Using Vinegar in the Dishwasher: Two More Ideas

One of the happiest little discoveries I’ve made recently was finding out that vinegar makes a good homemade rinse aid for the dishwasher. It can do an amazing job of getting rid of hard water spots and the cloudy haze on drinking glasses. BUT – using vinegar as a rinse aid has had its ups and downs too. The amount of vinegar released by the rinse aid compartment is kind of wimpy and I have a hard time telling if it’s time to refill. I keep thinking I should put more in and then it overflows. Hmmmmmm . . . what to do ??

glasses new

So when I came across this little item in my blog reading, I decided to check it out: Make Your Own Jet Dry – Sort Of

Ah yes, other folks have had this same experience. Vinegar does make a great rinse aid, but how exactly is the best way to dispense it and how can you get the right amount?

Idea #1 – Pour The Vinegar In During the Rinse Cycle
One idea is during the rinse cycle, you open your dishwasher and just pour some vinegar in. By doing this you get a good amount of vinegar in there to do the job, AND it gets in there at the right time during the rinse cycle. The down side to this strategy, of course, is that you have to get your little self back in the kitchen at the right time to execute this maneuver.

I gave this a try one day when I was hanging out in the kitchen doing other work anyway. Once the rinse cycle started, I just opened the dishwasher door and poured some vinegar in the bottom. No measuring or nothing. Just blup, blup, blup, with the vinegar and then I slammed the door shut again and let it go. It worked great and I had nice shiny glasses afterward. But the times I am able to do this are few and far between and that’s why I was really intrigued by the other idea in the post.

Idea #2 – Fill a Glass With Vinegar
This suggestion was to take a one of your drinking glasses and set it right side up in the top rack of your dishwasher, rather than inverted like you would usually do. Then fill that glass with a cup of vinegar. During the course of the cycle the vinegar in that glass slowly mixes with the water and so you get a good amount of vinegar swooshing around without having to remember when the rinse cycle is happening.

Now, I did give this a try but I’m embarrassed to say I was not paying very good attention when I did it. (I get occasional brain cramps . . ouch) I took one of my little 4 oz glasses and filled it about half way with vinegar. Totally forgot it was supposed to be a whole cup of vinegar. So the vinegar did do it’s thing, but I did not see really impressive results because I was using a much smaller amount of vinegar. I’m certainly going to give this a try again with more vinegar.

Summing it up
So there you have it. A couple more interesting ideas for making your own rinse aid for the dishwasher. Even an occasional use of one of these methods should add some sparkle to your glassware.

Has anyone else tried any of these methods? Please share so we can all get smarter!

You might also like to read

:Homemade Dishwasher Detergent – What I’ve Learned So Far

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent – 2 New Ideas

Dishwasher Detergent – updated

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent: Answering Your Questions

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  1. If you want to put vinegar in the jet dry rinse area, put a little food coloring in it so you can see it.

    I made up a small batch of vinegar and put it under the sink with a couple drops of red food coloring. Now I can see it without having to tilt the door all over the place.

  2. Kathryn – thanks for sharing the info for computerized dishwashers. I've been going for quite a few years with my old model dishwasher so I'm a little out of touch with what the new models are like ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully the cup idea will be helpful for folks with newer dishwashers.

  3. Well, i'd like to give this a try – haven't even thought of this before.

    However, my dishwasher is a newer one with a computerized panel, and i've been told that it is not good for the machine to interrupt the cycle (as in open it during the rinse cycle). Will have to give the “fill a cup” thing a try.

  4. You're right Kristen – Hard water can definitely increase the amount of vinegar you need. So if the “right side up” cup thing works, it could be a fairly easy way to get a good amount of vinegar in there to do the job.

  5. I have tried putting vinegar in the Jet Dry dispenser (for want of a more accurate term to call that place) and wasn't very impressed with the results…however, I was living in an extremely hard water area, so maybe that had something to do with it. I am hoping to try it again when we move to see if it works on softer water. Like you, I would never remember to open the dishwasher halfway through to pour it in during the rinse cycle. Vinegar sure is an economical alternative, though!