It’s off-putting to grab a glass from the cupboard and find it’s cloudy and covered in smudges. You may set it aside to be rewashed, but when glass after glass turns out the same, you know something isn’t quite right. But before you go out and buy a whole new set of glassware, let’s investigate what’s causing the cloudiness, what steps you can take to resolve the issue, and how to get the sparkle back in those glasses.
Learning how to clean cloudy glassware is useful, but it won’t solve the problem. If you can’t identify what’s making your glasses appear foggy, you’ll keep investing more time and effort to get them clean. Here are the common reasons why your glasses may be coming out clear:
Cloudiness from hard water. A common culprit for cloudy glasses is hard water, which has calcium and magnesium ions that cling to the glass. This issue is most common in households that use well water without a water softening system.
Cloudiness that’s etched in. The hot water and harsh jets in dishwashers can cause the minerals in the water to etch into the surface of glassware, making it permanently cloudy. Keep reading to find out how to test for this.
Film from chemical reactions. Dishes may develop a filmy coating when minerals in the water react with food particles, such as the proteins in meat, eggs, or dairy. This problem can occur whether you hand-wash the dishes or use the dishwasher.
Film from dishwasher buildup. Your cloudy glasses could also be caused by using too much detergent or mineral buildup in the appliance. Detergent film on dishes is easily cleaned, but mineral buildup can etch glass. With the tips shared later in this article, both issues can be prevented.
Before you start, you can test if the dish is temporarily cloudy or permanently etched: Drip a few drops of distilled vinegar on the glass, and wipe it dry. If the cloudiness remains after the glass has fully dried, the glass is etched and may need to be replaced.
If the glass remains clear in the tested area, you can resolve any cloudiness issues with the following steps:
Fill a bowl or sink with white vinegar, and submerge the glass in it for at least 15 minutes. If there’s not enough vinegar to cover the glass, rotate the dishes so each side gets 15 minutes of exposure.
Hand-wash the glass with dish detergent, warm water, and a soft sponge.
Rinse the glass in warm-to-cool water—not icy-cold!
Finish by drying with a soft cloth. If you allow the glass to air-dry, you may see water stains.
Your glasses should really shine after that simple process!
Related Topic: How to Clean a Glass-Top Range
To prevent cloudy glasses in the future, here are some steps you can take:
Install a water softening system. Wash all your concerns down the drain by having a water softening system installed by our friends at Mr. Rooter Plumbing. This will reduce the minerals in water that can fog up or etch glass dishes.
Pre-rinse. Before you use your dishwasher—particularly for glassware that contains dairy products—rinse off the protein that could latch to other minerals and stick to your glasses during the heat cycle of the dishwasher.
Use the correct amount of detergent. Use the correct amount of detergent. To avoid detergent buildup in the appliance and on your dishes, check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the right type and amount of dishwashing detergent.
Avoid extreme water temperatures. Too much heat can make food proteins bind with minerals in the water and leave an ugly film behind. Water that’s too cold leaves the dishes with grease smudges.
Clean your dishwasher frequently. Buildup from minerals or detergent can leave residue on your appliance that transfers to dishes. Regularly cleaning your dishwasher can help minimize cloudy glasses.
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