What Is the Milky Film on Glasses from The Dishwasher

What Is the Milky Film on Glasses from The Dishwasher

It is disheartening that after washing some batches of glasses you hold a glass up that should normally be sparkling clean and clear, but they look foggy.

milky film on glasses from the dishwasher
Photo Credits: Kaboompics .com, pexels.com

You will notice a milky film on glasses from the dishwasher. Sometimes out of desperation you run another wash cycle.

The white milky film you notice on the washed glassware or dishware may be caused by different factors. You may ask, why is it happening?

Most of the time when people notice that their glasses have become cloudy after some time, they are embarrassed to use them.

They either hide them away at the back of the kitchen cupboard or cabinet or use them when no one is around to see them. 

This should not be as they are totally preventable. We must first understand what the milky film on glasses is and what is causing the milky film on glasses.

After which we can talk about how to remove this cloudiness and ways to prevent them from reoccurring. 

If you prefer learning by video, this article is also explained here.

Causes of Milky Film on Glasses

Video: White Film on Glassware and Dishware

Watch this video to know everything about milky film formation on glasses.

There are two main causes of the milky film on glasses from the dishwasher. They are:

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Hard Water Deposits

This is the commonest cause of foggy glasses. Hardwater can affect your glassware in two ways. 

Firstly, the mineral deposits in water reduce the effect of dishwashing detergents and so you may need more detergents to get your glasses clean.

Hardwater does not completely rinse glasses well as soft water does.  This causes the milky film from dirty water or soap left on glasses. The addition of more detergents to hard water only makes this get worse.

Secondly, if you live in an area supplied with hard water, you will experience a high deposition of mineral contents. These deposits, for example, limescale can hold on to your glasses causing the fogginess appearance.

You can test if hard water is the cause of this milky film by filling an unclear glass with vinegar. Leave it for 5minutes, if the fogginess is removed then yes hard water is the problem.

The good news is that mineral deposits on your glasses can be removed and prevented as well. Even though the hardness of water is determined by location, it is something that can be fixed.

How to Remove Milky Film Caused by Hard Water

Method One: Add More Quantity of Detergent to Your Dishwasher

This might be effective in removing mineral deposits or hard water from the foggy glasses. But using it in excess can leave soapy films on your glasses. Try different quantities of detergents so you can find the perfect balance.

Method Two: Utilise the Rinse Aid

This comes in both liquid and solid forms. Rinse aids help to reduce etching and spotting on glasses by breaking down the chemical bond between glasses and water. They are added mostly with every dishwashing load.

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Method Three: Water Temperature

This is a major factor in the dishwashing process. Check the water temperature in your kitchen by running water into a glass in your sink. Put a thermometer in the glass so that you can determine the temperature of the water.

Most dishwashing detergent companies recommend using water at 130oF. To regulate your water to this temperature, use your dishwasher high temperature setting to heat water to about 140oF and nothing more. 

If the water heater in your home is far away from your kitchen and hot water does not flow on time, run your kitchen tap for one minute or until you notice water temperature has increased. Thereafter switch on your dishwasher.

Method Four: Use Vinegar

You can manually get rid of the cloudiness by soaking all your glasses in white vinegar for 5 minutes. The acetic nature of vinegar will dissolve the mineral deposits. If the spots persist then gently clean them by rubbing the glasses with baking soda.

Rinse the glasses by hand and dry them with a lint-free microfiber cloth or towel. You can use the glasses after this.

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Etching or Corrosion

The etching process is a slow one and can be easily ignored. This corrosion occurs over time as a result of every day or frequent use. It is the eroding of the material used in glassmaking. This results in scratches and tiny pits that can’t be removed.

This may be a result of using too much or bad detergent, overly soft water, full prewashing of glasses or using water at a very high temperature for washing.

Even though it is neither preventable nor reversible, you can slow down the etching process by doing a few things to protect your glasses. 

You can test if your glass is undergoing etching by soaking the glass in vinegar for about 5 minutes. If the milky film persists, then the glasses may be etched. 

Other causes of the milky film on glasses are:

Excessive use of detergents. This will make it difficult for your dishwasher to completely rinse away all the soap.

Using water that is initially not hot. When you use water that is not hot enough, it will not be able to completely dissolve detergent thereby leaving the cloudiness on your glasses.

Stuck-on food or drinks remains on glasses. Do not let food or drinks dry on your glasses. Rinse them off before putting them inside your dishwasher but don’t completely wash them off.

How to Manage the Etching Process on Your Glass

Here are some ways you can control the etching process on glassware:

Don’t Fully Prewash or Rinse Your Glasses

It is not good to fully rinse your glasses before washing them in the dishwasher. Most detergents contain alkaline salts and they are harsh. They are counteracted by food particles or oils in your glasses. 

When you remove these remains fully before loading your machine, the detergents will have nothing to counteract it. This will result in an abrasive effect on your glassware.

Try Another Detergent

Some dishwashing detergents cause more etching than others. This depends on the water softness and other causes. Use a mild detergent or phosphate-free detergents such as Finish Quantum Ultimate.

Some detergents contain phosphate and so leave a white milky film on glassware and sometimes on the dishwasher basin itself.

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Do Not Use Too Much Detergent

It is worse when you use soft water. When using soft water in your home then you need to use fewer detergents to wash your glassware. 

Try different quantities of dishwashing detergents until there is just enough amount to completely clean your glassware.

Other Ways to Prevent Milky Film Formation on Glasses

If you are not living in a hard water area but you still notice milky film formation on your glasses. Then it might be caused by other factors like too much exposure to heat or poor-quality glassware subjected to long wash cycles.

Here are other ways to prolong the lifespan of your glassware. It is important that you adhere to them since sometimes the fogginess is irreversible.

  1. Always buy dishwasher safe glassware.
  2. Check your water softening unit and make sure the setting is not too high. 
  3. For delicate glassware, wash them at a low temperature or use a glass washing setting. You must find a balance in the water temperature. Use hot water but not too hot or too cold.
  4. After a dishwashing cycle, open your dishwasher so that the excess steam formed during the cycle escapes. Most modern dishwashers take care of this with the inclusion of internal vents and fans. 

If yours did not come with this feature, remove the glassware immediately after a wash cycle to prevent the high heat effect on glasses. 

  1. Make sure your dishwasher has enough rinse aid to increase the drying process. Water remnant will not be able to leave spot marks on your glasses. You can use Finish Rinse Aid.
  2. Ensure that your dishwasher salt level is always topped. These salts help to soften water to improve the cleansing effect of your dishwashing soap. This prevents watermarks and spots from forming on your glassware or other kitchenware. An example of dishwasher salt is Finish Dishwasher Salt.

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