Dishwasher Damage to Glassware

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Dishwashers save you time and effort in the kitchen, but those benefits are quickly negated if the machine damages your glassware in the process. Learn how to identify, troubleshoot and also prevent damage to your glass dishes, cups and stemware so you can enjoy your lightened domestic workload without worry.


If your glassware comes out of the dishwasher covered in a white, barely transparent film, you have a cloudiness issue. One or several factors typically contribute to glassware's foggy condition, including hard water, too low water temperature, old detergent and insufficient amounts of detergent. Remove the cloudy film by soaking the glass object in white vinegar, undiluted, for at least five minutes. To prevent future filming, first find out your water's hardness level. Your local water utility company can probably provide details about hardness levels in your area. You'll get the information in grains. Hard water is 10 to 12 grains, medium water is 4 to 9 grains and soft water is 3 grains or lower. Always use a teaspoon of detergent for each grain of hardness: if your water's hardness level is 12 grains, use 12 teaspoons of detergent in each load. If this doesn't fix the problem, try a new brand of detergent or add a rinse aid. You may also need to adjust your water heater's temperature so it delivers water to your dishwasher at the appropriate temperature, 140 degree Fahrenheit. If all these efforts fail, you might need to install a water softener. This is typically the case for water hardness levels at 15 grains or above.


Cloudiness is marked by a white haze, but if your glassware instead shows a coloured haze, you have an etching problem. Etched glassware usually looks pearlescent pink, brown or blue, and, unfortunately, is permanent. Too hot temperatures or too much detergent with soft water sometimes create a pitted, hazy surface on your glassware. Like with a cloudiness issue, your first preventive step is to evaluate your water's hardness levels. Soft water (0 to 3 grains) requires very little detergent; use the same formula of one teaspoon of detergent for every grain of hardness. Concentrated detergent requires only a half teaspoon for every grain. Adjust your water heater's settings so the water reaches only as high as 140 degree Fahrenheit.

Chipping and Breakage

Once a glass dish is chipped or broken, you can't repair it. For this type of damage, like etching, the only cure is prevention. Avoid overloading dishes; generally, you can load dishes close enough together to touch, but with delicate glassware, always leave some space between each object. Load glassware, especially thin and delicate glass dishes or cups, onto the top rack. If you want to wash a load full of glasses and stemware, you can load them into the bottom rack as long as your machine has an option for a stemware cycle. Gently push the top rack into the dishwasher to check if the glassware will clear the top of the machine's inside tub. If you see or feel any resistance, stop pushing and examine the top rack to find the obstruction. Check just below the rack to make sure none of your wineglasses' stems are poking through the rack's spaces. Reposition your dishes or glasses until you can push the rack

Types of Glass to Leave Out of the Dishwasher

According to a University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension article titled "Care and Display of Glassware," some of your glassware should never even make it inside the dishwasher in the first place. You should wash any crystal, milk glass, decorated, collectable, antique or otherwise valuable glassware by hand to avoid damaging them. The article explains that it's difficult to predict how your dishwasher's high temperatures and your detergent's ingredients will react with older and more valuable glassware. When in doubt, don't take a chance. Wash by hand any glassware you couldn't inexpensively replace.

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