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How to clean glassware

Want to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen? Cleaning glassware correctly is a must, read our guide for tips & advice!


graduation party: champagne being poured into small glass flute sat on marble worktop

Beautiful, sparkling glassware can light up a room, but over time hard water and soap can cloud or dull their surface. Fortunately, there are various methods for removing these stains, and even some nifty ways to get rid of those sticky shop labels from your new bowls and tumblers. Here are a few hints and tips for bringing back the shine to your glassware.

The ideal way to clean glasses is to hand wash them with hot water and a small amount of a dishwashing liquid like SUNLIGHT. Use a lint-free, soft cloth when drying your glassware to avoid scratching the surface, and remember to read the directions on the label of your cleaning product before using.

How to Clean Glass

Even in your everyday glass-cleaning routine, you need to take care to protect your glassware by using the right techniques to both remove dirt and prevent stains from occurring.

  • Clean glasses by hand. Ideally, glasses – particularly expensive wine sets or handmade crystal – should be hand-washed to keep them mark-free and to reduce the risk of damage. Dishwashers can contribute to the problem of staining, as frequent use means soap residues build up and leave a film on glass surfaces.

  • Good technique goes a long way. When cleaning glass by hand, use hot water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid to get rid of daily grease. Rinse straight away and leave to air dry with the rim resting on a clean tea towel. If you have to wipe your glasses dry straight away, use lint-free material, such as a microfibre or glass cleaning cloth.

How to Remove Stains from Glassware

Hard-water marks and organic residue (like coffee and wine stains) can be removed from your glasses in the same way. There are various household substances that prove effective on glassware, such as baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar. You can also use the same type of glass cleaner that you might use on windows or mirrors to help remove tough stains.

Here’s how to clean cloudy glass and organically stained glass:

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  • Baking soda and a soft-bristle brush – such as an old toothbrush – to scrub problem areas individually.

  • A solution of equal parts white vinegar and distilled water, for cloudy glasses or generally dull glasses. Leave to soak for at least 12 hours and then air dry.

  • Alternatively, sprinkle a few tablespoons of vinegar or glass cleaner on a tea towel and wipe each piece, making sure you wash them as normal afterwards.

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How to Get Rid of Sticky Labels on Glass

Shop-bought glasses, as well as recycled bottles and jars, often come with a label that can be hard to remove. An effective household solution is usually applying an oil or alcohol-based product – such as vegetable oil or nail polish remover – but for really stubborn deposits, there is also a range of specialist glue and label removers. Here’s how to proceed:

  1. First, soak the jar or glass in hot water, until the water cools.

  2. If the label has been attached with water-based glue, you might find it peels off easily at this stage. If not, put a little of your chosen removing agent on a cloth and press it over the label, making sure every part has absorbed some of the liquid.

  3. Allow to soak for ten minutes, and rub off with the cloth.

  4. Really persistent marks can be tackled by submerging the glass in a vinegar solution or cooking oil overnight, then using a specialist glass cleaner to rub it off.

  5. Wash the glasses in dishwashing detergent and leave to dry.

As always, remember to wear protective clothing when handling any cleaning product and keep rooms well ventilated, and the glass cleaning process should go quickly and smoothly!

  • Avoid using the dishwasher for cleaning glassware, especially expensive wine sets or handmade crystal.

  • Purchasing a glass cleaner is a good investment as you can also use it on your windows and mirrors.

  • Alternatively, you can use a natural solution, such as vinegar, to remove stains.

Originally published