How to Achieve the Perfectly Clean Glass

This topic may seem straight forward at first. Come on, Carolyn... we know how to wash dishes. But have you ever had company over, you grab a "clean" glass for your guest and look at it, only to find that it's spotted and there appears to be remnants of a lip mark? That's definitely happened to me. I get SO frustrated by this, so I finally looked into how restaurants keep their glasses looking so perfect.

The answer? Well, bartenders. It's part of their job to polish those glasses every day. I am assuming most of us don't employ our own bartenders at home, so I'm here to give a few tips and tricks to achieving the perfectly pristine wine glass, but first, we'll cover the basic "how tos" on cleaning. 

Now, we all know what the "before" looks like, especially if you drink deep colored red wines. The glasses look somewhat akin to a crime scene...

Ick. No one wants to drink after that. Luckily, it's extremely simple to get that wine glass above looking brand new. Here's what you'll need:

  • A clean sponge
  • Dish soap - preferably unscented
  • Warm water
  • A towel to dry with - see my discussion below on different towel types

First, you want to fill your sink with warm, soapy water. Dip the glass into the soapy water to get some on the inside of the bowl. Thoroughly clean the inside of the glass with the sponge, ensuring you get all the sides and the bottom. 

Clean the outside of the bowl with the sponge to remove any finger prints and lip marks. The easiest way to clean those marks off the glass is to fold the sponge over the rim and turn the glass while keeping the sponge steady.

Rinse the glass in cool water and place the glass upside down on either a towel or a dish rack to drain excess water. Dry the inside, outside, stem, and foot of the glass before the water leaves those pesky spots! The key to getting a glass without spots is to dry it immediately, and voila! You have a restaurant-grade clean glass.

After cleaning lots and lots of glasses and scouring the web to find the answer to my spotted glass problem, I picked up a couple tips and tricks for cleaning wine glasses. 

Tip #1 - Use a "wine only" sponge and new soapy water.

In the past, I've always used the same sponge I use to clean dishes and washed the wine glasses at the end when the soapy water was empty of all my cooking tools. I have no real proof to back this up other than I can say after washing my glasses in new water with a sponge I've only used on wine glasses, they definitely come out cleaner with less of a film. 

Also, for those difficult to clean champagne flutes, I found these cool scrubber brushes at The Container Store that I use. They have soft-ish bristles on the top and then some microfiber type cleaner on the bottom. If you don't have a Container Store in your town, you can order them online here

Unscented soap is recommended as crystal can absorb some of the smell of scented dish soap and then it'll alter what wines smell like in the future. I haven't noticed that on my glasses, but I plan to pick up an unscented bottle next time I'm at the store.

Tip #2 - The type of towel does matter.

I had three different towels that I tried on three different glasses: a normal dish towel, a microfiber towel, and a flour sack kitchen towel. I had read several places that the flour sack towels are what restaurants use to polish their glasses, so I thought I'd give them a try. The result? Well, a normal dish towel was horrible. Fibers were all over the glass. I actually found  that the best result was a combination of the microfiber and flour sack towel. The flour sack towel didn't do a great job at actually drying the glass (it's not super absorbent), but worked wonders to polish away little imperfections and finger prints. That'll be the combo I use going forward, but if I had to choose just one to have in my kitchen, I'd say the microfiber towel was the winner.

Here is the flour sack towel I used from Sur La Table and a few other options: Crate & Barrel, Target, and Amazon. As for microfiber options, here are a couple: Sur La Table and Amazon, or if you want to be really fancy, there is a Riedel brand microfiber polishing cloth you can order here from Amazon.

Tip #3 - Remove all jewelry and maybe wait until morning.

I love me some beautiful, thin, crystal wine glasses. They feel amazing and I swear wine tastes better out of them, but they shatter so easily! I've definitely broken one or two by washing them with rings on, so I recommend removing your jewelry before washing. Also, if you've enjoyed your fair share of wine that evening, wait until morning! The glass won't be any more difficult to clean then, and you'll have all of your wits about you while handling the delicate glass.  

Tip #4 - Store the glasses upside down in your cabinet.

Dust gets everywhere, and I hate having to rinse out my glass before I pour the wine. To avoid having dusty glasses on your shelves, turn them upside down! I know that probably sounds like common sense, but I literally just turned all of mine upside down in the past month. No one wants dusty wine!

This may have been a long winded post for a seemingly simple topic, but I hope you learned something helpful to get your glasses looking professionally polished!

Disclaimer: The post contains affiliate links for Amazon, Target, and Sur La Table. The blog will earn a small commission if products are purchased through this link.