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Homemade Natural Dishwasher Rinse Aid

Preparing Your Dishwasher

Before using the citrus shine rinse aid for the first time it’s important to clear away deposits from your dishwasher. Otherwise, the citric acid will loosen them and they will redeposit on your dishes.

To prepare your dishwasher, place 1⁄4- 1⁄2 cup citric acid in the bottom of your empty dishwasher and start a cycle. Allow to run for 3-5 minutes and then turn the dishwasher off. Let the water/citric acid solution soak for 3-4 hours and then allow the cycle to resume.

The photos above were taken of my kitchen sink, where I keep one large Weck tulip jar full of homemade dishwasher detergent and one smaller Weck jar full of the natural rinse aid recipe below. I keep a measuring spoon in the larger jar to scoop both into my dishwasher – super easy!


  • 4 cups citric acid (this is what I use)

  • 20 drops citrus essential oil, OPTIONAL (lemon and grapefruit are good options, but you definitely don’t need them)

To Make

Combine citric acid and essential oils and stir until there are no clumps. Pour into a jar and seal tightly with a lid.

To Use

If your dishwasher has a pre-rinse and main wash receptacle but not a rinse receptacle, place 1 tablespoon rinse aid in the main wash receptacle and place your detergent in the pre-wash receptacle. This ensures that the Citrus Shine Rinse Aid does not interfere with the cleaning power of your detergent, but instead activates after your dishes are clean to remove sediment/ hard water deposits.

If deposits remain, increase the amount used to 2 tablespoons and/or add the liquid rinse aid if recommended by your manufacturer.


Store in a dry place.


If you have very hard water, you may want to consider preventing future buildup by putting 1⁄4 cup citric through a wash cycle (while the dishwasher is empty) once-per-month.

If your rinse aid becomes clumpy, add two tablespoons of bentonite clay in a pouch or small sock. This prevents the citric acid from clumping in high humidity areas. It’s placed in a pouch because it’s not meant to mix with the citric, just absorb excess moisture. However, it’s very rarely necessary. I never use a clay pouch in the jar I keep next to my sink and I have no issues with clumping.

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