How to stop glassware from scratching – 5 methods to keep glasses crystal clear

Nobody wants to serve with cloudy marked-up glasses at a dinner party – here’s how to avoid damaging the crystal clear surface

Two clear drinking glassed filled with water on a table
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you have noticed your glassware slowly turning cloudy, then something about the way you are washing or storing them is causing small irreversible scratches on the surface – but how do you stop glassware from scratching?

Between storing your glassware correctly and knowing which cleaning tips to use, preventing scratches and cloudy surfaces is simple, so long as you implement good care from the day you bring your new glasses home. 

While you can't undo scratches on glasses, here’s what the experts suggest to avoid it. 

How to stop glassware from scratching  

Organizing glassware may not seem all that important, but keeping them grouped together by set, and decluttering them regularly will help prevent masses of glasses from crowding into one cabinet and knocking against one another, causing etching. Equally, cleaning them incorrectly can causes scratches with glasses.

Here’s what else you should be aware of with glassware. 

Horizon crystal drinks glasses

(Image credit: West Elm)

1. Store glasses in cabinets or drawers with soft linings

Cabinets and drawers are the best kitchen storage options for glassware, avoiding open shelving where you can to prevent knocking them off, says Parveen Garg, cleaning expert and manager at OlaClean.

‘Cabinets and drawers lined with a soft fabric such as velvet are great for safely storing glasses to prevent scratching the rims or bases,' Parveen says. ‘When laying glassware down, felt or velvet will prevent the glasses from knocking into one another and cracking or etching.’

We recommend this shelf cabinet liner from Amazon to line the bottom of a drawer or cabinet, as well as these expandable drawer dividers from Walmart.

Parveen Garg
Parveen Garg

Parveen Garg is a dedicated and experienced manager in the cleaning business, specializing in leveraging my extensive knowledge of cleaning practices and products to ensure exceptional cleanliness solutions.

2. Wash glasses by hand in soapy water

Dishwashers are certainly convenient, but they are also overly harsh – especially on delicate items such as glassware, Parveen Garg, cleaning expert, continues. ‘It is best that you wash your glassware by hand with mild soap and water, avoiding using harsh detergents or abrasive scrubbers, and dry your glassware immediately after washing with a soft, lint-free towel,’ he urges. 

That being said, Felicia Bechtel, professional organizer and founder of Spotless Organization, believes that you can use the dishwasher for your glassware and avoid scratching by knowing what detergents to use, and when to remove them from the cycle: 

‘If you are using a dishwasher, you use less detergent and you remove them right after the wash cycle. The drying cycle is when most of the etching damage occurs,’ she explains. Which method you use will depend on what type of glasses you have, and how many – it’s personal preference.  

 Felicia Bechtel
Felicia Bechtel

 Felicia Bechtel is a professional home organizer who wants to help people takethe first step in finding order in their homes. As a busy mom of three, she is well practised in finding order in chaos. 

3. Avoid stacking glasses

A common kitchen storage mistake usually made to save space is stacking glasses on top of one another. Glass on glass is abrasive, especially when a slightly rougher rim is in contact with thinner parts of the sides. 

While this should be avoided wherever possible, Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning recommends using a soft cloth or liner between them to prevent scratches when storage space means you have to compromise.   

You could also store wine glasses by hanging them upside down on a purpose-made rack, which can be wall-mounted inside or beneath wall cabinets. We recommend this Danyia Solid Wood Wall Mounted Wine Glass Rack from Wayfair.

4. Use dividers when storing on shelves

Shelving and drawer dividers are some of the many storage products professional organizers can’t live without – and for good reason. These simple additions can help to keep your glasses in neat lines, preventing them from clashing into one another, says Karina Toner, cleaning expert. Try to pick adjustable dividers like these from Amazon, for the best fit, and cover them with a softer material like foam or velvet,  she recommends.  

5. Use protective slipcovers for special occasion glasses

If you have specialty glassware that you only pull out on special occasions, or are precious mementos from a big day like a wedding, then protective slipcovers could be best to protect each individual glass, Millie Hurst, Solved section editor for Homes & Gardens suggests. 

‘Make sure each glass has a cover that fits well, and combine with other good storage practices like velvet lined storage boxes and dividers,’ she says.

millie hurst news writer
Millie Hurst

Millie Hurst is Section Editor at Homes & Gardens, overseeing the Solved section, which provides readers with practical advice for their homes. Millie has written about and tried out countless cleaning and DIY hacks in the six years since she became a journalist, and has worked in both London and New York. 


Why are my drinking glasses scratched?

Scratches or etching on glassware occurs when they have not been washed or stored correctly. This could mean you have washed them in the dishwasher or used an abrasive brush or pad to clean them, you have dried them with a rough towel, or you have shoved them together onto a shelf letting them bang into one another.  

Why do dishwashers scratch glasses?

Dishwashers fire high-power water around the machine which can dislodge food and other particles from surrounding plates. These then hit against delicate glassware causing scratches and etching. This is made worse in the drying cycle if debris still remains anywhere inside the machine and has not been thoroughly washed away. As a result, it is best to wash glasses by hand.  

These simple solutions to stop glassware from scratching can also be used to protect your best dinnerware sets from damage too, to help keep your hosting service clean and pristine ready to wow guests.  

Chiana Dickson

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.