The Best Way To Clean Your Wine Glasses

Wine glasses, especially the good ones, are delicate. Made with thin stems and even thinner rims, it seems like wine glasses, while becoming better for aromatics and enhancing flavor, are also becoming more breakable. And, let's face it, it takes quite a bit of worried energy to keep your crystal nice and clean while also attempting to not break it. Even stemless glasses are prone to chipping and hard water stains, and there is not a more dangerous time for your glasses than during the washing process.

Dishwashers are not traditionally built with wine glasses in mind and without careful placement and quite a bit of luck they can crack, shatter or chip easily. Hand washing crystal glassware comes with its own risks — human error-related risks. So what is the best way to clean your glasses without completely destroying them? Time, attention, and the proper tools are what you need to keep your glasses clean and safe for a very long time.

The dishwasher shouldn't be your first move

First, let's take a look at the dishwasher: There is a lot that could go wrong while washing your glasses in a machine. Most of the time, glasses will break because they are not completely separated from the rest of the load. The Kitchn recommends placing your wine glasses in the top rack of the dishwasher and if you have a glass holder, use it. You must also make sure that the glasses aren't touching each other, and won't rock around, hitting other items. Glass sliding against glass will scratch and make your wine crystal look rough, and it also increases the chance of breakage.

After separating the glasses and positioning them safely, finish running the machine and while they are still hot, remove them and wipe them down inside and out with a rag or other product that has been specially made for crystal glasses (via Cleaning Institute). This will prevent water spots and streaks from staining the glass. 

If you are unable to separate the wine glasses from the dishes, do not have a glass holder built into your dishwasher, have the appropriate cleaning solution, or your machine simply doesn't get very hot, you are better off washing your glasses by hand.

Do it by hand

Sometimes cleaning things gently is the most effective method. Maintaining clean and clear wine glasses is extremely important for the wine-drinking experience. Scrapes, stains, and other blemishes can alter the characteristics of the wine's aroma and appearance, which are important to identifying and enjoying the beverage (via Wine Enthusiast).

Wine Spectator advises washing wine glasses as soon as possible after using so that stains don't set into the glass. If you're a bit too tipsy to safely wash glasses after drinking, however, that's fine. Simply leave the glasses to soak overnight in warm water. If you accidentally leave the glass out and it has a tough stain, feel free to use baking soda or brushes specially designed for the crystal to scrub it out.

Rinse your wine glasses again with hot water, and then carefully dry them with a lint-free dish towel or, preferably, a Riedel rag (via Veranda). You must polish dry both the inside and outside of the bowl, as well as the stem and base thoroughly. You can see if you've missed a spot easily by lifting the crystal up to the light and looking through it. This should reveal any water droplets or smudges.