Thursday, September 27, 2007

Washing Wine Glasses

Martha Stewart has recently decided to label a wine made by Gallo. I wish she'd solve another problem for me: how do you properly wash wine glasses? (pyramid of Simplicity Wine Glasses from CB2)

I am so sick and tired of having either a) smudged, greasy looking glasses or b) foamy wine. This problem is compounded in our house, I realize, because of my enormous affection for Riedel O glasses. These stemless wonders have kept after-dinner hysteria to a minimum since we are not walking around with dustpans and brooms. Frankly, we are too klutzy to wash stemware routinely, either by hand or in the dishwasher.

So I've been surfing the 'net looking for advice, and tried just rinsing with hot water (this left smudges, and wine glasses are always hard to dry by hand); running them through the dishwasher but not the heated dry cycle (on the premise that this will keep the soap from baking onto the glasses) which didn't help much, frankly; handwashing with very hot water and a gentle soap (better, but I was still left with lots of glasses all over the counter and a little bit of a foaming problem). What is a wine lover to do?

There is some reason for hope, however. Recently, on the advice of Consumer Reports, I purchased these tiny little dishwasher tabs from Cascade (Cascade 2-in-1 Action Pacs with the Power of Dawn) that have a dollop of Dawn liquid in them. Previously, I've tried liquid detergents (leave a film), dry detergents (leave grit and I find lead to fogging), other tabs (Electrasol pretty much diamond plated everything in film). These Cascade tabs, however, just gave my Riedel O glasses a wash that removed all the fingerprints, but passed the "no foam" test after washing. Maybe it was a fluke, but I'm hoping it's not.

How do you wash your wine glasses? Even if you aren't Martha Stewart, please leave your glass washing tips and tricks below. My guess is that I'm not the only one grappling with this problem.


Marcus said...

Hand-dry the bowl of the glass without touching the stem or the base and avoid drying stems and bases entirely -- they snap off easier than you think.

My 2c.

foodette said...

I hand wash with dish soap and sponge, then towel dry the outside of the glass, and let the inside air dry, upside down, over a towel.

MonkuWino said...

I am no expert, that's for sure, but I use a tiny bit of dish soap, clean lightly with a sponge and then rinse it with very hot water. I probably waste tons of water doing this but you have to rinse it a long time to get all the soap off. I lightly towel dry inside and outside - if the water is hot enough then the glass dries easily (I use mostly Riedel from their Vinum series). I just feel guilty using all that water, but otherwise it doesn't clean well.

Anonymous said...

Really what you need is this:

But as far as I know it's not sold in the US...just in Europe. D'oh, you were just there!

Anonymous said...

whoops, photo didn't make it. how about this time?

Shoot. No images accepted in your comments? Hmmmm. Guess you'll just have to go here (copy/paste) to see...

Richard Auffrey said...

I just got home from a wine tasting and they had samples of "Restaurant Crystal Clean." This is supposed to be a "professional wine glass washing liquid." Their website is

I have not yet tried this product so I have no clue whether it works or not. But it might be working checking out. Their website does have some info on cleaning glasses as well.

When I do test it out, I will tell you how it works.

Orion Slayer said...

I have mostly Riedel glasses, but I wash all my glasses this way:
- Run the hot water as hot as it will go.
- Stick the glass under the flowing water, rinsing the inside and outside of the glass.
- Use a small squirt from a liquid Dawn foaming dispenser.
- By hand, spread the foam all over the outside and inside of the glass.
- Rinse in the hot water.
- Gently shake any water I can from the glass.
- Let the glass air dry in the sink on a rack.

This is a labor intensive, hand hurting method, but it gets rid of the smudges and leaves the glasses spotless. Thank goodness I'm the only one at home who drinks wine every night!

Anonymous said...


I must say, I really did not take you for a Riedel O kinda person. Those things that get all goobery? Eegad.

We've had great success with some titanium infused stemware around the Dr. Vino World Headquarters. I bought some called Tritan Forte but they seem hard to find in the US now. Pity since they were less than $10/stem.

Anyway, they are impact resistant and really do seem more durable, though not unbreakable (oops!).

The good thing is that you can toss em in the dishwasher and they come out fine. Btw, one of my friends runs only wine glasses in one load with soap, then again only on rinse to remove the soap. High energy and water! Low labor!



Anonymous said...

