Natural Dishwasher Rinse Aid ~ Important Update

Dishwasher Rinse Aid flickr Wmk

I know.  I posted a super simple Homemade Dishwasher Rinse Aid already.

But it’s been about a year (I can’t believe it’s been that long!!) since that previous homemade rinse aid post, and I have a very important update to share with you.

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

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

Read on.  Please.  You must.

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: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenny-pics/2896488626/) 

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.

 

Comments

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  1. This is just beginning to become important to me. I’ve changed our whole lifestyle of how we eat, but I have yet to start cleaning with natural products. Thanks for all the amazing recipes!

    DaNelle recently posted…Why I changed my mind about Homeschooling

  2. You are sooooo forgiven! Your good intentions outweigh the eroding rubber.

    Love your posts,
    sharon

  3. I didn’t know that just a little cup of vinegar in the top would have the same results. We don’t have a rinse cup in our older dishwasher, so this is a very helpful solution. Thanks!

  4. Ohh that’s great. Thanks for letting us know. I’ll be trying this out for sure.

  5. This is sooo good to know! Especially because when I went on the make-it-yourself bandwagon, I made the dishwasher detergent. What a nightmare!! It ruined my glasses, dishes, and the inside of the expensive Bosch dishwasher I horn-swaggled my husband into buying for me. Boy was he ticked when he saw what my homemade detergent was doing! So its good to know that I should stop using vinegar in the rinse aid container. Had any of the rubber been ruined because of my desire to save money, my husband would have lost it! Adrienne, you may have just saved my marriage!! :)

    BTW, since my homemade detergent experiment, I have since read many blogs where others thought that most other homemade detergents and soaps were awesome, but many agreed that the dishwasher soap was a big no-no. I wish I had read those comments BEFORE I did my experiment!!

  6. Does this replace putting dishwasher soap in the dishwasher, or do you use the vinegar in addition to the soap?

    • In addition to. This is just a rinse aid.

      • I have just now read your post about your little cup of vinegar in the top during the wash cycle. That would help clean them perhaps, but it can’t help in the rinse cycle if you put it in at the start, it would be all gone or even holding soap still during the rinse.
        I think your “rubber” parts in your rinse aid compartment only amounts to your O-ring seal and it would be affected by the heat of your hot water and heat of the dry cycle.
        I’ve been using vinegar in mine and had no problems. In fact, my water is very hard and all my dishes and silverware were horrible after the first wash when I moved into this house. I used a dishwasher cleaner and it helped clean up the mess that was in it from the calcium. I tried several detergents, liquid and powder, and finally went back to the liquid Cascade I had used for years. It was doing the best with a rinse aid.
        The vinegar for the rinse aid is the very best, though, and it cleaned up my dishes after just one washing. I cleaned the silverware by hand very good and put them back in for the next wash and they came out sparkling and NO MORE DEPOSITS. My heating element in the bottom still has a cement layer on it because the woman before me used it, but I don’t, and I doubt after having been baked on that it will ever come off unless it just starts chipping off.
        My rinse dispenser looks fine and the seal is flexible. I don’t have water spots anymore and I’m thrilled!

  7. Thank you for the information! How much is a little bit of vinegar? 2 T or more like 1/4 cup? Also I read about the homemade dishwasher soap ruining your dishwasher above. I haven’t had that happen (yet) my dishwasher is 11 years old maybe that’s why. Now I am a little worried because I have never read anyone having problems with the homemade dish soap. What recipe did you use and what do you use now?

    • I guess it really doesn’t matter how much you use. I think I put in about 2T. I am trying out several brands right now, but we do have a bit of a hard water issue. I am trying a chemical laden one, Tropical Traditions and Biokleen. On the natural end the TT one is working well. I have coupons for them every now and then and you can see their ad in my sidebar. I used one that I found on a natural site and I think the citric acid is what did it. :(.

      • The reason that the dishwashers are not working right anymore is because last year they made the companies take the phosphates out of the detergents. I thought I needed a new dishwasher. I took two black (well they were, they were filmed with white when I took them in)cooking spoons with me to the appliance shop. I told them that I thought I needed a new dishwasher. The gal laughed and told me no, and handed me a bottle of LemiShine. I do not know what that stuff is made of but all my white coated dishes and cooking spoons and spatulas are now nice and shiny black again. The rinse aid I am going to replace with a cup of vinegar in the top rack. I sure hope you can come up with a replacement for the Lemi Shine. I only use about a teaspoon per load, not half and half with the detergent. I believe that is what it says on the bottle, or the repairman told me, one or the other. It still works very well.

        • Yes, and the water flow is less too. The LemiShine is basically natural from what I remember.

