How to clean cloudy glass? The answer begins with understanding how foggy glasses got that way: Usually a scratch-causing combination of water, detergent and you.
Let's start with the water. It is usually softened to make soaps clean better. And dishwasher water is heated to 140 degrees to further increase its cleaning power.
Then there's the dishwashing detergent. It's packed with phosphates to boost cleaning power.
And then there is you and me - the user who dutifully rinses dishes before loading the dishwasher. The combination packs an almost too-powerful cleaning punch that often leaves glasses looking worse for wear. These 3 tips can help clarify the problem and provide solutions for the best way to clean cloudy glass.
When the dishwasher runs, things get hot inside. Without hard-water minerals to act on, and little food waste to occupy them, the helpful phosphates in your dishwashing detergent turn into troublemakers for glassware.
At the end of the cycle - or combination of months of cycles - you up with foggy glasses that no amount of cleaning can coax away.
A magnifying glass, however, would reveal the truth - your glasses aren't the least bit dirty or fogged with a film. In fact, they're so clean as to be etched - as in the surface is scratched.
To determine whether you're dealing with simple water stains on glasses, hard water deposits, or etching, drop a bit of vinegar onto the foggy glasses. Rub it around with your finger. Drain the vinegar; let dry.
If the rubbed area dries clear, it's a film - and you can clean these water stains on glasses. If there's no change, however, your glassware has been irreversibly etched and the damage is permanent.
The most common culprit for water stains on glasses is hard-water drops of calcium and magnesium repeatedly drying into place in the dishwasher, and not using enough dishwasher detergent.
To clean hard water stains from glass, add an acidic rinse (such as white vinegar) to your dishwasher and rewash the foggy glasses. Be sure to check your dishwasher's instructions for the right amount to use. Cleaning glasses with vinegar by hand is probably the best way to clean cloudy glass.
You can also simply use less of your favorite dishwasher detergent. Then give it something to act on - skip the rinsing before you pop that plate into the dishwasher.
You can help prevent future etched glassware by: