Sunday, January 8, 2012

Etch-Free Glassware

tched glasses can be really nice when you buy them with a design you like. But when your glassware gets etched gratis from your dishwasher, you're likely going to be less enthused. Some years back, I was given a gift certificate to Crate & Barrel (I think). I was excited to replace the highball glasses that had been etched by the dishwasher over the years prior. Within six months of use, the new glasses began to cloud up all over again. Cloudy and streaky, etched glasses do little in the way of presentation of your beverage.

Gross.
Options abound.  You can try changing your dishwasher soap.  You can buy dishwasher additives that swear your glassware will be streak-free.  They won't work.  You can hand-wash all of your glassware henceforth.  You can purchase cheap glassware on a frequent basis, hoping to keep somewhat ahead of this awful phenomenon.

I opted to research the hell out of the problem and find out who's figured it out.  A problem this frustrating is certain to have a handful of people diligently working on a solution.  And behold, they were..

Perfect.
A crystal company in Germany called Schott Zwiesel took standard leaded crystal and removed the lead.  They replaced it with Titanium and Zirconium and developed a harder crystal that is far more impervious to dishwasher treatment.  Harder crystal means more chips, right?  Well yes, but Schott Zweisel tempers the more chip-prone areas of the glass to counteract this.  What they ended up with is some beautiful glassware that can actually hold up well over time...without special treatment.  They patented this, and it's called Tritan.™  Hotels & restaurants were the first adopters - they put their glasses through the rigors of wash and use more than any family will.

You'd think then, that it would cost a mint to own.  Nope.  About $9 per glass.  I had a great experience ordering online from Crystal Classics, but you'll also find them at Pottery Barn and other places.  Just remember, it has to be Tritan™ - if you don't see it marked as such, steer clear.

--A