DIY Dishwasher Rinse Agent

By Liesl Clark

Want to save some money and do the right thing for the environment at the same time? Stop buying those dishwasher rinse agents that are supposed to keep your dishes shiny and residue-free. First, if you have residue on your dishes and glassware, cut the amount of detergent you use by half. Chances are you’re using too much. If your water is really hard, I sympathize, but ours is, too. A rinse agent (it goes in a little spot near where the detergent goes) is a must. So, what’s our secret agent that’ll save you a bundle?

White vinegar.

Distilled white vinegar as a rinse agent in your dishwasher will render your glassware shiny and streak-free. Photo © Liesl Clark

Distilled white vinegar as a rinse agent in your dishwasher will render your glassware shiny and streak-free. Photo © Liesl Clark

That’s all you need. Replace your rinse agent with vinegar and you’ll get the same if not better results. We did. By cutting down on our detergent amount to half a teaspoon plus about a tablespoon of vinegar per load, our dishes and glassware are back to looking spiffy again. Some people even skip putting the vinegar in that special slot for the rinse aid and just put it in a small cup in the upper shelf so it can splash out over time. Either way, you’ll save a bundle, reduce your plastic footprint and keep chemicals out of your gray water.

Distilled white vinegar to the rescue! Use this instead of expensive rinse agents. Photo © Liesl Clark

Distilled white vinegar to the rescue! Use this instead of expensive rinse agents. Photo © Liesl Clark

We buy our white vinegar in bulk and then put the vinegar for our rinse aid in a plastic bottle that squirts.

Find a good squirt bottle to convert into your rinse aid dispenser. Photo © Liesl Clark

Find a good squirt bottle to convert into your rinse aid dispenser. Photo © Liesl Clark

It’s stored under the sink right next to the dishwasher. You’ll likely find a good bottle in your own trash to reuse as your vinegar rinse aid dispenser, or simply reuse your rinse aid bottle.

Crystal clear dishes again. Photo © Liesl Clark

Crystal clear dishes again. Photo © Liesl Clark

Looking for more DIY green cleaning ideas? Please visit our Trash Backwards app where we have a wealth of resources to help you clean your dishes and home, toxic-free, while saving money:

Click Through for More Green Cleaning Ideas at Trash Backwards

Click Through for More Green Cleaning Ideas at Trash Backwards

Have you had dishwashing woes with hard water and streaky or etched dishes? What have you tried to dispel the problem?

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Categories: DIY, Reduce Your Use, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff

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9 Comments on “DIY Dishwasher Rinse Agent”

  1. March 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    I’m so lucky to not live where there’s hard water – don’t think I (or my parents) have ever used a rinse aid. But I know staying with a friend in (hard water) Germany, this would have been a god send!

    • March 21, 2013 at 8:19 am #

      Hi Sarah: I never even knew about the little spot where you can put a “rinse aid” until I was an adult and my mother put the stuff in there. Then I learned what was in the stuff — phosphates. It always bothered me but I saw how it seemed to make my glasses shine more, yet in one house we still got etched glasses. The vinegar solution has stopped the etching, which is great and makes me feel better about what’s going into our gray water!

  2. Patti
    November 1, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    Be VERY careful of using the white vinegar in the dishwasher in the drying agent compartment. The vinegar can and will cause havoc on the rubber components in your dishwasher.

    • November 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

      Thanks for this tip. I’m a few years into this and my washer is still going strong, but I’ll certainly keep a good eye on it!

  3. Kim
    April 27, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    I put vinegar in the rinse aid receptacle and now a few months later, there is rust continually coming out of it, leaving a rusty streak down the inside of the door. I think it depends on what kind of dishwasher you have. I’m pretty sure the vinegar has rusted the inside of the reservoir and I will have to replace it. My dishwasher is white on the inside, not stainless steel. So you might want to check with the manufacturer before you try putting vinegar in the dispenser.

    • July 12, 2014 at 8:23 am #

      Thanks for that, Kim. My dishwasher is stainless on the inside. So, yes, it is possible one would need to research how it works with plastic interior dishwashers.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 100 Things You Never Need To Buy | Trash Backwards - May 15, 2013

    […] Dishwasher Rinse Agent: This stuff isn’t great for the environment and pure white distilled vinegar does the same thing. Read the article and see the […]

  2. Managing Your Home Appliances With Parts and Repair | Articles Base.in - Submit Your Free Articles, Press Releases, PR Material, News, eZine - December 30, 2013

    […] is an issue, check if the valve is turned to on and the drain hose is connected properly. Using a white vinegar rinse through an empty dishwasher will help to clean out any blockages. Refrigerator Dust on refrigerator […]

  3. Simply Clean | From Housekeeper to Homemaker - February 24, 2014

    […] dishwasher rinse agent — While we’re on the subject of dishwashers, let me say that my favorite rinse agent is not Jet Dry but none other than our favorite all purpose cleaner: vinegar! Just pour some in the designated rinse aid slot every other load or so.  […]

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