How To Clean Cloudy Drinking Glasses (And Keep Them Clean)

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If you live in an area with hard drinking water, you’ve probably noticed that your glasses get cloudy over time. This can be quite frustrating, especially because harsh scrubbing can easily scratch glass. So, how can you clean cloudy drinking glasses without causing damage?

Hand wash your drinking glasses gently with lukewarm water to remove the cloudiness. Use a good quality dishwashing liquid and scrub the glasses with a soft sponge. To get rid of stubborn hard water stains, soak the glasses in a solution of white vinegar and water for 5 minutes.

Using a few key tips and tricks, you’ll have glasses that look like new in no time. Let’s take a closer look at different methods to clean cloudy drinking glasses, and we’ll also go over some ways to keep them in tip-top shape.

What You’ll Need to Clean Cloudy Drinking Glasses

You’ll need non-abrasive cleaning materials and the right cleaning solutions to clean cloudy drinking glasses without causing scratches. 

Here are some cleaning supplies that we recommend for cleaning cloudy drinking glasses: 

How to Clean Cloudy Glasses 

Hands in gloves washing drinking glass under running tap water

When you notice cloudiness on your glasses, you should be sure to clean them before it’s too late. Luckily, cleaning cloudy drinking glasses is fairly easy. 

Here’s how to do it:  

1. Hand Wash Your Drinking Glasses

Start by hand washing your glasses under lukewarm water. Make sure that you rinse each glass properly without using water that’s too hot or too cold. Rub the foggy spots with your thumb. 

2. Use Dish Washing Soap or Liquid

Add some high-quality dishwashing soap or liquid to a bowl. Never use bleached detergents or perfumed dishing washing solutions because they have strong chemicals that could permanently damage your glasses.

3. Scrub Drinking Glasses With a Sponge 

Soak a soft sponge in the soap and water solution that you’ve prepared. Use the soaked sponge to scrub the glasses gently. Make sure that you use a sponge that doesn’t have a rough surface. 

If you want to be extra careful about the pressure you apply on the drinking glasses while scrubbing, buy a soft sponge with a handle. It’ll minimize the pressure you apply on the glass.  

4. Use White Vinegar

Add two to three tablespoons of white vinegar to one cup of water and mix it thoroughly. You can apply this homemade cleaning solution to your drinking glasses by using a paper towel or a sponge. You can also add the solution to a spray bottle. 

This mixture of white vinegar and water will effectively remove the cloudiness and make your drinking glasses look as good as new.

However, if your drinking glasses have hard water stains, then you may need to make the white vinegar and water solution in a large bowl. 

Once you’ve made the solution, soak the drinking glass in it for around 5 minutes. The acid in the vinegar will break down and dissolve any hard water stains on the glass. If the stains are still there, rub the glass gently while it’s soaking in the solution. 

5. Wash and Dry Your Glasses 

Wash the drinking glasses with lukewarm water to properly remove the vinegar solution from their surface. Dry the glasses thoroughly after you wash them to prevent water stains from forming again. 

What Causes Cloudiness to Occur?

Nobody likes to drink from cloudy glasses because they look unclean. Cloudiness on your drinking glass can occur because of several reasons. However, the two most likely reasons behind cloudy glasses include: 

Hard Water Stains

When pouring filtered or boiled water into your glasses, there’s still a likelihood of hard water stains forming. This is because of the dissolved mineral deposits in water that sit on the glass when dry. 

Calcium and magnesium cause hard water stains to appear on your drinking glasses. If these stay on the surface of the glasses for a longer period, they’ll get a cloudy appearance. The hard water stains usually look like rough and white scratches on your glass. 


When it comes to cleaning issues related to drinking glasses, etching is the most frustrating one. The cloudiness that appears on drinking glasses due to etching has scratches, gauges, and also pits. 

No matter how strong of a detergent you use, the etching won’t go away. 

The only way to deal with this problem is to prevent it from ever happening because etching doesn’t appear overnight. If you use the right cleaning method on your drinking glasses, you won’t have to deal with this problem. 

How to Prevent Your Glasses From Becoming Cloudy

Woman wiping glass with paper towel in kitchen

Drinking glasses usually get cloudy because of dried water droplets. If you like to wash your glassware with hot water, there’s a higher chance of cloudiness appearing on them. 

If you want to prevent your glasses from becoming cloudy, hand wash them regularly with lukewarm water. Wash your drinking glasses and then dry them immediately with a soft, clean towel. 

Another way of preventing this problem is installing a water softener. This reduces mineral buildup in your pipelines so that the water you use for washing dishes won’t stain your glasses. 

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