Tricks for removing stains from drinking glasses

July 28, 2015

Anyone can clean a drinking glass, but to get rid of streaks, spots and unappetizing rim stains, the trick is knowing how to dry them properly.

Tricks for removing stains from drinking glasses

1. Wash glasses first

  • Clean glassware first when you're washing dishes by hand, since glasses are usually less dirty than pots, pans, plates and utensils. (If you don't clean the glasses first, then change the dishwater before you get to them. Otherwise, the glasses will end up being dirtier than they were when you started.)
  • Use dishwashing liquid mixed with hot water and wash with a soft, clean sponge or dishcloth.
  • Don't reach for the abrasive pot scrubber — that can scratch glass.
  • Rinse with even hotter water — as hot as you can safely stand. Hot water not only helps cut grease, but it also beads up and steams off.
  • Avoid excessive suds, which make glasses harder to rinse and slippery to handle, increasing the chance of their breaking or chipping.
  • No matter how well you've cleaned glassware, if there is slow-drying water left on your glasses, chances are it will leave streaks or spots.
  • Fogging causes some of the worst spotting. To avoid the 'greenhouse effect' — when glasses placed upside down on their rims fog up inside — dry glasses upside down on a dish drainer.
  • If you don't have a drainer, put them upright on a dishtowel and make sure air can circulate inside the glass for rapid drying.

2. To remove lime build-up

  • Lime build-up can occur when you wash glassware in the dishwasher, so use a commercial rinse agent during the washing cycles. This helps water sheet off while the glass is drying inside the foggy washer.
  • Or, fill a large plastic bowl with white vinegar and give each glass a 15-minute bath.
  • Then rinse with running water and air dry.

3. To remove food-colouring stains

These are stains left in glassware by the dyes in powdered soft drink mixes and other beverages.

  • To remove them fill the glass with a solution of 30 mls (2 tbls.) of household ammonia in 1 litre (1 quart) of hot water.
  • Let it stand for about 30 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with clean, cool water before drying.

4. Hand wash fine glassware

  • Hand washing is best for fine glassware (even if you'd prefer to use your dishwasher).
  • To avoid scratching the glasses, remove your rings, watches and bracelets, especially those with diamonds.
  • Swing the faucet out of the way, so there's no chance you'll accidentally smack your great-grandmother's goblet against it.
  • Using both hands, clean one piece at a time in hot, soapy water.
  • Gently wash with a soft cotton cloth or clean sponge.
  • For stubborn dirt, scrub gently with a soft toothbrush.
  • Rinse twice, first in a sink or plastic tub full of warm water with a capful of vinegar mixed in, and next under a gentle shower of warm water from the tap.

5. To clean really fine glassware

  • Try using a conservator's formula that will clean your fine glassware without damaging it.
  • Mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and water and then add a few drops of ammonia. The water and ammonia are all that's required to do the cleaning, while the alcohol aids evaporation so that the glassware dries quickly.
  • Apply the solution with make-up remover cotton pads or other lint-free pads.
  • Don't use this technique on glass with decorative gilt.
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