5 Best Dishwasher Detergent to Prevent Etching Glassware, etc

If you’re not using the best dishwasher detergent to prevent etching, it could be the reason for that stubborn cloudy film on your glassware. It also turns out that it’s tough to wash despite using vinegar, bleach with water, and many wash cycles—that is called etching.

Etching is a non-reversible deterioration of glass that occurs when mineral deposits are allowed to build up over time in the dishwasher without any actions to get rid of them.

Although you cannot reverse the etching process once it occurs, however you can prevent it from happening by using some specially formulated dishwasher detergents to prevent etching.

The best dishwasher detergents to prevent etching will soften the water, break down and remove mineral deposits, leaving your dishes, silverware, and glassware sparkling clean.

Keep reading to know about the best dishwasher detergents to prevent etching, what to consider before purchasing a dishwashing detergent to prevent etching, and answers to a few frequently asked questions about etching on dishes.

Best dishwasher detergent to prevent etching

Best dishwasher detergents to prevent etching

The good thing is that the detergent used can stop the etching. We’ve done the test for you already and recommend the following detergents:

  1. ADUSTMAN eco friendly dishwasher detergent
  2. Finish powerball dishwashing detergent
  3. Cascade 59535 automatic dishwasher powder
  4. Ecover, automatic dishwashing powder
  5. Free & clear automatic dishwasher powder
 ADUSTMAN ECO Friendly Dishwasher Detergent 60 Sheets Unscented Natural Biodegradable,No Plastic Jugs More Convenient Dishwashing Pods Liquid Pacs Tablets,Pure Cleaning Dish Easy to Use For Mothers GiftsFinish Powerball Dishwashing DetergentCascade 59535 Automatic Dishwasher Powder Fresh Scent 75 Oz BoxEcover, Automatic Dishwashing Powder, 48 OzFree & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder, 45oz Box 12/Case
BrandAdustmanFinishProcter & GambleEcoverSeventh Generation
FeaturesRemoves dishwasher odors

Eco-friendly

About this item

Easy to use

Prevents etching

Hypoallergenic and biodegradable

No phosphate, bleach or brightener

Conserves water and electricity

Unscented

No pre-soak needed for any type of stains

Effective for baked-on foods

Prevents etching

Pleasant lemon scent

Degreases and deodorizes

Removes limescale and mineral buildup

Can be sold in units instead of a pack

Organic 

Effective for soaking pots and pans with baked-on stains

Removes mineral deposits that cause etching

Phosphate free

Sparkling clean streak free dishes every time

Home and commercial use

Fresh and pleasant scent

Safe for septic and gray water systems

Prevents any reside or etching on your dishes

Fish friendly and Phosphate free

Sparkling clean streak free dishes every time

Effective for removing dried-on food stains

Plant based & Mineral ingredients

Completely biodegradable

Carton is made of 95% recycled cardboard

Natural fragrance

Absolutely no chlorine, phosphate, dyes or perfumes, yet cleans as well as traditional powders.

Prevents etching

No petroleum-based cleaners.

Safe for septic and gray water systems

Bio-degradable

Unscented

FormTablet (concentrated dishwashing powder)Tablet(concentrated dishwashing powder)PowderPowderPowder
Dimensions(LxWxH)9.85  x 5.9 x 0.748.35 x 6.54 x 1.36.78 x 1.98 x 10.95.9 x 2.3 x 8.91.8 x 5.9 x 8.5
Weight 5.64 ounces1.18lbs4.69lbs3.25lbs2.8lbs

1. ADUSTMAN ECO Friendly Dishwasher Detergent

Features:

  • Removes dishwasher odors
  • Eco-friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Hypoallergenic and biodegradable
  • No phosphate, bleach, or brightener
  • Conserves water and electricity

This detergent removes food remnants, grease, and mineral deposits that cause etching from the surfaces of dishes, silverware, and glassware. It also cleans them with consistent results

The ADUSTMAN ECO Friendly Dishwasher Detergent is effective at cleaning dishes, tough on residue, cleans without bleach or phosphate, and safe for use in homes with septic systems.

