How to Clean a Stained Wine Decanter

Using a wine decanter serves to accelerate the speed at which the wine comes to life, providing optimum aroma and flavor. When used repeatedly, a wine decanter becomes stained as tannins and pigment from the grapes build up on the surface.

A decanter brings out the best in a bottle of wine.

Besides adding an unsightly appearance to your decanter, the wine stain residue can alter the flavor of future decanted wine. Regular cleaning keeps your decanter clean and stain-free, but if stains have already built up, you can remove them to restore the condition of your wine decanter.

  1. Soak a sponge-tipped dish scrubber in undiluted white vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda all over the sponge to cover it.

  2. Scrub inside the wine decanter to remove the wine stains. As the sponge removes the stains, rinse it off with warm water, then apply more vinegar and baking soda. Continue to scrub the interior of the decanter until all of the wine stains have been removed. Before rinsing off the sponge-tipped scrubber one last time, scrub the outside of the decanter to remove any stains from spilled or dribbled wine.

  3. Dish detergent effectively tackles many stains.
  4. Fill the wine decanter with hot water and add four or five drops of dishwashing detergent. Scrub the inside of the decanter to remove baking soda residue, then repeat with the outside of the decanter.

  5. Rinse the wine decanter until the water runs clear. Dry the decanter as much as possible, using a lint-free kitchen towel. Allow the decanter to dry the rest of the way on a dish drying rack.

  6. Tip

    Clean the decanter immediately after each use so wine stains don't have time to build up. Soak a severely stained wine decanter in undiluted warm vinegar. Leave it to soak overnight to loosen the stains before washing it with dishwashing detergent.


    Use caution when cleaning a wine decanter. Leftover wine in the bottom of the decanter can splash out and stain clothing. Rinse the decanter with water before removing the stains to prevent accidental stains on clothing.