Super Simple Natural Dishwasher Rinse Aid

Homemade Dishwasher Rinse Agent

{UPDATE – AUGUST 20, 2012 – Since writing this post, I have found out some important information that you need to read in my updated Dishwasher Rinse Aid.  The post below still has some great information and might be just what you need, but please make sure to read both posts and then decide what version of Homemade Dishwasher Rinse Aid you should be using.  Thanks for reading!!}

For a long time now I have been gradually making more and more homemade cleaning products.

Some have worked great and some are – well, they still need some work.

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One that has been working great for me is a super easy homemade dishwasher rinse agent.

If you are like me, you’ve noticed that your dishes haven’t been getting clean in your dishwasher like they used to.  There are a number of reasons for that, but in any case, you might need a boost in the dishwasher department.

When we had to replace our old dishwasher with a new one, I thought we’d have fabulously clean dishes.  Instead, I found myself having to clean at least 1/4 of the top rack every load.  Ugh.  Totally not efficient and not what this already-too-busy-mom needs at the end of the day.  Something had to change.

I talked with the dishwasher manufacturer and they sent me a bunch of dishwasher rinse aid saying that that would help, and they recommended a type of detergent (of course, it’s expensive).  Well, I wanted to stay away from the chemicals in both, and though I don’t have a great homemade dishwasher detergent figured out yet (I hope to soon), the rinse aid is working great.

Why make your own rinse aid?

1. It costs a whole lot less than the stuff in the stores.
2. It’s completely free of all the toxic chemicals.
3. It can be really fun to make something yourself and feel like you’ve “beaten the system”.
4. Save more money by not having to make a trip to the store when you run out.
5. It’s a fun thing to do with your kids! Well, this really doesn’t take much work, but you can still involve the kiddos.

The basic idea came to me from another local West Michigan blogger, Donielle of Naturally Knocked Up.  I read her post about it awhile ago and thought I’d give it a run.  Since my dishwasher had other issues at the time (long story), I wasn’t sure if it worked or not.  But now that the other problems are cleared up, I am sure that it does.  I just have one suggestion to make it a bit more user friendly.

How much can you save?

Right now, on Amazon, you can find Jet Dry for $6.09 for only 4.22 oz.

If you buy your white vinegar at Aldi, you can get 32 oz for only $.79.

Unbelievable.  That means that you can make 4.22 oz of “Homemade Dishwasher Rinse Aid” for only 10.4 cents (plus the cost of the color, if you decide to use it).  That’s a 5855% savings!

Try and get that kind of a return on your money anywhere else.  I think I should send out one of those “Guaranteed 5855% return on your money” investment letter and sell it for a huge profit :-).

Next week I hope to have some other dishwasher tips to share as well as (hopefully) a homemade dishwasher detergent recipe.  I’m still working on it.

Like this post?  How about some other DIY ideas:

Homemade Foaming Soap
 – Homemade Decongestant Chest Rub

How about you?  Do you have a favorite natural household cleaner?

{Photo Credit}

Shared at For Love of Cupcakes, The Prairie Homestead, The Healthy Home Economist, Tammy’s RecipesGrowing Home, Beauty and Bedlam, Ladybug Blessings, Coastal Charm, Far Above Rubies, Learning The Frugal Life, Hope Studios, Sugar Bee Crafts, At Home With K, Tip Junkie, Real Food Forager, Crystal and Comp, The Trendy Treehouse, Sew Much Ado, The King’s Court IV, Goodbye City Hello Suburbs, Day 2 Day Joys, Sugar and Dots, Women Who Do It All, Raising Homemakers, Dining With Debbie, Ginger Snap Crafts, Women Living Well, The Girl Creative, Natural Family Awareness, Keeping it Simple, Not Just a Housewife, Tales from Bloggeritaville, Food Renegade, Mom Trends, Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Life as Mom, Sorta Crunchy, Homemaker’s Challenge, and Marvelously Messy.
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    Speak Your Mind


  1. Stacy Makes Cents says:

    We use white vinegar to clean just about everything in our house…..and we also use it as fabric softener.
    Several people noted in my post about homemade dishwasher detergent that white vinegar did help but it seemed that the “lemashine” added to the detergent did a really great job. I was told it was located in the dishwasher detergent aisle. However, I’m sure it costs more than white vinegar. :-)
    Hard for me to be much of a “tester” since I don’t have a dishwasher. :-)

    • Hi Stacy,
      I heard about lemashine too. Vinegar is by far cheaper. I hope I get a detergent that works soon :-). Maybe I’ll check the lemashine, but I’m pretty happy with this.