For my Riedel glasses I use warm-to-hot water and just a tiny drop of dish soap. I just spread the suds around with my hand and use lots and lots of water to rinse (no sponges involved). I leave them for a few minutes to let the water droplets collect then dump it out and dry them, inside and out, with a kitchen towel (the kind that's smooth, without any lint).

For my thicker glasses I just put them in the top of the dishwasher on their sides and they seem to come out fine. When I had an ancient dishwasher using Cascade Complete made a big difference, but I don't use it anymore since it's double the price of normal dishwasher liquid.

wine glass guru said...

I wash all my glassware and even my dishes with Restaurant Crystal Clean. I can vouch that it works absolutely as described. I know, I invented it. It leaves no film, and most importantly no chemical taste or odor on or in your glasses. Restaurants love it 'cause it reduces polishing 95% or better.

We have a lot of top US wineries using it. And Riedel just bought two cases for the factory in Kufstein, Austria after testing it for two months.

Hope no one minds a plug, but this is such a problem, why I spent two years developing RCC, I couldn't find anything to wash my glasses.

Try it you'll be happy you did. It's 100% guaranteed. If you're not satisfied, money back. Period.

Brooklynguy said...

I go with no soap, only a hot water rinse, using my rather calloused hands to wipe out the glasses. The to a drying rack. After air dry I wipe away spots with a lint-free rag. Not perfect, but no soap smell in the glasses at least.

Anonymous said...

Hey Deb-

I really try to avoid business plugs but I just can't help myself on this one. We sell a product called "Stem Shine" that my grandfather actually developed the formula for (he's a chemist geek). It works wonders. I handwash all of my delicate glasses with it and makes them super shiny without any residue. Get it here if you need a new idea:

winedeb said...

Wow Deb, all these great ideas. I like so many other use Dawn, but just a smidge and very hot water. Yes the ol hands take a beating but the glasses shine. I use a soaked "Handy Wipe" to wash, then I take years to rinse in the hot water. I use an all cotton dish towel that is so old that all of the cotton fuzz is gone. I gently dry with that ancient towel and my glasses look marvelous. I have never put them in the dishwasher becuase things can get crazy in there. Good post!

Dr. Debs said...

Wow. Thanks everybody. First, welcome Tommy and Doug. Thanks for leaving such useful comments. And Dr. Vino--of COURSE I'm a Riedel O gal. And a Riedel everything else gal, too. But my normal Riedel's break--a lot. Because I've got so many I just keep replacing broken ones, rather than switching to the ones you mention (Tritan Forte). Will have to give those a try, as well as the other tips/tricks, and 3 new groovy wine products (thanks for the plugs, I don't mind it a bit!) Obviously this is a topic that hit home with readers as well as a daily frustration of my own!

Sonadora said...

A little late, but I'll add my 2 cents anyway. I have actually been using the Cascade with Dawn packets that you mention for the last 5 years or so. I've never had an issue with soap in my wine or smudges on my glasses.

Joe said...

Hi Debs - I will confess I have a Riedel "O"s in the house, but for special occasions (i.e. middle of the week when I am feeling lazy about hand washing). Orionslayer pretty much summed up my routine...

Anonymous said...

Best solution I found for my Riedels is to wash in hot water with a touch of detergent. Then, lay a paper towel on the counter. Put the wet glasses upside down on the towel & let air dry overnight. Avoids the lint and really bad smudges. Not perfect, but not too labor intensive either. Would not be too efficient for a large group/large # of glasses though.

Dr. Debs said...

Hi Sonadora and Joe, and welcome Paula G. I always have problems with moisture getting trapped under the glass when I turn them over on paper towels--am I doing something wrong. But so far (crossed fingers) these little Cascade tabs that Sonadora's been using for years and I've just found are doing the business. No smudges, no residue, no foam--and no glasses air drying on the counter where klutzy me knocks them over!

coonyham said...

I use Restaurant Crystal Clear (bought at BevMo) and warm water. I gently towel dry the bowl, very gently towel dry the stem and base and let them air dry on a rack on my counter (I also have a nifty silicone potholder that has little grids on it that allow the bowl to dry). I never use the dishwasher, even on my O Riedel glasses (I have O and Vinum, about a total of 24 Riedel glasses).

The trick - NEVER twist the glass holding the bowl and the stem or base, that will snap the base. Hold only the base, OR the stem, OR the bowl to prevent breakage.