Crystal, also known as lead glass, is made with lead instead of calcium to increase the glass’s refractive qualities. And what a difference that one ingredient makes! Crystal glasses, plates, and other dinnerware bring a touch of elegance and sparkle to holiday gatherings and dinner parties.

Other than the intense sparkle, you can distinguish crystal from other glass by sound. Try tapping the rim lightly with a fingernail; If the tone sounds like a bell, you’re likely to have a crystal glass. Another difference between crystal and regular glass is that crystal isn’t dishwasher safe, and its porous structure can make it fragile.

The bright shine and sophistication of crystal can make regular glass pale in comparison, but only if you know how to clean crystal glasses and your other crystal dinnerware! To keep your crystal looking its best, it’s essential to clean them by hand and store them safely.

How to Clean Crystal Glasses

Learning how to clean crystal stemware and glasses is easy. All it takes is some green cleaning with everyday household items and a little patience. Here’s how to wash crystal glasses safely and bring back the brilliant shine using eco-friendly, safe crystal glass cleaner:

  • Line the bottom of your kitchen sink with a soft cotton towel to protect the fragile crystal.
  • Fill the sink halfway with warm water and add a few drops of mild dish liquid and two cups of distilled white vinegar.
  • Prevent damage by washing only one piece of crystal at a time, and don’t allow it to float around or bang against the side of the sink.
  • Soak the crystal glass for about a minute, and then wash with a microfiber cloth very gently.
  • Rinse the glass with warm water and dry with a lint-free cloth to prevent spotting (coffee filters are perfect for this).
  • Store your crystal in a cabinet without other kitchen gear, preferably up high and out of the way.

It’s a good idea to line your crystal storage shelves with shelf paper and as long as your glasses are dry, store them upside down to keep the dust out of the glass. If you’re storing crystal stemware, it’s best to store them right-side-up because the rim is the most fragile part of the glass.

How to Remove Water Spots From Crystal

When you’re rushing through last-minute dinner party prep and find your crystal glasses covered in water stains, don’t panic. You can quickly remove water stains from crystal glass without having to go through handwashing your glasses. Here’s how to give your crystal a spotless shine in no time flat:

  • Warm a cup of white vinegar in the microwave for one minute.
  • Lay a towel on your kitchen counter and line up your crystal.
  • Use a coffee filter dampened with vinegar to wipe down the glass inside and out.
  • Rinse the glass with warm water and dry with a fresh coffee filter.
  • If you find a stubborn or greasy stain on the crystal, use baking soda and gently rub it off with a coffee filter.

Now get your table setup finished and prepare to impress your dinner guests with crystal glasses that light up the room.

How to Restore Cloudy Crystal Glass

Unlike crystal glass with water spots, cloudy crystal glasses may require more than hand washing or a vinegar rinse to bring back the sparkle. Mineral deposits in tap water can sometimes create a hazy film on crystal glass that can be tough to wash off unless you use extra firepower. All you need to give the cloudy crystal a refresh is a couple of fizzing antacid tablets and a minute of your time:

  • Fill your crystal glass with hot water and drop in one of the antacid tablets.
  • Let the bubbling and fizzing scrub the inside of the glass for a minute and watch the cloudiness disappear.
  • If you still see buildup spots, use baking soda and a dampened coffee filter to scrub them away lightly.

The two methods above should get your crystal glasses shining again, but what do you do if your crystal still isn’t looking its best? If your crystal glasses look dull after they’ve been cleaned, it’s probably time to polish the crystal and get it looking new again.

How to Polish Crystal Glasses

If you only use your crystal dinnerware for special occasions, it may sit in a cabinet collecting dust, kitchen grease, and other residues for months (or years) at a time. The buildup can harden and adhere to the glass, creating a coating that can look permanent. Instead of turning to harsh chemicals or tough scrubbing, here’s how to polish crystal glasses and revive them using safe, natural ingredients.

  • Make a crystal glass polish by making a paste using a teaspoon of salt and some white vinegar.
  • Use your hands to rub the paste on the inside and outside of the crystal glass.
  • Let the salt and vinegar break down the residues for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse the glass with warm water and dry it with a lint-free cloth.
  • Use a coffee filter to bring back the brilliance with a final polish.

Now you know how to wash crystal glasses, remove water spots and mineral deposits, and give them a polishing. If you aren’t using your crystal glasses right away, be sure to store them safely away from dust, dirt, and grease so they will look shiny and new for your next big event.

Add cleaning your crystal glass to your seasonal cleaning checklist and always be ready for special occasions. Check out our other household cleaning guides you can use all around your home to save time and money. Whether you do it yourself or try one of our residential cleaning services, The Maids wants to make housekeeping easier than ever—get your free estimate today.

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