How to Remove a Milky Buildup on Glasses

Hard water causes drinking glasses to have a cloudy and milky buildup.

Remove the buildup as soon as possible for best results.Remove the buildup as soon as possible for best results.
Calcium and magnesium minerals in the hard water cause the glasses to appear dirty. Washing the glasses with your preferred dish-washing detergent will not always remove the buildup. The heat in the dishwasher can actually make the cloudy appearance worse. Instead of discarding the glasses, remove the hard water with items in your home to restore their clear appearance.

Pour 2 cups of white distilled vinegar into a microwave-safe container. Microwave the vinegar on high for two minutes.

Pour the warm vinegar into a large rectangular plastic container. Place the glasses on their sides into the container. You may need to treat the glasses in batches.

Soak the glasses for five minutes. Rotate the glasses until you treat all the sides.

Rinse the glasses under cool running water. Dry them with a lint-free microfiber towel.

Apply nail polish remover to a cotton ball if the hard water remains. Wipe the acetone on the glasses and then wash them with mild dish soap. Dry the glasses after you wash them.

Things You Will Need

  • White distilled vinegar
  • Microwave-safe container
  • Rectangular plastic container
  • Microfiber towel
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls


  • Always wash glasses by hand with a mild dish-washing soap instead of placing them in the dishwasher if you have hard water.
  • Use low- or no-phosphate detergent to help prevent the milky buildup.
  • Replace your glasses if you cannot remove the milky residue. The glasses may have become permanently etched with tiny scratches.


  • Avoid allowing glasses to air-dry because spots will remain behind on them.

About the Author

Angela LaFollette holds a Bachelor of Arts in advertising with a minor in political science from Marshall University. LaFollette found her passion for writing during an internship as a reporter for "The West Virginia Standard" in 2007. She has more than six years of writing experience and specializes in topics in garden and pets.