How Does Dishwasher Rinse Aid Work?

Most people will know that dishwasher tablets are the stuff that actually cleans gunk off your dirty dishes, but chances are most people probably have no idea what the "rinse aid" is for. If you have purchased a new dishwasher recently, you probably would have received a free sample of it, or noticed that your new machine warns you when you’re running low. But the question remains! What exactly is rinse aid, and why do you want it in our modern dishwashers?

What is Rinse Aid & How Does It Work?

Rinse aid is a chemical surfactant that cut down the surface tension of water. For the uninitiated, water and most liquids have a property called “surface tension”, which acts as the outer layer of the substance and allows it to form an elastic shape. This allows it to form droplets on your glassware and dishes. Once you break down water’s surface tension, it flattens, making it easier to remove water from such things as plates, bowls and silverware to glasses. The water will roll right off the surface and will help it dry better and faster.

What are the benefits of using Rinse Aid?

One of the best benefits of using rinse aid is it creates fewer spots on your glassware. You may have noticed it before but when droplets dry on your glassware without a dishwasher, it creates a weird, whitish and calcified marks on surface. This happens when water evaporates from the surface of our dishes and glasses, leaving behind the mineralised contents of water from the pipes. Water tends to have traces of minerals like calcium and magnesium ions, even when purified. This leaves traces of hard water in the form of calcium carbonate, which is unsightly. Rinse aid will prevent this from occurring as it coats the layer of your wares with a film of hydrophobic (water repellent) properties.

Do I Need to Use Rinse Aid?

If you’re unsure if you need to use rinse aid, give your glassware and plates a look first. If the basic capabilities of your dishwasher are satisfactory enough that there’s no hard water spots, then a rinse aid is not needed. This, however, is not the norm. A lot of people complain that their dishes after being dried in the dishwasher are still moist and even wet. This common problem can be easily resolved by rinse aids, so it’s best to give it a try.

Is Rinse Aid Safe?

Rinse aid is generally safe to use in both synthetic and organic forms. There’s not a lot of information about the classification of these products online except from environmental groups and the like. As for government safety findings, the Therapeutic Goods Administration of the Australian Government (TGA) documented that chemicals used in rinse aids are generally safe. The US FDA showed a similar Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for rinse aid preservatives as well. For anyone concerned, organic rinse aids are also available on the market.

Is Rinse Aid Useful?

Rinse aid helps your dishwasher in drying your dishes so we would say yes however if you’re not seeing water spots and you’re satisfied with your dishwasher’s drying abilities, you can do without rinse aid. You will find that most modern dishwashers require rinse aid compartment to be filled otherwise an error will be displayed by the dishwasher which will leave you little choice.

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