The great thing about this detergent is that it doesn’t have any scent, so you don’t have to worry if you have any allergies

Pros

  • Eco-friendly
  • About this item
  • Easy to use
  • Conserves water and electricity
  • Removes hard water residues that cause etching

Cons

  • Unscented

2. Finish – Quantum with Activblu Technology – Dishwasher Detergent

Features:

  • No pre-soak needed for any type of stains
  • Effective for baked-on foods
  • Pleasant lemon scent
  • Degreases and deodorizes
  • Removes limescale and mineral buildup
  • Comes in Tablet form

The Finish Powerball Dishwashing Detergent packs quite a punch. It’s simple to use, effective and last long.

With this detergent, some stacking know-how, and a little bit of TLC, your dishwasher can run at optimal performance, load after load.

To use the Finish Powerball dishwashing detergent, put one tablet in your dishwasher tray; it doesn’t matter if it contains dishes or not. And then run a normal wash cycle.

It will wash and leave your dishes, silverware, and glassware sparkling clean. It would also thoroughly clean the filter, hidden parts, spray arms, and other key components of your dishwasher making it the perfect 2-in-1 solution.

This tablet also removes the cloudy film and crusty residue that builds up inside the dishwasher and causes etching on dishes.

Pros

  • No pre-soak needed for any type of stains
  • Effective for baked-on foods
  • Prevents mineral deposit build-ups that cause etching
  • Pleasant lemon scent
  • Easy to use
  • Long lasting scent
  • Degreases and deodorizes

Cons

  • Might need a few applications to get the best results

3. Cascade 59535 Automatic Dishwasher Powder

Features:

  • Works great on grease, coffee, wine, and eggs
  • Sparkling clean streak free dishes every time
  • Convenient to use
  • No pre-rinse required
  • Pleasant fresh scent
  • Gets rid of residues that cause etching

The Cascade 59535 Automatic Dishwasher Powder is specially formulated to clean your dishes and glassware, and remove grease, grime, and built-up mineral deposits that cause etching while keeping them smelling heavenly.

With this powder detergent, you can safely stop worrying about etching on your dishes. It is rich in cleaning active and metal protection agents, and gentle on your dishes and dishwasher components.

Using the Cascade 59535 Automatic Dishwasher Powder is quite simple and convenient.  Simply apply it as needed depending on the wash load and run a wash cycle.

This dishwasher detergent will leave your dishes sparkling clean and give them a pleasant lemon and fresh scent.

 Pros

  • Works great on baked-in stains
  • Phosphate free
  • Fresh and pleasant scent
  • Sparkling clean streak free dishes every time
  • Convenient to use
  • Can be bought in units instead of a pack
  • Suitable for domestic and commercial use
  • Convenient packaging

Cons

  • Pricey

4. Ecover, Automatic Dishwashing Powder

Features:

  • Safe for septic and gray water systems
  • Prevents any reside or etching on your dishes
  • Fish friendly and Phosphate free
  • Sparkling clean streak free dishes every time
  • Effective for removing dried-on food stains
  • Plant-based & Mineral ingredients
  • Completely biodegradable
  • Carton is made of 95% recycled cardboard
  • Natural lemon fragrance

The Ecover Automatic Dishwashing Powder Detergent uses plant-based enzyme blends for effective cleaning, eschewing synthetic fragrances, dyes, phosphates, and chlorine bleach. This dishwasher detergent powder is very efficient at getting rid of those mineral deposit build-ups that cause etching on your dishes.

It uses powerful plant-based mineral ingredients to break down tough residue and remove food particles leaving your dishes sparkling clean with no film or cloudy water spots on them.

To clean a full load of dirty dishes, Ecover recommends you fill-up the detergent cup with 1.2 Oz or 35g of its dishwashing detergent to get the best results. You should also measure detergent use depending on load but not too much detergent at any time.

This detergent is biodegradable and completely safe for the environment.