      • Here’s my fav detergent recipe. Mix together 1/2 cup liquid soap, (I use Dr. Woods- similar to Dr. Bronner’s- except the price!) 1/2 cup water, 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 1/2 cup white vinegar. Blend well and store in a plastic bottle. Two tablespoons will do for one load of dishes.

  2. Thanks for the tip! I love vinegar and use it wherever I can, it’s great to have another use for it!

  3. Patty Donovan says:

    Try this for dishwasher detergent:
    1 cup Borax
    1 cup Washing (NOT baking) soda
    2 tablespoons citric acid…easy to find where you buy canning jars.

    Simply put the ingredients in a jar and shake well to mix.

  4. I’ve been using white vinegar as a rinse aid for years. It really does work well!

  5. Hi –
    i hope this works. I use Lemi-Shine ($4) for 12 oz. at Walmart, and i also use Jet-Dry, from Costco. It is really expensive keeping dishes clean in dishwashers! It’s because the citric acid has been removed from the dishwashing detergents. I do have on my to-do list to check the price of citric acid. Whole Foods sells it for too much, but i know online sources may also sell it at a significant savings.

    I use Lemi-Shine as 1/3 of the powder, and Cascade 2/3 powder in the detergent dispenser. Then I use Jet-Dry as a rinse-aid.

    seriously, does this vinegar take off hard-water stains? Our area is one of hardest in the nation for water.


  6. The vinegar alone still left a white residue from our extremely hard water. The Lemishine worked wonders in removing it and keeps it away. Though I still use the vinegar as a rinse agent. I think I’ll try the home made soap with the citric acid. I would love to not have to buy dishwasher soap AND the Lemishine =)

  7. I have also used white vinegar for a few years and have had good results. I checked my favorite place for ordering bulk herbs to see if they offer citric acid. They do carry it for $3.75 for a pound. It is

  8. I’ve been using white vinegar in my dishwasher for about the past year and am thrilled with the results! Good luck on the dishwasher detergent, though; I’ve tried several different recipes (differing amount in the ingredients mentioned in an above comment) with little success. For now I simply buy the cheapest liquid I can find at Winco and use the vinegar as a rinse agent. Hope you find a recipe that works for you, though. I’d have loved to be able to use homemade! Blessings, ~Lisa

    • Lisa, I know. I have tried 1-2 recipes for the dishwasher detergent and have not been pleased at all. There is so much going on with dishwashers and soaps that it just might not work out, but I am not giving up quite yet :-). Hope to have a winner to share soon!
      Blessings to you as well,

      • I have given up, so if you find something I would LOVE to hear it! I think it depends on your hard water. I will have to try the lemishine stuff because I’m tired of ruining our glassware.

        Thanks for the info!

  9. OK, what is LEMISHINE? iS IT CONSIDERED natural? Also, I can only find a small container of citric acid at a local grocer (used for canning tomatoes!) I tried to make the homemade dishwasher detergent with it, but it left a film on our dishes. The next best was trader joes DW detergent, but it’s about an hour away from us. So when I run out, I’m stuck. it’s also VERY cheap. However, I’ve been forced to buy Mrs. Meyers from the healthfood store. I bought a $2 cheaper brand at Publix, but it leaves many dishes still dirty–like, they look like they didn’t get washed at all. I tried another ‘natural’ brand for about the same price. But it looks like I’ll have to stock up on Trader Joes the next time. Mrs. Meyers costs $8 per 20 use pkg!

    We are also REQUIRED to use Jet Dry by our DW manufacturer (Samsung). Has anyone used just the vinegar and NOT HAD a white film residue?