        • I do believe one of the major ingredients of LemiShine is citric acid…
          I’ve been using citric acid on and off in the first rinse in my dishwasher for years now. We have super hard well water (as in, we have to soak our shower head in vinegar every few months – lots of calcium and lime). I *finally* realized that one of Jet Dry’s main ingredients is citric acid (which I get in bulk from my local health food store), and this month have been trying out my own homemade jet dry – just citric acid and filtered water. It was quite a “duh” moment for me since we’ve used that blasted expensive blue stuff for all 9 years that we’ve lived here, I only recently figured this one out. Sigh, live and learn I suppose.

  8. I use to use a product called lemon shine that was quite expensive so I looked at the ingredients. The main one was citric acid and some lemon for scent. Now I just buy bulk citric acid for cheap and it works great!

    • That’s all the ingredients? I thought there were more. Hmmmmm…..

    • Is that citric acid to soften the water, im having an awful time with hard water and my laundry but now that you mention it,i thought my dishwaher was crap so maybe its the hard water there too!!

      • Well, the dishwashers have less power, thanks to the government’s involvement, and there are no phosphates in the detergents makes it rough as well. Our city water went up 1.5 grains in hardness in the past few years.

  9. What a great tip! I love your other tips, too! I would be honored if you stopped over to my The Mommy Club and shared your post aka Mommy Solutions! My linky starts Tue. night 9pm and runs until Monday. You have a lot of great tips and it would be awesome if you stopped into share!

    Have a super week!
    Crystal

  10. I’m using the TT dishwashing detergent right now too. I bought it on the free shipping day (thanks again for the heads up!!) and have been using it ever since. It was expensive though – 6x the price of the regular chemical stuff from Walmart. When asked by my husband why we should use TT instead of “regular” detergent, I was stumped. I usually have really good answers to justify higher costs of things, but this got me because I don’t know enough about it. Any advice or suggestions? Thank you so much Adrienne!

    • My main reason for looking at natural is health of my family and for the environment. That chemically stuff isn’t good for either. I know the TT is expensive so I am hoping the move elsewhere….I do use only about .5 or .75 what they recommend and sometimes they have sales. Hope to have a giveaway soon!

  11. I always clean my dishwasher using vinegar.

  12. Hey Adrienne!

    Did they figure out what was wrong with your dishwasher? Because my dishes aren’t looking so great anymore either…

    • I think it’s the hard water maybe. Did you have yours checked?

      • Hm, yeah. I wonder if there is a way to check myself, don’t wanna pay someone…

        • For hardness? You can call your city if you have city water – that’s what I did.

        • Soak an item that is white and chalky in some vinegar for an hour or so and then hand wash it. If it comes clean, you probably have a bad build up of hard water on everything. My water is so full of calcium (I live in limestone cave country) that between it and the soap that was left, it was literally chalky junk left on the surface. My glasses were etching and water spots on everything. Do you get white junk around your faucet and knobs easily? You have hard water if you do. Spray some vinegar on it and it will wipe off after it dissolves it. If you don’t have this problem, you may have rather soft water.

  13. Thanks, Adrienne. Great tip.

    Thanks for linking up to DD. I always appreciate hearing from you.

  14. Thanks for the tip and for linking to the Frugal Tuesday Tip http://juliecache.com/2012/08/21/frugal-tuesday-tip-aug-21/.html
    I use vinegar in my new dishwasher and now I’m going to ask. love the rubber band idea.

  15. Ha HA! So funny. I actually did this just last week (I think from your idea, but maybe from somewhere else). My tube turned green too! I think it’s ok. I only did it once. I will give your cup with vinegar a go. Thanks for clarifying that!

  16. I’m so glad I read this as I’ve been using white vinegar in our dishwasher. Does the plastic cup not tip over during your wash cycle or is it supposed to tip? I know a plastic cup of that size would tip over in my dishwasher.

    • Mine doesn’t tip over all the time…but even if it does it shouldn’t matter. My understanding is you are just trying to get vinegar into the washer. You could even just dump it into the bottom of the dishwasher. :)

  17. Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge! Thanks for being so informative.
    I found you via Tater Tots and Jello. So happy I did.
    Meegan
    What Meegan Makes

  18. I keep a spray bottle of straight white vinegar by my sink. I spray my glasses and flatware before I start up the dishwasher. That spray bottle gets a workout. This morning, we had a slow drain in the bathroom sink. Put some baking soda down there and sprayed the vinegar. It foamed up a bit. I let it sit and now the drain is better. The combination also helps clean dirty plastic shower curtains when I throw them in the washer.

    btw — L-O-V_E your site. Our LO is on the GFCF diet and your recipes have been super helpful — and delicious!

    • Thank you!!! What a joy you brought to my evening. So…do you just spray the vinegar on the shower curtain before washing it? Do you add anything? Mine aren’t plastic – I think nylon, but not sure. I wonder if that will help. Thanks!

