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How to dry dishes without water spots

Linda Melone, CSCS, is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and certified personal trainer based in Orange County, CA. Visit her website at www.LindaMelone.com.

Keep them spotless!

The most beautiful glassware and plates look off-putting with cloudy, white or crusty spots. Drying dishes without spots requires a little know how. Follow these steps for shiny, spot-free dishes every time.

stack of clean dishes

Step 1: Use the hottest water possible

Rinse and wash glassware and dishes on the highest possible temperature setting. If washing dishes by hand, use the hottest water you can stand and wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. Follow the hot wash with a hand dryer, using a soft, clean cloth.

When using the dishwasher, cut down on filmy buildup by occasionally running a separate glass load at high temperature.

Step 2: Cut down on dishwashing detergent

Detergent can cause a filmy residue to build up on glassware, forming spots. It may even build up enough to become permanent. Use detergent sparingly and rinse twice to make sure all the detergent has been removed. In addition to removing the spots, this also removes residue that may add unsavory flavors to your food.

Step 3: Choose the right dishwashing detergent

A dishwashing detergent specially formulated for hard water may help cut down on mineral deposits. Or look for an additive such as Finish Jet-Dry Rinse Agent, which works best when used with Finish detergent. A rinse agent helps water "sheet" off surfaces, which prevents water spots from forming.

Step 4: Do damage control

If dishes and glassware are spotty, run them through a wash cycle with bleach, but do not allow the dishes to enter the dry cycle. Stop the dishwasher, add a cup of white vinegar, run through the entire cycle (with no other cleaning products) and allow the dishes to dry this time. This cuts through the spots and film on dishes and also cleans out your dishwasher.

Step 5: Consider a permanent fix

To stop spots for good, you'll need to find the root cause. Typically, hard water is to blame. Dissolved minerals in the water can leave white or crusty deposits on dishes and glassware. If you notice frequently clogged showerheads and deposits on teakettles and faucets, you likely have hard water. A long-term solution may involve installing a home water softener in your basement or garage that reduces the metals in your home's entire water supply. See your local home building store for advice.

More helpful home articles:

How to make your kitchen smell better
5 Time-saving cleaning rules

5 Tips for cleaning out your pantry

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