    Thanks for your comments! And Thanks, WHOLE NEW MOM, for bringing up this great topic. I’m trying to go natural. I only buy windex. I have a gallon bottle of Simple green, and I dilute it so thin that it should last me another year. I mostly clean the counters with just a damp rag that gets rinsed after each use. I’m not really fussy about disinfecting. and none of us has gotten sick yet from salmonella or anything else…

    • Cindy,
      I looked up Lemishine and it looks fairly natural, but there are fragrances and not completely defined ingredients, so I am going to work on a different solution. Did you see the reader’s recommendation on I don’t know where their products come from, but they are cheap! My recommendation for Frontier Citric Acid is the best price otherwise that I have found. You’ll get $5 off your first order also. Very nice.

      I am not an appliance expert, but the “requirement” that you use Jet Dry seems crazy to me. They probably just know that it will give better results and you won’t be complaining about your dishwasher not working well.

      If I can’t find a natural solution, I’ll have to stock up on Trader Joe’s the next time we are in Chicago. Thanks for the tip!

    • IMO, Bio-Kleen makes the BEST dishwasher detergent. has good sales on it. Whole Foods carries it. And I buy mine from No colors or bleach–just clean dishes

  10. Can I use this in my dishwasher no matter the make or model? Somewhere I read that you should contact the manufacturer before using something other than the recommended jet dry.
    I am enjoying your blog!

    • Kristie,

      I can’t imagine this causing a problem, but please check with your manufacturer. I just looked for my manual and couldn’t find it. I don’t recall that warning, but I can’t be sure.

  11. you should be advised that almost all storebrand vinegar, (white and cider), are made from petroleum products. i personally make sure that we don’t use any petroleum products in our house, right down to polyester fabrics. there are almost always petroleum products in boughten hosehold cleaners. you also have to watch out for bleach in dishwasher detergent which plays havic with our water supplies. if you use vinegar i choose heinz white as it is made from grains. you can also get more expensive vinegars at natural food stores. store brand apple cider is the same, only flavored with apple. leave the petroleum for gas.

    • Petroleum can only be used to start white distilled vinegar. Rice vinegar comes from rice, cider vinegar comes from apples, and so on. Plus the FDA’s not aware of any manufacturers that use petroleum to start their vinegar. And Jeannie Milewski, executive director of the Atlanta-based Vinegar Institute, an international group that represents vinegar manufacturers — including Heinz — and suppliers to that industry, confirms that “We are not aware of anyone who uses petroleum as a starting material for vinegar.” So, just because it is legal for them to do so does not mean they are.

  12. I will definitely be trying this. We have been having those white etchings on our glasses (even called in a repairman thinking something was wrong with the pump or something). The repairman mentioned never to use gel detergents and said that powders were the best for the machine and also for not leaving those white marks. I’m going to try the vinegar rinse aid and wait patiently while you experiment with the detergent. Good luck. :)

  13. I just had to comment on this one! 😉

    I use Trader Joe’s dishwashing detergent & *love* it. I only use about 1 heaping tablespoon, so it lasts me a long time! I’d definitely recommend decreasing your amount of detergent until you see it’s not working as well & adjust as needed. I was shocked at how little I actually need to use to get the dishes clean!

    I use white vinegar (heinz, from Costco) in my “jet-dry” spout as a rinsing agent & pour it into my pre-wash container as well. We have had *no* problems in either of our apartment complex & hard water dishwashers.

    Warning: when I first started using vinegar, it cleaned out all the pumps & tubes in my dishwasher & I ended up with lots of nasty stuff on my dishes! It works *that* well! So I’d maybe do a few empty loads (so environmentally friendly, I know) when you first switch. :)

    • Thanks for all the info! We really need a TJ’s here in town so I don’t need a road trip to Chicago to stock up. Hoping my search for a homemade detergent turn out well :-).

  14. I can’t wait to try this! I love anything I can make myself in a more natural way. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I was so excited to see this title on The Healthy Home Economist blog today. I’ve been using a homemade detergent and I’m pretty happy with it, but it still needs a few tweaks. But I do NOT get sparkly glasses anymore. I have been using vinegar with a bit of food coloring as my rinse agent. I think the hard water we have here in Dallas is the culprit. I was hoping you had a secret I hadn’t heard of yet! Oh well! :)

    One good thing is I found that I need to use a WHOLE lot LESS homemade detergent than store bought. About 2/3s less! So not only is it cheaper, it is also cheaper because you use less.