      • I throw the plastic/nylon/vinyl/whatever-it-is liner in the washing machine with the pretty cloth curtain and the bathroom rugs. I pour in some white vinegar (maybe a cup) and some baking soda and the regular detergent. The vinegar/baking soda combo helps get the mold and soap scum off the liner. I’ve had the same $5 liner for 2 years now. The rugs don’t come out as soft as they did before but everything is clean.

        • Does it matter if you put other things in with the liner and bath things? Like can I just put regular laundry in there and wash the liner and curtains and towels with it? Thanks!

          • I’m not a chemist but I don’t think it would hurt anything. When I do them with the rugs, the rugs don’t come out as soft. They may have some residue on them. My bath stuff hasn’t faded and the rugs still have their rubber backing.

  19. Yay!!! I was having this SAME problem and so I quit using it. Now I know what to do! Yippee! Thanks so much for posting.

  20. Thanks for the great tip!

  21. So glad you posted this, I had been doing that on my own for awhile! I’ve also tried the rubber band method for tracking glasses in our home AND for tracking how many glasses I have drank in the day (put 8 bands on a glass and move them from top to bottom as you drink throughout the day). One tip, if you leave them on through the dishwasher, the heat makes them pretty brittle and you’ll end up losing the elastics quicker because they break!

  22. Thank you for sharing this update. I had heard something similar, and I know my late Dad used to put a cup of vinegar in the top rack of his dishwasher. It’s good to know the vinegar is still okay, you just need to use it a little differently!

  23. Is this the only thing you use to wash your dishes? If so, totally trying it!! :)

    http://www.munchtalk.net

    • I still use detergent but this helps get them super clean -like a rinse aid does :-).

      • What detergent do you use? I’m scared to ruin my dishes! I’d like to make one that doesn’t cloud my dishes because I also don’t have much faith in commercial dish washing detergent; I’ve seen my mother’s dishes get cloudy and she’s never made a cleaning product in her life! Is there a good solution out there? I had given up and hand-washed everything.

        • I’m changing b/t a chemically one, bio kleen, T Traditions and tried ecover, but was told it gummed up someone’s dishwasher. Sigh.

          • Seventh Generation has a great dishwasher detergent and rinse aid. Cleans well and dishes sparkle. All of their products are widely available, non-toxic, with biodegradable, plant-based ingredients.

            On a side note, I don’t know why repairmen and plumbers discourage the use of vinegar in dishwashers and drains. Probably so that they get a service call instead of you taking care of things yourself. It is not true at all. Vinegar can clear your drains and remove mineral deposits from anything… including your hair. It is a disinfectant, neutralizes pet “odors”, removes hard water, cleans glass completely streak free – including eyeglasses, is a degreaser, a great toilet bowl cleaner, exfoliates your skin, etc., etc., etc. I actually buy vinegar with a 9% acidity (intended for canning) instead of the customary 5%. I pretty much clean exclusively with vinegar – although for certain jobs I’ll incorporate baking soda.

            My home is COMPLETELY bleach free. I use Borax instead of bleach in my laundry. It’s derived from a naturally occurring mineral and whitens without yellowing or degrading the fabric the way bleach does. It also can be used to brighten colored clothes, or even on dark clothes that need an extra punch (i.e. My husband’s work socks. Eew.)

            Anyway, back to the dishwasher dilemma… I use, and have used for 25+ years, extra acidic vinegar with reckless abandon, and have yet to see it damage anything. Do not be afraid!

            Lisa

            • Really – interesting. Is your dishwasher a newer model? I was told the older models are fine w/ it.

              • My dishwasher is (an LG) which was purchased in late-ish 2010, so at least I consider it a newer model. (??)

                The main ingredient in any rinse aid is some sort of acid. Many use citric acid. This acid helps dissolve some of the minerals in the water and as a result, the water slides off the dishes more easily and any remaining droplets are not as mineral laden so they don’t leave the minerals (spots) on the dishes after the water has evaporated away.
                I’m a bit of a science nerd, and thus find all the “hows and whys” very interesting. I hope that I have not bored you to tears. :)

                • Not at all are you boring me. This is very puzzling now. So I think we need to get a dishwasher repairman into the conversation here.

                  • Ok – so my husband IS a dishwasher repairman for THE big brand. He says this talk of vinegar ruining rubber components is hogwash. Firstly because it is far less acidic then citric acid, which is the main ingredient in all store bought rinse aids.

                    And secondly because when he goes out to someones house – who has a dirty dishwasher – he is instructed by his company to use straight citric acid in a rinse cycle to clean the interior of hard water/buildup. If the citric acid is not ruining your rubber components – vinegar is not either. It’s more likely that some mineral deposits caused the rinse compartment to stop working.

