Weird film on drinking glasses...

xantippeSeptember 29, 2006

We moved house in April, and probably about a month later, we started noticing a strange film on our drinking glasses. The strange thing is that we only moved 1/2 mile, so we're still on the same city water supply. We've never had a problem with city water, so why would this film start appearing? It's baffling!

To describe the film: it's white, spotty, and seems most concentrated when water has stood and evaporated in a glass. It never comes comepletely off, even with sustained scrubbing.

We really want to prevent the film, but we can't figure out if it is related to our dishsoap, or to our pipes, or to our drinking water. Anyone have any advice?

Some factors that may or may not be affecting the situation:

1. We don't have a dishwasher, so everything is being washed by hand. (We were handwashing at the last place, too.)

2. We have not changed dishsoap in years, so I don't think it can be that. (Incidentally, we use Palmolive Aromatherapy, lavendar scent)

3. We have always air-dried the dishes, but have just noticed that towel-drying seems to help prevent the film a little.

4. We do live in an old house (1929) so the pipes might be a problem.

So... what do you experts think? Calcium? A weird interaction between dishsoap and water? Aliens?

I sure appreciate your help. We just got married and gor a whole bunch of new drinking glasses which we are afraid to use for fear of the dreadful film. :)

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What happens if you rinse them in a little water and vinegar?Does the film come off or not?
Have you considered a filter on the faucet?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 8:28PM
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I believe it is a reaction between glass, dry dishwasher detergents, and softened water under high heat. Does your new house have a water softener? Or do you have extra hot water? Or is the dishwasher heating the water above the temp from the water heater? It is really too late but you might try using less soap.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 11:12PM
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marge727, we're going to try your vinegar idea--gosh, I hope that does the trick! That would be fantastic. If that fails, we are definitely going to get a filter.

dchall_san_antonio, we wash the dishes by hand, so it's not a dishwasher problem, but I am wondering if it is related to water temp, because I always wash the dishes in the hottest water possible, unlike DH. When DH does the dishes, there seems to be less film. Hmmmm. I hadn't thought about that til now. (And, no we don't have a water softener. We're not supposed to have soft water in our area).

So, I will report back when I've tried vinegar, and, just for kicks, when I've tried cooler water. And then failing that a filter. And failing that... sheesh! Who knows! Thanks for your help, everyone!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 1:59PM
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Call your city...Your old place may have had a water softener...or the city water was softened.
Sounds to me like hard water scum. Hot water and palmolive and air drying wouldn't etch the glass like a dishwasher with a dry cycle would.
I'll bet it's a hard water problem...but can't figure out what is the difference since you moved.
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 2:53PM
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If you're washing by hand, then forget what I said.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 10:34PM
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I'm reading this that with all else being the same, the only change is that the water is coming through different pipes, in the house or from the main line. There might be a difference in the water temperature, but that shouldn't cause spotting. It sounds like a residue from hard water, or water that has accumulated more minerals (from the pipes?) in comparison to the other site. If that is the case, you may also be using a bit more detergent because "hard" water doesn't suds as well as 'soft' water. A bit of white vinegar in the rinse water will probably help, otherwise, you may decide to use some type of water filter.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2006 at 11:39AM
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I use the hottest water possible, and don't have spotting. Are you sure you're rinsing thoroughly? Maybe hubby rinses longer, so temp doesn't matter. ;o)


    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 5:27PM
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You say you only moved a half mile away, but you *may* have a new water source - even in the same city. Sometimes older parts of a city still use the original wells maintained by the city. The newer area of the city have a different water source which is also maintained by the city.

Check your City Hall.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 9:20PM
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Well, here's what we've tried:

1. We are using a Brita pitcher for all drinking water.
2. We switched dish soap.
3. We tried vinegar (apple, though--didn't have white) in the rinse water.

And there has been no change! Grrrr.

I guess we are going to need to try a filter on the sink itself. The weird thing is none of our neighbors are having the same problem.

So thanks for all your guesses! We'll see if there is any hope.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 4:49PM
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We get a film/etching with our softened water using our dishwasher. I know you said you wash dishes by hand, but the solution to our problem may help you. It seems that the phosphate in our dishwashing detergent was causing the problem, even though it was advertised as 'low phosphate.' We switched to a totally phosphate-free detergent and it's solved the problem. It's one of those 'eco-friendly' brands - just check to be sure it says 'phosphate free.' May be worth a try.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 2:47PM
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I am having a similar problem with my water glasses. I have scum lots of scumI
It was so bad that I threw out a set last month and bought new glasses. Its back
just as bad on these glasses.
I use 'crystal geyser' drinking water and I use the dish washer for washing my glasses.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 9:36PM
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becomn1, I so understand your problem! We bought new glasses when we switched dish soaps, really hoping that it was just a dish soap problem. And now our lovely new glasses look horrible. It's heartbreaking.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 2:11PM
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I can empathize with you. We replace drinking glasses about once a year when they become so unsightly. We're on well water in a rural area, have a water softener, tried different detergents. Not sure what or why it happens, only that it does.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 9:09AM
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The line to my refrigerater is clogged and I am going to have to have it replaced.
Since the water coming into the house is not improved, I will have to do the same thing in a couple of years.
I am wondering if there is a filter that can be attached the connection of the
refrig line to the water line coming into the house?
I have a filter inside the refrigerater..once the water reaches the refrigerater.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 7:10PM
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this won't prevent anything, but for the film already in the glasses, instead of scrubbing try denture tablets...

I use this all the time with super funky dishes and it works everytime.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 11:29AM
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My parents had the same problem with their glasses. The house has the same private spring water for 30 years and within the last few years this started. Started a few months after my mom found she loved Crystal Light lemonade and drank it religiously. Turns out that is what it was, mom had a few glasses deemed hers and they were the only ones that turned. Maybe it's not your water?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 11:01PM
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That doesn't sound good for Crystal Light, does it? Wish I had some to see what's in it. Sandy

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 10:51PM
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Well, here's an update. We have been so busy that we haven't done much in the way of researching what could be causing the deposits, but we have found something that helps minimize their effect. We simply towel dry all of our glassware immediately after washing it, which really helps! Just thought I would pass this on in case it would help anyone else.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 11:56PM
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there is a new product out that actually filters the water going into your dishwasher. I use to have ugly,white and cloudy looking glasses until i installed this product. after the first load my glasses looked fantastic!!!! its affordable and you can get it at

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 9:59PM
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anna - Congratulations! You are officially the 2nd shill for this product tonight. Or, perhaps you are here under two different names.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 12:08AM
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