    • Hi Amanda. I am sorry nothing new on the rinse aid for you, but hopefully when I work on the detergent this week – or next – the two together will get the job done for you. Have you thought about a water softening system? The folks whom I got my reverse osmosis from are really helpful and honest. You can read my post on Making Your Water Safe for more info (it’s not the greatest post – I need to rework it – but it does have some good info and the link to Pure Water Products is there. I don’t get anything be referring people to him. He’s just great.)

  16. If you have hard water, this stuff rocks (Glass Magic):

    Not sure how natural it is. I think it is essentially just the phosphates that were taken out of most cleaners in the recent required reformulations.

    Use it WITH a dishwasher detergent, I’ve found it does best with powder detergents. It says to sprinkle a 1/4 cup in the bottom of the dishwasher, though I only use maybe 1-2 TBS and it is AWE-SOME! No more spots, film, or white grit left on glassware.

    Kind of expensive at $8 a box, but it lasts a long time if you can just use 1-2 T as I do. I do one load a week (single person), and it lasts for 4-5 months at least. I’ve been able to find it rarely in stores (HyVee and Meijer) for somewhat less.

  17. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. Great information! Hope to see you next week!

  18. Wow. Awesome blog and what great comments too.

  19. I heart vinegar!! So many uses. Thanks for linking up to the Frugal Tuesday Tip. Always enjoy reading your ideas. Would you mind leaving a link at the end of your post? Thanks.

  20. Thanks for the great tips – I can’t wait to try the vinegar rinse aid. The Citric Acid is cheaper here and they do bulk discounts too:

  21. Thank you, I MUST use a rinse aid in my wonderful Bosch dishwasher. Saving money on a rinse aid is an idea I appreciate. I use vinegar for so many other things, I don’t know why I didn’t try it myself.

  22. What a great conversation! I make and sell all-natural cleaning products and dishwasher detergent has been by far the most difficult recipe to create. It seems to depend so much on your particular machine. Lemi-shine might be something for me to check out. Thanks, Ladies!

  23. I have been using vinegar as a rinse aid for a while now too and it works well. I really like the idea of adding a little coloring to the vinegar. I can never tell when my rinse compartment needs filling.

    I’ve tried different homemade dishwasher detergents too, but have yet to find a recipe that I’m happy with. They are prone to leaving a powdery residue, even with the vinegar rinse aid.

    Keep us posted if you find a good homemade dishwasher detergent recipe that you like.

  24. This is a great idea. I’ve read the little bottles of rinse aid products in the stores and the warnings alone prevent me from putting that on my dishes that we eat off of! I have found a natural product in a health food store that is vinegar and plant based with no chemicals that works quite well but it is expensive. I will have to try this recipe.

  25. Hi, I’m a new follower. I found you on What’s Cooking Wednesday Blog Hop. Hop over and
    say hi if you get a chance Jennifer from Just Wedeminute

    I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for years, and just started making my own Febreeze and Windex…both are wonderful. I can’t wait to try this!

  26. I have been playing around with vinegar – such a powerful, cheap, natural way to clean up. This is just another great use that I will try in the future – our dishwasher is pretty lousy, but maybe this is the key!

  27. Good Stuff to know…thanks for sharing!

  28. My new dishwasher wasn’t doing the job and leaking around the door. The salesman at the appliance store told me to use LESS detergent. 1 Tablespoon only. Now I put my detergent in a sealed plastic container with a tablespoon measure. Much better results and my detergent lasts alot longer :)

  29. I would never thing of making dish soap! It wouldn’t have even dawned on me. Thanks!!

  30. I use vinegar the same way! Thank you for joining the Frugal Tuesday Tip. Hope you join again.

  31. When I saw the headline, I thought it might be vinegar! We always turn to vinegar for getting our hard water deposits off.