                    The BIGGEST reason for peoples dishes no longer coming out clean is because of the EPA banning phosphates in dish detergents this past year. The second biggest reason is your city dumping chemicals into your water to counteract smells/bacteria, etc. So, what works for you today – may not work next week because your water authority is constantly changing your water.

                    He says it’s best to just add Kosher salt to your dish detergent to cut out any minerals your water may be leaving behind (about 1/2 cup per 2 cups of powder) and if that’s not working you can boost either store bought or homemade detergent by adding 1/2 cup of citric acid, which you can buy online for cheap per 2 cups of wash powder.

                    On our own VERY high end brand new model dishwasher we are using homemade powder and vinegar with a few drops of Lemon Essential Oil with excellent results most of the time. We do have city water though, and sometimes we notice a slight film, and just deal with it – or if I’m feeling crafty I’ll adjust our detergent.

                    So, there you have it right from a professional. Hope this helps!

                    • OK – you are amazing! Now, if you live near me, can he drop by to fix my dishwasher? Some online place gave me bad instructions for pulling a part out and now I have to do a major repair. Sigh.

                      Could you share your recipe too :)? I never found one I liked.

                    • The base recipe (and the one I’m currently using right now) is:

                      1 cup Borax
                      1 cup Washing Soda
                      1/2 cup Kosher Salt (Has to be Kosher or Epsom – something with BIG particles for scrubbing power and softener ability)
                      1/2 cup Citric Acid
                      15 drops of Young Living Lemon Essential Oil (I’ve tried seriously, every cheaper brand of Lemon Oil out there, and hand’s down – nothing compares to the YLEO quality.)

                      Use 1tbsp per load.

                      Mixed up in a mason jar with a tight lid. It clumps some – but I just shake the jar and it’s fine. This morning and tonight’s load came out great – no film. If we have some film, I may run the next load with a tad more salt. Maybe, 1/2 tbsp?

                      For rinse aid we are currently using 1 cup white distilled vinegar plus 10 drops Young Living Lemon Essential Oil, shaken well in a glass jar before putting in the rinse compartment. Don’t bother adding food coloring. It could gum up your release valve too with the heat/minerals inside your dishwasher. The Rinse Aid compartment only releases a few drops per load, nothing you would even notice if you looked at it every day. Just mark your calender for once a month to refill if you do about one load a day.

                    • Lindsy, This was years ago, I called a plumber friend when my dishwasher backed up, wouldn’t drain. We had extremely hard water at that time. I can still remember him telling me ” I shouldn’t tell you this, as it’s my livelihood, but once a month or so, add powdered Tang where you normally add dishwasher soap and run it through complete cycle ( empty of course). It’s the same concept with the acidity. I have never had any build ups or issues since , and Tang is very inexpensive.

  24. Thanks so much for linking up at my link party! What a great tip!!

    I’ve made homemade dishwasher detergent and switched to vinegar as a rinse aid but was sooooo curious why the compartment wasn’t emptying very fast at all! I will definitely be switching to a new method!

    Silly question. How do you get the vinegar out of there??

    Oh, and I am featuring you on my blog!

    Ashley
    http://www.simplydesigning.blogspot.com

    • Thank you for the kind note and the feature! Well, sadly I had them order me a new rinse aid compartment :-(. It was just outside of warranty but they covered it. Thanks again!!!

  25. I have been an avid reader and follower of your blogs, Adrianne.
    And after reading this one post, I love you and admire you all the more!
    <>
    There are very few people who have it in them to come out in open and take up responsibility for having given wrong advice to their readers/ followers even if it was done inadvertently.
    Doing so shows that you are where you are because you deserve to be there.
    I never read your first post on natural dishwasher aid and started reading this one out of sheer curiosity. (I am an Indian and with the luxury of maids to do the washing, I rarely use my dishwasher at all).
    This time, I could not resist the temptation of saying, “Wow! You are doing a fabulous job!”.

    • What a sweet note. Thank you!!! I don’t feel worthy of admiration really. I’m just bumping along here trying to do what is right and messing it up and trying not to stress out. But I hope I have some good things to share. You are too kind. Thank you and I wish I could visit India sometime. My best friend from work days years ago was from there. She was a beautiful lady. Blessings.

  26. Oh no, Adrienne!
    You deserve to be complimented for accepting that you made a mistake. Not many of us can do so, let alone publicly- on your blog!
    And if you ever do happen to visit India, PLEASE let me know. I’d be happy to have you over.
    (I am sure you can reach out to me. http://www.facebook.com/ambika.mahajan.14)

  27. Hi –
    Thanks for the update. I did see all of these posts, including the correction and felt your pain. I have a very nice Bosch dishwasher. I have the vinegar rinse in it now. It has worked though not as good as Jet Dry. We have the hardest water in the country here in Nebraska.

