How to Clean and Polish Glassware Perfectly
Whether you’re hosting a grand dinner party or you’re having a couple of friends over for pasta and wine, you’ll need to have your glassware in order before your guests arrive. Perfectly clean, spot-free glasses make all the difference when it comes to right taste and visual appeal – they’re a must for true wine lovers. But what to do when your glasses look cloudy and smudgy even after you’ve washed them? While washing glasses is a simple task in theory, it can be rather tough in reality. Some glasses seem to be prone to fogginess and water spots no matter how many times you wash them. And if not cleaned properly, odors can penetrate crystal glasses and ruin the aroma and flavor of the wine, which is the last thing a good host wants!
Here are a few simple but highly efficient tips and tricks on how to get perfectly clean, spotless glassware every time.
How to Clean Wine Glasses
Most wine glasses are very delicate, especially if they’re made out of crystal, so to wash them properly, you’ll have to handle them carefully. Even if your glasses seem quite sturdy, don’t rush – it’s better to do things slowly and properly and than quickly and sloppily. There’s another reason you should clean your glassware gently– no matter their build material, most wine glasses are prone to breaking, which is, of course, what we want to avoid here.
Some glasses can be washed in a dishwasher, while others need to be hand-washed. Typically, crystal glasses will have to be washed by hand as they’re extremely delicate. Even if sturdy, crystal glasses that have gold rims or other decorations are not dishwasher safe. Everyday glassware, on the other hand, can typically be washed in a dishwasher, however, that doesn’t mean that all should. Generally, your most prized vessels, whether crystal or otherwise, should be washed by hand.
Whichever method you choose to use, here is how to do it the right way.
To properly wash your glassware, you’ll need:
- Warm water
- A tiny bit of dish detergent
- A sponge
Before you start washing your glasses, make sure you’re handling them properly: always hold a glass by the bottom of the bowl and not by the stem. This is important because on most wine glasses, especially crystal ones, the stem is fragile. Alright, on to the washing:
- Rinse the glasses in warm – not hot – water.
- Wipe each glass clean with a soft sponge and a little bit of dish detergent (literally just a drop). You don’t need a special wine glass cleaner, any detergent and soft sponge will do.
- Focus on the outside and rim of the glass. There’s usually no need to thoroughly clean the inside of a glass, but you should swirl a little of that warm, soapy water in it.
- Rinse each glass thoroughly, inside and out, with warm water. This is one of the most important steps as any soap residue will make the glass look cloudy.
Now that your glasses are washed, it’s time to dry them (skip the machine washing step if you’ve hand-washed your glasses and immediately jump to Drying the Glassware step).
Most everyday glassware can be machine washed. In fact, many crystal wine glasses are dishwasher safe too nowadays. As long as they don’t have gold rims or other intricate decorations and are sturdy, most crystal glasses are dishwasher safe. That being said, all of your prized glassware should be always washed by hand.
If you choose to wash your wine glasses in a dishwasher, it’s important to optimize your machine’s performance so your glasses are spot-free.
- Make sure your dishwasher is running properly and that it has been serviced and cleaned recently. This step is crucial because dishwashers have various moving wet parts that, if not cleaned thoroughly, can leave trace odors on your wine glasses.
- Wash stemware on its own if possible. This will minimize the risk of a stray mug or knife cracking the glass. If you have other dishes that need to be washed, make sure they’re on a separate rack. Also, don’t overstuff the dishwasher.
- Choose the air dry program instead of heat dry setting. This may leave water spots that you’ll need to polish out later, but it’ll at least leave your glassware safe and in its original shape. The reason why you want to avoid heat drying is because it can bite into or etch the glasses over time due to the tiny detergent particles that stay in the steam.
If your machine is in an excellent state and your glassware is relatively new, you may not need to polish them the glasses at all. However, if you’re after that perfectly clean and clear look, it’s wise to jump to the polishing step immediately.
How to Polish the Glassware
To properly dry and polish your glassware, you’ll need:
- A microfiber towel or cloth
Whether you use a dishwasher or your hands to wash the glasses, water spots are likely to happen if you don’t dry them properly. The only way to avoid this is to use a microfiber cloth or a towel because this type of cloth doesn’t leave trace fibers behind (unlike a cotton towel which does). Before polishing your glasses, you’ll want to steam them first.
- Fill a clean basin, teapot or a bucket with hot water. Any dish will do as long as it’s clean.
- Holding it by the base, take one wine glass and hold it above the steam source at an angle (be careful not to wet it!).
- Once the inside of the bowl has steamed up, take your wine glass polisher of choice (microfiber cloth or towel) and gently polish it. You want to be careful here and not put too much pressure on the glass.
- Now steam the outside of the glass bowl and polish it in the same fashion. Move your grip to the stem of the glass and then steam and polish the base as well.
- Lastly, wipe the stem and set the wine glass aside.
Your glasses should be perfectly clean and sparkly now!
- The Right Way to Polish a Wine Glass, According to a Sommelier – Taste of Home