  32. I use vinegar for various things, but I wasn’t sure about using it in my dishwasher. I have tried many things, but in the past, I have had issues with etching on my glasses. I used to use Seventh Generation Dishwasher Det and now I use Cascade. Does powder work better than gel? I hate ruining my glasses. I will try the vinegar, though. The least amount of chemicals the better! Thank you!

    • I don’t know about powder vs gel. I have only used powder – anyone else have any thoughts? Hope the vinegar helps. What causes the etching?

      • I thought it was too much soap and having soft water. We tried less soap in the next home we were in, but it still happened. It makes me nervous using the dishwasher with new glasses for fear they will be etched as well. So, far in the home we are in now, everything is fine. I would love to know if anyone else has had etching issues. Thanks!

      • I have found that powder detergent caused the etching on my glasses…I thought from the abrasiveness of the powder…I switched to gel detergent and have not had any more issues with etching!

  33. Interesting. I’ve never used a rinsing agent. It’s been a financial thing for me. Basically, I don’t want to fork over the cash for something that doesn’t seem entirely necessary. But I have tons of vinegar! I’m going to go throw some in and see how it works on the next cycle! Thanks for the idea! And thanks to the person who posted the dish detergent recipe… I won’t be trying that right now, but I’d like to in the future!

    I’m stopping by from delightful order to say hi!


    • Kristi – I never used rinse aid either, but with the newer “efficient” dishwashers and changes in detergents, it is becoming a necessity. Maybe all these regulations were a conspiracy b/t the government and the rinse aid companies :-)?

  34. I have often wondered if this would work, but never had the nerve to give it a try. So glad I stumbled upon this post! So tired of cringing every time I for over $9 for a bottle of rinse aid at the big box store.


  35. We have been doing the vinegar thing for a while now but never thought about adding a natural food coloring in so I can see when it needs a refil, great tip!

  36. I use vinegar as a rinse aid, but I never thought to add dye so I could see when it was out. Thanks for the tip. Thanks for sharing your eco-friendly rinse aid with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  37. Thanks for linking up to last weeks party. You have been featured today! Stop by and grab a featured button.

    Hope to see you back for the next Delightfully Inspiring Thursday Party.


  38. Shared a link to this on Facebook. Thanks for sharing on my site. :)

  39. Hi! Your rinse aid was one of the most popular links on It’s a Keeper Thursday! I’ve featured your recipe on It’s a Keeper! I’d love if you stopped by and grabbed a button.

    And, feel free to link up another great recipe this week too!

    Christina @ It’s a Keeper
    Follow me on Facebook and Twitter

  40. brilliant!!! i’m giving this a try when our current bottle of toxic-ness is empty!
    thanks for posting about this.
    cheryl xox.

  41. I am ABSOLUTLY in LOVE with white vinegar. LOL I know that sounds a little nuts but I use it in my laundry, cleaning supplies, to clean make-up brushes with and now in my dishwasher :) so happy thanks for this :)

  42. Thank you for linking up to Mommy Club! What an awesome idea this is- and so thrifty!

    I will be featuring you on this weeks Mommy Club Link Up as one of my 3 fave posts of the week!

    As always thank you for taking time to link up with such fab stuff!!


    ps. Your feature will be at this link after 9:30pm tonight Central time:)

  43. I am soooo going to make this! I will no longer stand to spend oodles of money on name brand items when I can make my own! So much less waste and less money! Unbelievable!
    So glad I saw you featured over on Milk and Cuddles!
    -Robyn from

  44. I use white vinegar so much around the house, but I have never used it as rinse aid. That is a great idea! Thank you for sharing this post with the Gallery of Favorites.

  45. THANK YOU! i love using vinegar for everything!1

  46. Another great way to use vinegar!

    Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasure’s Whole Health Weekend Link-Up.

    Check back tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  47. This is an excellent recommendation! I’m definitely going to give it a try! Thank you for linking to Foodie Friday!

  48. Adding this to my to-try list too! Our dishwasher was leaving a horrible residue on our dishes and it really bothers me.

    Thanks for linking up to Momtrends this week.

