Nobody likes water spots on their glassware, and certainly not on their favorite wine glasses. Hard water can definitely leave a mess behind after it dries, not to mention that it can alter wine’s taste. Besides, it’s not at all aesthetically pleasing to serve your wine in what appears to be a “dirty” glass.
We are sure that you’ve seen some perfectly polished glasses in restaurants and wondered how they are looking so flawless. In reality, there is no magic trick. On the contrary, it’s not that complicated to achieve this look. You just need a few things to keep in mind when you are polishing wine glasses, and today we are discussing everything you need to know about this topic. Let’s start with the basics.
How to clean your wine glasses
First and foremost, you need to make sure your wine glass is perfectly clean. Whether you have dishwasher safe glasses or handwash only, the detergent should be fragrance-free and gentle to ensure that there will be no alterations to the glass material or the taste.
We recommend using some of our favorite dish soaps that are fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and some of them even plant-based when it comes to the ingredients.
This liquid soap is perfect for handwashing, as it is gentle with all dished and your hands as well. It comes in a pack of six, so it’s handy to have around the house.
Be careful if you are washing your crystal glasses by hand. Crystal tends to be thinner than regular glass, so make sure you are lining your sink with a towel to prevent your glasses from bumping each other in the process. If your crystal wine glasses are dishwasher safe, you still need to pay attention. To ensure a longer life, use a gentle cycle, and skip the heated drying cycle. However, the safest way to clean them is still by hand. Check out the little handwashing guide for your crystal glassware below.
Give your dishwasher safe glasses the same care as if they were washed by hand. Use a gentle detergent with no harsh chemicals like the Puracy Platinum. If you are a fan of pods, this one is great for many materials, including glass and crystal. It doesn’t contain any bleach or perfumes, it doesn’t require pre-soaking or pre-rinsing, and has plant-derived enzymes, water softeners, and mineral-based cleansers.
A quick guide on how to wash your crystal glasses
First of all, know that not all glass is crystal. Crystal contains minerals such as lead, magnesium, or zinc. These minerals are there to strengthen the glass, that’s why you can find crystal glasses that are very thin, but strong and durable. Your crystal glass can have anywhere between 2 to 30 percent minerals, which makes it porous. That is the main reason why it is safer to wash it by hand, and not in a dishwasher. The mineral content also makes the crystal temperature-sensitive, so make sure you don’t use hot water on it, or else it could break.
Back on how to wash your crystal glasses by hand.
After you have used it, pre-rinse it. Don’t leave your glass on the counter after it has been used, as red wine or intensely flavored wine can leave stains and flavor on your glass, and it can become harder and harder to clean.
When it’s time to wash your crystal glasses, line your sink with a towel first to prevent them from bouncing around and potentially gain scratches.
Don’t wash them in hot water, as high temperatures might also damage the glasses. Treat your crystal glassware as you treat your own hands. If your hands feel uncomfortably hot under the water, lower the temperature a bit. In conjunction with a good quality dish soap, moderately warm water should wipe any stains and smells away.
How to polish your wine glasses
Firstly, you need a polishing cloth, preferably microfiber cloth, as you don’t want to see any lint speckles after polishing. You want a crystal-clear effect that reflects the light just as you see them in restaurants. We will talk more about some of our favorite polishing cloths below.
The trick is not to let your glasses dry entirely. After you have taken them out of the dishwasher or washed them by hand in warm soapy water, let the water drip, but don’t let it completely dry. Your glass should be still a little bit warm and damp before starting the polishing process.
Grab your polishing cloth by both ends diagonally, and cover both of your hands. Place one hand that has been covered by the fabric on the base, and with the other one, put a bit of the cloth inside the glass and hold it in place. You will not polish the bottom and the top simultaneously, as the risk of breaking the stem and possibly injuring yourself is high. Don’t apply too much pressure while polishing – let the microfiber cloth do its work, gently.
Start polishing the base first by rotating it in your hand. After you are done with this part, hold the glass by the base, and do the same on the other side. Drape as much cloth as you can inside the bowl and rotate the glass until there are no water spots left.
Try to keep in mind that your hands should never touch the glass, as you can leave fingerprints behind. The last step is to polish the outside of the glass as well. After you are done with the bowl, keep holding it in place with the cloth as you did before, cover your other hand with the fabric and start polishing it on the outside by gently rotating the glass in the cloth.
Again, make sure you are not twisting the stem and the bowl at the same time to avoid breakage.
If you want a quick tutorial of this polishing process, check out this video we included below.
What if your glass already has water spots on it?
