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Just like many other types of soap and detergent, a dishwasher rinse aid may be available in a number of different formulas. You will want an aid that works well under various circumstances, so determining what is most important to you, will help you make the best selection. Certain aids may be better suited to different types of dishwashers or added during a particular dishwasher cycle, usually the rinse cycle. Your area, or specifically the water supply in your area, may prove important as well. Hard water can be an issue and certain types of rinse aids can help with this problem.
Dishwasher rinse aids may be referred to by a number of different names, such as "rinsing aid" or "rinse agent." The name is really not important as long as the product does what you need it to do. Many people are looking for a formula that helps remove film, hard water stains, and spots that occur during drying. The features you need can be found in many different brands and formulas, so some comparison shopping will help you choose the best value.
Some people also prefer a particular fragrance, such as lavender, while others are sensitive to certain smells. Some prefer an environmentally friendly rinse agent. An all-natural rinse aid may be a good option and there are several available. These are all things to consider when choosing a dishwasher rinse aid.
For best results, read the dishwasher instruction manual as well as the instructions on the dishwasher rinse aid packages before making a choice. Many dishwashers have a reservoir for a rinse aid where it can be added before you start the machine and will be released appropriately. Some people still like to stop the machine and manually add rinse aid, but this shouldn’t be necessary with modern machines. Vinegar has been touted as one of the most frugal and effective natural rinse aids, and is often added manually. Some say it is fine to add to the reservoir as well, but it is advised that you check with the manufacturer before using anything besides approved rinse agents.
Another option is to choose a dual or triple action detergent that contains a dishwasher rinse aid. Dual action is generally a tablet that contains both a cleaning and a rinsing agent, which are released appropriately. Along with the rinse agent, triple action also adds salt to help with harder water issues.
Another option to using a rinse aid for dishwashers is using an acidic product like Lemi-Shine. This goes in the detergent drawer (it says to fill the whole main wash compartment, but I used to get good results using half Lemi-Shine and half detergent). It is basically citric acid and it keeps deposits from forming on your dishes. A lot of people feel that it's more natural than a dishwasher rinse aid.
The thing with Lemi-Shine is that it will also clean your dishwasher, which is good but you have to be careful with it at first. You have to run the dishwasher through an empty cycle with nothing but Lemi-Shine in it; otherwise, the gunk that it stirs up might wind up on your dishes!
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