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. John Densem says:

    Sorry, I don’t believe your latest attempt will do what normal rinse aid does. The rinse aid dispenser injects the rinse aid into the final rinse water, by the time it gets to the final rinse your little container won’t have any vinegar left in it. Rinse aid is designed to coat your dishes with a very small amount of rinse aid to ensure the water runs off and does not leave the spots streaks.

    I have been told that the main ingredient is vegetable oil and have often wondered if I could use that, but I would like to know what other ingredients are.

    Retired appliance technician.

    • I don’t know what to think. What do you think about the vinegar in the rinse aid compartment? I think someone above said it’s a pretty heavy duty acid. thanks!

  2. Jonathan Churchman-Davies says:

    Vinegar (an acid of course) added at start of cycle will neutralise (and be neutralised by) a portion of the dishwasher cleaning agents, which are alkaline (PH around 10). Wash effectiveness will tend to be compromised, as some of cleaning agent will have been consumed, and the vinegar rinse aid will not be there to improve draining of water from dishes at the end.

    As dishwasher cleaning agents are usually added in excess and a significant element of the cleaning will come from hot water, the wash results will often not be markedly different if vinegar is added at the start and uses up cleaning agents. The absence of the vinegar rinse aid at the end of the cycle will also often not be noticed, as surfactant residues in the wash will generally mean that draining is fairly good to start with.

    It’s only with more difficult loads that problems will be seen.

    So in many cases, this tip will work, even though it’s better to add no rinse aid at all than to add vinegar at the start of the load.

  3. Is it all right to just toss the vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher?

  4. Ive used nearly every brand under the sun

    The best by far Rinse Aid ive ever used is a natural product by Herbon.

    Herbon Rinse Aid i swear by it! Even the dishwashing powder is great!!

  5. Hi Adrienne!

    I know this is an older post, but somehow I just saw it! I’ve used white vinegar in my risse aid compartment for at least a year, but now I will start using a cup instead – thank you so much for all of your helpful advice and recipes :) Me and Laura from Green Living Ladies and Lauras Gluten Free Pantry just started a blog hop called Natural Thursdays where you can link up natural cleaner or remedies and also GF recipes, we would love it if you would stop by :)

  6. I was using finish rinse aid excellent results tried vinegar in rinse aid compartment now I have water spots

  7. Beko have advised me that vinegar can damage plastic pipes and cause a smell; in the dishwasher. Any comments

  8. Tried the vinegar method unfortunately before I read your updated method. The dishes turned out well, but all the plastic containers did not clean at all. Greasy residue. I HOPE I have not damaged my dishwasher!

  9. Thank you for a great tip, I agree that it’s safer to use vinegar cup. Just wondering do you keep the cup from the beginning or at the time of rinse cycle.


  10. Barton Fink says:

    I throw a tablespoon of white vinegar into the rinse cycle sometimes, if I’m in the kitchen and I happen to hear it click into the rinse cycle. I never thought of using the rinse-aid dispenser, but then I usually do the vinegar rinse as just another way to keep the whole machine smelling cleaning inside. Sometimes, I hate to say, I question my dishwasher’s freshness.