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You Should Put a Bowl of Vinegar in Your Dishwasher—Here’s Why

It’s a terrific rinse-aid that combats water stains like no other.

Apartment Therapy

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Photo by Emma Fiala

White vinegar is the darling of homemade cleaning supplies. Whether someone is committed to green cleaning, wants a hard-working multi-purpose product, or is looking for a solution that is about as cheap as you can get, vinegar is the answer. From window-washing and mopping, to disinfecting the sink and removing soap scum, trusty old vinegar can be counted on again and again. Here’s yet another reason to love it (and to keep it under your kitchen sink).

White vinegar can be used as a rinse aid in the dishwasher, especially to combat hard water staining.

Speaking from personal experience, it’s extremely frustrating to run the dishwasher, only to open it to dishes that are far from sparkling. Hard water stains leave spots on dishes and can make glasses cloudy. It’s embarrassing to set the table with those, especially when you feel compelled to reassure any guests that “the dishes are clean; it’s just the hard water.”


Image credit: Joe Lingeman

Some people put vinegar in the rinse aid compartment, but the vinegar could compromise the integrity of the compartment’s gaskets. To be on the safe side, put the vinegar in a dishwasher-safe bowl on the top rack of your dishwasher. (This also helps the vinegar reach the dishes most affected by hard water marks.)

What a relief—and a simple joy in life that I have learned to appreciate—to pull actually clean-looking dishes out of the dishwasher!

One more tip:

You can also put white vinegar to work to clean your dishwasher itself. The process is quick and simple, and involves no scrubbing on your part (yes!).

After cleaning out the drain to remove any crud captured there, run a cycle with a vinegar rinse: Place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher and set your dishwasher on a hot water cycle. This will clean out any lingering grease or grime that’s clinging to your machine and will also help prevent musty odors from forming.

Shifrah Combiths has been writing professionally for twenty years. She loves lifestyle photography, memory keeping, gardening, reading, and going to the beach with her husband and children.

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This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy and was published August 26, 2018. This article is republished here with permission.

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