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How to Clean Cloudy Glasses & Glassware

If your glasses are looking cloudy, even after washing, we've got the answer! Read to find out how to clean cloudy glassware & get your glasses sparkling again.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

A slection of glasses, read on to learn how to remove hard water stains from glass

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 glass certainly isn’t difficult or time consuming, but you do need to know the best techniques and products to see the best results.

When using Sunlight washing up liquid for cleaning cloudy glasses, be sure to scrub both the inside and outside – 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 Glass?

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 Glass 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 glass 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 you’ll need is 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.

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As a very, very mild abrasive, 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 glass cleaning 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 glassware. The method is simple, and it’ll take you no time at all. Simply fill a bowl with white vinegar, dip your glasses in for a few seconds, and remove. Finally, rinse the glass under fresh, cold water to remove any lingering vinegar smell.


Once you’ve got all your cloudy glassware looking crystal clear once more, you may find it beneficial to keep up with regular maintenance that will slow down the rate at which your glassware becomes dull. If you hand wash your dishes, add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to your washing up bowl (alongside a good quality dishwashing detergent like Sunlight), 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 help to prevent dullness from building up.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions on cleaning cloudy glass and glassware

How do you clean a cloudy glass table top?

There are only a few steps needed to learn how to clean a cloudy glass tabletop. First, mix up a homemade cleaning solution. We recommend 1 cup of warm water, 1 cup of rubbing alcohol, and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Add this solution to a spray bottle and apply liberally over the surface of your glass tabletop. Finally, use a soft cloth such as a microfiber cloth to wipe the surface clean.

How do you clean cloudy plastic?

If you want to learn how to clean cloudy plastic, we've got you covered. We recommend using a non-gel toothpaste and a clean, soft cloth. Simply rub the toothpaste over the cloudy surface working in a circular motion. To ‘rinse’ the surface clean, use a second, clean cloth damp with fresh, warm water to wipe away the toothpaste. This process removes any residue that could be causing the cloudy look.

How do you clean eyeglasses that are cloudy?

Wondering how to clean eyeglasses that are cloudy? Did you know that dish soap could be the product you need? Here’s some simple tips for how to use it. First, rinse your glasses using cold water. Next, rub a mild dish soap over the surface of the lenses. Turn the tap back on to create a gentle, continuous stream of water which you can use to gently rinse the dish soap away from your glasses. Finally, use a soft lens cloth to gently buff your glasses dry.

Why do glasses get cloudy in a cabinet?

Cloudy glass with its unwanted foggy appearance is frustrating, but did you know there could be a number of reasons for cloudiness appearing in the cupboard? Small particles from smoke while cooking in the kitchen can deposit themselves on your glassware, as can dust. If could also be caused by a process called ‘crizzling’, where an alkali such as mineral deposits are left behind by hard water and can result in cloudy glassware. Whatever the cause, it is simple to fix, so follow our steps to have fog-free glass in no time.

Originally published