Last updated: 16/10/2022

Welcome to our big rinse aid test 2022. Here we present all the rinse aids we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best rinse aid for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy an iron skillet.




Summary

  • Rinse aid is a liquid detergent used in dishwashers.
  • A rinse aid helps to optimally dry the dishes in a dishwasher without leaving water stains or grinding marks, for example.
  • A distinction is made between rinse aid and multitabs.

The Best Rinse Aid: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a rinse aid

How does a rinse aid work in the dishwasher?

Rinse aid is a liquid agent for the dishwasher that improves the drying of the dishes.

A rinse aid helps the dishes in the dishwasher to dry better. (Image source: unsplash.com / David Becker)

Why rinse aid?

  1. Rinse aid lowers the surface tension of the water – the dishes dry faster.
  2. Rinse aid prevents water spots.
  3. In water with a particularly high lime content, rinse aid significantly reduces limescale deposits.
  4. Rinse aid increases the shine of plates and glasses.
  5. Rinse aid removes streaks from dishes

Rinse aid is used in the final rinse cycle. Directly after the cleaning process, a rinse aid supports the drying of dishes and glasses. This is why the last rinse cycle is often called the ‘rinse cycle’.

A rinse aid contains so-called non-ionic surfactants. The surfactants are characterised by their ability to reduce the surface tension of the water, which allows the water to run off without dripping.

If you notice that the dishes and especially the glasses are lacklustre or even covered with water spots, it usually has little to do with the efficiency of your dishwasher. It’s actually just the side effect of water evaporation, which you can avoid by using a rinse aid.

How much does a rinse aid cost?

There are relatively large price ranges between the different rinse aids depending on various factors (format, ecological, brand, etc.).

The usual liquid rinse aids you can buy in drugstores start at a price of about 2 Euros. Of course, rinse aids are usually sold in different quantities and the price changes depending on this.

Usually, you can buy multitabs as a pack with several tabs. The size of this varies from 30 to 200 tabs per pack. The price of a pack of 100 tabs is on average around 5 euros.

Type Price range Price per 1 litre/ 1000 g
Rinse aid approx. 2-15 €/L approx. 2-15 €/L
Multitabs approx. 0.1-0.5 €/piece approx. 5 €/Kg

When deciding between tabs and rinse aid, it is important to remember that although rinse aid alone is often cheaper, you still need to buy the detergent and salt for the dishwasher.

When calculating the costs, it is advisable to first ask yourself what functions the Multitabs have and how much you can save on other products. You can read more about Multitabs and their functions in the decision section.

What alternatives are there to rinse aid?

With the exception of rinse aid and multitabs, there are very few, if any, products that are suitable for drying in the dishwasher. However, some modern dishwashers dry with circulating air.

Modern dishwashers have a drying system with circulating air. (Image source: unsplash.com / FotoRieth)

Home remedies are most often used as a rinse aid substitute. The surfactants found in rinse aids work in the same way as some organic acids, such as citric or lactic acid.

The ability of these acids to reduce the surface tension of water helps the dishwasher in the drying process.

We have chosen a recipe that you can use as a rinse aid substitute.

For 500 ml of rinse aid you need:

  • 80 g powdered citric acid
  • 200 ml water
  • 300 ml alcohol (spirit)
  • an empty bottle

And this is how you proceed:

  • Dissolve citric acid in lukewarm water
  • Pour the citric acid water into an empty bottle
  • Add the alcohol
  • Close the bottle and shake well

(Source: subvoyage.de)

This is a very effective and more environmentally friendly alternative to rinse aid. The alcohol ensures the shine of the dishes without streaks. Citric acid prevents limescale stains and cares for the dishwasher from the inside.

Important: Avoid using vinegar as a rinse aid substitute. Vinegar can damage the rubber parts in the rinse aid compartment.

Decision: What types of rinse aid are there and which is right for you?

If you want to buy a rinse aid, there are two alternatives to choose from:

  • Rinse aid
  • Multitabs

The difference is that you can either use a rinse aid as an additional agent, or you have the option of buying the “all-in-one” multitabs that serve as a dishwasher detergent and rinse aid.

Both options work differently in the dishwasher and therefore each has advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what you prefer and what dishwasher you have, a different type is suitable for you. The following section is designed to help you decide.

What distinguishes a rinse aid and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

As we explained in the guide, a rinse aid is a liquid that reduces the surface tension of the water and therefore helps it to dry in the dishwasher. Rinse aid is especially useful against limescale stains.

