Homemade Rinse Aid: Simple, Environmentally Friendly and Cheap

I love my dishwasher more than any gadget in my house. During my youth and all the way through college, I had to hand wash dishes and I don’t ever want to return to those days. Nowadays I still love the dishwasher because its the fastest way to clean up the kitchen at the end of the day. You open the door, sort the dishes, close the door on the mess and let it wash. Magic :) Of course this only works if the result are clean and streak free dishes.

The right detergent is key – however the choices are endless. You can chose from powders, liquid, pods and they come with all kinds of additives, chemicals, artificial fragrances and dyes. In my view, most of this results in unnecessary chemicals that go right down the drain and into the local water supply.

But there is an alternative:

In this post I share a great recipe for dishwasher detergent which you can make using just four basic and environmentally friendly ingredients.

To complement that recipe, here is an extremely simple but effective recipe for rinse aid – the expert for streak-free shine every time.

Just as detergent, there are various types and price ranges for rinse aid, which are very confusing. Though I don’t understand all of the small print, I do know that most of it is chemicals, chemicals and some more chemical compounds. The harmful ingredients combined with the expensive price tag means that most of them aren’t really an option for me and my young family.

Instead I created my own rinse aid with a few ingredients at home.

Homemade Rinse Aid

Makes 500 ml / 2 cups in a few minutes

Ingredients:

  • 300g / 11 ounces of alcohol (cheap grain alcohol will do the job )
  • 200g / 7 ounces of water
  • 80g / 3 ounces of citric acid

To prepare you go, follow these steps:

  1. Heat the water in a saucepan and dissolve the citric acid
  2. Pour the mixture into an empty glass bottle fill
  3. Add the alcohol
  4. Close the bottle and shake well

That’s it – simple, quick and inexpensive.

The alcohol provides the desired gloss without streaks. Citric acid prevents limescale and also cleans the dishwasher.

Cool Tip: If the Rinse Aid dispenser in your dishwasher is clear add some natural food coloring (turmeric, mustard, paprika) so you’ll be able to easily tell when you need to refill.

What do you use in place of conventional rinse aid? Do you have other eco-budget ideas for making your own cleaners and toiletries?

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9 Comments Write a comment

  1. where do you buy Bio fuel ethanol? isn’t cheap grain alcohol good to use?

    Reply
    • smarticular.net

      As mentioned in the recipe, grain alcohol will do it. But you can also use bio fuel ethanol that can be found in the drugstore. It’s normally sold to fuel indoor ovens with liquid fuel.

  2. Thank you for the abundance of super useful recipes (an just waiting for the dishwasher to finish with homemade detergent and rinse aid – very hopeful!).
    What kind of alcohol can I use safely for the rinse aid? Pure ethanol or high proof grain alcohols carry heavy duties here (around £28 per L, which defeats the purpose), or are denatured with methanol and dyes. Would isopropyl alcohol work?
    Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Thank you for the abundance of super useful recipes (an just waiting for the dishwasher to finish with homemade detergent and rinse aid – very hopeful!).
    What kind of alcohol can I use safely for the rinse aid? Pure ethanol or high proof grain alcohols carry heavy duties here (around £28 per L, which defeats the purpose), or are denatured with methanol and dyes. Would isopropyl alcohol work?
    Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Thank you for the abundance of super useful recipes (an just waiting for the dishwasher to finish with homemade detergent and rinse aid – very hopeful!).
    What kind of alcohol can I use safely for the rinse aid? Pure ethanol or high proof grain alcohols carry heavy duties here (around £28 per L, which defeats the purpose), or are denatured with methanol and dyes. Would isopropyl alcohol work?
    Thank you!

    Reply
  5. Thank you for the abundance of super useful recipes (an just waiting for the dishwasher to finish with homemade detergent and rinse aid – very hopeful!).
    What kind of alcohol can I use safely for the rinse aid? Pure ethanol or high proof grain alcohols carry heavy duties here (around £28 per L, which defeats the purpose), or are denatured with methanol and dyes. Would isopropyl alcohol work?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • smarticular.net

      We recommend using bio fuel ethanol as it is used for indoor ovens. Another alternative is pure vinegar (5 % acid), which we use successfully for years now as a replacement for rinsing agent. Some dishwasher manufacturers (e.g. Miele) even recommend using vinegar in their manual.

  6. robin young

    Thanks for this recipe. I’ve been looking for a rinse aid using citric acid, as I’ve heard vinegar and peroxide are not good for the rubber seals in newer dish washers.

    Reply
    • Thank you! Bio fuel ethanol is a lot easier to source, and will try vinegar too (was vary as some say it may damage the machine (washing/dishwashing) drawers, but ours is Miele, so it’s recommended :))
      Also the dishes washed with homemade powder detergent and rinse aid turned out nice and clean with just some cloud mineral deposits.
      Thank you!

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