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How to clean a decanter

Wine served in a decanter adds style to a dinner party. Follow these tips on how to clean a glass decanter and make sure it's sparkling clean.


By Cleanipedia Team

how to clean a decanter
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Serve wine in style with a sophisticated, sparkling decanter. These elegant vessels not only look impressive but actually aerate younger wines and separate sediment to prevent any potential bitterness in the flavour. To become a true wine connoisseur, you’ll not only need to know which grape to choose but how to clean a wine decanter to present it in.

Cleaning glass decanters is important as the natural tannins and pigments in wine will stain the glass surface, which is hardly conducive to enhancing a wine’s taste and aroma. Suitable for white or red wine, a decanter can also be used for a whole range of beverages and spirits, and is guaranteed to add some je ne sais quoi to any dinner party. And for when you’re left with lots of dirty glasses at the end of the night, check out our tips on how to clean wine glasses to ensure the process is as swift as possible.

A soft, long-necked dish brush is ideal for cleaning decanters. Use with a solution of water and dishwashing liquid like Persil to scrub those hard-to-reach corners at the bottom of the decanter.

How to clean decanters

When cleaning a decanter, the narrow neck and wide base of its classic style can be a little challenging. However, while it is often tempting to opt for the easy option of the dishwasher, the fragility of a glass decanter means it can be easily scratched or broken and it is much safer to transfer your frustration at a stain into physical hands-on action. Cleaning decanters by hand requires agitation. This essential step in cleaning decanters inside and out helps to dissolve the stains and residue – no wine, no whine.

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So, how can you agitate glass? The solution is simple and involves just two ingredients: a scrubber (or agitator) and cleaning solution. The scrubber will brush up against the sides of the decanter and remove any residual stains whilst the cleaning solution will enable the scrubber to swirl around inside.

Uncooked rice, crushed ice, crushed eggshells, small ball bearings, and salt are all effective scrubbers. For the cleaning solution, lemon juice, water and white vinegar, water and dishwasher detergent, or water and baking soda are all tried-and-tested options. It is probably easiest to use washing up liquid (like Persil washing up liquid) to clean a decanter and any other glassware.

  • First, rinse out your decanter to remove any remaining liquid. Mix together your chosen scrubber and cleaning solution inside the decanter, swirling for a few minutes to allow the scrubber to scrub off and agitate any residue or sediment of wine on the glass.

  • Pour out the solution and rinse with soapy water. Using a standard long-necked dish brush, scrub at the base of the decanter and rinse with water. You can also buy specialist decanter-cleaning brushes, which can help get into narrow decanters with ease!

  • For the final flourish, rinse the inside of the decanter with rice wine vinegar or white vinegar and finish with distilled water to prevent any spotting as the glass dries.

  • Leave to dry upside down and, voila! One sparkling, sophisticated decanter perfect for serving the drink of your choice.

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Originally published