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Spotless Cheers: How To
Clean Wine Glasses

February 22, 2024

You know those cute decorative signs with wine jokes you see in many kitchens? There’s more to those than meets the eye because they represent more than decoration—they pronounce our fondness for wine! We love our wine and wine jokes but can’t stand dirty, stained glasses. Whether you partake in fancy crystal or budget wine glasses, you must know how to clean wine glasses.

Soap and wine residue makes your stemware look worn—and can change the taste and aroma of your wine. To keep your wine glasses crystal clear, wash them after every use and clean wine glasses in storage yearly. This annual maintenance is essential to prevent dust and other contaminants from etching the glass or crystal. Here’s how to wash wine glasses.

What You’ll Need to Make Your Wine Glasses Sparkle

Because wine glasses are fragile, the tools and techniques used to bring back the shine make all the difference. Keep a firm grip (but not too tight) and follow the rules—you’ll learn how to clean wine glasses like a sommelier before you know it.

Here’s what you’ll need to clean crystal and glass wine glasses like a pro.


  • Sink or plastic tub
  • Rubber sink mat
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Wine glass brush
  • Microfiber dishcloth
  • Nylon scrubber


  • Liquid dish soap
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Baking soda

Cleaning Wine Glasses Like a Pro

Yes, cleaning wine glasses and many other things in your dishwasher is an option. But always wash crystal wine glasses by hand unless the manufacturer says otherwise. If you do use your dishwasher, load the glassware in the upper rack with some room around each. Use the gentle cycle with no heat. We’ll talk about how to polish wine glasses in the next section.

For those who want to protect their stemware and aren’t averse to getting their hands wet, here is the best way to clean wine glasses.

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Clear the Cloudy and Treat the Stains

If you haven’t been showing your wine glasses the love and care they deserve, there’s likely to be cloudiness and stains. Warm a bowl of distilled white vinegar and soak the ugly ducklings for about an hour. Use a nylon scrubber to rub the offensive areas gently. You can add baking soda to the mix to handle stubborn residue. Pour in a little vinegar and a teaspoon of baking soda and let it sit for about 30 minutes before washing the glass.

Get the Water Just Right

If you’re a hand-washing fan, you know the perfect water temperature makes the process more comfortable. Whether washing or rinsing, maintaining a consistent warm water temperature is critical. The thin walls of crystal and glass stemware can’t handle extreme temperatures and may crack. Plus, warm water is easier on your hands while washing.

Practice Safety With Your Suds

You can wash stemware by hand in your kitchen sink as long as you line the bottom with a rubber mat. Fill the sink with warm water and add only two drops of liquid dish soap. Cleaning wine glasses doesn’t take much soap, and things will be less slippery. You can lay several glasses on the mat to soak, but you’ll want to wash one at a time to prevent damage.

Maintain a Firm Grip

Even if you get the suds factor just right, washing slippery and fragile glassware requires a good grip. The danger area will be the bowl while washing the stem and base. When you hold a thin wine glass with a delicate, slick globe, you need a light grip.

Your focus will be on the goblet’s interior and the rim after you wash the base and stem. Hold the stem with a loose grip with fingers and thumb touching—just don’t leave too much room for it to wiggle around. If you’ll be hand-washing crystal wine glasses for the first time, maybe practice your grips first! Now let’s wash some wine glasses.

Wash and Dry

Any wine connoisseur will tell you the proper tools make all the difference. A microfiber cloth is ideal for lint-free drying and for washing delicate glassware. Soak the cloth in your warm, soapy water and clean the lower part of the wine glass gently.

Switch grips and wash the outside of the wine globe, then bunch up the cloth into the bowl and lightly swirl it around. You can push the cloth to the bottom with your fingers to clean deeper but watch the rim. Keep the cloth bunched up, run it around the inside and outside of the rim, then rinse and dry the glass with a dry microfiber cloth.

Polish and Shine

No matter your approach to wine glass cleaning, the grand finale should be a crystal clear shine. You’ll need two clean and dry microfiber cloths. One is to hold the glass to prevent fingerprints and smudges, and one is to polish. Use gentle pressure to polish the glass or crystal on the outside, being extra cautious where the stem meets the foot and bowl. Bunch up the cloth and carefully shine the inside of the bowl.

Store and Maintain

Now that you know how to clean wine glasses and make them shine, the final step is to protect your hard work. The optimal way to store wine glasses is in a glass rack in a well-ventilated space. The second best way to store them is in a cabinet away from dust and other pollutants. Unlike a rack, wine glasses in a cabinet must be stored upright to avoid chipping and cracking.

Fortunately, removing stains from glass and crystal stemware is much easier than removing wine stains from carpets and other fabrics. Once you learn how to wash wine glasses, it’s easy to see that most of the work involves preparation and a well-rounded grip.

Whether you put our pro housekeeping tips to make life easier or invest in one of our popular cleaning services, The Maids® is your partner for simplifying house cleaning. Discover how you can enjoy a clean home more often without the work. Get your free personalized cleaning quote today and raise a glass to a clean house tomorrow!

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