How to Clean Wine Glasses

Treating yourself to a glass of fine wine can be a great way to unwind after a long day. Unfortunately, cleaning a used wine glass also creates extra work. Just like any other type of dishware you may use in your home, wine glasses need to be cleaned after each use to prevent bacteria growth and staining. Of course, there are some unique challenges that come along with cleaning wine glasses.

For starters, some wine glasses are made out of crystal rather than glass. These glasses cannot withstand the high temperatures of a standard dishwasher and thus must be washed by hand to avoid damage. Even a “traditional” wine glass made of glass requires special care—especially when it comes to protecting the delicate glass stem.

Not sure where to begin when it comes to carefully yet thoroughly cleaning your wine glasses? We’ve got a few methods to try that can help you achieve a sparkling shine with minimal effort.

Cleaning Wine Glasses By-Hand

If you have crystal wine glasses (or if you’re not sure whether yours are made of crystal or glass), your best bet will be to wash your wine glasses by-hand rather than using a dishwasher. The main concern is the high water temperatures and steam generated by a dishwater, which may cause crystal wine glasses to shatter. Hand-washing your wine glasses allows you to clean them with a more delicate touch.

First of all, make sure to always handle wine glasses not by the stem, but by the base of the cup. Holding by the stem, especially while washing, can result in cracks or shattering. Begin by running warm (but not hot) water in the sink. Using a soft sponge and a gentle dish soap, wash the outside of the glass and the stem using small, circular motions before rinsing. Pay special attention to the lip of the glass, which is usually the dirtiest.

When cleaning the inside of the glass, it’s best to use a sponge that is attached to a long handle. This will allow you to wash the inside of the glass without actually putting your hands inside. You can find a long-handled sponge at most grocery stores or create your own by simply cutting a piece off a regular sponge and attaching it to the end of a dowel.

Once the glass is washed, rinse it thoroughly with warm water. Be sure to rinse out all soap residue to prevent your next glass of wine from taking on a soapy flavor! Ideally, you’ll hang each wine glass up to dry (this is easy if you already have a rack for your wine glasses). Otherwise, placing them upside-down on a micro fiber dish cloth is fine. If you choose to hand-dry your wine glasses, be sure to use a microfiber towel to avoid leaving lint behind.

Cleaning Wine Glasses in a Dishwasher

If you don’t have crystal wine glasses, you can save time and wash them in your dishwasher. Still, you’ll want to take some extra precautions to protect your glasses, especially if they are not stemless.

The most important thing is to keep your wine glasses separated from other dishes. Some modern dishwashers actually have built-in racks and compartments for stemware, which can protect them from clanking up against other dishes and potentially cracking or shattering. Even if your dishwasher doesn’t have one of these compartments, you can purchase a dishwasher basket in which to place all your stemware on the top rack.

If your dishwasher has a “gentle” setting or different temperature settings, use this to your advantage. Lower temperatures will protect your wine glasses from shattering, and a shorter or gentle wash cycle will reduce chances of chipping or other damage as well.

If your dishwasher also dries your dishes, you’ll want to skip this altogether when washing wine glasses. Typically, dry cycles on dishwasher generate too much heat for delicate wine glasses to withstand. Instead, remove your wine glasses from the dishwasher and either set them out to dry or hand-dry them with a microfiber cloth.

Getting Rid of Stubborn Stains on Wine Glasses

Over time, it’s not uncommon for wine glasses to develop stains that regular washing will not remove. This is most common with porous materials, such as crystal; the glasses may absorb the deep colors of wine (especially if you drink a lot of red wine). If you live in an area with hard water, you may also find that your wine glasses develop white spots that don’t come off when you hand-wash them or run them through the dishwasher. These are usually mineral deposits that will require a little extra care and elbow grease to get rid of.

Begin with a large container that can be sealed and is large enough to hold at least one wine glass. From there, fill the container with warm (not hot) water and add about five tablespoons of white vinegar. Gently submerge a wine glass in the mixture and cover the container. Leave the cleaning mixture to work its magic for an hour or two before removing the glass and rinsing it in warm water. If the stains are still there, they’re probably permanent and you may be better off replacing your wine glasses altogether.

If the stains are gone, set the glass out to dry (or dry by-hand) and move onto cleaning the next stained glass by submerging it into the same mixture and repeating the process. Keep in mind that you may need to create new cleaning mixtures if the water starts to get too cold, as the cleaning power will the strongest when the water is nice and warm.

Need More Help With Cleaning?

Having dirty wine glasses is not only unsanitary, but it can also be embarrassing when you’re trying to serve up glasses of wine to a group of friends. And while cleaning your wine glasses properly does take a little extra time and care, the effort is worth it when you’re able to proudly display and use your crystal-clear wine glasses!

If you’re feeling burdened by your day-to-day house-cleaning tasks, have you considered working with a professional cleaning service to get the help you need? Hiring a professional house cleaner allows you to enjoy all the perks of a clean home without having to lift a finger.  Maid Sailors offers home cleaning services to suit your needs and budget, whether you need a deep cleaning or a simple tidy-up. Give Maid Sailors a call today at (212) 299-5170 to find out more about our cleaning services or to book your first appointment. We look forward to making your home shine!

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