Friday, September 9, 2011

What Is A Rinse Agent And Will Green Apple Vinegar Be Enough For You?

The Good: Cleans glass and freshens dishwasher, Lasts a long time, Decent scent
The Bad: Scent does not endure/matter, EXPENSIVE!
The Basics: An intriguing scent sells this rinse agent which does what it is supposed to, then disappears.

[Note: This review was written back in the day when I still had my house; nothing has changed with the product, nor my current relationship! Enjoy!]

A few weeks back, when I started my new night job and decided I actually wanted to eat healthy and bring my own meals and dishes, I began to notice that my dishwasher began to smell a little funky. Now, by "a little funky," I mean when I opened the dishwasher pretty much any time save within twenty-four hours of running a load of dishes, I smelled a yeasty smell that might indicate something as terrible as mold. No, I am not a slob living in my own filth and if there is any mold, it is somewhere down in the drain or beyond my ability to see (mold doesn't have cloaking technology, right?). I am a single person who only generates enough dishes to fill a dishwasher about once every eight days. That means sometimes I have dishes sitting in the washer for a week and that is where I suspect the smell comes from. Mentioning this to a friend, they recommended I use a rinse agent.

Rinse agents, for those not fluent in the lingo (hey, I'm still learning dishwasher jargon, so this is new to me, too!) are a fluid or gel used in automatic dishwashers that have a slow release. The stated use of a rinse agent is to dissolve the last bits of matter or detergent left on glassware and make it sparkle. Like using aspirin to prevent heart attacks, rinse agents have a secondary use and that is that they are what cleans the dishwasher. I have a pretty incredible dishwasher (reviewed here!) and like many dishwashers, the manual explicitly states not to clean it with bleach (it denatures the plastics in the frame). Jet-Dry seemed to be the right product to start with to attack my mealy scented dishwasher.

I chose Jet-Dry Green Apple Vinegar because I like scented cleaners and I'm getting pretty tired of lemon (my dish detergent is lemon-scented). The 8.45 Fl. Oz. bottle of Green Apple Vinegar was an exorbitant $4.99 on sale! I decided the moment I shelled out that price for it that if I was not completely satisfied I was going to write a nasty little letter to Reckitt Benckiser, Inc. However, after a few weeks of use it's hard to deny that this product works.

Using a rinse agent is a simple, thoughtless process. Virtually every dishwasher has a compartment for rinse agents. Usually, there is a reservoir where one must twist something off and then pour the rinse agent in. In my dishwasher, the reservoir is a small compartment with a twist-top that is little wider than the top to the Jet-Dry bottle. Fortunately, the flip-top lid has a small hole that allows one to open it up and squirt the Green Apple Vinegar rinse agent right into the reservoir opening.

My first fill of the reservoir used half a bottle of Jet-Dry and that was when I began to freak out. This stuff is not cheap and while the dishwasher uses very little of it at a time, I became concerned with how much it was consuming. After a month of use, I refilled the reservoir, though and the refill required less than a tenth of what was left in the bottle! My instant reaction faded to one of feeling impressed.

So, how does it work? I've no idea. None what so ever. I put the rinse agent in, it is discreetly added to the mix at some point and I have to refill the reservoir from time to time. For all I know this is magic elves that expand with steam and scrub the crap off my glasses and dishwasher to leave it smelling clean.

The scent to Green Apple vinegar is distinctly green apple and - mercifully! - not even a hint of vinegar. This is the fairly generic, mass produced apple scent but somehow it does manage to capture the essence of being a green apple. Coming out of the bottle, it smells good. Here's the thing, though: once it is in the reservoir, there is no scent. It is sealed up, out of sight, out of mind, out of nose. When the dishwasher runs, no scent.

And when one opens up the dishwasher after it is run: no scent.

The whole point of Green Apple Vinegar appears to be to sell the product at the consumer stage and not actually offer any benefit during the process of it working. That's fine, but if one is hoping that their house might smell like green apples every time they run the dishwasher or that the dishwasher might keep a fruity smell, they are in for an unpleasant surprise. The scent washes away with the dishwater.

The plus sides to this are that it works and it does not change the taste of any food or drink that they are used on. First, the dishes do come out truly spotless. I have a great dishwasher that I'm convinced I could put sand in instead of detergent and it would make the dishes clean (I'm truly that happy with my dishwasher!) and I've not actually ever had a real problem with spots on glasses, but I have noticed in the past few weeks that none of the glasses have even tiny spots on them. Nothing. It does exactly what it promises as far as eliminating spots on glasses (and silverware, I've found!). For its secondary purpose - cleaning my dishwasher - it seems to be doing that. From the very first wash using the Green Apple Vinegar Jet-Dry there has been no scent. No apple, no mold. I can live with the former because the latter is true. My dishwasher is now odorless and it's hard to complain about that.

I was concerned with picking a scent as bold as Green Apple Vinegar that it might leave some form of residue that could alter the way food or drink tastes after being cleaned using this. That was absolutely not the case and there appears to be no residue, no remnant of the rinse agent and food has not in any way been altered in taste after being placed on dishes cleaned with this product.

It is, however, still ridiculously expensive for what it is. It might be more necessary in places where there is hard or sulfurous water (I have neither) but unless your dishes or dishwasher are beginning to smell funky it's hard to say this is a necessity. It does manage to do exactly what it promises, no more, no less, so if you need a rinse agent, it's hard to go wrong with this one.

For other cleaners or cleansers, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Lysol All Purpose Cleaner With Bleach
Jet Dry Turbo
Renuzit Aroma Adjustables Apple & Cinnamon


For other home and garden product reviews, please visit my index page!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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