hard water marks on glasses

MIStepMomSeptember 15, 2004

Can anyone tell me how to clean hard water marks from drinking glasses? Our old dishwasher just didn't do a good job even when I put the jet dry in it. We have alot of iron in our water, but also have a water softener. We now have a new dishwasher, but the damage was done from the old dishwasher. Any tips on how to make my glasses clear and sparkling again?

Thanks Carol

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i had terrible etching from hard water on my glasses from a dishwasher too... i ran the etched glasses through the dishwasher cycle with about a 1/2 cup of vinegar and no soap ... you may need to try a couple different cycles with increasing amounts of vinegar - works great on the silverware too... - tough hardwater stains can be soaked in the sink with some water and vinegar too if the dishwasher cycle does not do it for you...
i often splash some vinegar into the dishwasher just before i run it - it seemed to work much better than that blue stuff ...

    Bookmark   September 15, 2004 at 2:34PM
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Don't use powdered soap in the dishwasher with hard water, only liquids. The powders don't all ways disolve completely and are abrasive.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   September 15, 2004 at 2:51PM
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Good ideas above. If it is just hard water deposits then it will usually come off with the vinegar. If the glasses have actual etching, I think that means they are permanently scratched.

Good luck! Don't you just hate hard water!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2004 at 10:38PM
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If your glasses are etched there is nothing that will make them better. Etching of glass is like scratches on polished furniture... You can't remove the scratches....just perhaps hide them
But if the marks are caused by hard water, a good soak in a white vinegar solution should help.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 16, 2004 at 12:05AM
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Thanks for all the great advice. The glasses don't seem to be etched, so I am going to try the vinegar tonight. I will let you know if I had any success.

Thanks again

    Bookmark   September 16, 2004 at 10:16AM
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Don't use the LIQUID soap if you have a Bosch dishwasher. It is against the manufacturer's recommendations. We also have very hard water and I use three things together:

1) Powdered cascade
2) Jet Dry
3) Glass Magic (a powder that comes in a small green box kept near where the DW soap is and designed to prevent hard water spots) -- it is great. I really do notice the difference when I forget to use it.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2004 at 12:34AM
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Jet Dry and glass magic may work but i bet vinegar does the same thing and is awhole lot cheaper... look at the active ingredients and compare ...

    Bookmark   September 27, 2004 at 2:03PM
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I have tried every tip mentioned on an old cloudy wine decanter - no luck. In desparation I tried liquid calgon with a little warm water and left it for a day. I did shake the bottle occasionally and Wow it is clean. I am not sure why I have this around. I think I used it on the boys white t-shirts when they were home.
Good luck! aej

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 3:53PM
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Oh, I think you should buy something that will help you dealing with hard water and not with it's results.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 9:13AM
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    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 7:15PM
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I had that same problem, dagmar. I am also on a well, and I thought my dishes were ruined. They are a dark brown, and after running them through the dishwasher once they became a dingy white. For years I struggled with it, using everything I could think of. Recently, with my pregnancy, I discovered just what all is in dish detergent and was disgusted. Dishwasher detergent is probably the most harmful item in your household, and every time you run it it emits dangerous toxins into the air. So, that being said, I decided to switch to an all-natural dish detergent called Diamond Brite. I switched, not expecting anything but to have a safer product that was not killing my family. Well, it was an extra bonus that the first time I ran the dishes it took the white film off, and literally left my dishes and silverware sparkling clean! This may sound insane, but I bought a couple of bottles of it and gave as part of a Christmas basket to friends who also are on wells. They are hooked!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 5:21PM
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Vinegar didn't work and I see various posts about people saying it does. I tried it and the white residue marks are still there. The person at the place we bought the dishwasher (it's a new dishwasher) said not to use liquid detergent in it, just the powder form. So ...now what do I do????

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 1:22PM
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"Holy post-resurrection, Batman", lol!

Actually, I have a suggestion to share... I learned this trick from my (late) best friend, for cleaning years of deposits from antique/vintage glassware.

IF it's truly "deposits", & not "pitting", it's worth a try! (If it's pitting, that - as stated above - means particles of the surface glass are literally gone, as opposed to unwanted crud & minerals on the surface causing cloudy appearance).

