Shine Up Your Dishes With Homemade Dishwasher Safe Rinse Aid

Dishwashers are a godsend for many homeowners, especially those who dislike getting their hands dirty. They clean, dry, and sanitize your dirty dishes, saving time and effort. However, these automated machines require rinse aids to dry the washed dishes faster. This prevents water — especially if you live in hard water areas — from sticking to your utensils and developing unsightly white spots. While you can use commercial drying agents to get the job done, they contain toxins like sodium hypochlorite or bleach that can cause health complications, are harmful to the environment, and are expensive. So how about you go the DIY route and use household items like vinegar to shine up your dishes?

If you aren't too keen on using vinegar, you can substitute it with hydrogen peroxide, lemon, lemon juice, or citric acid. A DIY rinse aid will not only help shine your dishes and dry them faster but it will also clean the dishwasher. Vinegar is budget-friendly, safe for the environment, and free of toxins.

Vinegar rinse aid

Distilled white vinegar is the ideal rinse agent since it contains only 5% acetic acid, so while it won't harm the dishwasher or its seal, it will sanitize the dishes and remove grease and any detergent residue. Further, it'll break down the mineral deposits left by hard water on dishes. To use distilled white vinegar as a rinse aid, pour it into the automatic rinse aid compartment and run the dishwasher as usual.

Alternatively, you can place a small cup or bowl in the top rack of the dishwasher after filling it a quarter or halfway with distilled white vinegar. In case you don't like the smell of vinegar, you can add a few drops of your preferred essential oil(s) to it. Be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions before adding vinegar to the dishwasher to avoid damaging it or invalidating the warranty. If vinegar isn't an option, you can formulate your DIY rinse aid with a few other household items.

Other household items to use as rinse aid

Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant and bleaching material that will keep your dishes and dishwasher streak and spot-free. Combine 1 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide (the usual version sold in stores) with a few drops of essential oil and pour the solution through the dishwasher's rinse aid dispenser.

If you don't have hydrogen peroxide handy, you can use citric acid instead. Mix 2 tbsp citric acid with 100 ml boiling water and let the solution cool before using it in the dishwasher. Alternatively, if you'd like to use natural ingredients, lemons or lemon juice are a great substitute for store-bought citric acid. They'll remove grease and mineral buildup from your dishes, leaving them smelling clean. To use lemons as a rinse agent, cut them in half or smaller slices and place a few on the top rack of the dishwasher. If you'd rather not deal with leftover pulp on your dishwasher or dishes, you can squeeze the lemons and pour the juice directly through the rinse aid dispenser.