How to Stop Dishwasher Glasses Going Cloudy

How can you stop glasses going cloudy in the dishwasher?

Going to get a clean glass out of the cupboard to find that it’s gone cloudy can be rather disappointing. While it may not be dirty, it definitely makes your drink that little bit less appealing.

Cloudy glasses are a common problem that most dishwasher owners have probably come up against, but why do glasses go cloudy in the first place and how can it be avoided?

Here we’re going to take a look at some of the common causes of cloudy glasses and the techniques that can be used to prevent it happening.

Why do glasses go cloudy in the dishwasher?

There are a few factors that could be contributing to cloudy glasses when washed in the dishwasher. The first thing to consider would be the hardness of the water in your area; if you’re in a hard water area the chances of limescale build up can be greater.

A great method to determine if the cloudiness is caused by limescale is to do the vinegar test: soak the offending glassware in a bowl of distilled vinegar for 15 minutes; if the glass is clear once removed, the cloudiness was due to limescale deposits. If however the glass remains cloudy, there could be another reason for the issue.

The next thing to consider would be the type and amount of detergent used. One of the key cleaning properties of dishwasher tablets is the abrasive qualities, which helps to remove dirt build-up and residue. While this can be perfect for crockery, cookware and cutlery, this abrasion can be detrimental to glassware over time and will effectively “etch” the glass, in much the same way in which frosted glass is produced.

The last thing that may be affecting your glassware is debris build up in your dishwasher – over time it’s not uncommon for a small amount of residue to remain rather than be washed away with the rest of the waste. If this is the case it will re-enter the flow of clean water and it can have the same damaging effect as dishwasher tablets can have.

How can you stop glasses from going cloudy in the dishwasher?

Along with the potential problems, there are also solutions. The first thing we mentioned was limescale and the inevitability of it when living in a hard water area. The best thing to do in this circumstance would be to use dishwasher salts. Adding salt to each wash will react with the calcium particles that form limescale to soften the water. However you don’t need to be too liberal with dishwasher salts as this could have the same abrasive effect that dishwasher tablets can have.

Another thing that can be done to help reduce limescale is to run your hot water tap (or cold tap if your dishwasher is cold feed only) for a few minutes. This will remove any limescale build up in the pipework, preventing it going into your dishwasher.

Talking of dishwasher tablets, the simplest solution would be to replace the tablets with a liquid detergent or gel tablets. However there are certain things to take into account when using liquid and gel detergents. Due to their liquid state, it’s not possible to have the same ingredients that tablets do, namely bleach and enzymes -it’s usually one or the other.

Bleach is good for removing stains and enzymes help to remove starchy stuck on food. As these may seem like the best solution for eliminating abrasive marks on your glassware, they may not be the most effective when it comes to removing food and drink stains and heavy food build up. As such, these types of detergents are probably best reserved for a glassware wash only.

If your dishwasher has a build-up of debris that is causing you issues, the best thing to do would be to let your dishwasher run a cycle without anything in it (a hot wash with dishwasher tablet should do the trick). You should also remove and clean the food trap periodically; this will prevent any food debris from entering a cycle, as well as help with the efficiency of your machine.

We would also recommend that you avoid putting your most expensive glassware in the dishwasher all together to avoid any issues – particularly if you have lead crystal glasses. The lead within the glass can react with the phosphates in the detergent, causing irreparable damage.

A cheap and effective way to clean glasses without using a dishwasher is with a cut lemon in a bowl of water. Leave them in for around ten minutes and they’ll come out sparkling clean. This also makes a great prewash before you put them in the dishwasher, reducing the need for a harsh wash.

Say goodbye to cloudy glasses

There are a variety of different reasons why glasses may start to go cloudy when washed in a dishwasher. Determining the cause of the cloudiness and then taking preventative steps will not only save your glasses but may help your dishwasher too!

Need more information on dishwashers, try our handy guide:

What to look for in a dishwasher
How to stop glasses going cloudy
Should you buy a dishwasher? 

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