Feed on
Pin It

Anyone else notice that the dishes don’t come as clean in the dishwasher as they used to?

In the area where the Damsel lives, a key ingredient was removed from dishwasher detergent. Phosphorus has long been included in all sorts of cleaning products, but it’s been determined to be harmful to the environment. So they’ve taken it out.

Whether you’re happy or sad about such a thing being done, the problem remains. We’d still like to drink out of a glass that looks clean. It’s nice to use silverware that you don’t feel compelled to rub with your napkin before putting it in your mouth.

The basics of life, you know?

Enter vinegar. Again.

Vinegar does much the same thing as Jet Dry. Add some to the dishwasher, and you’ll notice a marked improvement in water spots, haze, and overall gunky look.

But how? Some people put it in the Jet Dry compartment and feel perfectly fine about things. But the Damsel has had less than spectacular results from that. The amount of vinegar released isn’t enough to deal with her problem. The Cottage has very hard water, and now no phosphorus. A whole cup of vinegar, however, does do the trick. Thankfully, the stuff is cheap.

The best time to add the vinegar is during the rinse cycle. If you can manage to remember to be right there, in the kitchen, at the appropriate moment, you can just open the dishwasher door and pour it right into the bottom of the dishwasher.

But. Rare is the time this has happened at the Damsel’s house. She can hardly remember her own name, let alone when the dishwasher is starting to rinse. You could run a separate rinse cycle after the regular cycle, but that seems wasteful.

An Old School student offered a suggestion, and the Damsel tested it a few times. She is happy to report that it WORKED GREAT. Simply set one of your glasses right side up in your top rack, instead of inverted like usual. Fill with a cup of vinegar and start the machine as you normally do. Over the course of the cycle, the vinegar gradually mixes with the water and does its thing.

The Damsel doesn’t know exactly how, but doing it this way seems to delay the vinegar’s dispersal enough that it works pretty much like adding it during the elusive rinse cycle.

You can do this even if you aren’t having a phosphate withdrawl problem. By doing the vinegar trick, you can skip putting Jet Dry in your dishwasher. Really.

No nasty phosphates AND clean dishes. Solved with a cheap, natural substance. Win/win.

Follow Me on Pinterest
  • Anne

    I have been using citric acid. I really like the cup turned up idea. Thanks for the tip.

  • Kristyan

    Citric Acid is awesome for this too- you just add it in with your detergent half and half. I used to buy LemiShine, but it was so expensive that I switched to using Tang! It works so well! You can get a huge can of it at Costco for 6 bucks.

  • Great tip… must be from a REALLY smart student πŸ˜‰

    • the_damsel

      Go to the head of the class!Thanks again.

  • I wish I was smart and could offer some amazing advice. Best I can offer is my amazed response! WOW.

    • the_damsel

      Love hearing from you, smarty!

  • Omigosh I'm going to do that right now! I just started my dishwasher and yes it's been yucky as of late. I had no idea why until you explained it. Going to find the vinegar.

  • Thanks! I've just been pouring vinegar in at the beginning and it's not working very well. I am excited to try your cup trick!

  • hmmmm i'm def going to give that a try… i just didn't understand why things just don't look "spotless" anymore.. now i get it! thanks!

  • Sandra

    First off – your blog is smashing!

    I had just turned on my dishwasher and was reading your post while sitting down with a hot cup of tea,when I got to the vinegar idea -yikes! I quickly jumped up and shut off my dishwasher and added a half cup of vinegar – my water is hard but not extremely so – to an upturned glass on my top rack – yes,I'm old but quick! πŸ™‚

    Well,it works,it works,it works! I'll be putting out my new single any day now and you'll find it in the music to wash dishes by section of your local Target…lol. So,now I'm off to purchase gallons and gallons of vinegar from Costco but will be sure to throw a roasted chicken in the cart to throw off any suspicion!

    Keep up the great work πŸ™‚

  • I've been putting vinegar in the jet dry dispenser, and it works fine for me–our water isn't very hard. πŸ™‚ I've also been using homemade dishwasher detergent, which seems to leave a few less spots.

  • Corey

    Do share the homemade dishwasher detergent recipe!

  • Bev

    Vinegar makes a great rinse aid and I am quite excited to give this little trick a try!

    I’ve also been trying some homemade dishwasher detergent recipes, but have been the happiest with the recipes that are ways to extend the store bought stuff. Here are some recipes if anyone is curious:



  • another thing I learned is adding a touch of salt to my homemade dishwasher soap when I am somewhere with hard water

  • Vinegar seems to be the answer to everything! If only our cars could run on vinegar!

    • the_damsel

      ain't it the truth!

  • srthacker

    Yeah! I'm going to try that. I've tried it in the Jet Dry compartment and it works okay sometimes. Thanks so much for the tip!

  • Oh, great idea! I use vinegar for so much of my cleaning products, but I hadn't ever really thought to add it to the dishwasher. I am a little unreasonably excited to give this a try. πŸ˜‰

  • You've done it again!!! My husband *HATES* our dishwasher. Keeps telling me it is a waste, that "we" should just wash the dishes by hand like his mother did, however, when I tell him, "Sure, go ahead!" He continues to fill the machine. I understand his fury, though – our glasses have been a mess! I am going to go try the vinegar trick right now!! I love CHEAP ideas that work!! THANK YOU!!!!!

  • the_damsel

    Yay! Let me know how it works.

  • First – I LOVE vinegar. I use it for soo much stuff cleaning and cooking. I have just started using it in the jet dry compartment and its working good so far. I do dilute it a little so it doesn't corrode anything. But I'm really liking the spotless dishes. Great Post.

  • Brilliant! You manage to teach me something new every time I stop by!!

  • Kate

    I put it in the built in Jet Dry container before so its always there. Also I’ve run out of detergent many times (we live an hour from the store in the country) and I use it as detergent in those times. Dishes actually come out cleaner.

  • Gotta try this. I've definitely had phophate in the dishwasher withdrawl with all the icky glasses.

  • Brilliant! I have recently started living with a dishwasher … I will be trying this forthwith!!

  • Very interesting, great post. Thanks for posting. I look forward to reading more from you. Do you run any other blogs?

  • Leigh

    Thanks for the share! Just the info I was seeking!