Pros

  • Prevents any reside or etching on your dishes
  • Safe for septic and gray water systems
  • Phosphate free
  • Sparkling clean streak free dishes every time
  • Biodegradable
  • Deodorizes and leaves a natural lemon fragrance

Cons

  • The scent might not be pleasing to everyone’s noses

5. Free & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder

Features:

  • Absolutely no chlorine, phosphate, dyes, or perfumes, yet cleans as well as traditional powders.
  • No petroleum-based cleaners.
  • Safe for septic and gray water systems

With most dishwashing detergents, you pretty much have to trust that these products work.

But having used the Seventh Generation Free & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder, I can attest to its effectiveness at cleaning and preventing etching on your dishes.

The Seventh Generation Free & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder removes limescale and mineral residue from dishes and glassware, is dishwasher components-safe, and gives you sparkling clean dishes after every wash cycle.

Using the Seventh Generation Free & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder means there is absolutely no chlorine, phosphate, dyes, or perfumes which can pollute the air in your home.

It also reduces spotting and filming in hard water to ensure that it flows freely off your dishes so they are not etched. However, it’s recommended that you use a rinse aid along with it if you’re having hard water problems in the home.

Pros

  • Removes hard water residue
  • No chlorine, phosphate, dyes, or perfumes, yet cleans as well as traditional powders.
  • No petroleum-based cleaners.
  • Prevents etching
  • Safe for septic and gray water systems
  • Biodegradable

Cons

  • Unscented
  • Product package description can be a little confusing

What to consider when choosing the best dishwasher detergent to prevent etching

When choosing the best dishwasher detergent to prevent etching, you must consider the detergent type, ingredients, scent, and how effective it is at getting rid of mineral deposit build-up before purchase.

1. Types of dishwasher detergents

  • Gels: Gel detergents are often the most affordable option, but they tend to be the least effective at cleaning and preventing etching. This is because gel detergents don’t contain the mix of bleaching agents and enzymes found in other detergent types as these ingredients don’t mix well in liquid form, but they are great for normal cleaning.
  • Powders: Powdered detergents are affordable and more effective than gels in terms of cleaning power. But powders can be a mess to measure and store and can also become meshed over time when exposed to damp environments.
  • Pods or Tablets: Pods often take the form of gel packs, while tablets are made of concentrated dishwashing powder. Both go directly into the dishwasher’s detergent dispenser with no need for measuring and absolutely no risk of spills. They are the most convenient and efficient option, but also the most pricy among all 3 options.

2. Ingredients

The best dishwasher detergents to prevent etching usually contain sodium-based ingredients, citric acid, and other enzymes to help soften and break down mineral deposits that cause etching for a more thorough clean.

3. Scent

Although this isn’t really a priority for most consumers, most dishwasher detergent makes include chemically or naturally derived scents in their products. Some naturally derived detergents opt for essential oil fragrances instead of chemical scents.

Unscented options are also available for those who are sensitive or allergic to fragrances.

The most preferred scent is simply down to the individual’s preference.

What causes glassware etching in dishwashers?

There are three possible reasons for etching which are outlined below:

a. Mineral deposits

To confirm if the etching is a result of mineral deposits you can try scratching it off with a knife or sharp object. Chemical etching is caused when mineral deposits are left to dry for a long time on the paint—see https://www.bowdensown.com.au/blog/water-spots-what-are-they-and-what-can-i-do/.

Or you can also run water over the spotted area and dry it with a paper towel.

If the residue or spot cleans off then it’s a result of mineral deposit buildup in your dishwasher at its early stage of being transferred to your glassware and dishes.

It is still reversible and can be tackled before it becomes permanent.

b. Silica Film

This occurs when the mineral deposits that cause etching are left on for too long, resulting in patches or clouded spots developing on the glassware.

Using a knife or sharp object to scratch the spot will only remove the colored phase but not the whitish or etched spots.

Silica film etching occurs mostly in soft water and is made worse by high water temperatures, poor rinsing, overloading the dishwasher, and the use of detergents with high phosphate contents.

It is also worth noting that silica film etching is permanent and cannot be removed.

c. Deterioration by hot water and detergents

High water temperatures and harsh detergents usually remove some material from glasses during each wash cycle thus leading to deterioration over time.