    But I really need your help. How do I get what is in there out of the rinse compartment? Please let me know at my email address. Thanks for all your help on this!

    Paula

    • Yikes – I don’t remember how to get the stuff out. Here’s a link that has an idea:

      • The link didn’t show. I have been using homemade detergent with equal parts borax and arm and hammer washing soda. Put it in a container and mixed then I use and 1/8 cup in the dishwasher, with no issues. But I have vinegar rinse sitting in my dispenser that has been there for a couple months now and I don’t know how to get it out. Any thoughts?

        • sorry – what link do you mean that isn’t showing? I would call your dishwasher company to see how to get it out. I’ll have to try your detergent. I would love to get away from what I am using. Thanks!

          • Adrienne
            October 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm · Reply
            Yikes – I don’t remember how to get the stuff out. Here’s a link that has an idea:

            This link is what I was meaning. The link that had an idea of how to get the stuff out. I am working it out bit by bit by using my baster, putting the tip in the hole and sucking out what I can.

  28. I was wondering what exactly does it do to the rubber in the rinse aide compartment. I started doing it a few months ago and now my compartment top won’t screw off. Is the vinegar the cause?

  29. I don’t put the vinegar in my rinse aid dispenser. I put it in the 2nd detergent compartment and it works just fine.

  30. Great tip. Love it. On the homemade dishwashing soap, I use the same stuff I do for my laundry (liquid form) and my dishes are cleaner than they were with the store bought. My parents just switched over (I make it for them too) and they really like it as well.

    • You mean a DIY laundry soap? Recipe please?

      • Yes it is a DIY laundry Soap. I combined a number of the recipes, although most are the same and slightly increased the amounts. The recipe is on my notes https://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&note_id=10151041086135208 If this doesn’t work, I will copy and paste. It also has a list of what each item does.

        • So…you can make this dry as well, correct? Just by using a bar of soap instead of the liquid?

          • I’ve never made it dry so I really am not sure on that. From what I’ve read on dry recipes it would be all the dry ingredients and grated bar soap mixed together.I prefer liquid since I only have cold water to my washing machine.

      • I decided to try this for my dishwasher when I ran out of soap. When looking at DIY for the dishwasher (all dry recipes) the ingredients were already present in the laundry soap with just a little extra stuff. :)

        • Interesting. Do you have hard water? I might give this a try but I was so unhappy w/ the results of the DIYs that I tried.

          • we have semi hard water. Our dishes always had white spots on them with the store bought stuff and were looking grungy just out of the dishwasher. The first time we used the laundry soap, the dishes looked cleaner to both my husband and me. The ingredients are so cheap, it sure would hurt to find out. For the jumbo box of the borax, washing soda, and baking soda and the gallon of vinegar, it was just under 20 dollars and they are good for about 5 or 6 batches which translates to 20-24 gallons of laundry soap. The bar soap I use is a bit more expensive since I use the castile bar or the dead sea mineral bar so that is about 15-18 in the bar soap. That’s about as far as I’ve gone on the math.

  31. I will also add that I’ve always had extremely sensitive skin and have always been limited on what I can use. I’ve never had issues with this laundry soap.

  32. Hi everybody!
    Stupid (maybe) question… I’m a bit confused – when you say white vinegar is that white wine vinegar or the clear malt vinegar? – maybe it doesn´t matter???
    Thanks!

  33. Why put it in the little cup? Couldn’t you just pour some in the bottom of your dishwasher before starting it?

  34. Thank you so much for posting this! I don’t always put the vinegar into the dishwasher, just when it seems like things are getting grittier, but I have done it. Now I know, so no more!

  35. Right! I should have specified I did put it in the rinse aid compartment as well. It will go in a cup as you described now!

  36. Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t vinegar dissolve soap? That’s why it’s a good rinse aide (for both laundry and dishes). If that’s true then it doesn’t make any sense to put it in the dishwasher from the beginning of the cycle like that.

    • Vinegar is an acid and soap is a base. The will react…but that depends on what the soap is, correct? This is not an area of expertise for me -sorry!

  37. Me either! =). But here’s a helpful blog article I found on the acid/base/ph stuff. I think it’s probably best to use vinegar only as a rinse aid, not for use in conjunction with soap at the start of the cycle. If you mess up the ph balance of the washer you may be doing more harm than good. Any thoughts?

    http://littlehouseinthesuburbs.com/2012/05/10-things-you-should-know-before-making-homemade-dishwasher-detergent.html

    • I think I’ve heard so much about this that my head is spinning! One commenter said it’s about how much of each you use. I don’t know what to think!

  38. The dishwasher in our apartment is old and not effective, so we had to get creative. I read to put the rinse aid (vinegar) in the compartment meant for the dishwasher soap, and the dishwasher soap in the little open “compartment” right next to it. Been doing that for months and it works great!

