Pouring vinegar in dishwasher

Using Vinegar As A Rinse Aid In The Dishwasher

While having a rinse aid for your dishwasher can help your dishes become cleaner and brighter – the downside is the cost and of course environmental impact of the chemicals in these rinse aids. We are going to talk about the pros and cons of using vinegar as a rinse aid for your dishwasher!

Jet-Dry is probably the most commonly used brand of dishwasher rinse aid, but if you really dig into what it is made of – it can be a little scary.

Below are the ingredients of the original version of Jet-Dry.

  • Water
  • C12-15 Alcohols Ethoxylated Propoxylated
  • Trideceth-3
  • Citric Acid
  • Sodium Polycarboxylate
  • Sodium Cumene Sulfonate
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Zinc AcetateTetrasodium EDTA
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • CI Acid Blue 9
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Non-Functional Constituent
  • Sodium Sulfate 

This product gets a big fat D rating from the Environmental Working Group for concerns about health and environment. The environmental concerns regarding this product includes aquatic toxicity and biodegradability.

Why You Should Use A Rinse Aid?

You ever have that moment when you pull your glasses out of the dishwasher and you find your glasses filled with spots and almost looking like they are still dirty? Is there a white film on your dishes that makes you cringe?

That is the reason you need a rinse aid when you use your dishwasher. The rinse aid will prevent hard water from leaving stains on your dishes so when they come out they look extra clean.

The film or spottiness comes from the removal of phosphates from detergents years ago. The phosphates were found to have causes algae blooms in the US in the 1960s and 1970s so environmental activists called for their banning of use. Phosphates were used because they were very effective at removing dirt from clothes and food particles from dishes and also softened har water. But the harm to our environment outweighed those benefits.

Vinegar Is A Great Jet-Dry Option – Or Is It?

I had read recently that using vinegar in a dishwasher can be used as a Jet-Dry option so I started doing some research and what I found was pretty confusing.

Many say yes – vinegar as a rinse aid is a great alternative while others say no way!

I am going to share some of what I found about using vinegar as a rinse aid option to help you make a decision about what is right for you and your family. In my research I actually was amazed at how many uses for cleaning with vinegar there were!

Vinegar and other natural ingredients as dishwasher

Why Vinegar Does Not Make A Good Rinse Aid

The thing is not everything that is natural provides a positive long-term outcome!

One of the biggest issues that would prevent me from trying vinegar is that it is a strong acid that can break down the rubber gaskets and hoses in your dishwasher. Repeated use of vinegar will worsen this over time and ultimately cost you (and the environment) big in the end. An eco-friendly dishwasher is one that lasts for a long time!

Another issue that I have seen people mention is that some of their dishes seemed to change colors. Apparently vinegar mixing with salt can cause this – so you need to make sure you rinse dishes really well to get all salt traces off before placing in the dishwasher.

The type of water your dishwasher may also affect the outcome. If you read the threads we have provided below you can see some mentions of this.

If You Do Want To Try Vinegar As A Rinse Aid

If you are willing to give vinegar a try – then below are some tips to help keep your dishwasher happy and healthy.

  1. Use a vinegar that is 5 percent acetic acid. Anything higher in acidity could harm your dishwasher.
  2. Do not pour the vinegar directly in your rinse bin – the best way to use it is to add it to the bottom of your dishwasher right before the rinse cycle. Another option is to put it in a bowl in the center of your bottom rack. This will prevent damage to your bin.
  3. Using about 1 cup should be enough in most cases.

User Experiences

Below are a few threads where people are talking about their experiences using vinegar as a dishwasher rinse so you can see others first hand experiences.



Everything you need to know about vinegar as a dishwasher rinse aid.