No worries. If you forgot to polish your glassware, you could still achieve a sparkling-clean look. Steam some water in a pan or pot, grab your wine glass by the base, and hold it at an angle above the steam. Once the glass is moistened, grab your polishing cloth and start polishing the bowl, as seen in the tutorial.
Our favorite polishing cloths
Quick disclaimer: if you already own a microfiber cloth, you can use it to polish your glassware. The only condition for a cloth to qualify as suitable for polishing is to be lint-free and soft. There is another essential aspect though – you will need a large cloth. The perfect candidate for the job is a cloth that can drape inside the bowl and still have some material left for you to cover both hands and comfortably work with it without creating any tension.
That is why we are suggesting a few of our favorite polishing cloths that are specifically made for this job, as they have the right size and material, and they are of good quality, so you can count on them for a long time.
Riedel Polishing Cloth
You will often see this polishing cloth being recommended by professionals, and that’s because it checks all the boxes that we’ve mentioned.
It is large enough, so it is comfortable to work with, measuring 24 x 20 inches. It comes at an affordable price, and it’s a good quality cloth that you can use repeatedly. It has a soft microfiber material that absorbs water without leaving streaks. Moreover, you can use it damp or dry, and when you are done, you can confidently throw it into the washing machine. It is washable up to 194 degrees Fahrenheit, but always remember one thing: don’t use fabric conditioner on microfiber cloths, as it damages their structure and properties.
We like the simplicity and efficiency of this cloth. For the affordable price, it is definitely worth your attention if you plan on always having spotless glassware.
Foxtrot Polishing Cloth
Another great deal is this two-pack microfiber polishing cloth for your glassware. As the previous brand, these cloths are larger, measuring 11.22 x 7.71 x 1.06 inches, so you can comfortably polish your glasses without touching the surface with your hands. You will get countless uses from these cloths, as long as you treat them with care. When you are done polishing, you can wash them in the washing machine, but keep in mind that you should not use fabric conditioner.
These cloths are made for professional polishing, so check the reviews and take a look at what restaurant owners say about this brand. The cloths come in two colors: black and gray.
Trendy Bartender Polishing Cloth
If you want an extra-large cloth just to be safe, this one measures 25×20 inches. This means that you will never accidentally touch the glass with your hands ever again. These kinds of cloths that are larger than usual are great, especially if you are a beginner in crystal or glass polishing.
They also have an attached ribbon loop for convenient storage, and they can either be hand washed or machine washed. They are durable and highly effective on damp glassware.
Can you use something else to polish your glasses?
If you don’t want to buy brand new polishing cloths or towels, and you plan on using or testing out your regular cloths or towels, there are a few things you should look for.
Size – grab a cloth that is relatively large and can easily drape into the bowl. Finding the right size for the job is crucial.
Lint-free – that is a reason why microfiber cloths are efficient. They don’t leave any fuzz behind.
Odor-free – make sure you are using a cloth that is thoroughly washed or disinfected. Otherwise, it might leave some smell behind, and that can alter the taste and smell of your wine too.
Absorption power – it is crucial to work with an absorbent cloth, as you don’t want to smudge the water around for a long time when you are polishing glasses. The more porous the material is, the more absorbent the towel, and the faster you get the job done. Absorbency has something to do with the buffing quality as well, so, for perfectly polished and shiny glass, look for all these qualities.
The Bottom Line
Polishing your wine glasses has never been easier and more accessible. All you need is some necessary information which we hope we covered in this article.
Caring for your glasses, especially the crystal glasses, is something that will pay off in the long run. Make sure to use a gentle detergent that is fragrance-free to keep your delicate glasses from catching any smells, as this can alter the taste of your wine.
Whether you are washing your glasses by hand or in a dishwasher, adjust the temperature accordingly. Wash your glasses in warm water and skip on the drying option of the dishwasher.
Purchasing a wine glass polishing cloth is not a necessity, but it is definitely something that will make the difference between a spotty glass and a shiny one. We recommend buying a dedicated cloth just for your glasses, so it won’t catch odors from other items that it’s used on.
If you already own a microfiber cloth that is large enough to be draped, check its quality and make sure it’s in good condition first.
Remember: if you wash your microfiber cloths in the washing machine, skip the fabric softener, as it can permanently damage the fabric.
The most important thing to remember about polishing glasses is that torque can make the stem snap. Don’t polish the bowl and the base at the same time. Other than that, you should be fine. Polishing wine glasses might seem like a chore at first, but once you see how shiny they become with just a little effort, you will definitely appreciate the process.
In the hope that we covered everything you need to know about polishing wine glasses with cloths, all we can say is CHEERS!