How to clean foggy glasses (and prevent it!)

By: The Cleancult Team

August 09, 2018

So you just turned off the dishwasher, opened it up to get everything out and once you get to the glasses, you see it. Oh no. Horrible. Destructive. Nasty. The glasses are still foggy! Why? What happened? Is it the type of detergent that I’m using or where the glasses too filthy from the start? Should I switch to dishwasher tablets or is using gel soap fine? What did I do wrong? Well, it’s a little bit more complicated than that. Actually, various factors could play a role in the fogginess of your glasses.

For starters, the type of detergent that you use and how effective that dishwasher detergent actually is definitely has some impact on how clean your dishes and glasses come it. The second factor that could be making your glasses foggy is that Hard-water minerals can create a film build-up on glasses, making them appear foggy and dirty (even though you know they’re actually clean). The third factor that could play a role is your dishwasher in and of itself.


The easiest factor to deal with is the hard-water that could be coming out of your tap. Because hard water carries with it certain minerals that interact with your dishes and glasses, the cleaning process of a dishwasher might leave traces of those minerals on your glasses. To get rid of that fogginess you only need 3 cleaning essentials (which you probably already have in your house):

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Microfiber cloth

    If your issue is indeed hard-water, you only need to soak the glasses in white vinegar for about five minutes. Since it’s acetic, vinegar will dissolve the minerals leftover in your glasses. If some stubborn spots still persist, gently rub them off with a little baking soda. Afterwards just rinse your glasses by hand and dry them with a microfiber cloth before drinking out of them again.

    If this method doesn’t help at all, then chances are that your glass is etched, which means that you’re out of luck. If the film is etching, which happens to some types of glassware in the dishwasher, that unfortunately is 100% permanent and can’t be removed. Ouch!

    If you decide to change dishwasher detergents, we recommend opting for detergents with acidic or citric ingredients, which will counteract with the minerals in your water (which is, more often than not, what causes the fogginess in the first place). If you have the means, try a few before deciding on one and see which one works for you.

    Preventing future fogginess

    The best way to prevent fogginess in glasses is to just wash them by hand always. “But my dishwasher is so convenient, though!” Yep, we know. But if you have expensive glassware, you’re going to end up choosing between etched/always-foggy glasses and washing all glasses by hand (washing by hand is the correct option here!). Sure, you could always move out from your home and into a city or state with softer water, but...handwashing is easier. We think.

    When out shopping for dish soaps, know that there are many liquid dish soaps that are gentle on the hands and very effective on glass. For extra shininess, be sure to always dry your glasses before putting them away!