The Pink Elephant Lady
Why Using Vinegar as a Dishwasher Rinse Agent Might Not Be a Good Idea
Are you trying to both save money and eliminate toxins from the household? Let's start with the dishwasher. Take a look at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) ratings on rinse aids - most grocery store brands fail miserably (http://www.ewg.org/guides/subcategories/26-RinseAid). Many people turn to vinegar as a rinse agent for the dishwasher. It's inexpensive and easy to use. In the long run, however, this might cost you a lot more money than you bargained for!
The rinse aid compartments on newer dishwashers have rubber components that aren’t really compatible with acidic things like vinegar. Putting vinegar in the dispenser on a regular basis can erode or cause the seal in the dispenser to disintegrate.
Pink Elephant is currently developing a rinse agent to go along with our powdered dishwasher detergent. In the meantime, what's the solution? Here are some ideas:
1. Right before the rinse cycle starts, place about ¼ cup of white vinegar in a small cup on the top rack. As the water rinses the dishes, it will distribute the white vinegar throughout the dishwasher, but without coming in direct contact with the working components or seals. It will also create vinegar-infused steam that will keep the dishes free from spots and streaks.
2. Use an inexpensive but safer brand of rinse aid like Ecover