Reasons for Cloudy Dishes and Glasses in Dishwasher

Appliance IQ: Kitchen

Reasons for Cloudy Dishes and Glasses in Dishwasher

If you are noticing that items are coming out of your dishwasher looking cloudy, then there are a few things you can do to fix this issue. 

This article will introduce you to the common reasons why your dishes are coming out of your dishwasher cloudy, and will walk you through the steps to resolve the issue.

Why Are My Dishes Cloudy?

The most common reasons your dishes come out of your dishwasher cloudy include, include:

Why Are My Dishes Cloudy?

Hard Water:

Hard water tends to stain and can also leave mineral deposits on items like dishes.

  • Some municipalities are regulating the use of water softeners in their water supply. In 2010, laws were passed that effectively limit the number of phosphates in household dishwasher detergents. This conscientious change can result in a white film forming on the items in your dishwasher while they are being washed.
  • Typically, hard water can affect the overall cleaning performance and build-up in water lines, potentially reducing your dishwasher’s lifespan.
  • Companies that manufacture dishwasher detergent usually limit or even remove phosphates in an effort to combat the way that hard water cleans dishes, glasses and other items.


Etching, a type of corrosion, may cause glass material to disintegrate over time. Often, scratches and small pits appear on items and can not be removed.


Water Pressure in Your Home Is Too Weak

Dishwashers rely upon strong water pressure to effectively clean glasses, dishes, bowls, mugs and other items in the wash.

Why Are My Dishes Cloudy?

Troubleshooting Guide

These steps can help solve the common causes behind this issue. 

Hard Water

  • Liquid rinse aid can help reduce film and spots from forming on items during the wash cycle.
  • Try to keep the rinse aid dispenser filled at all times.
Hard Water


  • To determine if etching is present, gently try to rub off the cloudiness. If it remains, then it is most likely etching.
  • Unfortunately, getting rid of etching is impossible. If your water supply is hard or features a high mineral content you can try to avoid it by using liquid rinse aid. 

The following troubleshooting tips for dish detergent can also be employed to avoid etching.

Dish Detergent

  • Try to use at least one tablespoon per load.
  • Exclusively use fresh dishwasher detergent.
  • Hard water and/or heavy soil usually require you to use additional detergent.
  • Keep detergent in a dry area that is cool.
  • If you use detergent packs or pods, make sure to only use one and remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Dish Detergent

Home Water Pressure

Home water pressure should be in the psi range of 20-120. Determine if your dishwasher has adequate water pressure with these steps:

  • Completely turn on the faucet closest to the dishwasher.
  • Put any 1-quart (0.946 litres) container under the faucet.
  • Time how long it takes for the container to fill. If it takes longer than nine seconds to fill, then you may have low water pressure. You can use a booster pump to improve the water pressure if you wish. We recommend hiring a plumber to inspect whether you need a booster pump and, if you do, to install it. 


You deserve to have your dishes and mugs sparkle after they come out of the dishwasher.

If you are noticing cloudiness, then make sure you determine the cause right away and take the necessary steps to fix it. This may include enlisting the help of a plumber.

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