    ~Shannon, Food Channel Editor,

  49. Automatic dishwashing detergent in very TOXIC, in fact they say it is one of the most toxic cleaning substances in the house! Since I have yet to find a good homemade replacement I have found that just by filling the prewash compartment 1/2 full of the commercial stuff the dishes get very clean, plus they get several rinses. Now when someone else does a load for me and puts it in full strength we can all taste it :-(.

    I have been using the vinegar for the rinse aid for nearly a year- it works great and is sooooo much cheaper!

  50. It does work in the dispenser?That is awesome! Thank you for the blog. I have always been afraid to try. I use the homemade powder and found a way to accommodate the issues. The method I used that worked well was I,1)rinse well before loading 2)run wash cycle 3)splash in a few chugs of vinegar and run the rinse cycle 4)dry by hand. My dishes get clean and I have no spots or film, plus I save the electricity needed for a heated dry. =]

    • Yes, Robyn – it does work. I couldn’t believe it either. Now I am just working on my own dish detergent. I thought I almost had one, but it wasn’t great. Which homemade powder do you use? Do you rinse them completely off? I just make sure that there are no big pieces of food on them, but the top rack is never cleaned well w/ the homemade versions that I have tried. I take that back – once it worked pretty well and then never again. :-(. Take care.

      • I used a mix roughly 50/50 of borax and washing soda, I also added a tablespoon or so of salt. I rinse with a brush to get most of the food off. My machine allows a separate rinse, and I don’t use the dry cycle, so the remaining water would polish of any film (if any) that was left behind. I think the tip about too much probably hits the nail on the head, the less I used the less film was on the dishes before the rinse cycle. Though I haven’t figured out the right amount (as you can tell I don’t exactly measure lol) before the heating element burned out. For now I’m back to hand-washing, but I plan to try the other tips from here after we replace the broken machine =]

        • P.S. that’s roughly 1/2 c each powder with about 1 Tbls salt, not 1 Tbls for each load lol

        • Hmmm.. maybe I’ll have to try it. Thanks!

          • Oh, also I should point out that the combination of vinegar and salt will instantly rust many lower quality metals. (I just came across my sifter to remind me lol) I never had a problem with my stainless steel flatware or pans, but my aluminum cookie sheets turned dull. I still added the salt though because it seemed to me to make my ceramic dishes and glassware sparkle, I just left out any dollar store metal utensils I have ;P

  51. Thank you so much for this information. I want to try it however I hate the smell of vinegar. I know the benefits of vinegar and I so want to try it for several things. I guess the question I have is: can you smell vinegar on dishes afterwards, during the process does the smell of vinegar fill the kitchen?
    Also for the other uses of vinegar, does the smell of vinegar linger?
    Thanks so much

    • I personally don’t smell it. Which other uses are you thinking about? You could also try lemon juice in the rinse aid compartment. I’ve recently learned that works as well. Just is more expensive.

      • I just know you can use vinegar to clean a lot of items, I have also heard of putting in your windshield thing to clean car’s windshield. If it doesn’t smell or produce the smell when it is cleaning I am then all for it. A lady uses it to clean at work and it makes me sick each time she does it. I know a great cleaner and safe for children/pets/eco so I should really try to use it. Thanks for all your help in this.

        • Hi Cynthia. I don’t mind the vinegar smell, but I really do mind the chemical smells. That being said, you can try lemon juice in your rinse aid compartment if you’d prefer :-).

  52. Hey Adrienne,

    I love this idea. I don’t like the smell of vinegar though. Does it make your dishes smell like vinegar?



  53. We use vinegar as well. I never thought to add food coloring though. Great post!

  54. I’ve been hesitant to use white vinegar in the dishwasher, mainly because it’s my aunt. She’s not convinced that the vinegar won’t somehow leave a residue on the heating coils. What has been your experience with that? I do like this si mple idea and for sure, because it’s CHEAP. Have a great weekend. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :) :) :)

    • Heather – I haven’t seen anything wrong with it. We had a GE repairman by today and I told him I had this in my rinse aid compartment and he didn’t bat an eye. Said it was a great idea. :)

