We don’t use a rinse aid in our dishwasher. It’s kinda expected these days since most dishwashers come with their own rinse aid area. A few years ago I went out and bought some. Then I started thinking about what must be in the product if it eats away stuck-on food. This is a product we put on our dishes that we eat and drink out of. For that reason and many others (including that I am cheap and lazy) we have chosen not to use this available product. I don’t care if the occasional glass has spots on it or that they are perfectly dry when the load is done. I tried to replace the rinse aid with vinegar but my husband thought it smelled bad inside the dishwasher. Maybe I need to add it when he’s at work! Right now the dishwasher has no help with rinsing and the dishes seem just fine.
Here’s the Wikipedia page about Dishwasher Rinse Agents. It sounds pretty harmless until you get to the word surfactants. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dishwasher#Rinse_aid
I clicked on the word surfactants and pulled these paragraphs from the Wikipedia page about Surfactants…
Health and environmental controversy
Some surfactants are known to be toxic to animals, ecosystems and humans, and can increase the diffusion of other environmental contaminants. Despite this, they are routinely deposited in numerous ways on land and into water systems, whether as part of an intended process or as industrial and household waste. Some surfactants have proposed or voluntary restrictions on their use. For example, PFOS is a persistent organic pollutant as judged by the Stockholm Convention. Additionally, PFOA has been subject to a voluntary agreement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and eight chemical companies to reduce and eliminate emissions of the chemical and its precursors.
The two major surfactants used in the year 2000 were linear alkylbenzene sulphonates (LAS) and the alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APE). They break down in the aerobic conditions found in sewage treatment plants and in soil.
Ordinary dishwashing detergent, for example, will promote water penetration in soil, but the effect would only last a few days (many standard laundry detergent powders contain levels of chemicals such as alkali and chelating agents, which can be damaging to plants and should not be applied to soils). Commercial soil wetting agents will continue to work for a considerable period, but they will eventually be degraded by soil micro-organisms. Some can, however, interfere with the life-cycles of some aquatic organisms, so care should be taken to prevent run-off of these products into streams, and excess product should not be washed down.
Anionic surfactants can be found in soils as the result of sludge application, wastewater irrigation, and remediation processes. Relatively high concentrations of surfactants together with multimetals can represent an environmental risk. At low concentrations, surfactant application is unlikely to have a significant effect on trace metal mobility.[“
We might try a rinse aid that is touted to be more environmentally friendly such as Ecover. I’ve read some good things about it keeping the inside of the dishwasher clean also. On their website they claim -“Give your everyday dishes and glassware that extra special attention it deserves. Our Rinse Aid adds sparkle and shine, leaving no residue of unnecessary chemicals behind. ” http://www.ecover.com/ca/en/Products/Dishes/Rinse+Aid.htm I guess there are other people out there that have concerns about the possible chemical residue left behind from these “aids”.
Until I find a huge need for sparklier dishes , or if my husband insists, I will continue just saving my money and time. When and if I try out the Ecover rinse aid or another brand I will write a post about it. Now I’m off to empty my dishwasher just to turn right around and load it back up.
Have a great day,