The solution? Denture cleaning tablets! I know - crazy, right? Lol! My most frequent use for them is old glass vases - years of holding water for a period of time, followed by rinsing & storage again, can REALLY let deposits build up.
I drop a tablet or 2 into the glass or vase, fill with hot water, & WAIT. Overnight. (Not easy, when you're anxious to find out if you've come across a gem, or a dud!). For everyday glassware, where outside also needs cleaning, I fill a sink with hot water.. Drop 2 or 3 (or more) tablets in & add glassware. Let soak overnight.
Does it always work? Nope. But when it does, it's great to get the yuck off, without scrubbing & potentially scratching the glass!
Does it solve the hard water/dishwasher problem? Nope. But if you try it, and it helps, perhaps it's worth a monthly sink-soak to keep them looking pretty?

For the record, I've never bought name-brand, always the store-brand of whichever store I'm in when I need them. (Cheap, I am!).

Also - I'm not suggesting that anyone put the tablets into the actual dishwasher. (Just a disclaimer, there, lol).

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 5:25PM
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Here's another fix. A new company in Florida sells a product called CitriClean. More info or buy on line at www.CitriClean.net

Here is a link that might be useful: CitriClean of Florida

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 4:55PM
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I was having the same problem just last week and found out that if you buy lemi shine you may be able to solve your problem.
I tried it and it worked. my dishes are nice and clean.
What i did and this worked for me was that i filled out the soap dish with the lemi shine (I empty my dishwasher. No dishes were inside) and then run it like i would normally run a cycle. Then I put my dishes and because i only have one compartment to put the soap, I use every day 1/2 of my regular soap and on top i use the lemi shine and so far so good.
hope this help.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 10:34AM
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Vinegar in dishwasher cycle didn't work for me. Next will try denture tablets.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 12:42PM
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how do you put the vinegar in? Just fill up where the detergent goes? I have been using cascade and my glasses are now white and the silverware even has a grit feeling to them. I put in jet dry but it seems to be getting worse. I have washed the same load about 3 times now!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 7:05PM
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I have the same question whirlie does. I too use Cascade, for years and never had this problem until now. I guess I will just try putting the vinegar under the lower rack and run it. I think the DW has the build up and needs a good cleaning.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 5:43PM
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White vinegar works on glass OK. I use CLR on the brown residue in my dishwasher, on my fiberglass jet tub and on my old porcelain sink. And I occasionally use Brillo to clean my white dishes. Hard well water is a constant problem but these solutions do help.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 12:50AM
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use vinegar and just rub gently with dish cloth, definetly sport will disappear.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 3:59AM
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I had bad water spots on a Chemex coffee maker (I always wash/rinse and air dry). Vinegar did not work on it, but I used Bar Keepers Friend on it and it worked. It took a bit, but got the stains off. I want to say that I made sort of a paste and rubbed it on, then let it sit for a while. It takes rust off of other things really well, too.
Best of luck

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 9:32AM
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I obviously have very hard water at my apartment. I didnt have any problems for the first few months, then all the sudden, my black dishes are white and my glass dishes are dirty looking. I just tried the vinegar and baking soda and it didnt do anything at all. Theres no way I can afford a water softener. What do I do??!!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 1:00AM
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Use Lime-a-Way to clean dishes. Then always use white vinegar in the rinse dispenser of dishwasher in hopes it will prevent a repeat of white deposit.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 6:18PM
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Joyce - in your last post, you'd mentioned trying denture soaking tablets, never heard back... Did they work?
It's been a while, perhaps she hasn't been around? I'd just love to hear if it worked - or not. (It's a crap-shoot.. Sometimes it works like magic, sometimes it doesn't).

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 10:32PM
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Angerman Hardwoods

I had the same problem until this... I poured in 1/2 cup of bleach with Cascade powder soap and bingo... it worked! After getting all my dishes cleaned and removed all the etched/cloudy looking glasses, stained silverware, I'm down to 1/4 cup for each wash. I will not use Jet Dry again!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 7:25PM
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It's goofy but I swear it works.

