eli5: How do products like Jet Dry work?

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eli5: How do products like Jet Dry work?

In: Chemistry

I don’t know the exact mechanism of jet dry, but a lot of drying products / hard water products include two things. First an acid to dissolve existing hard water build up. The second ingredient are molecules that bind to the hard water products and keep them from sticking to a surface. They might also include ingredients to speed evaporation.

They typically work by “wetting” the surface of the things you are washing (lowering the surface tension). Water stains happen because a drop of water “sticks” to the surface (doesn’t run or drip off) and evaporates there leaving behind all the minerals and gunk that was in the water. Using a wetting agent (rinse agent) causes all (or at least most) of the water to drip off, so it drys w/o evaporation (and then no water stains). It’s important for things like film developers (where I learned about it).