Most crystal glassware is meant to stay sparkling and clear, but true crystal can encounter difficulties that many types of glassware today do not struggle with. Over time, crystal can become clouded over, indicating deposits that can ruin the look and feel of the glass. Strong chemicals should never be used to attack these deposits because pure bleach, ammonia or acids also will damage the crystal itself. Instead, stick with more simple cleaners, and use both time and care.
If crystal glassware is properly taken care of, then it should not develop any kind of cloudiness. Sometimes, though, it is difficult to treat crystal glasses differently constantly, or the glasses may have been inherited from someone who did not take care of them. Crystal always should be washed by hand, in running lukewarm water with a gentle cleanser and a soft cloth for wiping.
If the crystal is cloudy, it almost always means it was washed in water that was too hot, especially water from a dishwasher, which can be dangerous for crystal. If the hot water used in washing is "hard," or has particles of lime, rust or calcium in it, then these particles are baked into the crystal, leaving a whitish film that can build up over years and be very difficult to remove.
Because strong cleaners may damage the crystal as much as the deposits, it is better to use a gentle cleaner and let the crystal glasses sit. Several different types of cleaners can be used, as long as they are properly diluted. Cleaners that claim soft scrub properties with bleach added are generally good to use. Glasses can be filled with the cleaner and left to sit for several hours before rinsing. When applying the cleaner or rinsing the crystal, use a soft and non-abrasive cloth.
The packaged cleaner CLR also has similar properties, and some people even prefer the homemade method of mixing a little vinegar into water and washing the crystal that way. The acid effects of the vinegar can eat through many of the recent deposit films. If the films are especially tough, or the crystal is a thick type of glass such as a decanter and has hard-to-reach places, then the cleaner can be mixed with crushed ice and swirled around in the bottom of the crystal before being allowed to sit through the night.
It should be noted that some types of crystal ware are cloudy because the glass is "sick" or suffers from minuscule fractures inside and out. These glasses cannot be cleaned or repaired. At times, the deposits also sink into the crystal and are irremovable from the outside.
In order to prevent further damage to the crystal, glasses should be stored in a cool, dry area in their upright position. Crystal tends to expand in heat and moisture, which is bad for the glasses and can lead to fractures if the glasses are kept too close together.
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