Is rinse aid a waste of money? According to any good dishwasher maintenance or repair man the short answer to this question is no! If you want to keep your dishwasher well maintained and purring away it’s better to buy a separate detergent, rinse aid and salt as this is the way the machine is designed.
The rinse aid is to prevent streaks of detergent on your dishes and dirty spots. It rinses the detergent clean away leaving a streak free and sparkling finish. Some have tried to use only detergent and have reported very little difference in the finish but long term this can affect the running of the dishwasher and be false economy meaning call out charges and expensive repair bills. Others have reported a gritty finish on the dishes left from residual detergent when they have not used rinse aid.
To maintain your dishwasher correctly it is best to rinse the plates and pans and dishes under the tap first to avoid the filter getting clogged. It is also important to know whether you have soft or hard water so that you do not use too much detergent as this too can clog the filter meaning possible leakages.
Some thrifty ideas have been the use of vinegar instead of rinse aid, this does a god job of leaving your dishes with a fresh rinse but ultimately the acid from the vinegar will corrode the rubber seals in the dishwasher possibly leading to costly repairs. It is therefore not advised to replace your rinse aid with vinegar.
The consensus of customers say that supermarket own-brand detergents and rinse aid are the best value and do just as good a job as the more expensive brand names such as ‘Finish’ or ‘Fairy’. One customer said he could get Tesco own brand at £1.30 per 100ml whereas the ‘Finish’ brand cost £3.50 from the same Special Offers aside. Another alternative is the ‘Ecover’ environmentally friendly range, whilst these are adequate they are not the best and there have been several complaints about the detergent in particular not giving optimum performance. So it would seem there has to be a compromise between environmentally friendly and performance.
The dishwasher rinse aid is poured into a compartment inside the dishwasher from where it is dispensed during the rinse- cycle, it is good for care of glassware which can sometimes go cloudy in the dishwasher and it also helps your dishes dry during the residual heat cycle. Money-saving substitutes such as vinegar may work in the short term but will damage your machine over time.
In conclusion, no, rinse aid is not a waste of money. Rinse aid does the job promised and helps maintain the regular running of your dishwasher. If cutting costs is your aim use the supermarkets own brand as this has been proved as just as good as more expensive brands.
Below is a video showing ow to add rinse aid to a dishwasher which will be pretty similar for most UK machines.