed than reports that it had changed. However, in June 2017, a number of requests came in here, on Facebook, and on SBF from people having trouble getting some of our recipes to work. During these discussions, a number of people have reported that their recent head-to-head comparisons of Dawn Pro (either kind) and Dawn Ultra or Dawn Platinum indicated that Dawn Pro fared worse than the others. Two people have recently spoken to P&G Professional Technical Support and were told that Dawn Pro (and Manual Pot and Pan) have been changed to make them less foamy.
For reasons that are not yet clear (June 2017), it appears that the change affects some people more than others. We are currently recommending that people compare Dawn Pro (either version) with Dawn Ultra or Dawn Platinum and to please report your results.
I include some information below for historical purposes -- and in case further testing indicates some substantive performance difference.
(June 2016 reports from others). A number of people reported that they thought that Dawn Pro had changed in a big way. The reports seemed to indicate that when people use the new detergent in their old recipes that the bubble films are thinner (leading to lower longevity). One report indicated a color shift of the bubbles which lead me to speculate that if there has been a re-formulation that the new version has effectively more surfactant than the old version.
(June 25, 2016). I hope to do some testing soon and to get reliable reports from others in the field.
(June 2016). Edward compares pH of 20 parts distilled water and one part detergent mixes (no polymer or pH adjuster) and finds that the 'new' Dawn Pro solution had pH of 9.10 and 'old' Dawn Pro solution had pH of 9.31
(July 4, 2016). I have some of the new stock. Due to weather conditions, I have only been able to perform one head-to-head test of the old-label and new-label Dawn Pro Manual Pot and Pan. The color profile of the two juices was the same (at least at 20:1 and pH-adjusted to 7.6). The performance seemed the same, as well. But this was just one test and cannot be considered conclusive. Conflicting reports are trickling in. Some say that head-to-head comparisons show no differences while others insist that bubbles made with the new-label Dawn are not quite as resilient. Reports of large-scale differences in performance have come in, too, but there have been fewer of them.
(June 2017). A couple of reports from people that recipes that they found reliable for years are not working for them. One of them reported changing to Dawn Ultra resulted in a major improvement. Another mentioned that switching to distilled water improved things. Two reports of people who spoke to P&G Professional Technical Support and were told that it was reformulated to make it less foamy. Note that P&G Tech Support in June 2016 claimed that there had been no change.
See these related discussions on SBF:
Where to Find ItEdit
The Dawn Pro can be found at some restaurant and janitorial supply stores. Retailers such as Smart & Final, Sam's Club, Cash & Carry and others sell it also. Google is your friend if you aren't sure where to find it.
Pre-2016 Dawn Pro IngredientsEdit
According to the MSDS (which is an incomplete ingredient list), the total surfactant content is 13-28%. The MSDS only includes those ingredients considered toxic by U.S. law. So, this list does not include any of the many other ingredients such as fragrances, colors, co-polymers and water.
|ALCOHOL SULFATES, SODIUM SALT||68585-47-7||7-13%|
|ALCOHOL ETHOXYSULFATE, SODIUM SALT||68585-34-2||5-10%|
|AMINES, C10-16-ALKYLDIMETHYL N-OXIDES||70592-80-2||1-5%|
Pre-2016 Label StyleEdit
The images below are the labels from a bottle purchased in Northern California in March 2012.
2016 New LabelEdit
Dawn Professional Manual Pot and Pan's label style has changed at some point in 2016. In June, we received reports that the detergent was performing differently than before. We don't yet (June 23, 2016) know whether the change in label style coincides with a change in formulation.
Dawn Pro NOT Labeled Pot and PanEdit
This is the label of 2016 Dawn Professional dishwashing liquid that is not labeled Pot and Pan.
Here is the pre-2016 label of the non-Pot and Pan version.
pH of an approximately 5% solution: 9.0 (as measured by Edward and others)
pH of undiluted dilution: 8.3-8.6 as measured by Edward and others
pH of Dawn Professional per MSDS: 8.7-9.3
(Note that Dawn Ultra's pH is listed as 9.0 for a 10% solution.) File:Dawn Professional Dish Detergent.pdf