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How to Clean Cloudy Glasses & Glassware

Are your glasses looking cloudy even after the dishwasher? This guide is for you – it includes helpful advice on how to clean dull & dirty looking glassware.


How to Clean Cloudy Glassware
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Have you ever opened your dishwasher after a cycle and noticed that your glassware looks dirtier than when it went in? You’ve got a classic case of ‘cloudy glass’. Luckily for you, it’s not serious, and with a little attention it should clear up in no time. Cleaning cloudy glassware certainly isn’t difficult or time consuming, but you do need to know the best techniques and products to see the best results.

When cleaning cloudy glassware, be sure to scrub both inside and out – it may look like the grubby film of cloud is inside the glass, but it might actually be on the outside!

Why Do I Have Cloudy Glasses?

There are two main reasons why you might find that your glasses look cloudy when they’ve been in the dishwasher. First – etching. Etching is when parts of the glass are worn down, and this can happen due to regular use, being washed, being handled… anything. However, you tend to know when it’s etching. Etching doesn’t happen overnight, so you’ll slowly start to notice small areas of your glassware that are beginning to look a bit dull quite gradually. Unfortunately, etching is a problem that can’t be fixed easily.

However, if your glasses are clouding quickly, then it’s unlikely to be etching – it’s much more likely to be hard water deposits. Hard water contains a high level of natural minerals which can sometimes deposit themselves on your dishes. Soap cannot foam as well in hard water, so these deposits aren’t always cleaned off completely, leaving your glasses looking a little dull and lifeless.

How to Clean Cloudy Wine Glasses with Natural Products

The good news is that if your cloudy glasses are the result of hard water, then they’re very easy to clean, and you don’t need to spend your life savings on specialist cleaning products, either. There are two natural cleaning products you’ve probably already got in your home that will work wonders and brighten your glassware up to leave it looking sparkling and new.


We’re not interested in any fancy whitening pastes, tartar control concoctions, or colourful gels – what we want here is the good old basic white toothpaste. Spread some onto your glasses (inside and out) then use an old clean toothbrush (or any old brush with stiff bristles) to scrub away at the toothpaste, smearing it all across the glass.

As a very, very mild abrasive (don’t forget – this stuff is safe for the enamel on your teeth), toothpaste gently removes that cloudy film while not doing any damage to your glassware, so you can even use this method for fragile crystal. The downside of this method is that it does take a little bit of elbow grease. For a much easier and quicker way to get your glassware looking clean, try the method below.


White vinegar really is a cleaning essential – it works on anything and everything including dirty pots and pans, smeared windows, and yes, even cloudy glasses. The method is simple, and it’ll take you no time at all. Simply fill a bowl with white vinegar (not malt vinegar), dip your glasses in for a few seconds, and remove – et voila, clean glasses. Now, there is one slight problem here, and that’s the smell. Vinegar has a very strong smell (and an even stronger taste) so how do you remove the odours? Fortunately, it’ll do most of the hard work itself – as the vinegar evaporates as it dries, the smell will start to disappear. You can give it a helping hand, however, by rinsing the glass under fresh, cold water.


Once you’ve finished cleaning cloudy glassware, you may find it beneficial to keep up with regular maintenance to slow down the rate at which your glassware becomes dull again. If you hand wash your dishes, add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to your washing up bowl, and if you use a dishwasher, add vinegar to the rinse compartment (the place where you usually put your rinse aid). While this won’t stop your glasses becoming clouded completely, it will reduce the amount of cloudiness, and it should take longer for that dullness to build up.

Once you know how to clean cloudy glassware properly, it’ll be easy to keep your crystal wine glasses in mint condition!

Originally published