01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

Clouding of glasses in the dishwasher


Continuing the discussion from Jancis Robinson launches: Does anyone have a reliable answer to the problem of clouding of glasses when washed in a dishwasher? Over many years, we’ve had glasses at all price points and they’ve all suffered from this problem. I really dislike having to wash glasses by hand, especially since experiencing a severe cut in my hand (requiring stitches) when a fancy delicate glass broke while I was drying it. Still, at least it wasn’t one of my glasses!


Good post @Pipe49! I am waiting excitedly to see if anyone has the solution. Basically we only put our cheapest glasses in the dishwasher and resort to hand washing our nicest ones.


Thanks. Unfortunately, you and I live in an area with some of the UK’s hardest water. I don’t think that helps, though it would be interesting to hear from anyone who has a full-system water softener.


I wash my Olly Smith Zaltos pretty much daily in the dishwasher (in London, hard water), and after YEARS they have still not become cloudy at all.

We do add salt to the machine despite the standard tablets saying it isn;t necessary, but otherwise nothing special


Thanks Robert. Actually, I don’t think London’s water hardness begins to compare with what we have here on the south coast. There seems to be a massive difference between water from clay soils (as in London) and what we get off the chalk of the south downs - I presume it’s something to do with different calcium compounds precipitating out of the water. I see the same difference when I go to New Zealand, which is largely just a great blob of clay in the south Pacific (with just a few sticky-out solid bits like the Southern Alps and several volcanoes). Our New Zealand relatives and friends think they have hard water, until they encounter ours here. We have always added salt to the dishwashers (two over nearly 35 years), irrespective of what powders, liquids or tablets we’ve used, and it has never made any difference. However, bars and restaurants here (in Southampton and Winchester - we have few establishments recognisable as such in Chandlers Ford!) obviously use machines to clean their glasses, so perhaps I need to go and speak to some of them. Or, despite my trenchant views expressed on the “Jancis Robinson launches” thread, perhaps I need to try some of your Olly Smith Zaltos, but I’ll wait to see if there is any other advice first.


I understand the clouding is a combination of chemical etching (from the nasty chemicals in the dishwashing tabs) and erosion (largely from bits of food). So wash wine glasses separately from dirty dishes if you are fussy, and with as little detergent as you think you can get away with. Lead crystal is softer than other glasses, despite being more resistant to breakage, and so is more prone to clouding. So much I got from a webpage once - one of Riedel’s I think. I doubt it has anything to do with water hardness.

I don’t use lead crystal glasses, and in my experience it is the cheaper glasses that cloud. It’s strange how they can go many washes and be OK, and then suddenly they are white! I think that indicates erosion, as the chemicals will be identical each time. Perhaps something gets trapped in the glass and moved around?

I chuck my Schott Zwiesel (Tritan) glasses in the dishwasher all the time, and they are still cloud-free after years of use. They did get some minor marks from somewhere, maybe from being wedged into the dishwasher rack, but that does not bother me. Haven’t heard of anyone having problems with Zaltos clouding, either.


London water is fine compared with other regions and having lived in a few I can speak from experience.
When we lived near Saffron Walden in Essex it had a small water company though I think they have changed name now, as this was late eighties.
Shortly after we moved in, two weeks to be exact the kettle packed up, took it to an electric shop for repair and he smiled and asked where we lived it had totally furred up in two weeks, you could fill a glass from the tap hold it up to the light and it was like a Christmas snow dome, never used the water to drink or mix with.


We have to wash our glasses by hand - they physically won’t fit in our dishwasher - or at least won’t stay in place, might look into those wine glass dishwasher holders.


Same here! We don’t bother with putting the glasses in the dishwasher. Just hand-wash them with a very soft detergent and dry with a clean special glass cloth. Seems to work fine, and no risk of clouding or breakage. We certainly don’t need help with breakage - we manage it just fine (lost two decanters in the last 6 months, one which we broke literally 10 minutes into it coming out of the box. Ouch).


I hand wash all my proper glasses. I find very hot water is the clue. then left to drain a while upside down, then to dry upright. They then may need a polish but are often clean enough already.


Hard water can make glasses cloudy, but hard water clouding can be removed using any standard descalant. The type you can’t remove are either physically or chemically etched in, so I agree with @SteveSlatcher on this .

Plenty of people do use a dishwasher (no detergent!) without any problems, but I always handwash wineglasses myself. The other problem you can run into is detergent residues on glasses which can kill champagne bubbles.


Yes, I was assuming we were talking about permanent clouding

And I perhaps I should have said that I wash my Schott Zwiesels with detergent and all the dishes - no special treatment


Anything fits a dishwasher… I know you use IKEA glasses… I sometimes put them in the dishwasher with no great difficulty :wink:

If I had expensive glasses, I would always hand wash them… this is currently reserved for my knives…


As always there are different experiences. We stopped using the dishwasher for glasses and sharp knives. Everything else gets chucked in! However, we were advised never to use lemon ‘flavoured’ detergent or rinse aid if washing stainless steel as there is a negative chemical reaction. Maybe there is a more rapid deterioration in glassware with this type of additive.


Hi every one on glasses ,you can by glasses to use in the dishwasher. Wine & beer glasses dishwasher proof, I’ve had mine for to years no problems as good as new. I got mine at a cash and carry whole sales. They should be out there in the shops or on the net. Train boy.


Dishwasher !? Qu’est ce que ? Up north men usually do the dish washing …Well, I do …
Warm water, with a little washing up liquid, stand to dry, then polish with cotton cloth or kitchen roll over a bowl of steaming hot water…such a satisfying routine .


It’s tiny bits of food, crumbs from toast etc. The dishwasher blasts them around and they aftect the glass sooner or later.

Some glasses resist longer, but as @SteveSlatcher says all at once after mulitiple washes they cloud.

I do my everyday glass in dishwasher with the intention and pre-knowledge of replacing them when they cloud, and my special ‘weekend’ glasses by hand.


Thanks for all the comments, observations and suggestions on this topic. Unfortunately, there are many different theories about why glasses go cloudy in dishwashers and most of the recommendations have been tried and tested by me over many years, but ultimately have been found to fail. It seems likely that it is a combination of circumstances that leads to the problem. Like @SteveSlatcher, I’ve observed the sudden clouding of glasses in one wash, after they’ve been through several, without problem. Looks like I’ll have to decide between continuing to use cheap glasses and replacing them as necessary, or trying more expensive glasses that some have used without problem, or resorting to handwashing.