Spring Cleaning! Tips for Perfectly Clean Wine Glasses
As someone who has an extremely sensitive nose, honed after years of my face being attacked with my mother’s mildew-ridden sponge, I find really clean drinkware imperative to my overall happiness. If you are in the habit of cleaning your wine glasses in your dishwasher, where you also wash your egg/fish/meat-covered dishes, you are doing yourself a disservice when it comes to enjoying a your wine, and if I ever come to your house for a glass I will notice (and judge you).
Wine glasses are specifically designed to enhance the entire wine drinking experience. If you have ever looked through a Riedel catalogue or wandered through Crate and Barrel, you’ve seen all of the different options. Stemware designed for red wine, for example, usually has a large, broad bowl to better capture the bouquet. White wine glasses, on the other hand, are narrower so the delicate aromas of the whites are contained. Please, I beg of you, do not use scented detergents. It’s gross.
The visual appeal of wine is also important in tasting – the way the light plays on the liquid as well as the legs that form on the inside of the glass when you are swirling. But the wine glass won’t enhance your experience if it is not clean – fingerprints, leftover wine, LIPSTICK (the bane of every tasting room associate’s existence) and marks can mar the visual appeal.
So for you at home, here is the best process for cleaning your wine glasses, which means protecting your investment and enjoying any wine you put in said glasses to its fullest.
* Unscented dish detergent (I like Seventh Generation)
* A CLEAN sponge, dedicated only to wine glasses
* Scent free paper towels (Any kind of towel leaves lint. Don’t even get me started on towels cleaned in scented laundry detergents)
1) Rinse the glasses in very hot water. As hot as you can stand (but not boiling hot as it can shatter the glass).
2) Use a drop of unscented detergent into the glass and fill it partially with hot water.
3) GENTLY insert the sponge into the bowl of the glass and wipe around the interior.
4) GENTLY but thoroughly wipe the rim. Be careful of your pressure…I’ve broken a ton of wine glasses and it usually happens at the point.
5) Don’t forget to wipe the stem and base, as fingerprints are unattractive.
6) Rinse each glass thoroughly, inside the bowl and out. Keep your grubby fingers off of the bowl at this point.
7) Hand dry your glasses using a paper towel. Again, don’t forget the stem and base.
If you are anti-detergents, bring a pot of water to a boil, hold the glass by the base (bowl side down) over the steaming pot, and steam-clean your glasses for a beautiful spot-free finish. Be super careful to not burn your hand on the steam! Hand dry with paper towels.
If you find you have stubborn wine stains, make a paste of baking soda and water and allow it to sit on the stain for a few minutes. Clean as usual.
If you have cloudy wine glasses, and you’re pretty sure it’s not etching from the dishwasher, warm some white vinegar in a pot and soak the glasses in the vinegar for an hour. Gently scrub the residue with a soft scrub pad. Follow with a hand wash.
I know it seems picky, but taking good care of your glasses allows you to fully enjoy your wine and keeps your glasses in good condition for a long time. One final tip I leave you with if you are a beer drinker…never use soap on your pint glasses, mugs, or pilsners because even the tiniest amount of residue will make your beer go flat.
I’m off to Montana to hit the steep and deep this weekend, but for all of you who are having a party, remember these tips and enjoy your beautiful, spot/lint/lipstick free wine glasses!