How to Clean Cloudy Wine Glasses

Why Are Your Wine Glasses Cloudy?

Cloudy wine glasses can be caused by a few different- though often overlapping- factors, including the build-up of hard water minerals and extended periods spent in your dishwasher. Glasses may also start developing a cloudy appearance over years of repeated use, primarily if they're used regularly.

Related: 3 Ideas for Leftover Wine

The Best Way to Clean Cloudy Wine Glasses Step By Step

Several wine glasses hung by their bases to dry.

People tend not to enjoy using cloudy glassware, especially when they try to enjoy a classy, rich glass of wine during their evening meal. But there's no need to go out and buy new glasses once you see them start to get hazy. Instead, there are a few distinct ways that you can remove the cloudy appearance of wine glasses, including the use of more detergent in your dishwasher and the use of rinse aids. Unfortunately, however, these methods don't always show tremendous success. But there is an easy, more effective way to clean your wine glasses and get them looking just as lovely as the day you bought them.

Required Materials

Effectively cleaning your cloudy wine glasses is a straightforward process that only requires a few select items. These include:

Prep Your Cleaning Station

Gather all of your required materials around your kitchen sink, and make sure that the sink is thoroughly cleaned if you intend to use it to wash your wine glasses, rather than a large bowl or tub. Next, take your bottle of white vinegar and heat it by holding it under a flow of hot water for at least one minute. Once warmed, drain the sink and refill it with the vinegar (or use the optional bowl or tub). Finally, gently place your wine glasses into the vinegar and leave them there for one hour.

Related: The 7 Best Must-Have Wine Accessories

Wash, Rinse, and Repeat as Needed

After one hour of soaking in the vinegar, take your plastic scrubber or nylon net and carefully wipe down each glass to remove the film. Next, thoroughly rinse each of the glasses with hot water. You may even want to rinse them twice just to ensure that all of the film has been removed.

Dry, Display, and Drink

You have the option to let your glasses air dry naturally, though this has the potential to leave behind water spots and unappealing markings, especially if your home happens to have hard water. If you'd like to avoid this, take a flour sack, microfiber cloth, or other lint-free towel and carefully dry each of the wine glasses. Once they have been dried, you can either put them away, display them, or jump right into your next delicious drink.

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Wine Glass Cleaning FAQ, Tips, and Tricks 

A top-down view of five wine glasses with red stains.

The above method of removing a cloudy or hazy appearance from your wine glasses is a simple one that is likely to deliver very pleasing results. But there are a few questions and concerns that people may raise when trying to rejuvenate the appearance of their wine glasses. So, here are a few other points to consider, especially if you're not having any luck with the process above.

Should You Use Your Dishwasher to Clean Your Wine Glasses?

If necessary, the dishwasher is a suitable option for cleaning your wine glasses, though cleaning them by hand is usually understood as the safest, most effective method. Dishwashers are much more likely to leave behind scratches and nicks on the glass while also leaving them with a cloudy appearance over time.

Related: Wine: How to Know When You've Drunk too Much

Can You Clean Stained Wine Glasses?

Wine glasses don't just become cloudy over time. They can also become stained, especially if you're a frequent drinker of red wines. Simply rinsing your glass out at the end of the night isn't enough, and eventually, the glass is likely to take on a noticeable red tint. What's more, due to the shape of wine glasses, stains can be pretty tricky to clean effectively. 

To have the best shot at removing the stains:

  1. Follow the directions above and soak the glasses in vinegar for at least one hour.
  2. Create a glass cleaner by wrapping a microfiber towel around a fork and (gently) scrub away the stains at the bottom of the glass.
  3. Use a nylon net or plastic scrubber to clean the rest of the glasses, rinse them in hot water, and repeat the process as needed until they are clear and ready to be dried.

What if the Cloudiness Doesn’t Go Away?

Suppose you have followed the above processes and still see significant amounts of cloudiness in your wine glasses. In that case, you may be dealing with glass etching rather than a hazy residue caused by hard-water build-up. Etching occurs over time as the material of the glass starts to wear away, causing minor scratches, pits, and other imperfections that can't be removed. You can do a number of things to help prevent your wine glasses from etching over time. First, try using less detergent in your dishwasher, and consider experimenting with different ones. Also, be sure to monitor your water temperature (ensure that it's set to heat the water to no more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit).

If your wine glasses have become too etched and cloudy over time and none of the above methods seem to be doing the trick, it may be time to bite the bullet and purchase some quality new wine glasses. Consider the quality selection offered by Taste of Purple and learn how you can bring an even higher sense of class and sophistication to your wine drinking experience.

Do you need some new stemware or wine glasses to spruce up the class of your next friendly get-together? Check out the quality selection of glassware offered by Taste of Purple today.


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