Instead of soap in the dish washer, put in one packet of crystal lite lemon flavor (the drink powder. (use the size that makes one picture of lemon drink)

Then just run your dishwasher through it's regular cycle.

The citric acid cleans the lime scale of the crystal and leaves the dishwasher shiny clean too.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 4:33AM
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Just based upon recollection of high school chemistry, which I acknowledge has faded considerably, I would expect lemon juice in the rinse dispenser to work better than vinegar.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 1:48PM
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Your glasses are etched because you use too much dishwasher detergent. I had the same problem and the repairman told me to fill only half way. Have not had a problem since.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 7:13PM
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Probably the best thing you can do to avoid deposits/etching is to wash and dry glasses by hand immediately after using them. The hard water deposits should be removed pretty easily with any acid (vinegar, lemon juice, etcetera). Give the glass a good long soak in the acid of your choice. If the glass still looks milky, it's likely etched. There's nothing that you can do to remove the etching, but you can hide the etched appearance somewhat with WD40 (yes, the "lubricant"). Spray/wipe some WD40 on the glass, and let it dry overnight. Wash THOROUGHLY! There's something akin to tallow in the WD40 that creates a coating on the glass. It won't be perfect, but should look better - at least for a while. Note that this is not an intended use of WD40. Don't sue me if you don't properly wash the glass and get sick.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 7:37PM
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States Ban Phosphate-Laden Dishwasher Soap
July 2011 started a ban in sixteen states of the sale of dishwasher detergents that contain high levels of phosphates, a source of pollution in lakes and streams.
Stores will not be allowed to sell detergent with more than 0.5 percent phosphorous. The bans do not apply to commercial dishwashing products, and detergents for hand-washing dishes generally contain no phosphorus.
States instituting the rule include Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

One major cause of problems in dishwashers and cloths washers is most people use way too much detergent, more is NOT better. In a dishwasher fill the cup half way and use Cascade Complete liquid. Powder does not dissolve as well and be sure your rinse agent (JetDry) is full. If you are using a HE cloths washer use 2 tablespoons of 2X HE detergent. If you have a mildew smell in your front load washer then that is soap buildup, use a cup of white vinegar on its hottest or "tub clean" cycle to clean it.
DO NOT mix bleach in your dishwasher!

A posted comment:"my black dishes are white and my glass dishes are dirty looking "
Try soaking them in CLR, if that does not work then they are permanently etched and there is nothing you can do.

A posted comment:"I occasionally use Brillo to clean my white dishes"
Noooooooo no no, you are scratching your dishes making them worse. Never use Brillo pads or Comet type cleaners on anything except stainless steel and that is not even necessary. If you do use one of these products on stainless than only rub with the grain, if you rub cross grain than you will permanently scratch the surface giving it an old warn out look.

Here is a link that might be useful: NPR, Dishes Still Dirty? Blame Phosphate-Free Detergent

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 10:53AM
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I tried the vinegar, doesn't work. I let it sit overnight. I have a glass jar with a small mouth that curves outward so brushes and cloths are not an option to clean the interior. I swirled and sloshed it around periodically but after a day the spots were still there. I am now trying the denture tablets.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 7:38PM
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We fought hard water for years and finally won the battle with a product called Lemi-Shine. It can be purchased at Walmart, Dillon's etc. For the horrible buildup the first time or two, fill both dispensers with the product. Good luck! You will love it!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 12:39AM
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Carol can't thank you enough for your liquid Calgon solution. I never take the time to feed back but I am so grateful that you shared your solution. I have a faboulous Waterford Crystal limited edition Carafe and as I come from Waterford it is a prized possession. For some seven years I have tried to find a solution to the cloudiness and terrible water marks. I have tried every solution but nothing shifted it, in fact things like bleach made it worse. I didn't expect your solution to work but here I am 24 hours later with my carafe restored to its former glory and not a mark in sight!!! Thank you Carol and good luck to anybody else seeking the cure. Eternally grateful cleaningqueen

    Bookmark   March 4, 2015 at 12:21PM
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I soak my glasses and any other dishes that are cloudy in vinegar water, the put them in the dish washer. The come out sparkling like new. I do this about once a year.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2015 at 9:46AM
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