All About Rinse Aids

A common question among homeowners is whether or not rinse aids are really necessary in a dishwasher. The short answer is that most dishwashers do perform better when you add a rinse aid, but to understand why takes a longer explanation.

What Dishwasher Detergents Do

Your dishwasher detergent contains chemicals called surfactants. These ingredients help to reduce the surface tension of the oils in food particles, which allows water to mix with them and wash them away. Under ordinary conditions, water has a tendency to form drops as it runs along your dishes, cookware, glassware and silverware.

The Problem of Drops

After rinsing dishes, dishwashers use heat to remove much of the water. Because dishes are dried fairly rapidly inside of the dishwasher, droplets that are left behind on your dishes will dry in place and can leave behind limescale, which shows up as spots. Spots can form on all types of dishes, but they’re most noticeable on clear glassware and on stainless steel flatware and cookware.

The Function of a Rinse Aid

A rinse aid contains ingredients that counteract the forces that allow water to retain a drop-like shape. As a result, the rinse aid prevents water from forming drops. Instead, water that is mixed with a rinse aid will cascade or sheet along the dishes and mostly run off. Dishes then dry without droplets on their surfaces, preventing most spots.

If you consistently use a rinse aid, but still develop spots on your dishes, you can try switching brands to see if the problem is with the formula that you’re using. If spotting still persists, give us a call here at Matic Service, as the poor rinsing may be due to a problem with your dishwasher.