Can vinegar damage your dishwasher or washing machine
April 11, 2019

Does Vinegar Damage Rubber Seals?

On a regular basis, I get asked about using vinegar in dishwashers and washing machines. There are thousands anecdotes and testimonials from people all over the internet that have used vinegar in their rinse aid dispenser and fabric softener compartment for years (myself included). There are also (not as many) people on the other side of the fence that claim it ruins the rubber seals on the appliances. Many of these claims come from people who were told from appliance repairmen that vinegar damages rubber seals.
So is vinegar safe to use in your dishwasher or washing machine?
Here is what I found: 

It is safe for natural rubber seals and any parts made from polypropelene, silicone, fluorocarbon, and virgin Teflon, as well as butyl synthetic rubber seals.

I also know the pH of vinegar. Here is a pH scale for reference: 

pH Scale

Distilled white vinegar usually measures between 2.4-3.5 depending on the brand. Now if you look at commercial rinse aids, you will find that many of the brands' key ingredient for getting shiny spot-free dishes is citric acid. Citric acid measures pH 2.2 making it more acetic than vinegar. So how can this claim that vinegar ruins the seals in appliances be true? 

My thoughts? I'm glad you asked. Have you purchased a new dishwasher or washing machine in the past few years? Guess what comes with the new appliance? A complimentary sample bottle of blue rinse aid or fabric softener with a nice postcard advertisement that highly recommends you use this brand of blue rinse aid or cuddly fabric softener in their appliance. So that makes me wonder if it's all propaganda? Hmmmm. 

So this brings me back to the question: Does Vinegar Damage Rubber Seals? Maybe, but it seems unlikely. If you are unsure of the material of your rubber seals or you don't want to chance it, I recommend the following steps in your Dishwasher:

1. Place a small glass right-side up on the top rack of your dishwasher.

2. Fill it with a small amount of distilled white vinegar (1teaspoon to 2 tablespoons depending on the hardness of your water).

3. Run the dishwasher as usual. 

This process eliminates the possibility of vinegar sitting on the seals of your rinse aid dispenser. 

Alternatively, you can purchase our dishwasher powder detergent. It's free of synthetic ingredients, biodegradable and best of all it WORKS! Before committing, try our dishwasher powder sample pack - it's $5 and includes shipping (oh yeah!) and if the product doesn't work for you, just let us know and we'll refund you your $5! 


We also make a fantastic all natural laundry detergent soap... as in it's truly all natural. There is no SLS, no fragrance, no dye, nothing synthetic. Every single ingredient comes from our ground or grows on land.