What Is Dishwasher Rinse Aid & Should You Use It?

is it necessary to use rinse aid in dishwasher

While almost every modern dishwasher contains a rinse aid dispenser, the average owner may be hard-pressed to explain what it is. What is dishwasher rinse aid? It’s an agent that reduces the surface tension of water to lessen spotting and improve drying. Learn more about rinse aid to determine if it can increase dishwasher efficiency with cleaner, dryer dishes.

Facts and FAQs: What Is
Dishwasher Rinse Aid?

Sure, dry, streak-free glasses make using rinse aid sound like a no-brainer. But before you start filling the dispenser with hopes of sparkling dishes, it’s important to understand what this addition really does. We’ll answer what is rinse aid to help you determine if commercial or homemade options are right for your dishwasher.

What is Dishwasher Rinse Aid?

Though answering what is dishwasher rinse aid can sound technical, its purpose is straightforward. Rinse aid is a surfactant that lowers the surface tension of water droplets. How does this lessen spotting and improve drying? When rinse aid reduces water’s surface tension, droplets lay flat on dishes and glassware instead of forming round beads. This flatter shape exposes each droplet to more air, enabling them to drain and dry faster. Less time on dishes and glasses also means fewer spots and streaks and a cleaner, shiner appearance. 

Is Rinse Aid Right for My Dishwasher?

Is it necessary to use rinse aid in dishwasher all the time? If you’re satisfied with your dishwasher’s cleaning and drying abilities, rinse aid may not be necessary. However, there are certain circumstances that make rinse aid a helpful addition to many dishwasher cleaning cycles.

These situations can be improved with dishwasher rinse aid:

  • Hard water: When your home has hard water, dishes may be especially prone to spotting and filming. Rinse aid prevents hard water from lingering and forming spots.
  • Limited drying abilities: If your dishwasher isn’t drying dishes sufficiently or doesn’t have a heated dry function, rinse aid can result in dryer dishes.
  • Cleaning fine china and crystal: Rinse aid provides these high-end items with the shine and sparkle that particularly enhances their appearance. 
what is dishwasher rinse aid

How is Dishwasher Rinse Aid Used?

Knowing what is dishwasher rinse aid includes understanding how to use it properly. Most rinse aids can be poured directly into a rinse aid dispenser that’s commonly located next to the detergent dispenser. The dishwasher then automatically dispenses the rinse aid during its final rinse cycle.

Depending on your model dishwasher, the dispenser may hold enough rinse aid to last for multiple wash cycles. Other dispensers only hold enough for one cycle, requiring rinse aid to be added before each wash load. Most dispensers also allow you to adjust the amount of rinse aid dispensed to avoid using too much or too little.

Can I Make Homemade Dishwasher Rinse Aid?

What is in rinse aid that makes it work effectively? Chemicals like ethanol and acrylic acid, as well as dyes and phosphates, are in most commercial brands. If you prefer to avoid these ingredients or additional expense, you can make your own dishwasher rinse aid with white vinegar. 

Here’s how to make homemade dishwasher rinse aid for cleaner, drier dishes:

  1. Pour ¼-½ cup white vinegar in a measuring cup.
  2. Add 4-5 drops of essential oil and stir to combine.
  3. Pour mixture into rinse aid dispenser until the dispenser is full.

*Pro tip: As highly acidic vinegar can harm dishwasher components, make sure your vinegar is no more than 5% acetic acid. Also, while vinegar will reduce spotting and improve drying, it may not make items shine or sparkle as effectively as commercial rinse aids.

Is your dishwasher still not cleaning and drying to your satisfaction, even with rinse aid? It may be time for a professional assessment. Contact the experts at Action Appliance Repair for the very best dishwasher repair Manchester!

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