The Best Dishwasher Rinse Aids for Your Machine

Complement your dishwasher’s hard-working detergent with a rinse aid that will cut down on drying time and leave your dishes spot- and streak-free.

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The Best Dishwasher Rinse Aid

Photo: depositphotos.com

No matter how high quality a dishwasher might be, the manufacturer almost always recommends using a rinse aid. The best dishwasher rinse aid works by breaking the bond between the water molecules and the dishes, thus making the water “sheet” off the dishware. The result is a faster drying dishwashing cycle that leaves fewer spots and streaks, in addition to dishes that are sparkling clean once the cycle is over.

A quality dishwasher rinse aid can mean the difference between plates and glasses that are gleaming and table-ready and those that are spotty and look as though they need another pass-through in the machine. These dishwasher rinse aids speed drying time and keep plates, glasses, and silverware looking spotless and new.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Finish Jet-Dry Dishwasher Rinse Agent & Drying Agent
  2. RUNNER-UP: Miele Care Collection Rinse Aid
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Cascade Power Dry Dishwasher Rinse Aid
  4. BEST ECO-FRIENDLY: Eco-me Auto Dish Rinse Aid
  5. BEST FOR SHINE: Seventh Generation Rinse Aid, Free & Clear
  6. BEST FOR HARD WATER: Finish Power Up Rinse Aid, Dishwasher Booster Agent
The Best Dishwasher Rinse Aid

Photo: depositphotos.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Dishwasher Rinse Aid

The best dishwasher rinse aid is one that results in plates and glasses that have fewer water spots and streaks and dry quickly in the machine or by air-drying. Here are a few points to ponder when determining which dishwasher rinse aid to purchase.

Liquid vs. Powder

Whether to use a liquid or a powder rinse aid comes down to personal preference, but each type has its pros and cons. The liquid versions, which might also be called gels, are easy to squirt into the dishwasher’s rinse aid compartment (this compartment is usually found in the door, next to the compartment for the dishwasher detergent). The gel dissolves completely in the water and rinses away at the end of the cycle.

Powder rinse aids can be more difficult to measure because the granules tend to make more of a mess than the gel does. Most powders can be poured into the rinse-aid compartment on the door, but some come in tablets that can be hung in a small basket inside the dishwasher. These plastic baskets hook onto the upper rack of the appliance, and the granules gradually dissolve as the dishwasher goes through its usual cycle.

Ingredients

A dishwasher rinse aid is a surfactant, or a chemical that breaks apart water molecules to make the water “sheet” across the dishes rather than resting on them. Rinse aids contain many ingredients that work together to make this dishwashing magic happen, and most of these ingredients are impossible to pronounce. Rinse aids’ unfamiliar-sounding names of ingredients may make some people nervous about using this kind of product on items that come into contact with their food. However, running the dishwasher on the longest, hottest cycle and using just the right amount of rinse aid prevents residue from those ingredients from remaining on the dishes. It’s also important to note that rinse aids pose little environmental risk.

Eco-Friendliness

Though the best dishwasher rinse aid poses little environmental risk, that doesn’t mean it’s entirely safe. It’s certainly not nontoxic—no one would want to drink it, eat it, or get it in their eyes. However, it’s mild enough to effectively remove residue from dishes without leaving any residue to worry about when eating from those plates and silverware.

There are dishwasher rinse aids that are kinder to plant and animal life, however. Environmentally conscious dishwasher owners might want to seek out products that are phosphate-free, dye-free, biodegradable, and contain plant-based ingredients. Also look for rinse aids that are not tested on animals.

Our Top Picks

When choosing the best dishwasher rinse aid for your needs, some of the most important things to think about include the product’s ingredients, whether eco-friendliness is important to you, and, perhaps most important, whether your dishwasher requires a specific type of rinse aid. Whatever your priorities are in a rinse aid, you’re sure to find great options among these top picks.

Best Overall

The Best Dishwasher Rinse Aid Option: Finish Jet-Dry Dishwasher Rinse Agent & Drying Agent
Photo: amazon.com

Finish’s Jet-Dry rinse aid is available in liquid original and green apple scents. It does everything a rinse aid should do, and does those things well: It has a glass-protection ingredient for shinier dishes, works with detergent to loosen stuck-on food and remove film, and offers 100 percent better drying effect over detergents alone. Say goodbye to the days of having to blot moisture from dishes as they’re removed from the washer, because Jet-Dry’s drying power works on dishes, cutlery, and plastics alike. Quick drying also ensures that there are fewer water spots on dishes. The manufacturer recommends refilling the dishwasher’s rinse aid dispenser on a monthly basis for continuous spot- and streak-free dishes.

