Natural Dishwasher Rinse Aid ~ Important Update

Avoid both water spots and harmful chemicals by making this DIY super simple & natural dishwasher rinse aid! Plus instructions on how to properly use it in your dishwasher.

In an effort to reduce toxins in our home, I try to make as many natural home care products as possible, like my no-streak window cleaner, shower cleaner, fruit fly trap, weed killer, foaming soap, and my not-so-homemade laundry soap.

I posted a super simple Homemade Dishwasher Rinse Aid previously, but it’s been about a year (I can’t believe it’s been that long) since and I have a very important update to share with you.

And this homemade rinse aid is at least as simple, if not more so.

Why the need for an update?  And how could it be very important?

Read on.  Please.

You know I am always looking for easier, more natural, and less expensive ways to do things around the home, right?

Well, when I wrote that first post, I was super excited when I figured out that I could get super clean and shiny dishes and glasses just by putting white vinegar in the rinse aid compartment of my dishwasher.

And, I was pleased with myself when I thought to add food coloring to the vinegar so that I could see when it was time to add more vinegar.

I mean, who can beat saving that much money, doing in naturally and not mucking up the environment with all of those chemicals and extra packaging?  (Not that I’ve ever bought rinse aid in my life — I haven’t :-).)

So–why the need for an update?

Well, here’s what happened.

My super duper homemade rinse aid was doing a great job for awhile, but then our dishes started to have some sort of gritty residue on them.

I thankfully was able to negotiate with our manufacturer to have a repairman come out for free since I had called about the issue when the dishwasher was still under warranty.

Well, I proudly showed the repairman my frugal prowess and felt I had really beaten the system with my homemade rinse aid, but I did ask him about something that had been bothering me.  And I wondered if this was partly the cause of my gritty dishes.  (Turns out we have slightly hard water, but that’s a different story.)

See, the rinse aid compartment was still full of green-colored vinegar even thought I hadn’t refilled the compartment for maybe 4 months or so.

Well, the repairman told me something that I had no idea about.

The acid in the vinegar can damage the rubber components in the rinse aid compartment.

Well, shoot.

I mean, here I am trying to save myself and my readers money, and I might have created a big problem instead.

Now, I am not for sure about this, but another repairman told me the same thing.

This second repairman told me that on newer dishwashers, the rinse aid compartments have rubber components that aren’t really compatible with acidic things like vinegar.

He recommended the technique that I am sharing with you today.

So—first of all, please accept my apologies for possibly steering you down the wrong road.  It’s not fun for me  know that I might have steered you all down the wrong road.

And hopefully I can make it up to you with today’s tip for a Homemade Dishwasher Rinse Aid that is at least as easy as, if not more easy than the original rinse aid that I shared with you.

Avoid both water spots and harmful chemicals by making this DIY super simple & natural dishwasher rinse aid! Plus instructions on how to properly use it in your dishwasher.



So there you have it.  Super simple.  You can avoid the step of the food coloring, but you do need to fill your little cup each time you run the dishwasher.

But at least it will work and you won’t be possibly damaging any components in your dishwasher.

Here’s a photo of our dishwasher for your enjoyment :-).   The vinegar is in the little plastic container in the lower left.

Dishwasher Rinse Aid

By the way, if you are wondering why we have rubber bands on our glasses, you can read this post here.

I can’t confirm that the rubber components on my dishwasher were damaged by the vinegar, or that yours will be, but who needs to find out, right?

And I would recommend that even if you have an older dishwasher, that you use this technique.

Just.  In.  Case.

Or at least call your manufacturer to make sure it’s OK to put vinegar in your rinse aid compartment.

Looking for other ways to save money and detoxify your life?  Here are some other posts you might be interested in:

Homemade Foaming Soap
Decongestant Chest Rub (like Vicks Vapo-Rub)
Amazing No-Streak Glass Cleaner
Moisturizing and Exfoliating Sugar Scrub
Jojoba Facial Cleaner
Easiest Baby Wipes 

(Top Photo Credit: 

Do you use a rinse aid?

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Sandy Beatty says:

    I would also add a word of caution about hard anodized cookware. I did this and it actually removed the finish from the outside of one of my skillets. Seems the acidity isn’t compatible with the exterior finish. FYI….

  2. Our dishwasher recently had a fire in the electronic part on the front door. We use the citric acid version of soap because we don’t want borax residue on our dishes. Would this have possibly caused a breakdown in the components to cause the fire? The dishwasher is only a few years old. 🙁

    • I have no idea. There are comments in this thread indicating that it isn’t the case, however. Maybe check them out. Did you talk to your repairman?

