Glasses being washed in dishwasher

How to Prevent Etching Glasses in the Dishwasher

Few cleaning experiences are as frustrating as clear glassware being damaged in the dishwasher through etching. A process by which small nicks and scratches accumulate on the surface of glasses, etching cannot be reversed but can be avoided. Read on to learn how you can prevent etching glasses.

What causes a dishwasher to leave etching on glasses?

There are a number of factors that influence etching on glassware: what sort of detergent you use, the temperature of your water as well as its softness, whether your dishwasher is running correctly and more. The key to prevent etching is to identify which of these factors is most at play.

How can you prevent the dishwasher from etching your glasses?

You can help prevent the dishwasher from etching your glasses. Start by reviewing your dishwasher manual to ensure you load your dishwasher correctly. Next, identify whether or not your water is soft, then measure how hot it gets and ensure you are using the right detergent. When all checks out, you can run your dishwasher.

  • Detergent

  • Thermometer

Manual icon

Step 1: Read the Dishwasher Manual

Because every dishwasher carries different features and instructions, it is important to start by consulting the manual. Your dishwasher manual will provide operation instructions and information regarding settings and features.

Cleaning icon

Step 2: Stop pre-cleaning your dishes

The purpose of detergent is to clean the food from your dishes. However, if there is no food or residue, the detergent has nothing to attach to. When this happens, the detergent may not work as intended and could possibly contribute to etching. Let your dishwasher take care of food residue for you and your detergent do its job.

Dishwasher icon

Step 3: Load the dishwasher correctly

Similarly, if detergent is not able to reach residue on dishes due to improper loading, its cleaning power is reduced. This is why it is essential to load your dishwasher in accordance with your manual. Ensure you understand what items you can and cannot run in your dishwasher.

Temperature icon

Step 4: Measure your hot water temperature

Another crucial aspect of etching comes when your water is too hot—or not hot enough. While dishwashers will heat water for you, make sure your water heater is properly calibrated to ensure best results. Measure your hot water temperature by running hot water from your faucet into a cup and then inserting a thermometer. The temperature should be between 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Detergent icon

Step 5: Use the right detergent

This is perhaps the most important step to avoid etching. Before starting a cycle, add automatic dishwasher detergent to your dispenser. If you currently soften your water, or if your dishwasher has a built-in water softener, you may need to switch to a detergent with a glass-protecting formula. Make sure you use the right amount of detergent by consulting the bottle instructions.

Power icon

Step 6: Run dishwasher

Once you have completed these steps and ensured proper operation, it is time to run your dishwasher. The length of time your dishwasher runs will vary by dishwasher type.

Shop Whirlpool® Dishwashers with a Third Rack

Whirlpool® dishwashers are designed with the features you need to take care of mealtime messes. And if your mess is especially large, flexible options like the 3rd Level Rack or the 3rd Level Rack with Extra Wash Action can provide the space you need to fit more and swiftly clean up.

Glass bowl being washed in dishwasher Glass bowl being washed in dishwasher

Is etching on glass permanent?

Etching on glass is permanent. This is because etching is caused by small scratches and nicks in the glass. When enough of these scratches accumulate, the glass will display a milky or cloudy film. Once etching occurs, it is impossible to reverse, which is why it is crucial to employ preventative measures.

Can you fix dishwasher etching on glasses?

When glassware is etched, it becomes cloudy. This leads many to assume that the glass is unclean, so they wash the glass again. However incorrect usage of the dishwasher may be the cause of the etching. These permanent scratches cannot be fixed.

Does vinegar remove etching?

Although vinegar is a powerful home remedy for cleaning glass, it cannot remove etching. This is because the glass is not dirty, but instead has tiny pieces of it chipped away. Because vinegar is incapable of patching the glass, it is incapable of removing glass etching.

Explore Whirlpool® Dishwashers & Accessories

Caring for your family’s dishes has never been easier with Whirlpool® dishwashers and accessories. With powerful cleaning capabilities and innovative features like Extended Soak Cycle to help dissolve stuck-on food, you can clean your dishes whenever you want, however you want.

Learn how to get the most out of your dishwasher with Whirlpool

Gold home heartbeat logo over image of a tablet with Whirlpool blog page displayed in the background Gold home heartbeat logo over image of a tablet with Whirlpool blog page displayed in the background

home heartbeat

Ready for more tips, home hacks and appliance guides?

Was this article helpful? Pass it on