Always Add This to Your Dishwasher Before You Run It

Learn how to prevent water spots on your dishes with this kitchen staple.

Do you ever open your dishwasher after it runs only to be disappointed? (Even when you load your dishwasher the right way.) It can be so frustrating when “clean” dishes are covered in water spots. But don’t rush out to buy a brand-new dishwasher yet. Learning how to prevent water spots will only take you about 30 seconds.

The secret is: plain old vinegar. You can use vinegar to clean your house, keep towels soft and fluffy, freshen up your coffeepot and make the microwave sparkle. Yes—it also removes water spots from your dishes!

Dirty And Clean Glass Cups On A Kitchen Sink. Broken Washing Machine Concept.Petr Svoboda/gettyimages

What Causes Water Spots?

The problem is most likely your water. Hard water has a high mineral content, and over time it causes build-up on your dishes (as well as your faucets, shower heads and bathroom tile). The long-term fix is to buy a water softener that will remove calcium from your water. Not everyone can afford a water softener. The good news is that vinegar is a much, much cheaper solution.

Why Does Vinegar Fix the Problem?

Common white vinegar is actually a mild acid. That’s exactly what you need to combat hard water! But unlike other store-bought cleaners and acids, it’s safe and non-toxic. Have we mentioned that it’s cheap? You can buy a gallon of store-brand vinegar for about $2. Compared to other dishwasher rinse aids, you’ll save a chunk of change.

Pro Tip: Because vinegar is an acid, don’t use it in the rinse aid compartment of your dishwasher. Vinegar can actually damage the rubber components of the machine, and leave you with a bigger problem than spotty dishes.

How to Prevent Water Spots With Vinegar

Fill a dishwasher-safe bowl with vinegar. Place the bowl on the top rack of your dishwasher. Then, run the dishwasher as usual. That’s it! Your plates, glasses and silverware will be squeaky clean without a spot in sight.

To make your dishes even cleaner, learn how to clean your dishwasher.

Erica Young
Erica is a cleaning and home décor expert. She knows exactly how to tidy a filthy kitchen and straighten out a mixed-up pantry! When she's not writing you'll find her organizing a closet, buying more bins she doesn't need or bingeing her latest TV show obsession.