  39. Any tips on how to get the foggy stuff off of the glasses? Hand washing just does NOT do it. I must have a SUPER cheap dishwasher, as I’ve only used vinegar in 2 loads and am already getting the foggy stuff!! :-(

  40. I’m gonna try just running it with no soap and high heat. and see what happens! I’ll let ya know if it works!! (I guess foggy wasn’t the best description, but it’s like a foggy filmy thing. LOL. And just on the glasses, nothing on plates, silverware, and cups.)

    • I just read today that soft water and dish detergent can cause etching – is that it??

      • Sounds like a good descriptive, but definitely wasn’t caused by too soft of water. (We were low on softener salt for a couple of the times I ran that load through trying to get it off.)

        I did get it off by just running the high heat/ sanitize settings with no soap or anything added. Hard telling if the hot “rinse” fixed it, or maybe we were getting harder water than I thought, and it finally regenerated through the lines to the dishwasher. It didn’t feel that bad when I was in the shower, but maybe it was. Hard telling, but it’s gone now, thank goodness!! (And if I use vinegar again, it’ll definitely be going in a small cup on the top rack!!)

        • Well, someone just wrote a post that you can get etching on your glasses from soft water and dishwasher detergent. Is that true? Yikes!

          • I googled it. Etching is, indeed, what I had. Found a site through the University of Nebraska – Lincoln that lists a LOAD of causes, from hard water (which I had, even though I’ve never had this issue with hard water before) to too cold of water (I temped mine, the way they suggest, and have that too). I’m fairly new to commenting on blogs, so I’ll post it, but only if/after you ask. I just don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, so to speak. Might be being a tad paranoid, but I posted a link to this blog on a facebook page of someone who blogs (a couponer in my area) who was pushing homemade detergent and vinegar in the rinse aid spot, and it was marked as spam less than 10 minutes later.

  41. Unfortunately, this is not a great idea if you are washing metals in your dishwasher…pots, pans, silverware, etc…I am a chemist and although vinegar is a great cleaner, it is also an acid and will destroy metals over time. It will slowly attack your silverware and other metal items. It may also attack any exposed metal parts in your dishwasher.

    • Is this the case even diluted this much? I have asked several dishwasher repairmen about this and they said it was fine – thanks!

      • Dilution helps but over time the acid in the vinegar will still cause some damage to metals. The largest factors are strength of acid and the amount of time that the acid remains on the metal. Additionally many times heat accelerates a reaction. When a chemical is diluted, the chemical properties don,t change, you just have more water mixed in with the chemical.

        • Hmmm… Do you have any idea then to help our dishwasher issues? I use maybe 2 T in a little cup in my top rack and that’s it. Maybe 1 T sometimes. The missing phosphates and the lower water pressure make this very difficult. Thanks!

  42. Ok, 2T isn’t very much vinegar. When I originally read your post, I thought you were putting a whole cup of vinegar in the dishwasher. The biggest problem with spots is hard water. If you have a water softener in your house, it would help. Additionally, most detergents, even homemade detergents use alkaline products which also can cause a cloudy residue. Something that I would advise is run your regular dishwasher cycle without vinegar, then remove any metal dishes (silverware, pots, pans, etc) and use 1-2 T vinegar with glassware, plastic dishes, and plates in a rinse only cycle. Once the rinse only cycle has completed, let your dishes dry naturally in the dishwasher.

    • Well, the inside of my dishwasher is stainless so metal is there all the time. I am getting a softener almost for sure. I just looked into that and found a very intriguing one that doesn’t need the salt or KCl either :). I always let my dishes dry naturally. Thanks and I would love to know your thoughts. I am not really getting spots – it’s more of grit.

    • Healthy Kitchen says:

      This is a good idea. Most dishes washed in a residential dishwasher could use an extra rinse anyway, IMO. But why remove the silverware, metal items? All my metal items are stainless steel, I serve salads and other acidic foods in them.

  43. I really think you should link to this update from the original recipe in some super obvious way. I googled and found the original recipe, but discovered this update by total chance.

  44. Hi!
    Just wanted to tell how weird it is for me to discover all the American habits of dishwasher operation ;)
    I recently moved to the US from Europe. I had a Miele dishwasher there, and even thought I always used phosphate-free natural detergents, the results were outstanding!
    Nevertheless I have now a GE Potscrubber, and first of all NONE of the natural detergents work in it, second – people claim since US government banned phosphates no detergent works good anymore, even the most expensive one.. I don’t really get this. I tried to buy citric acid to add a teaspoon along with detergent but even at Whole Foods nobody knows what citric acid is.
    Another thing – every single European dishwasher (and I found in the US only Miele) has a salt compartment, which you fill with salt about once a two months. It is regenerating the internal water softener. So regardless of your water conditions your d/w is always filled with soft water! You just need to set it correctly according to info you can obtain from your water provider.
    About the vinegar thing – I always used it in my rinse-aid compartment, and many people I know did that too since I told them (I know for sure in Bosch, Siemens i Electrolux). None of us has ever had a problem with any rubber thing. In my Miele’s manual it was even stated instead of regulat rinse-aid you could use vinegar or lemon juice… And now I’m a little scared to keep using it here in GE.
    It’s a little strange vinegar may cause problems with dishwasher since as far as I know d/w detergents are formulated to clean without suds using very alkaline and abrasive components. I believe rinse-aid should also work to neutralize these a little, not just as the commercial ones, cover your dishes with film that helps drying only

    • How strange. I am about to purchase a new kind of softener that should help us. It doesn’t use salt. I am very excited – thanks for the interesting info!

    • They always say that you must use a special salt, not the normal one used for food. I wonder what the difference is.
      However, if you do not have hard water and you use a 3-in-1 detergent (detergent, salt and rinse aid) salt is not necessary. That’s what I do.
      I just had a look at my dishwasher instructions and they say only products meant for dishwashers are to be used. No mention of DIY, but I would not like to take the risk, since I cannot afford the repair costs.

  45. What causes etching of the dishes? Is it the homemade detergent, or the citric acid…? I really don’t want to ruin my dishes! I want to save money and be healthier for my family, but not at the cost of ruining our dishes!
    Also, if I’ve already goofed up and have vinegar in the rinse aid department (and yes, it’s been full for MONTHS!) how can I get that our of there before I ruin the dishwasher?!?! We rent, so it’s not ours to ruin!!

  46. Ever since Phosphates was outlawed for general use (except for restaurants), my dishes had been coming out “filmy” and with food particles as well. I purchased, online, Bumblee dishwasher powder. It did fine for a couple of months, but then I started having that ‘filmy’ problem again. So, now I am using only 1/2 a cup of detergent, and a pour 1 cup of vinegar at the bottom of the dishwasher. My dishes are coming out clean and sparkly! My dishwasher is new, so I hope that I won’t have any problems, as I love how my dishes now look and feel!

    • I don’t know what to say. Now I am hearing that that is a lot of vinegar and not good for the dishwasher. Mine ended up having issues. In fact, I have to make a major repair. And we’re getting a softener. We’ll see :).

      • To Healthy Kitchen: You make a good point. Don’t use the cup method. Simply pour the desired amount of 5% acidity vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher. I was amazed the difference it made to my flatware and glasses —no spots, even though it was used in the wash cycle instead of the rinse cycle.

  47. Healthy Kitchen says:

    I appreciate this discussion, because I’m sure many have been using vinegar for a rinse aid as i have. However, your new method worries me, that dirty, soapy water will fill the cup in the wash cycle, then overflow in the rinse cycle, leaving soap and food residue on the dishes. I will keep looking for a good solution.

    • I worry about the same thing too. I’ve not yet switched to homemade detergent.
      Sometimes I wash some very small plastic boxes for food. The box is so small and light that turns upside down (even in the upper rack). When I open the dishwasher, the box is filled with very dirty water and residue. I have to wash it by hand.
      I’m also worried that during the pre-rinse phase (before the detergent compartment is open) the vinegar will not stay in the cup, and therefore will not be used as a rinse-agent.
      Has anybody experienced the same problem? What are your thoughts?

  48. Great information, thanks!
    I know many of us are health conscious here. So just a reminder to avoid putting anything plastic or rubber in the dishwasher as the high temperatures cause toxins to release from those materials. Just like they do if put in the microwave. Have a great day!

  49. Sweet…I just had a quick question…Since I have had vinegar sitting in there forever as well…do you know how to get it out?

  50. Hi Everybody,
    I read all the comments and wish to share my experience with all of you.
    1. Check first the pH of the rinse aid supplied by the Dishwasher manufacturer.
    It has a pH around 4 to 5 (any chemistry student can help you for this)
    2. I do not recommend White vinegar (a man made chemical) but use an Apple cider (Natural vinegar).
    Both of these have a pH between 2 to 3.
    3. Add 10ml* of Apple cider in 200ml** of drinking water and your Home made rinse aid is ready.
    This has a pH*** around 4 to 5.
    4. Cool and easy. Isn’t it..?
    5. Do it yourself and enjoy with confidence.
    * Any cough syrup bottle provides a 5ml to 10 ml measure for dose control.
    ** Any standard glass is 180ml.
    ***Since we adjusted the pH of our home made rinse aid near to that of the marketed stuff
    there is no fear of damage to the rubber parts (if any)

    • Interesting – you think that would do it? Is it the pH that is the problem for the dishwasher’s rubber parts?

