Natural Dishwasher Rinse Aid ~ Important Update

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.
It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

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

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

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

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

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

Read on.  Please.

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

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

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

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

So–why the need for an update?

Well, here's what happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, shoot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

Dishwasher Rinse Aid

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

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

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

Just.  In.  Case.

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

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

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

(Top Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenny-pics/2896488626/) 

Do you use a rinse aid?

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

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  1. Frank Divonzo says:

    When do you add the cup/container of vinegar to the top rack – upon starting the wash cycle or during a rinse cycle? If the latter, how do you know when the rinse cycle begins?

    • I do it at the beginning :).

      • Frank Divonzo says:

        Very good! We will try that. We had been using vinegar in our rinse aid dispenser for some time. It no longer dispenses. We also used it in the prewash regularly, which I believe we’ll stop doing in case there is the possibility it could impact the dishwasher itself as some have said and which I have read elsewhere. I am going to assume and hope when the vinegar is placed in the cup up top, it has a chance to mix with the detergent thus reducing potential damage to the dishwasher.

  2. Lew Gordon says:

    Thank you for the idea of the vinegar instead of a RIDICULOUSLY expensive rinse aid as much as I do dishes for one person. I have a $1,000 brand new dishwasher. I will try this and post my results. Thanks again. Lew Gordon in Long Beach, CA!

  3. That’s strange, considering that one of the key ingredients in many rinse aids is citric acid.

    Note that not all acids are created equal – citric may be more friendly to the rubber components in the rinse aid tray than vinegar. However citric is MUCH better for anyone with hard water, as it’s a chelating agent.

  4. Why don’t you just remove your last article so as to not cause people confusion and making them do more work by reading one more article?

    • Good question. I have to work on whether or not to delete posts w/ my IT guy. Also the comments in both posts are very interesting and so it’s a conundrum. The back and forth on the vinegar issue shows that it’s not a clear cut answer!

  5. We have a dishwasher from the mid 1980s that is still preforming well. We always have vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser and I always add about a cup of vinegar to the first rinse cycle after the soap is released. Absolutely no leaks or damage what so ever from the vinegar. I use vinegar for fabric softener in my laundry as well.