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how to clean crystal Glasses

Few things are lovelier than crystal glasses by candlelight, or the simple elegance of a flower-filled crystal vase. 

Until party guests leave and the flowers begin to droop, that is. And you're left cleaning glasses with lipstick stains on the rims, and a water ring around the vase.

Here's how to clean crystal so that it looks as beautiful as it did the day you brought it home.

how to clean crystal safely.

To avoid chipping the crystal, be sure to remove your rings and lay a towel in the sink before you begin the cleaning process.

  • 1. Rinse crystal glasses immediately after use. This is especially important after serving red wine, which can stain. If you're too tired to deal with the party clean up, bring wine glasses to the sink and rinse with water. The full cleaning can wait until morning.
  • 2. Wash crystal in warm soapy water using a sponge or soft cloth. (To keep soap from flavoring your next glass of wine, use just a small amount of fragrance-free soap.) Cradle the bowl of the wineglass in one hand while washing with the other to protect the stem. 
  • 3. Remove lipstick stains by doubling over your wet, soapy sponge and gently moving it around the rim of the glassware until the lipstick is completely gone. 
  • 4. Prevent water line stains in vases and decanters by changing the liquid content and washing frequently. If stains happen, remove them with vinegar on a soft cloth, or soak in a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water. If you need an abrasive to fully remove a stain, rice or crushed eggshells and be used to scour the interior.
  • 5. Rinse with clear, warm water. Don't use hot or cold water - the temperature extremes can cause delicate crystal to crack.
  • 6. Dry immediately with a cotton or linen towel. Be careful while drying - avoid holding the glass by the stem and twisting during the towel-dry process. The weakest part of your stemware is the place where the bowl joins the stem. Instead, hold the bowl of the glass in your palm while drying.
  • 7. Yes, you can put most wine glasses in the dishwasher. Be sure to use a delicate wash cycle, skip the heated drying cycle, and space glasses far enough apart so that they won't clink. Use the "Crystal and Glassware" setting if your dishwasher has one. A note of caution: Improper dishwasher use can cause crystal to become cloudy, a process called "etching". If this occurs, here's how to clean etched wine glasses.
  • 8. Store clean crystal in a dust-free cupboard right side up. The lip of the glass is delicate and can crack under the weight of the crystal.

crystal care and storage tips.

  • To avoid breakage, the best way to clean glasses is to avoid rapid temperature changes.
  • Crystal is not safe to use or place in a microwave, oven, or freezer. So please don't put it there.
  • Remember that your good crystal is not stackable. So don't try - and keep the kids from trying, too.
  • Store crystal in a dust-free place right-side up. If grime or dust stains occur, remove them by holding the glass above a pot of boiling water until the grime loosens. Then gently wash using the instructions above.
  • Remember that most crystal contains lead, which can leach out of the glass and into any liquids stored inside crystal for extended periods of time, making them undrinkable.

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for more crystal cleaning solutions, tools, and much more.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.