5 Surprising Things You Can Do with Rinse Aid

published Aug 25, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Rinse aid on the kitchen counter above dishwasher

Rinse aid is a humble-yet-mighty cleaning product. Here’s why: As I’ve come to discover, it’s an important part of a thorough and effective dishwashing routine. It works by breaking the surface tension of the water that’s on your dishes, so that the water slides off your plates easily. Plus, it prevents hard water spots on glasses and dishware.

But rinse aid can do more than get your dishes sparkling. Turns out, causing water to sheet off of surfaces comes in handy for other types of cleaning, too. Below, we’ve got a few other ideas on how to harness the power of this cleaning product in surprising places beyond the dishwasher!

Credit: Sarah Crowley

1. Clean windows.

One of the trickiest things about cleaning windows (besides tackling grimy tracks and taking your screens out) is keeping them free of streaks and spots. This is why it’s recommended to clean windows on an overcast day. Water that dries too quickly leaves spots. But adding rinse aid to your cleaning solution gets water off the glass faster, leaving it to dry crystal clear! Here’s how you use rinse aid to clean windows: Make a window cleaning solution with two gallons of warm water, two tablespoons of Dawn, and one tablespoon of rinse aid. Presto — your windows will be shiny clean!

2. Keep streaks off shower doors.

Glass shower enclosures are hard to clean because they often get coated in stubborn soap scum and hard water stains. But having see-through shower doors helps a bathroom look and feel squeaky clean. To maintain the glass doors between cleanings, make a homemade spray with one cup of vinegar and two tablespoons of rinse aid, then fill the rest of the bottle with water. Spritz daily on the doors after each shower. Water will slide off and help prevent streaking and spotting. 

3. Give car windows a shine.

Cleaning car windows comes with the same challenges as cleaning house windows: Water that dries too fast can leave spots and streaks. Rinse aid helps water slide off quickly so that the car’s windows and windshield are totally transparent. Bonus tip: After a DIY car wash, you can wipe rinse aid over the surface of your entire car before doing a final rinse to prevent water spots. Your car will look showroom-ready!

4. Prevent hard water stains on hand-washed dishes.

This next one is obvious, but worth a reminder: Hand-washed dishes aren’t exempt from hard-water problems. To combat water spots on delicate glassware and cookware, make a “rinse bath” with water and a few drops of rinse aid before cleaning off completely.

5. Use it on vinyl records.

Surprise! While this is more of a niche cleaning need, if you have vinyl records — or you’re an aspiring DJ — try a few drops of rinse aid to wipe your collection clean.

Here’s how you do it: Mix a 1/4 cup of 96% to 99% isopropyl alcohol, 3/4 cup distilled water, and one or two drops of rinse aid. Shake the ingredients well in a spray bottle to spritz gently on your vinyl (doing your best to avoid the label), then wipe with a microfiber cloth in a circular motion. Repeat wiping in the opposite direction for the best results. Be sure to flip the record and do the same on the other side. Afterwards, take a microfiber cloth dipped in distilled water, and wipe both sides before letting the record dry vertically. A little effort that’s well worth it. As you’re cleaning, you might find the perfect ambiance music for tonight’s supper!

How do you use rinse aid? Tell us in the comments below.