As wine enthusiasts, owning a fantastic decanter is essential. However, the thought of cleaning it afterward can sometimes be daunting, leading to neglect. Fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll demystify the decanter cleaning process, ensuring that you can enjoy your beloved decanter more frequently and fully savor your wine.

Cleaning process

1. Choose the right water: When washing your decanter immediately after use, plain water should suffice.

If your tap water is hard or of variable quality, it’s advisable to use distilled water.

Highly alkaline water can cause cloudiness, whereas distilled water is free from aromas and minerals, preventing watermarks during drying.

2. Handle with care: Take care not to bump the spout of your decanter against the tap, as it could lead to chipping. If your decanter is too tall for the sink, consider using your laundry or bath tap for convenience and safety.

3. Skip the dishwashing soap: To maintain the integrity of your decanter, avoid using dishwashing soap or detergent. These substances can be difficult to remove completely and may leave residue behind.

4. Say goodbye to leftover wine: After a delightful dinner party, it’s a good idea to rinse any remaining wine out of your decanter.

Then, for a little extra cleaning power, fill the decanter with carbonated water, such as soda water, and let it sit overnight.

In the morning, rinse it thoroughly, using a steady hand.

Drying techniques

5. Upside down or tea towel trick: If your decanter’s design allows for it, rest the piece upside down on a tea towel or place it atop a tea towel on a dish drying rack. This method protects the decanter’s spout from chipping while allowing it to aerate and prevent condensation.

6. Air dry with caution: For decanters that can’t be stored upside down, remove as much water as possible and let them air dry outside of the cupboard. While this method may result in some condensation, a quick rinse with water or, better yet, a little wine before the next use will do the trick.

Finishing touches

7. Sparkling perfection: To achieve a sparkling finish, use a Riedel Microfibre Polishing Cloth to dry and polish the reachable areas of your decanter. It adds that extra touch of elegance to your wine presentation.

8. TLC for neglected decanters: If your decanter hasn’t been used in a while or requires a little extra care due to frequent use, consider using the Riedel Bottle Cleaner. These tiny stainless-steel beads effectively remove dirt, residue, sediment, and superficial stains from the inside of the decanter.

Simply fill the vessel with water, add the beads, and swirl. Afterward, empty the beads into a mesh strainer, rinse them well, and dry them.

With proper storage, the beads can be reused multiple times.

Note that certain decanter designs, such as Ayam, Eve, Curly, Boa, Mamba, Horse, Dog, Twenty Twelve, Swan, Face to Face, and Evchen, are not suitable for this cleaning method.

9. Battle stubborn stains: For persistent red wine stains, white vinegar can be your secret weapon.

Fill the decanter with white vinegar and allow it to soak until the stains are removed.

Rinse thoroughly and dry as mentioned above.

In cases of particularly stubborn staining, denture cleaning tablets come to the rescue. Dissolve the tablets in water as instructed on the packaging, soak the decanter until the stains vanish, rinse well, and dry as usual.

Pictures courtesy of Riedel

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