Crystal wine glasses are one of the more popular stemware choices in both homes and restaurants, but they can be difficult to maintain when you want them to look like new.
Because of this, many people don’t use their crystal wine glasses as often as they could, so we’ve put together 10 ways to properly maintain your crystal wine glasses so that you can enjoy them for years to come!
Top 10 Ways to Maintain Crystal Wine Glasses
1. Wash by Hand
First and foremost, always hand wash your crystal glasses. Not only will they look much better, you’ll also save them from being chipped and scratched. Wash with warm water and mild soap.
An alternative is putting them in a dishwasher—only on top rack, of course! It’s important to note that some crystals can lose their luster over time if they go through cycles of extreme hot or cold temperatures (the extreme temperatures cause condensation inside the glass).
You may choose to still put your glasses in a dishwasher for easier cleanup!
2. Avoid Cloudy Water
Just like your glass, crystal wine glasses require careful cleaning. Never use abrasive cleaners or scrubbers as they will damage your glassware and make them prone to clouding over time.
Instead, use a soft sponge and mild dish soap with warm water or a professional cleaning solution designed for crystal. It’s important not to allow any detergent residue on glasses
If you see white residue, rinse with cool water and wipe off excess detergent before proceeding with other steps.
3. Dry Completely
Washing crystal glasses is only part of maintaining them. It’s very important that your glassware is completely dry before you put it away, as well.
If there’s even a small amount of moisture left on your glass (because you didn’t let it dry thoroughly) and it freezes overnight, there’s a good chance that mold could form inside where no one will see it until you break out your fine crystal for another special occasion.
Cleaning should always be followed by careful drying—especially with crystal wine glasses!
4. Use Soap
You may think you’re doing your crystal wine glasses a favor by washing them with water and a drop of dish soap, but really all you’re doing is making them dull and difficult to clean.
Use warm water and don’t add soap—it might save time in washing, but it does nothing for your glassware in terms of aesthetics or health. In fact, using soap often ruins crystal. Do your glasses a favor: Clean them without soap at all.
They are easier to clean than you realize! As long as they stay dry while they’re not being used, there’s no reason they won’t last forever.
5. Don’t Use Bleach
The use of bleach for cleaning crystal is a big no-no, since it will damage your wine glasses and make them cloudy. Instead, choose a glass-cleaning product that is designed for crystal, or better yet; gently scrub them with warm water and mild soap—not dishwashing liquid!
(If you’re worried about hard water stains, add some white vinegar to a mild cleanser.) Dry them off with a soft towel. Rinse twice if necessary. Store in an upright position.
6. Avoid Handling With Bare Hands
Wine glasses are beautiful. But they’re also expensive and easily breakable. Whether you’re cleaning or moving them, always handle crystal glasses with care.
Never put a wine glass in your dishwasher—the rough spray can scratch and chip it (and over time, that could ruin even cheap glasses).
If there’s any dust or spots on your wine glass, use a damp cloth rather than your hands; wiping by hand can result in tiny scratches too (more evidence for not putting crystal glasses in a dishwasher!).
7. Keep Out of Direct Sunlight
Direct exposure to sunlight can cause crystal wine glasses to fade or even lose their color altogether. As you’re probably aware, direct sunlight isn’t good for any kind of glass, so it’s best not to expose your crystal glasses if possible.
However, if you absolutely must leave them outside for a short period of time (like during a party), then make sure that they’re placed in a location where they won’t be exposed directly from above.
Instead, try placing them in an area where they’ll receive indirect light that can only reach them at a low angle.
This way you can maximize protection from direct sunlight and still ensure your crystal wine glasses are visible at all times without having to constantly worry about whether or not your guests will accidentally break them by knocking them over on an uneven surface.
8. Avoid Sharp Edges
If your crystal wine glasses are stored on a shelf with other wine glasses or drinking glasses, try and make sure they do not touch anything hard.
A lot of homes have glass racks that run straight into other glass racks. Sharp edges can scratch up your wine glass and even break them over time.
For example, if you see someone in a bar set their beer down hard enough against another beer so that it breaks, then you know what happens when you’re doing it over an extended period of time to your home’s crystal wine glasses.
You need to be careful where they go and make sure they never come into contact with sharp edges.
9. Add a Little Vinegar
Vinegar acts as a gentle abrasive that can help remove fingerprints from crystal glasses. Sprinkle a bit of white vinegar on a clean cloth and rub gently with circular motions.
Rinse and repeat until fingerprints are gone; be sure to rinse off with cold water afterward, so as not to damage your glassware’s finish. For an easy way to preserve your crystal, keep in contact cleaner on hand at all times.
The citrus-based cleaner is acidic enough to cut through grime while being gentle enough for use on delicate crystal or china.
Spritz contact cleaner directly onto stains and let sit for one minute before wiping away grime with a dry cloth; you’ll notice stained surfaces dissolve into invisible bubbles after just one application!
10. Clean Separately From Other Dishes
A lot of glassware is made using lead, which can leave residue on your glasses if you aren’t careful. If you use soap to clean your glasses and then put them in with other dishes, that residue can leach into food and water.
To avoid that, make sure you clean your crystal separately from all other dishes. The same rule applies if your stemware is lead-free; even a small amount of detergent can damage some glasses.
Instead, rinse out any residue with hot water after washing and let them air dry naturally. You should never put delicate stemware in a dishwasher or submerge it in water—that just opens up another set of issues entirely.
The value of crystal is not just that it looks good, but that it also performs well. The easiest way to take care of your collection is by rinsing them off with warm water after each use. While you’re at it, give them a quick wipe down with a dry towel.
Wash crystals in hot, soapy water and dry thoroughly; avoid using abrasive powders or pads that might damage their delicate surface.
If your crystal has an intricate design or pattern etched into its surface, be sure not to clean too vigorously around these details as they can easily become worn over time.