Runner-Up

The Best Dishwasher Rinse Aid Option: Miele Care Collection Rinse Aid
Photo: amazon.com

Most of us have experienced the frustration of removing water glasses from the dishwasher to find the glasses marred by filmy water lines. This clear liquid dishwasher rinse aid from Miele guards against those lines. What’s more, it is specially formulated to protect glasses from etching over time. Available in both standard and easy-pour bottles, this rinse aid provides the surfactant power necessary to break the chemical water bond and enhance the dishwasher’s drying power, thus reducing water spots and streaks.

Miele’s rinse aid is unscented, safe for septic systems, and works well with Miele dishwashers, though it can be used in any dishwasher. On the downside, the product is more expensive than many of its competitors.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Dishwasher Rinse Aid Option: Cascade Power Dry Dishwasher Rinse Aid
Photo: amazon.com

The sheeting action of Cascade Power Dry rinse aid prevents spots on dishes, gives them a shine, and helps them rinse cleanly and dry more quickly. The product’s easy-pour cap prevents it from spilling as it’s being poured into the dishwasher.

Good for up to 155 loads per 16-ounce bottle, this two-pack allows for several monthly refills. Cascade Power Dry is a good choice for households with hard water, and it works best when used in conjunction with Cascade dishwasher detergents and dishwasher cleaner.

Best Eco-Friendly

The Best Dishwasher Rinse Aid Option: Eco-me Auto Dish Rinse Aid
Photo: amazon.com

Eco-me rinse aid ticks just about every box on environmentalists’ wish lists: The product is free from perfumes, dyes, artificial fragrance, bleach, ammonia, preservatives, and sulfates. It’s vegan, gluten-free, septic and greywater safe, and it’s certified to be cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny Program.

That said, this rinse aid is also effective. Made with natural vinegar and soaps derived from coconut oil, Eco-me keeps streaks and spots at bay without leaving behind any chemical residue. Though it is unscented and fragrance-free, expect a fresh, natural vinegar scent while filling up the rinse-aid compartment.

Best For Shine

The Best Dishwasher Rinse Aid Option: Seventh Generation Rinse Aid, Free & Clear
Photo: amazon.com

Seventh Generation’s nontoxic free and clear formula rinse aid provides a brilliant shine and faster dry for dishes while eliminating spots and streaks. It fights hard water spots and does so without VOCs, fragrances, or dyes.

This product’s alcohol-free, biodegradable formula is 62 percent USDA Certified Biobased, which means that a high percentage of the product comes from renewable biological sources. An 8-ounce bottle of Seventh Generation rinse aid covers about 75 loads of dishes.

Best For Hard Water

The Best Dishwasher Rinse Aid Option: Finish Power Up Rinse Aid, Dishwasher Booster Agent
Photo: amazon.com

Specifically designed for use with hard water, Finish’s Power Up rinse aid comes in a three-pack of 14-ounce bottles. The fine granular powder scrubs away hard water stains and other stains such as coffee and tea, instantly making glassware brighter and clearer. Power Up also cleans mineral buildup on the machine itself, thus helping the dishwasher work harder for longer.

This granular booster should be portioned into the prewash compartment. If no such compartment is present in the dishwasher, simply drop 2 tablespoons of the product in the bottom of the dishwasher before stacking plates and utensils in the machine.

FAQs About Dishwasher Rinse Aids

Now that you’ve learned about the best dishwasher rinse aids on the market today, let’s look at a few other questions you might have about this important kitchen addition.

Q. Is rinse aid necessary for the dishwasher?

Though it’s not necessary for the dishwasher to do its job, rinse aid does help eliminate water spots and streaks on dishes and speeds up drying time.

Q. Does rinse aid help with hard water?

Yes, it can help with hard water. The best dishwasher rinse aids for hard water should have a notation on the bottle if it’s formulated to reduce hard water stains on dishes.

Q. How often should a dishwasher rinse aid be used?

For best results, use a dishwasher rinse aid with every cycle. Refill the rinse-aid reservoir once a month, or when the dishwasher’s light warns you that the rinse aid is low.