How to Keep Glassware from Getting Etched in a Dishwasher


Etching on glassware from a dishwasher appears as fine scratches, a rainbow appearance or cloudiness on the glass itself. It may look dirty once this occurs. The quality of the glassware has nothing to do with its susceptibility to etching. The water temperature, hardness of the water and other actions cause the etching. You can take steps to prevent this from happening in the first place or to prevent it from worsening on glasses that are already etched.

  • Call the municipal water supply company in your town and ask what the water hardness is. If your water is hard or too soft, etching occurs more often.

  • Adjust your dishwasher detergent according to the directions on the detergent container pertaining to the hardness of the water. Typically, 1 tbsp. of detergent is necessary for 0 to 3 grains hardness, 2 tbsp. for 4 to 6 grains hardness, 3 tbsp. for 7 to 9 and 4 tbsp. for 10 to12 grains hardness or over.

  • Adjust the temperature of the water entering your dishwasher. To lessen your risk of etching, it needs to be approximately 140 degrees Fahrenheit according to the University of Nebraska. Do not use settings that increase the temperature of the water in the dishwasher.

  • Turn your dishwasher on the energy cycle if it has one. This setting does not use heat to dry the dishes.

  • Load the dishes and glasses directly into the dishwasher without rinsing them beforehand. Pre-rinsing them increases the alkaline content of the detergent.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have antique or other types of glasses with sentimental value, hand wash and dry them to ensure that they do not etch.

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  • Photo Credit Jessica Boone/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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