How to Clean a Glass Decanter

A glass decanter is an attractive item for serving drinks, but its narrow neck makes it awkward to clean. This means decanters often end up sitting on a shelf instead of being put to use. With this simple technique, cleaning a glass decanter using common, inexpensive household products is easy and effective.

Glass decanters are awkward to clean, but this method makes it easy.
  1. Rinse out the glass decanter with clean water. Fill your sink with hand-hot water, add a generous squirt of dishwashing liquid and submerge the decanter in the soapy water.

  2. Use the bottle brush to clean the inside of the decanter as much as you can. Use the dish sponge to clean the outside of the decanter. If your decanter has decorative detailing on the outside, use an old toothbrush to scrub the nooks and crannies with the soapy water. Rinse the soap from the decanter with clean water.

  3. Fill the decanter with rice so that it reaches about one inch up the sides. Pour white vinegar into the decanter to just cover all the rice.

  4. Pick up the decanter with one hand around its neck and the other firmly holding onto the base. Move the decanter around in a circular motion so that the rice and vinegar swirl around the lower section and agitate its inside surfaces. Swirl it around in different directions for several minutes.

  5. Set the decanter down in a safe place (with the rice and vinegar inside). Let it sit for about 24 hours, or longer if the decanter is heavily stained. Every few hours during the day, swirl the rice around as described in Step 4 for a few minutes.

  6. Pour out the vinegar and rice and rinse the decanter out with clean water. Examine it for stains—if it still appears dirty, repeat Steps 3, 4 and 5. Otherwise, repeat Steps 1 and 2 to remove the traces of vinegar from the decanter. Rinse thoroughly.

  7. Tip

    If the decanter still smells faintly of vinegar after your have thoroughly cleaned it, don’t worry. The smell should dissipate within a few hours. If you don’t have any rice, you can also use coarse salt. If you don’t have any white vinegar, use baking soda and water or lemon juice. The same method works for a crystal decanter too.