Cleaning Cloudy Crystal

Discovering a cloudy or milky film on your crystal glass is frustrating, to say the least.

How did it get this way? How do you clean it? There are three possible causes.

And, yes, the cloudy or milky film can usually be removed.

With one exception: etched glassware.  

When crystal glass appears iridescent when held up to the light, or has a frosted appearance, that's etching. And the damage, unfortunately, is permanent.

the 3 causes of etched glassware:

  • Hard water and not enough detergent. This combination allows hard water minerals to adhere to the glassware surface, creating the cloudy, milky film you see. Food particles that aren't rinsed away during the dishwasher cycle can also cause glasses to cloud.
  • No Rinse Aid. Your dishwasher has a rinse aid dispenser for a reason - you need it to help your detergent wash away the food particles after cleaning. Otherwise, they're apt to hang out on your glasses and dishes.
  • The Water Needs to be Hotter. When the wash cycle begins, the water temperature should enter the dishwasher at  140 degrees F to help your detergent and machine do their jobs.



How to Clean Cloudy Glassware:

Before cleaning your glassware, be sure to remove your rings, and turn the faucet aside so you'll avoid chipping the glass during the crystal cleaning process.

After all, you really don't need to add a chipped glass problem to your to-do list today.

1. soak glassess in a sink full of white vinegar.

Soak your glasses in a sink full of undiluted white vinegar for 30 minutes.

2. rinse under cool, running water.

Rinse the vinegar away under cool, running water. Buff dry with a clean, lint-free cloth.

3. if any cloudiness remains...

If any cloudiness remains, wash the glasses again, this time in a sinkful of warm water with a healthy amount of dishwashing detergent. (Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from the strong detergent for this one.)





4. rinse and dry.

Thoroughly rinse the detergent solution from the glass under cool, running water. Dry with a lint-free cloth.

How to Prevent future Etched glassware:

You can help prevent future etched glassware by:

  • Increasing the temperature of the water entering the dishwasher to 140 degrees F.
  • Use the no heat Energy Saver dry cycle.
  • Adjusting the amount of dishwashing detergent you use according to the hardness of the water.
  • Let the detergent do its job unaided: Refrain from pre-rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. This not only saves water, it gives your detergent what it needs to be effective: Food to remove. Without it, the alkaline concentration of your detergent increases, which is bad news for your glasses.









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About the Author

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.