      • Hi,
        For last two months I am using the above formula.
        If the rinse aid compartment of the machine withstands the pH of the solution supplied by the manufacturer why it should not face safely the solution of the same pH made at home? Further, the compartment has capacity of 200ml which gets consumed in 30 to 40 days. So you can imagine how little is used (approx. 6 to 5ml) per program.

  51. Hi!

    Yesterday I had the dishwasher tech come over to do a maintenance check on my dishwasher. When he opened the door and asked about the rinse aid,I said it’s vinegar. He put his hand to his head and said oh no, you can’t use THAT! Then he asked, why is it blue? I said I put a little food coloring in there so I could see it better (I have done this for at least 10 years) Anyway, he was shaking his head and told me to get the shop vac out and suck that out of there! He said they aren’t made for vinegar. I didn’t really believe hm, I just wonder if they are just saying that for some reason, I don’t know…I hate to buy rinse aid but looks like I may have to…. :(

    • Check out the comments just above yours. One commenter recommends diluting the vinegar so it won’t harm the dishwasher.

    • Hi,
      If for 10 years you are using the vinegar and not caught up in trouble then don’t loose your confidence. The only change I did that diluted the (raw i.e 5%) vinegar with water to the get same pH of the rinse aid sold by the manufacturer. Further, has he pointed out or blamed you for the problem for which he attended the machine was due to use of vinegar? For what problem the Tech attended your service call? Let’s discuss it for everybody’s benefit.
      Regards

  52. If the vinegar can mess up the seals in the rinse aid compartment don’t you think it will mess up any other seal in the pump area?

  53. I wonder if you neutralized the vinegar with a bit of baking soda if it would rinse as well.

  54. I am in the chemical industry and this is what I know about rinse aid. Rinse aid is a product that you put into fresh water that helps to break the surface tension on the glass so that it evaporates faster. The rinse cycle is after it has washed and drained several times, just like handwashing. When it is left longer on an item and you have hard water, you get spots. A simple filter/scale stix on the water line and good detergent will do the trick. Most of the vinegar drains out between cycles. Plus lemon juice is more acidic (2.0ph) then vinegar (2.2) and has a better smell.

  55. Thank you so much for this info – I’ve been using vinegar in my dishwasher as well!

  56. You’re forgiven. Thank you for the update and the new suggestion. I’m wondering though, if you put the cup or saucer in the top rack with the vinegar in it, won’t it get watered down or sloshed out when the water first comes on for the washing cycle? Will there be enough left for the rinse cycle to actually do the job?

  57. This is so hard for me to believe. Jet Dry is 15-30% citric acid. That is STRONG acid! Vinegar is only 5% acid. I have been using vinegar in my dishwasher for years (I think our “jet dry dispenser” has silicone parts) and it has been working well for us. I was just doing some research to find out if I could use a stronger citric acid mixture instead, since citric acid seems to be cheaper and easier to store than vinegar (I use a LOT of vinegar in my home!!). Anyway, I think it’s awesome that you are being so responsible to your readers and willing to admit when you think you are wrong. I for one think that you were right in the first place!

  58. The main wash in a dishwasher cycle runs alkaline which aids in cleaning, acids are used in the rinse to get your shine. Adding acid in a cup at the start of your wash likely neutralizes your soap and will affect your cleaning performance. Also, come your rinse, the acid will have drained away with the rest of your main wash water so will not be as effective as when it is added at the start of the rinse.

    Granted, this method will not degrade the rubber in your dispenser but you won’t get the same results as a rinse aid added during the rinse cycle and could reduce your clean.

  59. Or, simply set a timer and open the door during the rinse cycle and add the vinegar. Since the vinegar would be used up in the wash cycle, it isn’t going to help with spotting during the rinse cycle. It would be gone by then.

  60. The Vinegar actually loosened the rust on my dishwasher components. I had to run a few cycles to get all the rust sediment out. I live in an apartment and am not sure how old my Dishwasher is but apparently, the components built up sediment that the vinegar got off. I have a rust stain on the inside door so I can’t use the vinegar anymore.

    • Why can’t you use it if there is a rust stain? Wouldn’t that help get the rust off for you?

      • The Rust has actually Stained the plastic or vinyl inside the door, like it absorbed some of the rust water. Its fading slowly but perhaps I will try your idea of putting vinegar on it to see if the stain will come out. I am afraid if I put more vinegar in the unit, more rust will come out. I think the dishwasher is older than it looks or the person that lived in the Apt before me may not have used it that much.

  61. 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.

    Cheers
    John
    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!

  62. 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.

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

  64. 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!!

  65. 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 :) http://cassidyscraveablecreations.com/2014/06/natural-thursdays.html

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

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