Natural Dishwasher Rinse Aid ~ Important Update

Dishwasher Rinse Aid flickr Wmk

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.



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.

And the pretty mug in the upper left is offered on my Blessings Unlimited site :-).

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 have a favorite DIY home care or personal care product?

Shared at Today’s Creative Blog, Far Above Rubies, Chef in Training, Real Food Whole Health, Real Food Freaks, Whipperberry, At the Picket Fence, Comfy in the Kitchen, Craftionary, Life as Mom, Christian Mommy Blog, Six Sisters’ Stuff, Tatertots and Jello, and Learning the Frugal Life.


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  1. Sam Russell says:

    I had never lived anywhere with hard water before, and I was appalled at the condition the dishes were in after running the dishwasher. I use vinegar too, but I just dump a bit in the door before closing it. It seems to work well enough.

  2. singledad says:

    Today was the first I had heard of the rubber parts issue but I have started keeping a shot glass in the silverware basket. I fill that with vinegar before I run the load. My idea was that if you just pour it in, the vinegar would get drain dout early in the load.

  3. big question: we have that gritty residue on our glasses and there is some grit inside at bottom of glasses. seems like this mostly happens on top shelf of dishwasher. Does add vinegar help with this or is there another issue? i’ve turned water temp up/drained water heater and clean filters in dishwasher. Any suggestions? we are close to just buying a new dishwasher.

  4. Soooo, how do I get the vinegar out of the rinse aid compartment? I had the same thought, and shoot. Now I’d like to get it out, obviously. But the repair man was here just a week or so ago and I told him and he didn’t say anything except it’s good to run vinegar thru the machine from time to time.

  5. I’m wondering, isn’t the rinse cycle done at the end with fresh clean water? Then the vinegar would be gone down the drain together with all the dirty water from the washing cycle. What am I missing here?

    • Sorry I am confused about what you are asking – could you clarify please? Thanks!

      • Sorry for confusing you. I always thought that there are two cycles, the first for cleaning the dishes and the second for rinsing with fresh water. If so, wouldn’t the vinegar be removed together with the dirty water from the first cycle and the second cycle with fresh clean water will have no vinegar in it at all when using your method? Or maybe I’m wrong and there is only one cycle.

        • I kind of thought so too. I saw the idea somewhere else (or perhaps a dishwasher repairman mentioned it to me) and gave it a go and it seemed to help. I don’t know enough about the cycles to comment, however, and I do know that modern dishwashers tend to recycle the water to prevent waste.