  55. I use vinegar to rinse my dishes in the dishwasher also. I live rual and ran out of soap – ended up using maybe 2 drops of dish soap and filled the cups with vinegar just to run it with something (I have 4 boys and our dishwasher really gets ran 3 times a day FULL LOADS) I have to say it worked better than i thought it would and have been using it as a rinse agent since then -with dw detergent. And my kids help load so at times theres little to no rinsing before running them through.
    I have one with bad bad eczema and I fill my washing machine cup with vinegar instead of softner. it works great. and no there is no smell of vinegar after wash and if I over use, it disapates in the dryer. same as my carpet cleaner i will shampoo my carpet then give it a vinegar rinse. makes your carpet fluffy as it gets the shampoo build up off or something, idk but it works. Your site here is awe-some!! Thank you for all the super ideas

    • Hi Stephanie! Thanks for being so kind w/ your compliments. I too have used vinegar in my rinse cycle for clothes, mainly to get out the musty smell. Haven’t shampooed any of our rugs yet, but I’ll keep that in mind! Thanks!

  56. Hi, Adrienne!
    Can you share the dishwasher detergent recipe that worked for you? For the last several years I have had Bosch dishwashers (LOVE them) and have used Amway soap with Somat Rinse aid (might be made by Miele) but I just learned that the Amway DW soap has glycol esters in it (not good!) although it is devoid of most of the other bad things so more natural than most. It works beeeeeaaaautifully even when I put in caked on food. Somat rinse aid is supposed to be more natural than other stuff but I would prefer vinegar. I’ll try it and report back. :)

    That being said I would reaaaalllly love to find a homemade dishwasher soap that works. Can you please share your recipe? I didn’t see it above! Or did I just miss it?
    What a wonderful post!

    • Hi Lisa.

      I wasn’t able to get one to work well. I think I mentioned that in the post – that I was working on it but not sure yet. What a bummer. I am even having a hard time w/ my purchased powder. Makes me temped to try the Amway. I have never used their products. How much does it cost per load?

      Thanks much – look forward to hearing from you!

  57. Hi, Adrienne!
    Thanks for you reply! I don’t know how much the Amway is per load. I’ve heard 21cents but CR said it was 60cents but the Amway folks dispute that. I think you could get away with less possibly. I just bought a box of DW soap and Laundry soap (I think it’s the same stuff, different smell) and together they cost $31 including shipping. It *is* concentrated so you don’t need to use very much. It (my DW anyway) requires rinse aid to work and my rinse aid of choice is Somat, which is supposed to be more natural. They work great together. I buy that on Amazon. When we moved to a rural area I just went on and found a rep. We don’t sell it. I tried the laundry soap several years ago when my husband’s friend was into the business and wanted us to try it of course. So I said “he he yeah, right, sure I’ll try it!” so I piled up my son’s poopy organic cotton diapers with no pre-rinse for four days, then put the little tiny amount of soap in an overstuffed load on the short cycle, in cold water, out to prove that it would NOT work. Boy was I suprised when it cleaned alllll the poop off and left no residue on anything. :) I could be a commercial for Amway as it turns out! lol. In any case I was sold and decided to try the DW soap and it made a huge difference. The other DW soap choice was something from the organic store which didn’t work very well. Their hand dish soap works well too–similar to Palmolive but a bit more natural, gets grease off and doesn’t dry your hands. I would not touch LOC with a 10 foot pole however! 😉 (that’s the original amway product.)
    If you could make a good natural detergent that works, you could keep the recipe proprietary and sell it! :) I would certainly buy it from you!
    BTW the Somat rinse aid I ordered a few days ago has yet to come in the mail and I washed a load last night with the Amway soap. Our incoming water is about 140 (very hot!) and I noticed that it left a teeny bit of residue on my scorched hot chocolate pan which it usually never does. It could be the lack of rinse aid or maybe we need cold water incoming into the DW because the hot is sooooo hot… :)
    I look forward to hearing how your experiments go! You could probably get someone to give you a sample of Amyway without having to buy it. :)
    Good luck!
    PS I haven’t tried Biokleen but I’ve heard good things about it. May try that next…if no glycol esters!

    • Thanks! Well, I wish you were a rep – I’d buy from you.

      I live in Amway country so this is really funny. I don’t care for the company image, but they sure have done a lot to help our city.