This process is permanent and irreversible.

Deterioration is mostly common with soft water, and high water temperatures and is usually accelerated by harsh detergents that break down the surface of the glasses.

What dishwasher detergent does not etch glasses?

Powder or tablet-based phosphate-free dishwashing detergents are the best detergents to use to prevent etching on glasses and silverware.

This is because the powder versions are more effective and tend to work harder than the liquid counterparts when it comes to removing mineral deposits. They are also better at removing cloudy or water spots before they become permanently enmeshed on your dishes, silverware, and glassware.

Why does my dishwasher etch my glassware, silverware and dishes?

Etching is mostly caused by an over-concentration of granules in water or less than the required quantity of water during a wash cycle.

Overconcentration is mostly caused by 2 different scenarios;

When you add too much detergent in soft water, or when you use too little detergent in hard water.

Can etched glass go in the dishwasher?

Glassware with mild etching that isn’t deeply engraved or scratched into the thick section of the glass can be washed in the dishwasher just like any other glassware.  However, glassware with deeply engraved etches or carves by a professional sandblaster must be hand-washed.

How to prevent glass etching in the dishwasher

  1. Don’t use too much detergent
  2. Reduce the water temperature running through your dishwasher to less than 140°F
  3. Use soft water and phosphate-free dishwashing detergent
  4. Use powder or tablet dishwashing detergents as they are more effective at preventing etching
  5. Don’t overload the dishwasher
  6. Use a rinse aid

How to prevent hard water residue from causing etching on your dishes?

  1. Always run regular vinegar cycles to help prevent mineral deposits from building up inside the dishwasher.
  2. Use a rinse aid and citric acid for each wash cycle to remove any hard water residue from dishes and the dishwasher. You can do this by adding a teaspoon of citric acid to your detergent for each load or putting 3 to 4 tablespoons of citric acid in the detergent dispenser, and then running an empty load at normal ‘level’ to clean out any hard water residues.
  3. Use a sodium-based detergent to soften the water.
  4. A more permanent solution for removing hard water deposits is the installation of a soft water system for the house. Soft water is more effective for cleaning and lathers more easily than hard water.
  5. Many people make the mistake of adding more dishwasher detergent to get a better wash with hard water, but unfortunately, the soap doesn’t completely rinse off, resulting in more residue.

How to load a dishwasher to avoid etching or cloudy spots

Here’s how to properly load a dishwasher to avoid residues, but you should always check your dishwasher’s user manual for any special loading instructions:

a. Upper rack

Concave-shaped items such as glasses, mugs, bowls, utensils, silverware, and dishwasher-safe plastics prevent warping.

  • Angle bowls facing the center with spaces in-between them to prevent breakage, and also to allow water and soap to reach them.
  • Glasses and mugs must be placed between the tines and not on them.
  • Place large silverware and utensils horizontally.
  • Utensils must be properly secured with long handles so they don’t fall through and stop the spray arm from rotating.

b. Lower rack

Platters, plates, larger utensils, and cooking utensils.

  • Arrange plates and platters vertically.
  • Stagger small and large pieces so water and detergent can reach the top rack.
  • Place oversized items such as dishwasher-safe cutting boards, along the perimeter.

c. Utensils rack

All types of utensils can be put here.

  • Make sure you load forks and spoons with their handles facing down.
  • Always load knives with the handles facing up.
  • Mix up cutlery items to prevent them from nesting together, resulting in incomplete washing and rinsing.
  • If using a utensil rack: lay each item flat and don’t overlap them to ensure that each item can be cleaned properly.

How often should I clean my dishwasher to prevent etching?

Regular cleaning of your dishwasher kills bacteria and prevents residual buildup on your dishes.

Ideally, you should clean your dishwasher at least every 2 months or once a month if you use it more than twice a day to ensure your dishes are properly cleaned.

In conclusion, keeping your dishwasher free of mineral deposits is key to preventing etching on your dishes, silverware, and glassware.