Why Do I Have Cloudy Dishes After I Wash Them?


Doing the dishes—it’s no one’s favorite chore but a necessary one. And it feels so good once they’re all clean. That’s why it’s so frustrating to have cloudy dishes and glassware even after you wash them!

Sure, you can try to fix the issue by using warmer water, taking extra time to rinse off your dishes or cleaning the drain on your dishwasher. But what if even those attempts don’t help? In that case, something might be wrong with your water.

Fortunately, it’s easy to figure out if it’s your water making the dishes cloudy. Furthermore, there are simple steps you can take to fix the issue. Read on to learn:

  • What’s causing your cloudy dishes
  • The potential problems this can create
  • And how to clear up your cloudy dishes

What’s Causing Your Cloudy Dishes

The two most common causes of glasses coming out of the dishwasher cloudy are hard water and etching.

Hard water is water with a high mineral count, which it collects from flowing through the earth. This high mineral count makes it harder for hard water to rinse effectively. As a result, it leaves soap film and excess dirty water behind on the dishes, making them appear cloudy.

The easiest way to determine if hard water is the culprit is to soak one of your cloudy glasses in vinegar for five minutes. If the cloudiness clears, then hard water is your issue.

However, if the cloudiness does not clear, then you could be dealing with etching. These are permanent scratch marks left on dishes and glassware from overcleaning.

The Potential Problems This Can Create

Both hard water and etching can cause some serious headaches for homeowners.

Aside from making your dishes look cloudy, hard water can also make dishwashing more expensive as you’ll have to use more detergent to get your dishes clean. However, adding too much detergent can make the dishes cloudier.

Hard water can also cause many other problems for a home, including:

On the other hand, if etching is causing the cloudy glasses, the only real damage will be to the dishes themselves. As the etching gets worse, the dishes will look cloudier and cloudier, and their structural integrity will decrease, making them more likely to chip and shatter.


How to Clear Up Your Cloudy Dishes

Whether your cloudy dishes are the result of hard water or etching, there are simple steps you can take to fix the problem. We’ll take a look at each below.


Hard Water Remedies

One way to combat cloudiness left behind by hard water is trying home remedies. Here are a few possible quick fixes to consider:

  • Use more detergent (keeping in mind that too much will worsen the problem).
  • Try a rinse aid.
  • Soak the dishes in hot water and vinegar and let them air dry.
  • Increase the water temperature while washing.
  • Use leftover newspaper to clean the scum off of glassware.
  • Fill glasses with water and an antacid tablet to clean.

While these home remedies may help, they won’t change the fact that you still have hard water. If you really want to get to the root of the problem, we recommend investing in a water softener. A quality water softener will completely remove the hard water minerals, leaving you with cleaner-looking dishes and preventing all the other hard water problems we mentioned above!

If you have a water softener but are still experiencing cloudy dishes caused by hard water, then there’s something wrong with your system. We recommend getting it inspected by a licensed plumber, who can diagnose the problem and fix it easily.


Etching Remedies

Preventing etching requires changing up how you do the dishes. Using less detergent can help as using excess detergent is often what causes the scratches. You can also decrease the water temperature since high heat usually makes the scratches worse.

Another way to prevent etching is to avoid rinsing your dishes off before putting them in the dishwasher. The reason for this is dishwashing liquids are designed to remove excess food and residue. So, when you rinse off that excess food beforehand, you make it so that it has nothing to remove. As a result, the detergent wears away at the rinsed dishes leading to scuffs and cracks.

Need Help Keeping Your Dishes Cloud-Free?

We hope you have found our guide helpful for fixing your cloudy dishes. If you’re looking for further guidance on how to fix your hard water problem, we’d be happy to help!

At Angel Water, we offer a wide variety of dependable water softeners in Barrington, IL, and the surrounding region. Our licensed plumbers can also install and maintain them for maximum results.

Please give us a call today at 847-382-7800 to talk to a licensed expert or set up a FREE consultation!

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