Do your drinking glasses look cloudy and dirty no matter how many times they are washed? Are they feeling rough to the touch? You’re not alone!
Many of us are lucky to have a dishwasher in our homes. With increasingly busy lifestyles and a constant stream of washing up to do, these really are vital appliances in today’s families. Unfortunately however, you may notice a detrimental effect on your glassware when they have been through a few wash cycles. So what causes etching on glass?
In the early stages, etching just appears as a rainbow coloured film on the glass. This can look similar to the film that appears when oil sits on water. As the etching progresses, this film changes to opaqueness. This can initially appear similar to the filming, but at this stage it cannot be removed or repaired. This is because the etching process is actually eating away at the glass.
Whilst etching on glass can occasionally be caused by soft water, there is no doubt that it is a far worse problem when hard water is involved. When combined with high temperatures, the high mineral content in hard water will leave scale deposits and marks on your glassware. These mineral deposits make the glass appear cloudy and are often stubborn and difficult to remove. If left uncleaned, they can eventually etch into the structure of the glass, causing permanent damage.
Your dishwasher uses very high temperature water in order to get your dishes hygienically clean. These very high water temperatures can cause detergent phosphate compounds to change into aggressive forms. If your glasses are particularly soiled or the water is hard, a reaction will occur with the most aggressive of these sequestering phosphates, causing damage to the glass.
Glass is porous and can actually be manipulated by chemicals so excessive detergent agents can actually extract elements directly from the glassware composition, leaving it permanently damaged. Not helped by the fact that detergent does not work too well with hard water in the first place and is difficult to rinse away, leaving you with a build-up on the surface.
Glassware damaged by etching can't be fixed, but it can certainly be stopped. You can try changing the amount or type of detergent that is used and also check the temperature of the incoming water. It goes without saying however that the installation of a water softener in your home will go a long way to help. The first step to removing what causes etching on glass will be a call to your local AIWSE member. Experts in the field of water treatment solutions, they will be more than happy to go through the best options for your budget and requirements and help keep your glassware at its sparkling best.