Dish Care: How to Prevent Cloudy Glassware

When you run your dishwasher, you expect that your dishware will come out sparkling clean. But what happens when you open the door at the end of the cycle and find spotted, dull, and dirty-looking glasses? Washing your dishes over and over again is costly, wasteful, and time consuming—no one wants that, so we have collected our favorite tips and tricks to prevent cloudy dishware.


First, what causes cloudiness even after washing?

There are several factors that could be contributing to this common problem. Hard water, too low of water temperature, too little or too much detergent, and even lack of food residue are just some of the causes.



Hard water can leave mineral deposits behind, leaving your dishes looking lackluster. Don’t know if hard water is the issue? Rub white vinegar on a glass that has been affected—if it removes the cloudiness, hard water is your culprit.


An abundance of calcium and magnesium is what makes your water “hard”. Detergents that contain sodium carbonate (or washing soda) exchange these hard minerals with sodium, softening the water and making it easier for the detergent to do its job without leaving behind any yucky film.



According to GE, the ideal water temperature for a dishwasher is between 120° and 150° Fahrenheit. Many times when the water is too cold, it will not dissolve the dish detergent properly, leaving a filmy residue behind on your “clean” dishes.


To check your water temperature, GE suggests turning on the faucet nearest your dishwasher, and letting the water run into a glass for at least one minute. Submerge a candy or meat thermometer into the water to test its temperature. If the water is not hot enough, you may need to adjust your water heater.

If you are hand-washing your dishes, make sure the water is hot enough to clean the dishes—but not so hot that it hurts your hands. Housekeeping expert, Sarah Aguirre, says your hands probably can’t tolerate water that is over 110° Fahrenheit. She suggests using rubber or latex dishwashing gloves to protect your skin.



Determining how much dishwasher detergent to use can be a complicated process, especially when trying to get your dishes sparkling clean. Too much will leave you with cloudy glasses, but too little will leave you with dirty ones.


Try using pre-measured dishwasher detergent pacs! These little pouches dissolve completely in both standard and European automatic dishwashers, and they are the perfect amount of power to keep your dishes clean and super shiny. They even protect glasses against etching, which happens frequently if you’re using too much detergent.



Did you know that prewashing your dishes can actually make them look dirtier after a cycle in the dishwasher? Dishwashing detergent attacks food particles, so when there isn’t enough in those “dirty” dishes, the detergent ends up scrubbing away at your clean glasses, making them cloudy.


Dishwasher detergents are made to be able to remove all the grime, grease, and stuck-on food from your dishes, so let them do their job! It’s okay to rinse big chunks of food off your dishes before loading up the dishwasher—but for your dishes to really shine, leave a little behind.

Happy Washing!