Dawn Is Best For Washing Oily Birds — But Don't Use It For Pets

It’s true that a scrub with Dawn dishwashing detergent is the method of choice for removing oil from various wildlife — but you really shouldn’t use it on your pets, says a Procter & Gamble spokesperson.

Dawn is apparently the best substance to remove oil while not irritating the skin:

“Dawn dishwashing liquid was a standout!” Jay Holcomb, executive director of the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC), told Discovery News. “Oil seemed to fall off the feathers! Rinsing was easier than we thought possible. Once we started using Dawn on live birds, we did not see the irritated skin we had encountered with the previous detergent.”

Despite this enthusiastic endorsement, pet shampoo is still best for pets.

Marie-Laure Salvado, a spokesperson for Procter & Gamble (P&G), the parent company of Dawn, told Discovery News that the liquid detergent was designed to “provide powerful degreasing action while still being mild on human hands.” That benefit wound up extending to birds, since she said the soap, when diluted to about 1 percent with water, “is gentle enough to be used on delicate feathers.”

“I know some homeowners use it on their pets, but it is a dishwashing product, and we don’t want to mislead consumers,” Salvado said.

For Oiled Wildlife, Dawn Cleans Best [Discovery News]