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I have a really beautiful set of crystal glassware, but I have heard washing it with hard water will ruin it. How do I avoid this?
You are correct that hard water can impact your crystal glassware, but don’t worry, it won’t ruin it. Hard water just causes the glass to form a hazy film, and this type of damage is both removable and avoidable.
But first, how do you know if you have hard water in the first place? Hard water contains a high amount of magnesium and calcium, along with other metals and minerals. It causes no health problems, but isn’t as great at cleaning dishes and laundry, and can cause that film on your crystal glasses.
To test for hard water, fill a clean plastic or glass bottle with 8 to 10 ounces of water and 10 drops of liquid dish soap (not detergent). Screw on the cap tightly and shake for 10 seconds. If the suds form quickly, create lots of suds, and the water below the suds is pretty clear, you have soft water. If, however, suds barely form, there’s only a thin layer, or the water is cloudy, you probably have hard water.
If your water is hard and you’ve realized this after having washed your crystal glassware enough times for a film to form, simply soak the glasses in a solution of 1 cup white vinegar with 1 gallon of water. Then, scrub lightly with a non-abrasive sponge. That should remove the film.
To avoid it in the first place, definitely don’t place the crystal in the dishwasher. All that dishwashing detergent combined with hard water is how the film forms. Hand washing with water and just a little soap should prevent the film.