When you open your dishwasher to find a bunch of cloudy glasses, it can be a frustrating experience. You wash the dishes again and again, and the problem only seems to get worse over time.

In this post, we’ll explain why your dishes are cloudy, teach you how to get rid of it, and how to prevent it from happening in the future!

Why Are My Glasses Cloudy?

There are two reasons that dishes can be cloudy when coming out of the dishwasher: hard water and etching.

Hard water causes mineral deposits to build up on your glassware and dishes, causing them to appear cloudy. Hard water can also affect the performance of your dishwasher, making it harder for it to fully rinse the detergent off of your dishes.

The second reason that your glasses can be cloudy is due to tiny scratches on the glasses and dishes, called etching. This etching creates an effect similar to frosted glass, reducing its clarity. This is an issue because the damage done to the glass because of etching cannot be reversed.

If you are unsure if the problem is hard water or etching, then there is a way to test which one it is. To figure if it is etching or hard water, simply put the cloudy glass in vinegar and let it soak for a bit. If the vinegar gets rid of the cloudiness, then it is hard water. If it doesn’t you’re dealing with etching.

How to Remove Cloudiness from Your Glasses

To remove the cloudy residue from your glasses, you’ll want to soak them in vinegar. Just pour some white vinegar into a bowl, add the cloudy dishes, and let them sit for about 30 minutes. Afterward, rinse your glasses under warm water to remove all of the vinegar.

As mentioned before, if your dishes are cloudy because of etching and not hard water, there really isn’t anything that you can do to remove it, unfortunately.

How to Prevent Cloudy Dishes with Hard Water

If your glasses are cloudy because of hard water, there are a few things that you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.

  • Try using hot water when you wash dishes. The hot water can help rinse the residue off of the dishes better.
  • Add a rinse aid to your dishwasher before you run it. This can help rinse off any extra soap and prevent cloudiness or hard water buildup.
  • You could also treat the problem at the source and get a whole house water softener, which will fix not only the cloudiness in your dishes, but any other problems the hard water causes around your home.

How to Prevent Etching From Clouding Your Glasses

Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, etching will happen to your glasses over time through normal use. However, you can help prevent a lot of it if you’re careful about how you treat your glassware.

When loading the dishwasher, be gentle with your glasses and dishes. Make sure they aren’t rubbing together because this contact can cause grinding and scratching. Apply the same care when storing your glassware.


There are many things that can cause your dishware to become cloudy. Whether it’s hard water or etching, there are ways of dealing with the problem and preventing it from happening in the future!

how to prevent cloudy glasses in the dishwasher

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