How To Remove Etching From Drinking Glasses?

Crystalware and drinking glasses are two things I love purchasing. I keep them in my living room in a glass cabinet for display and easy access. 

After a while, no matter how much I try, the glasses turn cloudy. They just don’t shine up like the new ones. 

I learned that it is called etching when your glass forms a thin cloudy film. Etching also includes tiny scratches and marks that eventually form over the glass with daily use.

Fortunately, there are some techniques we can try that will help to remove etching from drinking glasses.

How to Remove Etching From Drinking Glasses

Let me share a few simple hacks that will help wipe the cloudy film in your glasses

You must have a soft sponge with a long brush so it can go easily inside the cylindrical length of glasses. 

Cleaning With Detergent and Warm Water

If it is just the beginning and only a small area appears to be etched vaguely, you can do away with it completely by following this trick. 

Allow your sink to fill up ¼ or ½ ( depending on the length and height of your drinking glasses) with a warm soapy solution. 

Soak your glasses in it for half an hour. Scrub with a soft sponge. Rinse, wipe with a kitchen towel and allow it to dry naturally. 

Cleaning With Vinegar 

I would recommend vinegar cleaning for mild to moderate etchings and stains.

Dip a cloth in white vinegar. Wrap the cloth around the glass for about an hour to 45 minutes. Remove the cloth. Take a soft sponge and rub the glass. 

You can also fill a bowl with three cups of lukewarm water and six spoons of vinegar. Take a microfibre cloth, dip it in the solution, and wipe the surface of the glass gently. Repeat until the etchings are gone. 

Rinse the glasses in cold water to remove the smell of vinegar.

Cleaning With Denture Cleaning Tablets 

Clog the drain pipe of your sink with a rubber stopper. Now fill the kitchen sink halfway with water.

Add a few denture cleaning tablets (depending on how bad your glasses are etched) and mix. 

Place your glasses in the water mixture. Leave for half an hour-45 minutes. 

Take a soft sponge or a toothbrush and gently rub the surface of the glass. 

Rinse with water. Repeat the process until you no longer see any etching on the surface of the drinking glasses. Allow the glass to air dry naturally. 

For thick foggy films that do not go away with these two methods, follow any of the following two methods below 

Cleaning With Baking Soda and Toothpaste 

Make a paste by mixing baking soda with toothpaste together. The ratio of baking soda and vinegar can be anywhere between 1:4 and 1:6. 

Apply all over the etched drinking glasses. Leave for fifteen minutes to half an hour.

Take a soft sponge or a small cotton cloth and rub it on the surface of the glass until you can no longer see the cloudiness or film. 

An alternative to baking soda is to soak your glasses in chlorine (bleaching solution). Take a gallon of warm water and add one spoon of chlorine bleach.

Wear gloves.

Let your glasses soak in the solution for half an hour. Remove the glasses. Rinse under warm water. 

Cleaning With Nail Polish Remover 

A nail polish remover is a great cleaning solution for glasses. This is because the remover contains acetone, a chemical that helps to remove the thick film from the glass surface. 

Acetone can be irritating on the skin. Make sure to wear gloves and keep the room well ventilated.

Take a cotton cloth. Dip it in acetone. You can also take a cotton ball and dip it in acetone. 

Rub the surface of your drinking glass with the soaked cloth. Leave the glass for half an hour. Use the same cloth to rub the glass surface again. Rinse with warm water. Allow it to dry up naturally. 

Cleaning with Commercially Available Chemical Cleaning Products

Hopefully, the etchings on your drinking glasses would have disappeared.

If you still don’t find any luck, you can use commercial chemical cleaning products.

Some examples are Goof Off Heavy Duty RemoverRoadWorks Metal Polisher & Sealand, and Goo Gone Goo Adhesive Remover.

When using these commercially available chemical products, it is important to follow the manufacturing instructions. 

Post Care Tips After Removing Etchings

After the etchings are gone and your glasses are shining just like new, you need to rinse them properly to remove all traces of chemical residues. 

If any cleaning material solution is left without rinsing on the glass surface, it will cause further etching, marks, and gouges. 

Make sure to wipe the glasses with a kitchen cloth or towel before setting them to dry naturally. This step will prevent the formation of water spots. 

Make sure to store the glasses properly in the rack. Avoid stacking them on top of each other to avoid bumps, scratches, and marks. 

Ways to Prevent Drinking Glasses from Etching 

Here are a couple of tricks you can do that will prevent your glasses from getting etched.

Do Not Rinse Before Placing in Dishwasher 

It is beneficial for the glasses to be dirty when you place them in the dishwasher. 

Sounds weird? You see, the detergent of the dishwasher is powerful stuff. It is manufactured to cut through any film or dirt.

The absence of dirt will make the dish detergent cut through your glass. It is best to let the liquid marks or rings remain. 

However, you can remove chunks of food debris. Let the liquid film remain inside your glasses

Keep the Temperature Low

Whenever I use the dishwasher, my glasses become cloudy compared to when I hand wash them

The reason is the high temperature in the dishwasher. The heated water causes etching in your glasses.

To keep your glasses clear, lower the hot water setting to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and below. This will prevent the glasses from becoming etched in your dishwasher. 

Certain dishwashers have preset settings of temperature or power boost. Never use them to clean your glasses.

Some safe preset settings are energy saving and no heat modes.

Avoid Harsh Detergents 

Clean the drinking glasses with mild detergents. Harsh detergents contain a lot of chemicals and can easily etch your drinking glasses.

Another thing to keep in mind is the texture of the water. The softer the water, the less detergent you need to clean.

Here are the recommended quantity of detergents according to the hardness of your tap water 

Quality of WaterDetergent Quantity
0-3 Grains = soft water Fill ¼  the detergent cup
4-6; Grains = moderately hard water Fill ½ the detergent cup 
7-9 Grains = hard water. Fill ¾  the detergent cup 
9-12 grains =  very hard water (heavy mineral deposits) Let the dispenser cup inside the dishwasher be filled. 

Using the right amount of detergent prevents the glasses from getting etched with films, marks, and gouges.

Apart from the detergent, adding a few spoons of vinegar to the dispenser cup goes a long way to keep the glasses clean. 


It is quite natural for drinking glasses to be etched over time. The main reasons are the use of high temperature and heat in the dishwasher, Harsh detergents, and hard water. 

Take preventive measures stated above to save yourself from the trauma of etched drinking glasses 

Staring back at you. 

A mild etching in a small area can be easily removed by soaking the glasses in a lukewarm soapy water solution. 

You can also try wrapping the glasses with vinegar solution. Denture cleaning tablets are another good option. 

For large areas, try the baking soda and toothpaste technique, or the nail polish remover technique mentioned above. 

If nothing works, you can always opt for chemical cleaning solutions. Just make sure to follow the manufacturing instructions to avoid any damage to the glass surface.  

After the etching is removed, follow the post-care tips to keep your glasses shining just like new. Cheers! 

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I’m Jueria and I am a regular contributor on In my articles, I share time-saving techniques, appliance wizardry, and health-friendly recipes to bring taste and wellness to your table. So raise a glass (or a spatula) with me, to good health and good food, made easy!