On face value, this sounds like a fairly ridiculous question. After all, the reason you put dirty glasses into the dishwasher is to get them clean, isn’t it?

Well, yes.

But the big problem with this is that glasses often come out after a wash looking less than sparkling and a bit sorry for themselves. Frequently, they seem to be left with a cloudy appearance, which is disappointing. 

Serving tumblers of water or glasses of wine in stained glasses is not the look you are after having been through a thorough wash. The more you put them in the dishwashers, the cloudier they seem to end up! 

If you find this is happening to you, you certainly aren’t alone. It’s a common problem. 

Other than wiping the stains away with a dry tea towel or piece of kitchen paper (neither of these work 100%), what can you do to your dishwasher to ensure it cleans those glasses the way you want them? 

What is the cause of cloudy glassware? 

The main root of the problem is hard water. If you have hard water coming through your mains supply – and, if you haven’t got a water softener installed, the chances are your water supply will be hard – there is a certain inevitability that your glassware will become cloudier with every exposure to the dishwasher.  

Why does hard water make glassware cloudy?

It is mineral deposits which make the water hard and these show up in the form of limescale on glassware. This can either appear as white speckles, cloudy marks or smudges. You’ll find the same thing happens with kitchen and bathroom surfaces, plus household appliances. Wherever hard water is present, limescale leaves a residue.  

Unfortunately, for those living in hard water areas, as is the case throughout large parts of East and West Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, these issues tend to be a recurring theme for thousands of households across the region.  

How to prevent cloudy glasses

Your dishwasher is faced with a constant battle to reduce the effects of hard water. The solution is to provide plenty of TLC for the appliance, to ensure it stays in tip top working condition.  

Firstly, it’s recommended that you keep the levels of salt and rinse aid regularly topped up in the machine. Or use an all-in-one product. Often, dishwashers will flag up messages about adding salt and it’s worth taking notice of these. Salt is good at softening water and it will go a long way in preventing those cloudy deposits from showing up. 

For double effectiveness, a good quality rinse aid will also help ensure that glassware retains a brilliant, sparking clean appearance – precisely what you’d expect from your dishwasher.    

Secondly, whilst limescale is the number one cause of stained glasses, it’s also fair to say that there is plenty of other grease and grime time emanating from plates, dishes, saucepans and cutlery that your dishwasher is constantly having to deal with. These can easily find its way onto any glasses you’ve stacked in the machine. For this reason, a regular monthly use of dishwasher cleaner will help flush all this detritus away and offer a further layer of protection for the glasses. 

Adjusting the settings on your dishwasher 

Depending on what type of dishwasher you have, it may be possible to alter the cleaning cycle. Indeed, some appliances include a specific dishwasher cycle for glassware. As an alternative, you might be able to manually adjust the temperature to a cooler wash. You are less likely to get clouding on glasses on a lower temperature.   

Tips for keeping your dishwasher from discolouring glassware

Discolouration is another potential problem as far as glassware is concerned. Prevention is better than cure and there are a few things you can do to stop staining from setting in. 

  1. Not all glasses are suitable for dishwashers. If you are intending to clean glasses in the appliance, make sure they are safe for dishwasher use. 
  2. At the end of the dishwasher cycle, open the door to let out all that excess heat build-up. The quicker the glasses can be exposed to air, the better. Leave them to gently cool down before removing them. 
  3. A good quality dishwasher detergent will also prolong the life of your glassware.  
  4. Load glasses on the top rack of the dishwasher – and well away from food caked, grimy dishes.  

What’s the best way to stack glasses in the dishwasher? (not wishing to teach granny how to suck eggs😊) 

Should glasses be stacked upside down or the right way up? The best advice is to put them in face downwards on the top deck (if there is one). This prevents any unwanted water or other detritus thrown up by the dishwasher from collecting in the glass. With more fragile glasses, make sure they are stacked slightly apart, to avoid knocking into each other and potentially cracking. 

Keeping glassware clean is easier with softened water 

Of course, you can prevent hard water mineral deposits from showing up in the first place by having a water softener fitted. Cleaner dishwashers are just one of the many lifestyle benefits that can be gained by having a soft water system in your home. 

Now, that’s definitely worth raising a clean glass to. 

Scott Jenkins Water Softeners are one of the leading water softener companies in the south of England – with particular focus on West and East Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey. For further enquiries about water softener products, installation and maintenance, contact SJ Water Softeners on 01243 607494 or email: scott@sjbs.info  

Head here for an instant water softener quote.