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Dawn Ultra vs. Platinum Dish Soap: What’s the Difference?

Are you in need of dish soap but aren’t sure if you should buy Dawn Ultra or Dawn Platinum?

Which dish soap is better? Is Platinum worth the higher cost?

In this comparison of Dawn Ultra vs. Platinum, I’ll answer those questions. You’ll learn how the two soaps compare in terms of scent, ingredients, performance, and more.

Plus, I reveal what a product specialist at Procter & Gamble (the company that owns Dawn) said when I asked about the differences between Dawn Ultra and Platinum.


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What’s the Difference Between Dawn Ultra and Platinum? The Short Answer

The main difference between Dawn Ultra and Platinum is that Platinum has a more concentrated formula. According to Dawn, Platinum cleans faster and contains four times more cleaning ingredients than non-Ultra Dawn products.

Due to its concentrated formula, Dawn Platinum is more expensive than Ultra. However, you don’t need to use as much of it — all you need is a tiny drop for most dishes.

Dawn Dish Soap
Dawn Platinum Dish Soap

Lastly, Dawn Platinum soap comes in three scents, whereas Dawn Ultra only comes in one.

That’s the quick summary, but there’s more to know before deciding which Dawn to buy. Let’s get into all the key differences.

Difference 1: Ingredients

Dawn Ultra soap has fewer ingredients than Dawn Platinum, and the ingredients in Dawn Ultra are less concentrated.

Here’s a quick look at all of the ingredients in Dawn Ultra:

Dawn Ultra IngredientsPurpose
WaterSolvent
Sodium Lauryl SulfateSurfactant
C10-16 Alkyldimethylamine OxideSurfactant
Sodium Laureth SulfateSurfactant
Alcohol DenaturedSolvent
PPG-26Viscosity Adjuster
Sodium ChlorideViscosity Adjuster
PEI-14 PEG-24/PPG-16 COPOLYMERCleaning Enhancer
FRAGRANCEScent
PhenoxyethanolSolvent
MethylisothiazolinonePreservative
Acid Blue 9Colorant

Dawn Platinum includes two active ingredients not found in Dawn’s Ultra formula: sodium hydroxide and tetrasodium dicarboxymethyl glutamate.

Here’s a complete list of the ingredients in Dawn Platinum dish soap:

Dawn Platinum IngredientsPurpose
WaterSolvent
Sodium Lauryl SulfateSurfactant
Sodium Laureth SulfateSurfactant
Lauramine OxideSurfactant
Alcohol DenaturedSolvent
PPG-26Viscosity Adjuster
Sodium ChlorideViscosity Adjuster
Sodium Hydroxide (not included in Dawn Ultra)PH Adjuster
PEI-14 PEG-10/PPG-7 CopolymerCleaning Enhancer
Tetrasodium Dicarboxymethyl Glutamate (not included in Dawn Ultra)Water Softener
PhenoxyethanolSolvent
MethylisothiazolinonePreservative
FragranceScent
Red 33Colorant
Blue 1Colorant

Difference 2: Formats

Dawn Platinum comes in two formats: traditional dish soap and Powerwash Dish Spray.

Dawn Platinum Powerwash Dish Spray, Dish Soap, Fresh Scent Bundle, 1 Spray (16oz) + 3 Refills (16oz each)

You can apply the spray directly to unrinsed dishes, which you then leave to sit for a few minutes. After, simply rinse the dirt away. The spray distributes the soap more evenly and ensures you don’t use more than necessary.

Dawn Ultra only comes in a traditional liquid dish soap format.

Difference 3: Strength

Dawn Ultra is a classic choice and has been a bestselling dish soap for many years. But Dawn Platinum has been climbing the “best dish soap” ranks due to its ability to tackle tough messes that other soaps can’t handle.

Cleaning a non-stick pan with Dawn dish soap
Cleaning a non-stick pan with Dawn dish soap

Here’s how both soaps rank in terms of cleaning power and overall performance, according to independent tests.

The Spruce awarded both soaps a spot on their “8 Best Dish Soaps” list. Dawn Ultra earned the “best budget [soap]” spot thanks to its affordability, effectiveness, and skin-friendly formula. It’s more expensive than some other budget soaps, but it performs better than cheaper options and requires less product to get the job done.

The same list named Dawn Platinum (in its unique dish spray formula) the “best for grease” and praised it for performance and overall value. While more expensive than other options, The Spruce noted that “a little goes a long way” with Dawn Platinum. The reviewers did warn that some consumers might find the dyes and fragrances in this formula irritating, so keep that in mind.

The New York Times reviewed “The Best Dish Soap” and named Dawn Ultra runner up (Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid won Best Overall). Dawn Ultra was touted as a solid alternative to more expensive soaps thanks to its reliable performance, great value, and reputation. Reviewers noted that it performed just as well as the number one soap but was placed second because it doesn’t come in an unscented formula. Dawn Platinum was not mentioned in the review.

Reviewed.com gave Dawn Ultra the “best overall” rating in its lineup of the “Best Dish Soaps of 2022.” It performed well across all food stain categories and was also a great value. The reviewers liked its classic fragrance and found no downsides worth listing. Dawn Platinum was not tested.

