How to Safely and Effectively Clean Glasses in a Dishwasher
Ideas and Advice

How to Safely and Effectively Clean Glasses in a Dishwasher

There are a lot of reasons to use glassware, even for day-to-day use — it's environmentally friendly, it adds class to every meal, and some drinks are simply best served in glass — but this brings up the question of how to clean glassware. Because glasses are so delicate and expensive, you want to get this right from the beginning. That's where this guide about how to clean glasses in a dishwasher comes in. This post will provide you with tips on washing glassware, the precautions that you have to take even when using a "delicate" cycle, and more. We'll even go over some of our top picks when it comes to washing glassware.

Make Sure Your Glassware is Dishwasher-Safe

 Loading Dishwasher

One important thing to note is that not all glassware is created equal. You should never place crystal glassware in a dishwasher since the powerful flow of water and high temperatures will irreparably damage it. On the other hand, a lot of other glassware is perfectly dishwasher-safe. With this, your best bet is to check with the company that made your glass items. If you can't do that, look for a "dishwasher safe" stamp or engraving, usually on the bottom of the glassware. The stamp may look like a drawing of glasses or plates with a drop of water above them.

It's also important to note that putting items that aren't dishwasher-safe into a dishwasher can damage your other dishes, or even your dishwasher itself. If you are ever in doubt, wash the items by hand.

Use a Gentle Cycle

 Washing a Glass

When cleaning delicate items in a dishwasher, it is imperative to use the gentlest wash cycle available to you. A delicate cycle uses cooler water and lower water pressure than a heavy-duty wash cycle. This reduces the risk of having your glass items bump against each other, and it also preserves the glass (as high temperatures can damage it). A gentle dishwasher cycle can also use less detergent than other cycles (although if you use detergent pods, you won't have this ability).

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The nine different wash cycles available on this LG dishwasher are perfect for washing delicate items. In addition, the EasyRack™ Plus system adjusts to suit even the tallest stemware, and the included QuadWash™ technology uses four Multi-Motion arms to circulate water around all of your dishes.

Load Glass Securely on an Upper Rack

 Glasses on Upper Rack

If you plan on washing glassware in your dishwasher, always put it on the top rack. Placing delicate items on the lower rack lets them get bumped around by larger dishes (especially pots and plates). In addition, putting glassware close to the heating element places it at greater risk of breakage due to thermal shock (more on that later).

On the other hand, the tines on the upper rack of a dishwasher will hold glassware far more securely. Your specific dishwasher may even have a special attachment for stemware.

Use Water Softener

 Wet Glasses

Hard water buildup is the number one cause of cloudy glassware, so adding a little water softener to your dishwasher can really help them shine. Water softener reduces the impact of the calcium and other minerals that occur naturally in your drinking water. It's important not to overdo it, however, since overly soft water can corrode your glassware, causing scratches and etching. If the area that you live in has very soft water already, you may be better off washing your glassware by hand instead of cleaning it in your dishwasher.

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There are a lot of dishwashers that have water softening capability, which is great if you live somewhere that has hard water. One of our favorites is this one from Bosch's 300 Series: in addition to a water softener compartment, this full-console dishwasher comes with Bosch's Home Connect technology, allowing you to control or monitor it using your smartphone. The RackMatic® adjustable rack seamlessly adjust to fit all form factors of glassware, as well.

Let Glassware Cool After the Cycle

 Vapor Escaping Dishwasher

One of the greatest challenges you will face when washing glassware in a dishwasher is called thermal shock. When glass (or anything) gets warm, it expands slightly, and it shrinks as it cools back down. Most of the time, this doesn't hurt the glass. The problem comes when you cool it down too quickly: the glass will shrink too fast, and crack or shatter.

There are a few other things that you can do to avoid subjecting your delicate glassware to thermal shock. First, always let excess steam escape from your dishwasher as soon as its cycle completes. (Some dishwashers even automatically open after the cycle is done.) Second, make sure your glasses are completely cooled off before you put ice or cold drinks into them.

Hold Glasses by the Stem When Moving Them

 Holding Glass

Because it has the thickest glass, the stem is actually the strongest part of your glassware. Use this to your advantage: if you're moving wine glasses or other stemware, always carry them by the stem and not the bowl. Most people do this when drinking wine already, so wine drinkers are off to a great start!

Hand Drying Tips

 Cleaning Glass

When drying your glassware by hand, there are a few important things you should keep in mind. Use a very gentle touch and a linen or microfiber cloth — you don't want to risk scratching or breaking the glass! When you dry off a wine glass, hold it by the bowl, near the stem: this provides the greatest support for the various pressures you are putting on it. Always dry your glasses as soon as they are washed. Otherwise, water spots and calcium may build up.

Another tip for hand drying glassware is to set each glass upside-down on top of a pair of chopsticks or pencils, enabling airflow through the bowl. And finally, dry the outside of your glassware last to remove any fingerprints.

Care After Cleaning

 Upside Down Glasses

There are a lot of ways to optimize your glassware's care after you have washed and dried it, as well. First, when you put your glasses into storage, put them under a dust cover. This helps keep them clean so that you don't need to rinse them out before you use them. Next, if you have a lot of wine glasses or other delicate glassware, think about getting a special glass rack to store and transport them. Getting one of these can keep you from going back and forth across the kitchen twelve times with one glass in each hand.

It can also be a good idea to store your glassware upside-down so that any dust that accumulates on it ends up on the outside. This can help keep your household healthy, as well as making cleaning easier.

Related Questions

How do you clean cloudy glassware?

To start, soak your glasses in distilled white vinegar for at least 15 minutes. If the glasses get clearer, the cloudiness can be removed. Then handwash the dishes using liquid dish soap and warm water. Rinse in warm water using a microfiber cloth and let your glasses air-dry.

What makes glasses cloudy?

The most common reason your glassware is cloudy is hard water buildup, where minerals like calcium build up on your glass. Your glassware also may have become etched if it has been exposed to extremely hot water, too much detergent, or water that is too soft.

What is "beer clean" glassware?

A "beer clean" glass has no dust or other impurities stuck to it. Carbon dioxide sticks to these impurities, making uneven foam and far too many bubbles for proper beer or champagne.