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How to Clean Crystal Glassware

How to Clean Crystal Glassware

Nothing says luxury louder than crystal glasses, vases and bowls. That being said, cleaning crystal is a little different than cleaning regular glass. But if you know how to care for and maintain your crystal, the extra touch of elegance is worth the effort. In this article, we explain how to clean crystal glassware to keep it looking its best, but whatever you may be tempted to do, please do not use a dishwasher.


How to clean crystal glassware

Cleaning a sink full of crystal glasses and bowls after a dinner party can feel like an uphill battle, however, following any of the tried-and-tested methods below will quickly clean your crystal glasses.

What you’ll need

  • Detergent - Mild dish soap
  • Lint-free or microfiber cloth
  • Warm water (no warmer than 40º)
  • A soft cloth or sponge
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Toothpaste (optional)
  • A sink rubber mat or a towel.


Method 1: Hand washing your crystal glasses with dish soap

Step 1: Create your cleaning solution.

  • Mix mild dish soap and warm water to create a solution.
  • Too much soap creates a hazy coating, so use it sparingly.
  • A few squirts of dish soap for a full sink of water is plenty.
  • Stir the water to combine the solution. 

Step 2: Pad your sink 

  • To protect your crystal glasses, pad the bottom of your sink with a rubber mat, a soft cloth, or even some paper towels.

Step 3: Submerge your crystal glasses.

  • Put your crystal glasses in the solution.
  • Give them a few minutes to soak.

Pro tip: Submerge one glass at a time to avoid them clanging together and chipping or breaking.

Step 4: Hand wash your crystal glasses.

  • Wash each crystal glass with a gentle cloth or sponge to avoid scratching.
  • Carefully clean the interior and exterior of the glass by gently wiping the sponge or cloth in a circular motion over the crystal's surface.
  • If your glasses have a narrow rim, use a baby bottle brush to maneuver a sponge or soft cloth.
  • If your crystal glassware has engravings, use a soft-bristled toothbrush soaked in the cleaning solution to brush dust and grime out of the etchings.

Step 5: Rinse the crystal thoroughly.

  • Rinse the crystal well with warm, running water to remove any detergent residue.
  • Avoid using cold water to rinse, because the sharp temperature difference might break the glass.
  • Wear gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints on your clean crystal.

Step 6: Dry and store.

  • Avoid air drying crystal glasses, as this is what causes water spots. Instead, dry your glassware thoroughly with a clean, lint-free towel. 


Method 2: Cleaning crystal glasses with vinegar

Vinegar is a versatile household cleaner that can help you tackle all sorts of cleaning chores, from flat paint walls to sticky residue from mirrors and glass. It’s also a great option for cleaning crystal glasses by hand. With lead crystal vinager is also used to rinse the lead crystal glasses before use as it assists in preventing lead residue from seeping into wine or otther type beverage.

Step 1: Combine vinegar and warm water.

  • In a sink or large bowl, combine one part vinegar with three parts warm water. 
  • To protect the crystal glass from scuffing, line the bottom of your bowl or sink with a soft cloth or paper towel.

Step 2: Soak your crystal glasses.

  • Soak your crystal glasses in the cleaning solution for five to ten minutes.

Step 3: Clean with a soft cloth.

  • Use a gentle cloth or sponge to carefully clean each glass in a circular motion.

Step 4: Use a bit of toothpaste or baking soda.

  • If there are any lingering stains, remove them with a small amount of toothpaste or baking soda on a damp cloth.
  • Keep rubbing the paste on the crystal until you eliminate the stains.

Step 5: Rinse.

  • Rinse the crystal under warm, running water. 
  • Be careful though — damp hands make it easy to lose your grip!

Step 6: Wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

  • To dry your crystal glasses, use a lint-free or microfiber towel.
  • As we mentioned before, air drying isn’t a good option as it tends to leave water spots on crystal.
  • Wear rubber gloves to prevent fingerprints being left behind. 

Final Words

Tips for the washing and care of stemware

  • Remove rings & jewelry before washing crystal
  • Wash stemware in warm soapy water – never in the dishwasher
  • Place a washcloth in the bottom of the sink
  • Hold crystal by the bowl – never the stem
  • Before using, make sure the glass is free from detergent
  • Never pour very hot liquid into crystal
  • Check for water spots before storing your crystal
  • Remove water spots with a mixture of vinegar & water
  • Do not store crystal stemware resting on its rim
  • Never store one crystal glass inside another one


NOTE: Personally I do not recommend that you use your dishwasher to clean any crystal glassware, even if the manufacturer says its safe. Rather do it by hand.





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