How to Prevent Glass Etching in the Dishwasher

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Things You'll Need

  • Dishwasher rinse additive

  • Soft water dishwasher detergent

Glasses washing in the dishwasher.
Image Credit: Jimmi Larsen/iStock/Getty Images

Etching can appear on your glassware after washing it repeatedly in your automatic dishwasher. This film can show up on any glassware, regardless of the cost. The etching will build up slowly over time and may first appear to be an iridescent color such as blue, brown, pink or purple, according to the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension website. There are, however, certain things you can do to reduce etching of your glassware.


Step 1

Check to see if your area has hard or soft water. You may need to adjust your dishwasher detergent according to the package directions or switch to a different type. The package should tell you whether you need to use more or less detergent, depending on the softness of your water. Less is best. Using less harsh detergents designed for softer water can reduce etching, reports Pure Water Products.

Step 2

Check the water temperature on your hot water heater. You should always wash dishes in water that is 140 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Using a water temperature that is too hot can cause etching.


Step 3

Purchase a rinsing additive and fill the appropriate dishwasher receptacle with it. If you do not have a receptacle to pour a liquid dish-rinsing agent into, you should purchase one of the small baskets that hold rinsing additives and hang it in the back corner on the lowest rack in your dishwasher. The rinsing agent will help the sheeting action of the water and reduce etching.

Step 4

Switch your dishwasher to the no-heat or energy saver cycle. This will cut down on etching and also save you money on your electric bill.


Hand washing your glassware is the best way to avoid etching, particularly if it is expensive or special to you.



Chelsea Fitzgerald

Chelsea Fitzgerald covers topics related to family, health, green living and travel. Before her writing career, she worked in the medical field for 21 years. Fitzgerald studied education at the University of Arkansas and University of Memphis.