Phew! Christmas dinner is over, the guests have left and now you’re thinking about putting your feet up and settling down to watch whichever afternoon Christmas film the BBC is showing this year. But that washing up isn’t going to do itself and every year, thousands of glasses fall victim to etching – permanent damage which forms as a spotty, cloudy or frosted appearance.

Although the idea of quickly loading your glass ware into your stylish integrated dishwashermight be appealing in an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of way, it is important to note that dishwashers are the main culprit when it comes to etching. Bad dishwasher detergent choices, high temperatures, inadequate rinsing and friction dissolve glass and are the typical culprits of the damage.

The best option is to avoid kitchen appliances altogether for cleaning glasses – particularly in regards to your finest glass ware – and instead, people should use their kitchen sinksto wash them gently by hand. If you are going to use your dishwasher to clean non-antique or crystal glass ware however, there are a few steps you can take to ensure maximum longevity of glass quality.

Firstly, you should only ever place dirty glasses in a dishwasher. The detergent will simply act to deteriorate the glass if there is no dirt for it to combat, accelerating the etching process. Neither should you over stock your dishwasher as this will allow for better rinsing and will also help to prevent damage caused by friction between your glass pieces.

Since hot water also speeds up the etching process, the temperature of your dishwasher should be set to no more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees centigrade). You should also check the hardness of your water since dishwasher detergents act to soften water. Further softening already soft water can cause soft water erosion, which is also detrimental to glass surfaces.  Typically, 1 tsp per each level of water hardness is required. You can buy detergent specifically for glasses to help prevent etching and citrus detergents should also be avoided because of their acidic properties.

Finally, you should dry glass ware with microfiber cloths since this will help to ensure the removal any remaining detergent residue from the glass.