      I have tried Biokleen. Not worth it in my opinion. I am trying icky chemical kind, Tropical Traditions and Trader Joe’s. The DIY I tried was awful. I am really swamped w/ other experiments, but who knows….maybe I’ll try again :-).


  58. Well…hold on…I might become a rep! My husband just said yesterday we should sign up! ha ha! His friend would be so happy if we did. If you give me a day or two I might be able to hook you up.. :)

  59. If you want to email me offline I can send you a sample…happy to do so. :) lisal at artofliving dot org. :)

  60. Has anyone of you tried soap nuts in the dish washer? You can use them in your laundry and boil them into a liquid and use that as a general purpose cleaner or dish washing liquid plus many more. Thought they might be an alternative to the usual dish washer powder. :)

  61. Another website at
    has a great article on the subject and many practical user comments below it. Its a great compliment to this site.

  62. oops, the word compliment should be the word supplement.

  63. I use vinegar and a few drops of orange essential oil. (It helps cut the smell of the vinegar and aids in the wash cycle as well). I like the idea of the coloring! Thanks!

  64. The real problem isn’t needing a rinse aid. Rinse aids increase surface tension allowing water to bead off dishes rapidly preventing spots.

    Your problem is hard water. In the past dishwasher detergent manufacturers put phosphorus in the formula to soften the water preventing the white dust effect on the glassware and dishes.

    Phosphorus was banned by the EPA I believe around 2010. Ever since then people have been complaining about how terrible they’re dishwashers often create more work than if they were just washed by hand.

    The vinegar solution is a great answer at a low cost as it is acidic and cuts the calcium and other hard water minerals that cause scale. Lemi shine and other products that are more expensive do exactly the same only with food grade citric acid versus the aceatic acid in vinegar. Both work one is less expensive.

    The only real permanent solution is to have a good softener and filtration systems that are changed regularly and you won’t need the vinegar. But if you don’t care about the water system and plumbing and just want your dishes clean vinegar does the trick and it doesn’t break the bank. Although, once you have a good filtration system it is pretty easy and cost effective to maintain considering the plumbing work and damage to fittings the hard water causes.

    • I’m in the process of buying one. Our water is on the border of being hard but I think we need to make the move. Thanks. I do care about my plumbing but our water tested 6 or 6.5 the last time we tested and now it’s either a 7 or an 8.

  65. Awesome! Thanks.

  66. Noah Viitala says:

    I am doing at school report about some natural alternatives to different detergents. I have a question. Wont the dishes smell like vinegar afterwards?

  67. Mohammad AlTahou says:

    thank u for the tip
    u can add to you list
    (difficulty in finding the Rinse aid)
    seriously I am looking for this Aid in 3 supper market no luck
    I guest I am going used ur recipe
    thank you

  68. How are your rubber seals doing with that toxic chemical acetic acid.

    I would get them checked out regularly especially if you see hard crumbly bits sticking to your dishes.

    The acid has just eaten away your seals. Expensive replacement here we come

  69. AcK I can’t believe I did it! I just started making lye-based soap and what did I do? I put all my dishes with the leftover lye into the dishwasher with my regular dishes. Any ideas how to get the lye film off of everything? Say it’s as easy as vinegar!

    • I’m sorry – I have no idea. Did you find a solution?

      • I tried just the cup of vinegar on just the dishes that have no business having lye on them, and that helped a little, so I ran the dishwasher again with vinegar on the top shelf and a heavy bottle with some lemon juice on the bottom shelf. That took the lye off the glass and the metal, but I’d say the plastic is history. At least, it seems that I wouldn’t want to be storing food in plastic permeated with lye. I’m just strange that way. And thank you for an excellent idea. I ran out of rinse this weekend and I’m disabled so I don’t drive (I fall asleep) and my assistant got sick so no ride 25 miles to town to get rinse. The vinegar is saving the day on normal rinse jobs.

  70. cassandra says:

    When I was at the dollar tree yesterday I spotted imitation Jet Dry in the cleaning aisle..Has anyone ever tried this product? I did the vinegar thing but its messing up the rubber compartments in my dishwasher.

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