How to Clean Cloudy Wine Glasses to Perfection

By Judy Schumer


You’ve got the table beautifully set, the charcuterie board laid out, and you’re ready to use the sparkling-clean wine glasses that you save for special occasions. It’s then that you notice they aren’t all that sparkly; they’re downright cloudy!


Even if they’re fresh from the dishwasher or kept in a closed china cabinet, wine glasses can still get cloudy. Don’t worry; cloudy wine glasses are easy to clean, and there are ways to keep the cloudiness at bay in the future. Follow our tips for how to clean cloudy wine glasses with ordinary household ingredients to bring the dazzling sparkle back to your drinkware.

two cloudy wine glasses

Photo via RobinGrossmann


Why Do My Wine Glasses Get Cloudy?

Wine glasses get cloudy for three reasons, with varying degrees of fixability:


Dust

Even in a closed china cabinet, dust particles attach themselves to glass. The dust is so fine that it's powder-like, making the glasses appear cloudy. In these cases, all they need is a quick hand-washing.


Hard Water

The second reason wine glasses get cloudy is that you have hard water. Hard water contains high concentrations of mineral deposits, which create a film on your wine glasses.

 

Hard water also decreases the effectiveness of your dishwashing detergent, making it easier for the mineral deposits and even residual dirt to be left behind after washing. Over time, your wine glasses will develop multiple layers of hard water deposits, causing varying degrees of cloudiness.


Etching

The third cause of cloudy wine glasses is etching. Etching happens when the water used to clean the glasses is too hot, the detergent is too abrasive, the water is too soft, or by rough scrubbing. Once the glass is etched, you can’t fix it, so handling your wine glasses with care is the best way to prevent etching.


To avoid etching, don't put glasses in the dishwasher after you use them. Instead, wash them by hand with a soft sponge and mild liquid dish soap. Rinse your wine glasses well and dry thoroughly with a clean, soft microfiber cloth. This method of cleaning wine glasses will prevent cloudiness in most cases, with the exception of dust buildup.


How to Clean Cloudy Wine Glasses with Vinegar

Vinegar is an amazing, super-powered cleaner that’s affordable and versatile. You can use it for so much more than cleaning wine glasses, so keep a gallon or two of distilled white vinegar in your pantry for all your cleaning needs. 

 

The method below works for cleaning up to four wine glasses at a time. If you have more than that to clean, create a fresh bucket of vinegar solution for additional groups of four.

 

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • 1 quart white vinegar
  • 1 quart hot (not boiling) water
  • Plastic bucket
  • Stirring utensil
  • Glass-washing sponge or a washcloth-wrapped wooden spoon
  • Clean, dry microfiber cloth


Step 1: Mix the Cleaning Solution

Mix the hot water with the vinegar in the bucket. Swirl it around, so it mixes thoroughly.


Step 2: Soak the Glasses

Place the cloudy wine glasses in the bucket with the stems facing upwards. Let the wine glasses soak in the solution for an hour.


Step 3: Swab the Glasses

Once the glasses are done soaking, remove them from the bucket one at a time and swish each one with the glass-washing sponge.

 

You can also make a glass-cleaning tool out of a wooden spoon and a washcloth. Wet a washcloth with hot water and wrap it around the spoon end, and then secure the washcloth with a rubber band.


Step 4: Rinse the Glasses

Rinse the clean glasses in hot water to remove any leftover residue.


Step 5: Dry the Glasses

Use the microfiber cloth to thoroughly dry each wine glass, buffing each one to a sparkly shine. 

white toothpaste and toothbrush

Photo via Shutterstock


How to Clean Cloudy Wine Glasses with Toothpaste

If you have particularly heavy mineral deposits or thick dust making your wine glasses cloudy, they may need more than a soak. Fortunately, the gentle yet tough cleaning power of toothpaste comes to the rescue!

 

When using toothpaste to clean your cloudy wine glasses, go basic—you want the old-school white paste. What you need out of the toothpaste is its slight abrasiveness, so skip the fancy whiteners and added detergents. Toothpaste foams as you use it, so this method works for cleaning all types of glass without risk of etching.

 

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Tube of plain white toothpaste
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Clean, dry microfiber cloth


Step 1: Prepare the Toothbrush

Wet the toothbrush with warm water. Put a nice-sized glob of toothpaste onto the toothbrush.


Step 2: Clean the Glasses

Using the same motion you would if you were brushing your teeth, brush the toothpaste all over the glass, inside and out. Refill the brush with more toothpaste once or twice for each glass to ensure you’re cleaning the entire surface of the glass with toothpaste. 


Step 3: Rinse the Glasses

Rinse each glass thoroughly with hot water to get rid of the toothpaste.


Step 4: Dry the Glasses

After rinsing, dry each glass with the microfiber cloth to buff it to a brilliant shine.


How to Clean Cloudy Wine Glasses with Baking Soda

If you don’t have plain toothpaste handy, baking soda works just as well to clean cloudy wine glasses and restore them to a crystal clear state.

 

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda for each wine glass
  • 1 tablespoon hot water for each wine glass 
  • Medium bowl
  • Glass-washing sponge or a washcloth-wrapped wooden spoon
  • Clean, dry microfiber cloth


Step 1: Mix the Solution 

Mix the baking soda and hot water in a medium bowl until a paste is formed.


Step 2: Swab the Glasses

Cover your glass-cleaning sponge with the baking soda solution. Swab each glass, inside and out, with the sponge. Take time to cover the glass thoroughly.


Step 3: Wait 10 Minutes

Once each glass has the baking soda paste spread all over it, let them sit for 10 minutes to allow the baking soda to soak up any dust or cloudiness.


Step 4: Rinse the Glasses

Rinse each of the glasses in hot water to remove the remaining paste.


Step 5: Dry the Glasses

Use the microfiber cloth to completely dry each wine glass, buffing them until they shine. 


Tips for Keeping Wine Glasses from Getting Cloudy

Without a doubt, hand-washing your wine glasses is the best way to keep them from getting cloudy or etched. Because most homes have hard water, using a dishwasher will eventually cause a buildup of minerals, resulting in cloudy wine glasses. On top of that, using dishwasher detergent with hard water can cause permanent etching in your glasses.

 

Instead of throwing your wine glasses in the dishwasher, wash them in warm water using mild liquid dish soap. Add a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to the water for extra cleaning power. Then, rinse each wine glass thoroughly to remove all traces of soap, and dry with a clean microfiber cloth to avoid streaks. When machine-washing your microfiber cloths, avoid using fabric softener, which leaves a residue on the cloth that can cause streaking when the cloth rubs against glass.

 

How do you keep your glasses clear and cloud-free? Let us know in the comments; we love to hear from you!

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  • Dee Dee on Apr 19, 2022

    This works great except if the glasses are etched. I have found that there is nothing you can do in that case.

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