6 Steps to shinier stemware

If you’re facing a cabinet full of streaky, grimy stemware, don’t panic. Even if you know your glasses are clean, spots and streaks make them appear dirty. Follow these six steps to get shinier stemware.

stemware in running dishwasher

Start fresh

Start fresh by cleaning all your pieces. The first step to getting rid of all the existing spots is to fill your sink with hot water and 1 cup of white vinegar. Soak your glasses in the mixture. Use a soft towel to wipe off the insides and outsides of the glasses. Once you’ve wiped away streaks and spots, load your glassware into your dishwasher and run it without any soap. This will leave your glasses sparkling and streak free — and get rid of any vinegar taste! You can use this method any time you notice your glassware turning cloudy or when you want to get shinier stemware before hosting a party.

Soften your water

If you live in an area with hard water, you probably find soap streaks on your stemware, in addition to buildups of scale deposits. If possible, install a water softener to minimize the damage caused by hard water. You will notice a dramatic and instantaneous difference in how much shinier your stemware becomes when washed in softer water.


For troublesome spots and streaks, or if you have an older dishwasher that could use an extra hand, pre-wash your stemware. Mix white vinegar with hot water and rinse your glasses prior to loading them into the dishwasher.

Avoid detergent residue

Even when you know your glasses are clean — say, you just ran the dishwasher — but they’re covered with a gray film, chances are you’re dealing with soap buildup. The more you wash them, the more the detergent builds up on your stemware. Rotate the pieces you use most often to keep the soap from forming an ugly film.

Use a rinse aid

Adding a commercial rinse aid to your dishwasher can help eliminate streaks and spots on your stemware. Numerous formulations are available, so make sure you get a type that is compatible with your dishwasher. Your manual should specify what types are appropriate for your machine.


As you unload your dishwasher, check each piece of stemware to ensure that it is completely dry before putting it away. Even if you run the heated dry cycle of your dishwasher, some water will still remain. If you put a damp glass away, the water will evaporate, leaving behind bits of soap residue or scale from hard water. With a clean dishtowel, dry each piece before you put it away.

Watch: How to get your house clean with vinegar.

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