A closeup of the upper rack of the interior of a Maytag® dishwasher.

What is dishwasher rinse aid?

Rinse aid is a drying agent that helps improve dishwasher drying performance and reduce water spots on dishes. It only needs to be refilled once every several washes. Many all-in-one detergent packs contain small amounts of rinse aid, but regular liquid rinse aid should still be used. 

Boost your dishwasher’s performance with this guide on how rinse aid works and other tips to help reduce spots on glasses.

A closeup of the lower rack of the interior of a Maytag® dishwasher during a rinse cycle. A closeup of the lower rack of the interior of a Maytag® dishwasher during a rinse cycle.

What Does Rinse Aid Do?

Rinse aid is dispensed during the final rinse of the cycle to help water run off dishes and the interior of the unit, promoting better drying. This reduces the formation of water droplets that leave behind spots, as well as streaks and white residue.

How does rinse aid work?

Rinse aid can improve drying by reducing the surface tension of water. Instead of forming water droplets that cling and leave spots on your dishes, water “runs off” more effectively during the rinse cycle. With a rinse aid, you can also help prevent hard water deposit buildup.

What Is in Rinse Aid?

The primary ingredient in rinse aid, a surfactant, is also typically found in dishwasher detergents. Surfactants help remove greasy food residue from dishes, suspend it in the wash water and prevent it from re-depositing on your dishes. It also helps the water to drain from these items during the wash cycle.

A closeup of the interior of a Maytag® dishwasher during a rinse cycle. A closeup of the interior of a Maytag® dishwasher during a rinse cycle

Where Do I Put Rinse Aid in the Dishwasher?

The rinse aid dispenser in your dishwasher is usually located next to the detergent dispenser. Each time your dishwasher runs, a small amount of rinse aid will be dispensed during the rinse cycle.

This guide can help you get familiar with your dishwasher parts and where they are located.

How To Use Dishwasher Rinse Aid

The following are instructions on how to use rinse aid with two different dispenser styles on Maytag brand dishwashers—exact instructions may vary based on make and model. Keep in mind that you may be able to adjust the amount of rinse aid that is released in the final rinse. Check the factory setting, it may be set to 2 or 3. If you are experiencing drying issues or there are rings or calcium (hard water) spots on dishes, try a higher setting. This will dispense more rinse aid and help increase drying power. 

Dispenser style 1

Dishwasher icon.

Step 1: Open the dishwasher

Make sure the dishwasher door is fully open. Turn the dispenser knob to "Open" or "Refill" and lift it out.

Bubbles icon.

Step 2: Fill the dispenser

Pour rinse aid into the opening until the indicator points to "Full."  Take care not to overfill. Clean up any spilled rinse aid with a damp cloth.

Rinse aid dispenser icon.

Step 3: Close the dispenser

Place the knob back into the opening and turn it to the "Lock" position. When the rinse aid indicator drops to the "Add" level, add more rinse aid.

To adjust the setting

Remove the dispenser knob. Turn the arrow adjuster inside the dispenser to the desired setting by either using your fingers or inserting a flat-blade screwdriver into the center of the arrow and turning. Replace the dispenser knob.

Dispenser style 2

Dishwasher icon.

Step 1: Open the dishwasher

Make sure the dishwasher door is fully open. Open the rinse aid dispenser lid by gently pushing in the center of the lid with your thumb and pulling up on the edge.

Bubbles icon.

Step 2: Fill the dispenser

Pour rinse aid into the opening until the indicator points to "Full."  Take care not to overfill. Clean up any spilled rinse aid with a damp cloth.

Rinse aid dispenser icon.

Step 3: Close the dispenser

Close the dispenser by pushing down gently on the lid. When the rinse aid indicator drops to the "Add" level, add more rinse aid.

To adjust the setting

Open the rinse aid dispenser lid by gently pushing in the center of the lid with your thumb and pulling up on the edge. Turn the arrow adjuster under the dispenser lid to the desired setting. Close the dispenser by pushing down gently on the lid.

 A person loading dishes into a Maytag® dishwasher.  A person loading dishes into a Maytag® dishwasher.

Is it necessary to use rinse aid in the dishwasher?

It is generally recommended to use rinse aid in your dishwasher for best results. Rinse aid assists drying performance and can help reduce water spots and filming. Without it, your dishes and dishwasher interior could have excessive moisture. The heat dry option can also perform better with rinse aid. Rinse aid can be helpful even when using dishwasher detergent packets.

How Often Should I Use Rinse Aid in My Dishwasher?

A full dispenser typically holds about 5 oz (150-175 mL) of rinse aid and should last around a month, depending on dishwasher use. About 3 milliliters (less than ½ teaspoon) are automatically dispensed during the final rinse cycle. Colored rinse aid can make it easier to check the level in the gauge.

A Maytag® dishwasher in a modern kitchen. A Maytag® dishwasher in a modern kitchen.
Maytag tip icon

Filters also play an important role in getting your dishes clean. Learn how to remove, clean and reinstall your dishwasher filter in a few simple steps with this handy guide.

Are There Substitutes For Dishwasher Rinse Aid?

Using a rinse aid substitute is not recommended as it may damage your dishwasher's interior. For best results, consult your product manual. 

Can I Use Vinegar Instead of Rinse Aid?

White vinegar has a high acidity that may damage rubber parts, such as hoses or gaskets, in your dishwasher. It is not recommended to use it as a substitute for rinse aid. Look for rinse aid products designed specifically for dishwasher use.

A person loading dishes into a Maytag® dishwasher. A person loading dishes into a Maytag® dishwasher.

Tips for Drier, Clearer Dishes 

  • Load dishes so they’re slanted and not touching. Learn the right way to load a dishwasher with this guide

  • Try to reduce the amount of plastic in a load.

  • Check the detergent packaging to make sure you’re using the right amount.

  • Select a heated dry setting. For instance, the PowerDry option on select Maytag® dishwashers uses heat, plus a powerful fan, to deliver 60% better drying.

  • Unload the bottom rack first and leave plastic items for last.

A Maytag® dishwasher with dual power filtration.

DUAL POWER FITLRATION FOR CLEAN DISHES THE FIRST TIME

Unload confidently with industry-exclusive Dual Power Filtration by Maytag. 100% microfiltration and a 4-blade stainless steel chopper filter out then disintegrate any food in their path, so particles don’t recirculate and end up back on dishes.

Shop Maytag® Dishwashers

Maytag brand offers a selection of dishwashers that you can count on for powerful cleaning and dependability load after load. To determine the best dishwasher for your needs, compare dishwasher models and explore features designed for performance, durability and control.

Get More In-Depth Dishwasher Info

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