      • I have not heard back from our repairman, but he is very anti-natural solutions, so I’d bet he’d not give an accurate answer. Though I read the comments above and my soap uses salt, citric acid, washing soda, and essential oils, which seems like what the others use and what the brand soaps are using, so I don’t think that is what caused our fire. When I opened the door, the fire started in the door where all the electrical wires are and it fried them all–shouldn’t have any water or soap in that area, so we think it was a faulty machine. I’m thankful because I really love being chemical free and I love the chemical free facials our dishwasher provides–didn’t want to go back to Cascade! 😀

        • Thanks for responding. I think you are probably right. What is a “chemical free facial”? 🙂 And I am returning my Finish to Costco soon. Does your soap work well? I haven’t found a good DIY ever. Tried several. Even most of my natural store-bought ones don’t work well, but I just started w/ a new one that I love.

  3. Firstly I will start that we live in Perth, Western Australia. The dishwasher I own now is a Miele – owned for apx. 13 years. This is used with generic dishwasher powder which cleans MOST THINGS beautifully ( now & again for really heavily used items I do use a Fairy tablet ) however, I still think the generic brand of powder would do the trick. For the salt , I add swimming pool salt into the container as the dishwasher states when it needs more. ( This was recommended by the company ) For rinse aid – always white vinegar – why pay ridiculous prices for a manufactured rinse aid when the solution is one that most of us have on hand anyway ? Apx. once a month I wash the machine with epsom salts in the detergent container @ the highest temperature ( whilst empty of course ) to thoroughly clean out all the pipes & drainage of any residue dirt & grease. This is one very happy, hard working dishwasher who continues to clean & give good service year in & year out. Look after your appliances & they will give you back years of good service & value for money.
    My previous dishwasher which came with us when we emigrated to Australia back in 1988 was a Zanussi – this one gave us 20 years of no problems because of all the loving care stated above It was purchased in 1982. Unfortunately, one day its’ heart gave out & it had to be transported to the big landfill for burial. Still love the Zanussi brand though ( also had a washing machine which also lasted 20 years ) & still have a Zanussi clothes dryer which still works beautifully – now over 30 years old !! ( although don’t have to use it too often here in Aus.! ) Unfortunately Zanussi are not available here.

  4. Well like you I made a transition starting years ago to the natural side. First food, then cleaning products. In short, I too did the vinegar in the rinse aid, but I also used to splash some at bottom of dishwasher. I’ve even used just baking soda in soap dispenser and vinegar at bottom when we ran out of regular dishwasher detergent. I wanted to share with you and others that we had to replace dishwasher after about a year of doing this because it essentially did the same to your rinse aid. It stripped some rubber parts so that the motor stopped working. I won’t be using, nor do I recommend vinegar, in any home appliance (still LOVE as a cleaner among other uses though!).

  5. I’ve been doing it for awhile and my dishes haven’t been cleaning well. However, they’re not gritty, just not clean.

    1) Did you flush out the vinegar that was in the rinse aid compartment?

    2) Did you have to replace components in the rinse aid?

  6. Thanks for this post. It is very informative. I was just wondering if vinegar would work for the rinse aid, so it is very timely.

  7. I don’t understand how your new method would work at all. All the vinegar would be drained away during the wash cycle leaving none during the rinse cycle when it is needed.

    • I didn’t understand it either. Maybe if it’s upright it doesn’t all come out in the wash?

    • I think she means not the detergent dispenser you fill every time you run a load, but the “jet dry” tank that you can put the rinse aid in, in large quantities, and only have to refill occasionally. The rinse aid does sit in there because only a little is used per load.

      • The new method was using a cup upside down so he is right – I don’t know what to think about it. There’s conflicting information in the comments and posts about whether or not the vinegar would damage machinery.

  8. I have been requested to comment on this thread because I have above average intelligence and I am able to solve the most complex mysteries of life in short order. First, the answer to life the universe and everything is indeed 42. Now as to the vinegar issue…. Did your vinegar come in a plastic container? Is it damaging the plastic container in any way? Probably not. But perform your own test by placing a few good quality rubber bands in a small vinegar container and letting them sit for about a year. What happens to them? In the meantime, while you are waiting for a year to pass, why not dilute the vinegar you place in the rinse aid container with water, and increase the amount of rinse aid released at each cycle? So dilute the vinegar by 50% and have the dishwasher release twice the amount of rinse aid as you would normally do.

  9. I am in the process of having to purchase a new dishwasher. After reading the many reviews of the current models , I see that I will have to use a rinse aid from here on out. While vinegar sounds great , I personally don’t want to take a chance with a new machine. Hydrogen Peroxide (3%) was recommended on another site. It seems to be a safer alternative.

    • There was another interesting comment that came in about a lady who used epsom in her dishwasher – and vinegar too, I believe. Look through the most recent comments.

  10. Bick Bickerson says:

    Rinse aids work because they contain surfactants, which break the surface tension of the water, allowing it to drain more freely/quickly from the surface of the dishes. Vinegar is not a surfactant. Sure, it has many great uses, but this isn’t one of them.

  11. Well, wish I would have read this earlier last week! Just tried vinegar as a rinse agent for the 1st time. I actually wondered about this because using vinegar damaged the wiper fluid section on my car. Maybe using it once won’t damage my dishwasher. Still wondering if using it in a cup won’t cause damage as it drains? Think I’ll just skip any rinse agent.

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