How to Restore Cloudy Glassware


Hard water leaves calcium deposits on glassware. These deposits appear as a white, cloudy haze along glass rims and other surfaces. Softening your water won’t always prevent cloudy glassware issues; in some cases, it can make the problem worse, because the soft water may not remove all the dishwasher detergent. Detergent that is left behind can also leave a film on glassware, or even etch the glass over time. Remove the haze from your cloudy glassware immediately to avoid possibly compounding the problem through inattention.

Things You'll Need

  • Dishwasher rinse aid
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon
  • Fine sand
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Fill your dishwasher’s rinse aid reservoir with a dishwasher rinse aid or white household vinegar to reduce water-spotting-related cloudiness. White vinegar should also help remove calcium deposits. Load your cloudy dishes into the dishwasher and run the unit.

  • Attack cloudy glasses that remain cloudy with a more direct application of vinegar. Fill a small plastic tub with equal parts water and white vinegar. Place a piece of cloudy glassware into the tub, and let it soak for a few hours. Rinse the glass in clean water, and wipe it dry. Cut a lemon in half, and rub the exposed fruit along the surfaces of glassware that is still cloudy.

  • Add a few teaspoons of fine sand to the inside of the glassware. Fill the interior a quarter full with denatured alcohol. Gently swirl this mixture inside your glassware, and rinse.

Tips & Warnings

  • Load your dishwasher as directed by the manufacturer. Strong streams of water can flip over loosely placed glasses, and water and detergent will collect inside the cup during the cycle. The pooled liquid leaves a cloudy haze that remains after you pour away the water and detergent.
  • Your glassware’s cloudiness may be a result of etching instead of a film. Etching appears as the result of many tiny scratches, typically because of soap residue or glasses rubbing against each other during washing cycles. If your glasses are etched, you may not be able to restore them. Your best bet is to take your glassware to a glasshouse, where professionals can give them an acid bath.

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