You might have inherited your crystal decanter from an aunt or grandparents or your parents, or
you might have gotten it as gift, and you know its value if its a true piece, particularly such as the antique decanter. The more quality a decanter has, the more it needs proper care and
cleaning to retain its sparkle that is so characteristic of items made of crystal.
I got my first crystal decanter from my grandma for a birthday gift several years ago. It was in
the family for a long time and every generation took really good care of it. I remember when she gave me the
decanter, she told me how to keep it clean and take care of it. She told me that a good housekeeping always entails
having your crystal glassware sparklinkg clean. Needless to say, I put it away and forgot all about it. Recently I
got some nice crystal glasses - again for my birthday - from a dear friend, and this is when I remembered my
Riedel crystal decanter given by my grandmother. I took it out from
its hiding place and remembered how to clean it nicely.
In the meantime I've come across various other ways to clean a crystal object, so I'm going to
give you here several tips to do it. You pick and use the one tip that suits you mostly. Btw one thing I never do
is putting my crystal decanter in a dishwasher. Crystal can easily break, scratch and leave marks that can never be
Depending on style and design of the decanter you happen to have at home, you might have some
with a wider neck, and others with a longer and thinner neck that doesn't give much room for putting your hand
inside. This is when you need to get creative.
Cleaning the crystal decanter the grandma way
The way my grandma taught me to clean my decanter (it is an older Riedel decanter with a very
tight neck) is to use ice. If it's summer and you can't get hold of ice, use some from your freezer. Depending on
the ice box you have it in, the actual piece of ice might be just right for the decanter opening or it might not
fit in. If it doesn't, break a couple of ice cubes into smaller pieces. Don't crush them so they become ice powder,
leave them still in pieces form, as they need to be solid for this cleaning process to work.
Add the ice cubes in the decanter and pour a bit of water
on top. Next spin, swirl and shake the decanter lightly so that the ice cubes touch and scrape the sides of
Basically the process of spinning and scratching will remove the dried up sediment from the
sides of your crystal piece. After a while, when you see the sediment removed, simply throw out this water (by now
the ice is also melted) and use a bit of soapy water to rinse it out. If you still see some deposits at the bottom
of your crystal piece, do the process again and rinse it out afterward again.
As a side note, I've recently learned that you can also add a bit of salt together with the ice
cubes, this helps the scrubbing action even better for removing those stubborn Port stains.
As a last step, use regular water to remove any soap that was left over from the previous rinse.
This works quite well and while at times it seems that you need to swirl and swirl that decanter in your hands
until the sediments gets unstuck, it's worth the effort and it hardly takes a few minutes anyway.
Something much simpler that I've read about before and also tried out was to basically use warm
water and some dishwashing detergent. Don't get the water too hot though as the crystal might break. Then again
rinse out with pure warm water to remove any spots left behind by the soap or dishwashing. This mostly works when
the stains are not too dry and strong.
Removing wine stains from a crystal decanter using rock
A more recent way I've heard about is using rock salt to remove wine stains from
your crystal decanter. This is how it works (and it works great, I've tried it out). But let's get first the
geeky stuff out of the way. What is a rock salt?
Simply put, it is the regular table salt, however the main difference is that rock sal it much
bigger, as it is available in large and chunky crystals. Due to the size of the crystals you can't really use them
in regular cooking (not that mineral wise would be anything wrong with it) simply because it would take ages until
the huge crystal dissolves. You usually find rock salt uses in cleaning the roads in winter from ice, since salt
melts the ice.
To remove wine stains from your crystal decanter first pour approximately 2 full cups of the
salt into the dirty decanter. Pour it slowly to avoid any surface scratching. Next pour 1 cup of white vinegar on
top of the salt crystal. Now do the swishing and swirling movement with your hands the way we discussed earlier so
that the salt gets all dissolved in the vinegar.
This dissolved salt will help disentangle any residue of your last night's wine in the
decanter. After the crystal is fully dissolved leave the mix in the decanter for about half an hour to one hour
after which you shoud pour out the liquid and rinse your decanter with warm water the way you do after using any
other method of cleaning your decanter from wine stains and residues.
If you see that the crystal decanter is a bit cloudy, here are a couple of things you can
Use a bit of ammonia (you can also use vinegar if you can't stand the smell
of ammonia) mixed with water and add this mix (1-2 tablespoons of vinegar per 2 cups of water) in the
decanter. Alternatively you can also soak the decanter for about 30 minutes in a mixture of vinegar and warm
water, after which you need to rinse it with clean water.
Another interesting way I've read about removing the cloudiness from a decanter is by using rice
and dishwashing detergent. Fill in your decanter with water until it's half full. Use a bit of uncooked rice and
add a few drops of dishwashing detergent (or a dishwashing detergent tablet crushed) and make the swirling motions
that I also spoke about with the ice. This should remove sediments and cloudiness as well.
Again, you only need to do this motion for about 2-3 minutes, after which you can rinse the
crystal ware with clean water.
Of course you can also use a simple glass brush that easily goes in the decanter, but I find it
a bit tough to reach those dirty edges with it, so I'm not really using this method at home.
As a final tip, something I've learned about quite recently is to use denture cleaning tablet.
Apparently what you do is add a table in the decanter that is filled halfway with water. Leave it in to soak for a
couple of minutes after which you rinse as usual. Some people swear that leaving the tablet in the decanter filled
with water overnight works wonders. I haven't tried out this tipe, but give it a go and let me know in the comments
section below how it worked.
If you prefer instead to clean your crystal decanter with a commercial product, something I
found personally to work well is using Riedel bottle cleaner beads. Click on the link to learn more how to use them
to clean your decanter or wine bottle with them. Oh and by the way, they make a great addition to accompany a
crystal decanter given as gift to a dear friend :)
Remove water spots from the crystal decanter while
We haven't talked about what to do once you cleaned and rinsed out your crystal decanter. It
needs to dry but have you noticed that glassware tends to get water spots on it while drying? This is quite
annoying when you need to use your crystal glass, or crystal decanter to serve wine to your guests the next time
you throw a party.
One tip I learned about removing any water stains from it is by using a bit of ammonia or rice
wine vinegar and then finally rinse with distilled water. The distilled water helps in combating any water stains
from forming on the sides. Also make sure to air dry it by suspensing it upside down in your dish rack to let it