how to clean cloudy glass

How to clean cloudy glass? The answer begins with understanding the cause of your foggy glasses: 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.

 Determining the Cause of 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 cleaning 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 Best Way to Clean Cloudy Glasses with Water Deposits

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.

The best performing low phosphate detergents include Finish Powerball Tabs, Cascade Complete All-in-1 Actionpacs, and Cascade Complete All-in-1 Gel Dishwasher Detergent with Bleach Hydroclean Action.

You can also give Restaurant Crystal Clean: Professional Wine Glass Cleaner and Crystal Cleaning Liquid a try; it works wonders on removing glass clouding and reducing soap scum - no soaking required.

  How to Prevent Future Water Stains on Glass

You can help prevent future etched glassware by:

  • Increasing the temperature of the water entering the dishwasher to 140 degrees F.
  • Using the no-heat, energy-saver dry cycle.
  • Adjusting the amount of dishwashing detergent you use according to the hardness of the water.
  • Letting 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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