A rinse aid, together with special salt, is an additional agent that is used in addition to normal detergent in the dishwasher. You can usually buy a separate rinse aid in tabs, gel pads or powder form.

Advantages
  • Effective against limescale stains
  • Shiny dishes
  • Helpful with higher water hardness
Disadvantages
  • An additional agent
  • Unnecessary with soft water

Every dishwasher has its own compartment for powder, rinse aid and salt. As a rule, each machine also has a built-in function to detect the lack of detergent.

There is a good reason for this: a complete rinse cycle requires a total of three agents (salt, rinse aid and rinse aid), which are applied step by step one after the other.

However, a rinse aid works best when it is applied separately from the detergent in the “rinse cycle”. Since it can be concentrated well in the water in this cycle and thus reduces the surface tension of the water, you should use rinse aid as a separate agent.

As the decision to use the rinse aid separately also influences the need to dose special salt separately, it is also important to consider the water hardness in your area.

If you live in an area with water hardness higher than approx. 21 degrees German hardness, you should add special salt to your dishwasher regularly and as a separate product to protect your machine. You can set the exact salt dosage on the machine depending on the water hardness.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Multitabs?

Multitabs differ from regular tabs in their ability to replace the rinse aid, salt and detergent.

To decide between individual rinse aids and multitabs, you should consider three criteria: Water hardness, amount of product needed and price.

As we explained with the rinse aid, water hardness should also be an important factor in your decision. Multitabs are the easy solution if the water in your area is soft. In these places, the risk of limescale residues and limescale stains on the dishes is low and you don’t need to use extra salt and rinse aid.

Our tip: If the water hardness is higher than 21 degrees, you should avoid using multitabs because they do not contain enough salt.

In this case, some modern dishwashers have a special tab button that is just right for using multitabs. For other machines, you should set the salt and rinse aid dosing to the lowest level to turn off the control buttons.

Advantages
  • Perfect for soft water
  • Practical: all-in-one
  • Shiny dishes
Disadvantages
  • Rinse aid and salt effect weaker
  • Not suitable for hard water
  • Poor release of tab

Of course, it is also important to mention that it is generally practical to buy only one product. The multitabs take up less space instead of buying three different products.

The price comparison shows: the single filling with powder, salt and rinse aid is not much cheaper or more expensive than Multitabs. However, this depends on various factors. You can read more about price comparison in the guide part of this article.

Multitabs should perfectly replace salt, rinse aid and detergent. A tab should release the respective active ingredient at the optimal time during the rinse cycle. It is not uncommon for this not to work in practice and the desired effects become weaker.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate rinse aids

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible rinse aids.

The criteria you can use to compare rinse aids include:

  • Contents
  • Biodegradable
  • Chlorine-free
  • pH-neutral

In the following paragraphs, we will explain to you what is important in the individual criteria.

Content

You can usually buy a normal rinse aid in the range of 500 ml to 1150 ml. If you are looking for a rinse aid for the catering industry, there are of course also products with a larger content.

As already mentioned, the content of the rinse aid in single rinse aids is significantly larger than in multitabs. This means that a bottle of rinse aid will last longer at home, while you will have to buy the multitabs more often.

You should also be aware that if you buy rinse aid instead of multitabs, you will also have to buy salt and detergent separately. The total content of the products will then be larger, of course.

Biodegradable

Often the products you can buy in the drugstore or market are not environmentally friendly. In recent years, various organic products have come onto the market that are easily biodegradable.

In order to better understand how some of the ingredients break down in the waste water, it is important to first explain what the ingredients are in these rinse aids.

What are the ingredients of a rinse aid?

The usual ingredients of a rinse aid are:

  • Surfactants (5-30 %)
  • Preservative

Possibly:

  • Fragrances
  • Citric acid or lactic acid
  • Solvents
  • Solubiliser

What are the ingredients in an organic rinse aid?

There are several rinse aids that are organic, 100% biodegradable and/or vegan. Here you have an overview of which ingredients these products contain:

  • Sulfated castor oil (5-15 %)
  • Vegetable alcohol = ethanol (5-15 %)
  • Sugar tenside (1-5 %)
  • Balsamic additives (<1%)
  • Water, swirled ad 100%

Ethanol can be found in small quantities in nature. Its advantage is that it acts very quickly and is 100% degradable in water or carbon dioxide. According to OECD, sulphated castor oil, sugar surfactants and vegetable alcohol are considered easily biodegradable. This means that waste water is not polluted.

Chlorine-free

Some rinse aids and especially dishwashing detergents contain chlorine because it accelerates the effects of the agent. It is also particularly effective against coffee and tea stains. This is why rinse aids and cleaners containing chlorine are often used in the catering industry.

The main disadvantage of chlorine is that it should not be used with other cleaners, as dangerous gases can be released. In some cases, the dishes may also smell of chlorine after rinsing.

The usual rinse aids are usually chlorine-free. However, there are products that also contain chlorine to strengthen the agent.

Some products use chlorine, which intensifies the effect. (Image source: unsplash.com / Jasmin Schreiber)

pH-neutral

A common rinse aid has a very low pH because it contains surfactants and is therefore very acidic.

PH neutrality is a very important factor in our lives. The human body has pH 7.4, which is important to know especially for drinking water. When the blood becomes too acidic, calcium is broken down from the bones to balance the pH.

Of course, this is a factor that has little effect on drinking water or water residue on dishes. However, there are products on the market that take this aspect into account and have neutral pH values.

Similarly, pH is very important for agriculture. Soil that has too low or too high a pH value is not the optimal environment for plant cultivation. This also makes it important to be aware of what products we are flushing into the wastewater and how they affect the environment.

Facts worth knowing about rinse aid

The application: How and when should you refill a rinse aid?

Refilling the rinse aid is not complicated. In fact, it’s almost the same for every dishwasher.

Steps Application
Step 1 Open the door of the dishwasher. On the inside of the door are the dishwasher detergent and rinse aid containers.
Step 2 Open the rinse aid container. This usually has the symbol of a sun on the cap.
Step 3 Now you have access to the container. Don’t be confused if you don’t see it directly. It is usually very small. It’s right where the rinse aid dosage setting is. You can recognise it by a dial that is inside a number circle.
Step 4 Fill the rinse aid directly into this access until the container is full.

(Source: testsguide.de)

Depending on the brand of your machine, the compartment that is suitable for rinse aid will look different. However, there is a very simple help for this: there is a symbol with which this compartment is usually labelled. The rinse aid symbol looks a bit like a sun.

To give you a better idea of what it looks like, we have prepared a video with instructions on how to refill the rinse aid.

You always have the option of setting the exact amount of rinse aid to be used in a rinse cycle. This amount depends on the water hardness. You can usually find the correct setting in the manual that you received with the appliance.

This setting is located exactly where you can refill the rinse aid. You just have to turn the dial to the desired level.

Nowadays, almost every dishwasher has a built-in function to detect the lack of rinse aid or salt. There are usually special lights that light up when you need to refill the rinse aid.

As a rule, however, if you can still see streaks on the dishes after the rinse cycle, you have used too much rinse aid. On the other hand, if the dishes show limescale stains from the dishwasher, too little rinse aid has been used.

In general, the harder the water, the higher the amount of rinse aid needed.

Is rinse aid toxic?

This is a question often asked by consumers. Of course, like any chemical detergent, the rinse aid often contains substances that are not necessarily beneficial to health.

Nevertheless, all rinse aid residues are removed during each rinse cycle. Therefore, the use of rinse aid does not pose a health risk.

In any case, you should keep the rinse aid hidden from children and animals, just like other cleaning products.

Is rinse aid harmful to the environment?

As mentioned above, a rinse aid is a chemical that contains non-ionic surfactants. The ingredients of an inorganic rinse aid are not particularly environmentally friendly.

One could argue that since the agent is mixed with water, it is highly diluted and therefore no longer harmful to the environment.

Nevertheless, there are manufacturers who pay attention to this aspect of detergents and also sell rinse aids that are biodegradable.

You can read more about this in the buying criteria section under “biodegradable”.

What else can you use a rinse aid for?

Since the effects of rinse aid range from shining, drying, to limescale removal and streak removal, you can of course also use it as a good all-round detergent.

We have listed the most popular uses here:

  • Use rinse aid for window cleaning
  • Use rinse aid as a bathroom cleaner
  • Shining stainless steel surfaces with the help of rinse aid
  • Rinse aid as an agent against limescale

Here you have an example of a video where it is explained very simply how you can use your rinse aid to clean the ceramic hob or window or even the mirror.

Image source: unsplash.com / Michael Browning

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