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What Causes Etching on Glasses?

Etching is the erosion of the surface of glassware, tiny pits or “scratches” on the glass. Sometimes you might some effervescent coloring on your glasses in the early stages. Sometimes a milky color that will not dissolve off or it might look like it has been lightly sandblasted. Etching can happen in any dishwasher, doesn’t matter if the water used to clean the dishes is soft or hard water, although it is more commonly occurs when the water has been mechanically softened by a water softener. It can also happen to any grade of glassware. Dollar store glass or top notch glass. The cause of etching on dishes can be from too much detergent in soft water, items that are pre-rinsed multiple times, or washing dishes in water that is too hot.

How to Prevent Dishwasher Etching of Glassware

Glassware damaged by etching can’t be fixed, but it can be stopped. Try changing the amount or type of detergent that is used. Also, try checking the temperature of the incoming water. Go to a faucet near the dishwasher, then turn on the hot water for around 45 seconds or till the water gets hot. Then run water in a glass and place a thermometer in the glass and check the temperature. It should be within 120-140 degrees.

For another quick fix to etching problems stop pre-rinsing dishes. Detergent needs the grim and food left on the plates to work the way it was designed to work. If there isn’t food or dirt on the dishes the detergent works away the outside layers of the glassware.

It is a challenging problem when encountered & is gradual & usually does not occur overnight. Typically when you notice the results of etching the damage has been done. It requires some experimentation to find the correct formula of detergent and water supply to solve the problem.

You can perform a simple test to see if your dishes are etched or if they are simply coated with mineral & soap build up. Put some lemon juice on a small area of the effected glassware & allow it soak for 5-10 minutes then wash it off. Allow the glass to dry. If that spot you put the lemon juice on is much cleaner than rest of the glass than it is not etched & can be restored. If the spot you put the lemon on looks unchanged then it is most likely etched.

How to Remove Etching from Glass

Although it might not be possible to completely restore etched glassware to like-new condition, there are still some things you can do to improve its appearance. Give these tips a try!

  • Use distilled white vinegar to remove spots from your glasses. You may also try acetone. Be sure to rinse your glasses well after application.
  • Mix a small amount of toothpaste with baking soda and apply the paste to your glassware with your finger, a soft cloth, or a toothbrush.
  • Dissolve denture cleaning tablets in hot water and soak the item, then use a bottle brush or toothbrush to scrub the item clean.

Are your glasses suffering the damaging effects of hard water? We offer water filtration services throughout Torrance area that can improve the quality of your water. Contact Carter Services to schedule an appointment!

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