Frugal Dishwasher Rinse Agent Substitute

Substitute for Dishwasher Rinse Agent. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Dishwasher rinse agents help to get your dishes cleaner and dryer, so they come out spot-free  and ready to put away– but they're so expensive, most people forgo them. Fortunately, there's a cheap alternative that works just as well, for a lot less coin: Vinegar.

Yep, that bottle of vinegar sitting in your pantry can be used as a replacement for dishwasher rinse agent. Compare the price of a gallon of vinegar to that teeny tiny bottle of rinse agent, and it would be silly not to try it.

Don't you think?

Here's How to Switch to Using Vinegar as Your Rinse Agent:

1. Finish using up any commercial rinse agent that remains in your dishwasher. It's never a good idea to mix chemicals.

2. Then, unscrew the cap from your dishwasher's rinse agent dispenser, and fill the well with white vinegar.

3. Replace the cap, and run your dishwasher as usual.

4. Refill the dispenser as needed.

5. Enjoy your dry, spot-free glasses every time you unload your dishwasher, and pat yourself on the back for being so smart.

Benefits of Using Vinegar as a Rinse Agent:

  • No water spots on cups and glasses
  • Dryer dishes
  • Cleaner dishes
  • No harsh chemicals
  • No cleaner residue left behind on your dishes
  • A cleaner dishwasher


You may want to consult the owner's manual that came with your dishwasher before using something other than commercial rinse agent. You don't want to do anything that would void your dishwasher's warranty.

Bonus Tip:

Dishwasher looking a bit dirty or not cleaning as well as it should? Fill the detergent dispenser with vinegar (no detergent at all), and run it through a cycle. This will clean the wash tub, racks and even the heating elements, so everything continues to look nice and function properly.

To keep your dishwasher running at peak efficiency, clean your dishwasher every few months.

Here's what you need to do to clean and maintain your dishwasher. If you do everything on the list, it'll take you 15 minutes tops. That's definitely worth cleaner dishes, don't you think?

Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent

Save more money by switching to homemade dishwasher detergent. It's ridiculously easy to make, and doesn't rely on all the harsh chemicals found in commercial detergents. It only takes two ingredients and two minutes to make your own dishwasher detergent. Start with a small batch to see what you think. Then, make a big batch if you decide the recipe's a keeper.

More Uses for Vinegar

Vinegar can do a lot more than clean your dishes. Use it to remove mildew, grease and tarnish; to clean your clothes; to make your own beauty products; and to eliminate weeds and pests. Here are over 50 uses for vinegar for you to try. Make vinegar your go-to, and you'll have less products to buy and lug home from the store.