In Bob Vila’s review of “The Best Dish Soaps for Handwashing Dishes,” Dawn Ultra earned the runner-up spot. Reviewers liked that it included biodegradable ingredients and was safer for the environment than other soaps. It performed well and was a good value, with one bottle lasting many uses.

In a review of the “7 Best Dish Soaps,” Real Simple magazine gave high ratings to both Dawn Ultra and Platinum soap. Dawn Ultra earned the “best overall” rating thanks to its superior value, efficiency, and versatility.

In the same review, Dawn Platinum (Powerwash dish spray format) was ranked “the best dish soap for grease.” According to the reviewers, Platinum’s Powerwash formula was easy to use, highly effective against all kinds of stains, and cost-effective, thanks to its refillable format.

Insider.com rated Dawn Platinum the “best for baked-on foods” in its review of “The Best Dish Soap[s].” Dawn Platinum earned high marks for its ability to cut through stuck-on food that “you let sit for a little too long.” Reviewers went into detail about why Platinum’s formula is the most effective compared to other soaps. They credited the powerful enzymes in the soap for its grease-fighting power.

Difference 4: Scents

Dawn Ultra only comes in one “original” scent. The fragrance can be described as pleasantly fruity with citrus undertones.

Dawn Platinum comes in three scents: Refreshing Rain, Lemon Burst, and Green Papaya.

Neither soap comes in a fragrance-free option, so if you’re sensitive to fragrances, be cautious when using either of them on your bare skin.

Difference 5: Sizes

Dawn Ultra is available in larger sizes than Dawn Platinum, which is helpful if you go through dish soap quickly or prefer to buy in bulk.

Note: The sizes below are based on Dawn-Dish.com. Certain retailers may offer additional sizes.

SizesDawn UltraDawn Platinum
7 oz
16.2 oz
19.4 ozNot available
20.6 ozNot available
24 oz
28 oz
34.0 ozNot available
34.6 ozNot available
40 ozNot available
56 ozNot available
75 ozNot available

Difference 6: Price

While dish soap is generally inexpensive, Dawn is marketed as a premium brand. It costs more than store-brand dish soaps or cheaper options like Ajax or Palmolive.

Dawn Platinum is more expensive than Ultra. Prices vary by retailer, but it’s usually between 10% and 30% more costly per ounce.

When comparing prices, keep in mind that you won’t need to use as much Dawn Platinum since the formula is more concentrated.

Although Platinum may cost more per fluid ounce, you might break even if you don’t use more Platinum than you need. A drop or two on your sponge is all you need to clean several dishes.

Check out Dawn Ultra and Platinum on Amazon and Walmart.com to compare their current prices.

What Procter & Gamble Says About Dawn Ultra vs. Platinum

I called Procter & Gamble (the company that owns Dawn) to get their insights on the differences between Dawn Ultra and Platinum.

The product specialist told me, “Dawn Platinum is technically an Ultra product, and the official name is Dawn Ultra Platinum.”

He said, “the main difference between regular Ultra and Ultra Platinum is that Platinum is a more concentrated formula. It has four times the cleaning power; therefore, you don’t need to use as much of it.”

He also mentioned, “Dawn Platinum can deliver the results of an overnight soak in just three minutes.”

I asked if Dawn Platinum was worth the extra cost. He said, “Dawn Ultra has excellent cleaning power and can handle stuck-on food and stains better than most dish soaps. So for most people, the regular Ultra is more than enough.”

Lastly, he recommended, “try Dawn Ultra and if it’s not strong enough for your needs, upgrade to Platinum.”

Bottom Line: Is Dawn Platinum Worth the Higher Price?

Now that you know how Dawn Ultra and Platinum compare, the question remains:

Is Dawn Platinum worth the higher price?

Before I give you my recommendation, let’s quickly recap the key differences:

  • Ingredients: Dawn Platinum includes more active ingredients and has a more concentrated formula than Dawn Ultra.
  • Format: Dawn Platinum is available as both traditional liquid dish soap and as a spray, whereas Dawn Ultra only comes in the form of liquid soap.
  • Strength: Dawn Ultra can handle most day-to-day messes, but Dawn Platinum is great for stuck-on food and stubborn stains on your pots and pans.
  • Scents: Dawn Ultra only comes in one “original” scent, while Dawn Platinum comes in three scents (Refreshing Rain, Lemon Burst, and Green Papaya).
  • Sizes: Dawn Ultra is available in more sizes and larger quantities than Dawn Platinum.
  • Price: Dawn is a premium brand and tends to be more expensive than options like Ajax or Palmolive. Between Dawn Ultra and Dawn Platinum, Platinum is slightly more costly per fluid ounce.

The bottom line — Dawn Ultra and Dawn Platinum are both customer favorites, and both dish soaps are highly rated. Dawn Ultra is strong enough for most messes, but Dawn Platinum’s more concentrated formula is more powerful and gets the job done faster (no need to soak dishes overnight), and it’s available as a spray.

My advice is to save the money and start with Dawn Ultra. You can always upgrade to Dawn Platinum if you need a stronger soap.

You can find Dawn Ultra and Platinum in most grocery stores and online on Amazon and Walmart.com.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s studied consumer buying behavior for 10+ years and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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