Nothing is worse than preparing to pour a nice bottle of wine and realizing that your wine decanter is dirty or cloudy. The best way to ensure your decanter is always sparkling clean and ready to use is to dry it properly each time you wash it. By drying it thoroughly, you can avoid this frustration!
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to properly clean and dry your wine decanter so it stays looking clean and new for a long time.
What Is a Wine Decanter?
Wine decanters are more than just pretty pieces of glassware that collect dust in your china cabinet.
Decanting wine is a way of aerating it, which is a method of introducing air to the wine to help enhance flavor and the overall drinking experience. Wine decanters are used by professional sommeliers, wine experts, and even home wine connoisseurs who want to enjoy their wine to the fullest.
How Do You Use a Wine Decanter?
Don’t be intimidated by a wine decanter. They are easy to use and can make a world of difference in the tasting experience.
Simply open up the bottle of wine you want to drink and pour it directly into the wine decanter. Usually, decanters have a thin neck and a wide open area at the bottom where the wine will sit and rest.
The wine is exposed to the air through the opening in the decanter, so you should let it sit for at least 15-20 minutes before drinking it for the best results.
If you’d like tips on serving wine, we’ve written about serving wine and presenting wine to guests here.
What Are the Best Ways To Dry a Wine Decanter?
Many people are intimidated by drying delicate wine decanters because they look so fragile and easy to break. You want to make sure you dry your decanter thoroughly each time you wash it to avoid unsightly water spots and help prolong its life, so don’t skip this step!
Here are some of the best ways we have found to dry a wine decanter:
Dry by Hand
One of the easiest (and lowest cost) ways to dry your wine decanter requires no fancy equipment other than paper towels or a soft dish rag.
To dry your wine decanter by hand, it’s important to make sure you use a careful, steady hand. Tip the decanter to encourage excess water to drip out before you start drying.
You can take either a few thick paper towels or a clean dish rag and twist it into a thin tube shape. If using a dish rag, a spot-free glass drying towel is preferable. This shape will allow you to insert the towel into the neck of the decanter so you can reach the bottom and dry it properly.
Once you insert the towel into your decanter, move it around inside the decanter to reach all of the corners of the decanter. You may need to replace the towel a few times to ensure it is absorbent enough to dry all of the water and prevent spots.
Use a Wine-decanting Stand
Wine experts love a wine decanting stand as the best means of drying a wine decanter. Special stands are made to hold the neck of the wine decanter upside down so that it hangs and can air dry safely.
When you use a wine decanting stand, you can avoid the nerve-wracking process of tipping your wine decanter upside down and leaning it against something precariously to air dry it.
Make sure you use a decanting stand that is made to go with your specific decanter shape to avoid any unnecessary accidents during drying.
Use a Wine Decanter Brush
Another great tool on the market is a wine decanter brush. Many wine accessory companies have introduced this low-cost, space-saving option for people who want to dry their decanter quickly and easily.
Wine decanter brushes are long, skinny brushes with microfiber or soft, spot-free cloth strands on the end. They almost look like a small mop.
To dry your wine decanter, insert the wine decanter brush through the neck and the strands are able to spread out in the body of the decanter and dry every nook and cranny.
How Do You Clean a Wine Decanter?
Cleaning your wine decanter the right way is just as important as drying it correctly. The whole process ensures that your decanter stays sparkling and clean for years to come.
If you haven’t let your wine decanter sit out too long with wine in it (especially red wine), you can usually get away with just a simple soak to clean it after each use.
If you don’t have any wine that is staining the decanter, you can soak it in vinegar and hot (not boiling) water for a few minutes. Swish the warm water mixture around in the decanter to loosen any buildup inside and rinse clean with hot water.
If you need to clean your wine decanter more thoroughly, you can use something like a wine decanter brush to clean your decanter as well. You will want to have two separate brushes (one for washing and one for drying), but this is a great way to loosen deep red wine tannin stains or cloudy areas.
Can You Put a Wine Decanter in the Dishwasher?
One thing that you should never do is put your wine decanter in the dishwasher!
Whether your decanter is crystal or glass, it is much too delicate to hold up to washing in the dishwasher. It is a best practice to always hand wash your wine decanters, so resist the temptation to load it in the dishwasher after a fun wine party with your friends.
There is a significant risk of the decanter banging up against other dishes during the wash cycle, which could cause it to break during washing. Also, the extreme heat of the dishwasher for an extended period of time could be too much pressure on the delicate glass of the decanter.
Why Is There Condensation in My Decanter?
Condensation occurs any time the temperature of glass (or crystal) is lower than the temperature of the air outside it, so it is a common thing that can happen when cleaning and drying a wine decanter.
To avoid condensation or get rid of it, you can simply hand dry the decanter with a soft towel or wine decanter brush. Drying the decanter thoroughly will remove that excess condensation and leave behind the sparkling clean finish that you want.
How Do You Remove Tannins From a Decanter?
Pesky tannins from your favourite red wine can stain the inside of your wine decanter, which is very frustrating. To effectively remove the tannin staining, you can use a simple mixture of white vinegar and warm/hot water.
The vinegar will break down the tannin staining and remove the red haze or gritty texture that you see inside your decanter.
To prevent tannins from staining your decanter in the future, try to wash your wine decanter promptly after each use. It’s best not to let wine (especially deep red wines) sit in a decanter for several hours. This will ensure the wine doesn’t stay on the glass long enough to cause those stains.
How Do You Get the Cloudiness Out of a Crystal Decanter?
When you reach for your crystal wine decanter and find that it is cloudy, you need a quick solution to take care of that problem ASAP so you can enjoy your wine.
Crystal is delicate and prone to cloudiness if it is not dried properly or sits for too long with dust or other debris.
To quickly remedy this problem, you can clean the inside of the crystal decanter with hot water and either liquid or powdered dishwashing detergent. Let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes, swirling the mixture often to make sure all the cloudy areas are touched.
Carefully rinse out the mixture with clean, hot water and dry thoroughly with a towel or wine decanter brush. Use a very absorbent cloth and replace the cloth often to ensure it is absorbing water and not just spreading water around the inside of the decanter.
If the crystal decanter remains cloudy after this, you can do a similar process with a hot water and vinegar mixture as described above to remove tannins. This can also work for removing cloudiness from the crystal.
Depending on the crystal’s cloudiness, you may need to perform these steps a few times. You can switch between the dishwashing detergent and vinegar as needed. Make sure to use hot water, but not boiling hot water, to prevent breakage or other damage to the delicate crystal.
To prevent this from happening in the future, make sure you clean your wine decanter thoroughly after each use and don’t let the wine sit in the decanter for too long. Also, try to store the decanter in a clean, dry place where it is the least likely to come in contact with dust and dirt.
Keeping your wine decanter looking new is to remember to dry it properly each time you wash it. Keep in mind that you should never put it in a dishwasher; if you haven’t let the wine decanter sit out too long with wine in it, you can usually get away with just a simple soak to clean it after each use. Then use a cloth or maybe a wine-decanter stand or wine-decanter brush if your restaurant has one.