Drinking wine is all about tasting and appreciating every taste in your glass. Unfortunately, even the most random taste or smell like perfume or the wrong aftertaste can ruin your experience.

Many decanter owners question if they should scrub their decanter with soap or salt. Or are cleaning beads better than vinegar? Or perhaps it’s ok to stack it in the dishwasher.

Your choice depends on a lot of factors. Namely, your decanter’s dimensions, value, and shape. Fortunately, once the time comes to clean your decanter, you’ll find plenty of options that are easy to do at home. 

Below are the advantages and disadvantages of each cleaning method and a couple that are simply not effective.

What Chemicals Not to Use

When cleaning your decanter, it’s best to go for something that’s natural and chemical-free. Most dish soaps and glass cleaners are full of chemicals that leave residues and unwanted flavors on the surface of your glassware. 

According to many wine professionals and restaurant workers, this is not ideal. This is because even the faintest soapy residue will throw off your sense of smell and taste.

The more you drink wine, the more you’ll be able to pick up on this. Soap is the last thing you want to be tasting when drinking that special wine you’ve been saving. 

Another common question people ask about cleaning their decanter is if it is dishwasher safe. After all, many people wash their dishes and even glassware in the dishwasher. 

Decanters, like most glassware, are delicate. While a dishwasher may be fine for the least expensive or toughest dishware, it’s way too rough for your elegant decanter. 

Also, even the most advanced dishwashers will fail at washing the inside of a decanter. No matter which angle you stack it, very little water will make it inside your dirty decanter. 

Below are the best ways to keep your decanter clean and residue-free. 

Vinegar and Water

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. A vinegar and water mixture works great for cleaning a decanter. 

First, rinse your decanter with warm water and then soak it for around 5 to 10 minutes with hot to near-boiling water. Then, gently scrub your decanter with a cloth. You can use a spatula to wrap it around to really get in there. 

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Dump out the water you used to scrub the decanter and add a mixture of distilled white vinegar and warm water. Finally, rinse with clean water until there’s no scent of vinegar left in your decanter. 

Cleaning Beads

Decanting beads are wonderful tools for keeping your decanter clean. Used with hot water, these tiny metal balls scrub the inside of your decanter until it’s perfectly clean. 

To use them, add them to your decanter with hot water or hot water and a little distilled vinegar. Gently swirl them around so the stainless steel beads pick up any residue, sediment, or stain in the decanter’s bowl. 

After you use them, you can just rinse them with hot water and dry them on a towel or cloth. After they dry, they’re ready to be used again. 

Ice and Salt

Use this method if your decanter is on the thicker and sturdier end. Add a handful of crushed ice and a teaspoon of salt and gently shake your decanter. 

Be careful not to shake it too hard. Just get the salt and ice moving around the inside of your decanter. After a couple minutes of shaking, give it a quick rinse with clean water and you’re done. 

The salt and ice will clean any wine residue inside the hard to reach bowl of your decanter. If you have old stains inside that still won’t go away, you may have to try another method. 

Special Cleaning Brushes

There are many wonderful cleaning brushes on the market that are purposely designed for cleaning a decanter. With their angled handles and soft bristles, they can reach even the toughest surfaces. 

You can find several types of brushes on the market, including eco-friendly coconut and wood brushes and both long and short brushes. 

Cleaning Tablets for Wine Decanters

If a stain is extra stubborn, you may need to try something else. Fortunately, you can find cleaning tablets that are made especially for wine decanters

When you have a decanter, that’s hard to clean, just fill it with warm water and pop one of these tablets in. Wait for a few minutes to half an hour and watch as your stain is immediately removed. 

Wine decanter tablets are safe to use. Just rinse your decanter well with clean water after using a tablet. 

Baking Soda

If you can’t find wine decanter cleaning tablets or want a more natural alternative, consider using baking soda. Not only does it clean effectively, it’s perfectly safe to use. 

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To use it, fill your decanter with warm water. Add a tablespoon of baking soda and stir it into the liquid until it’s dissolved. 

Wait at least 30 minutes to an hour. Because baking soda doesn’t have the industrial strength of cleaning tablets, you may have to repeat the process several times for the most stubborn stains. 

Other Tips for Keeping Your Decanter Clean

After using your decanter for a party, tasting, or just at home by yourself, clean it right away. This will prevent any buildup of stains that will be harder to clean the longer you wait. 

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Plus, cleaning your decanter shortly after using it using any method above will prevent buildup or pesky stains from forming. 

If you’re busy hosting guests or don’t have time to clean your decanter immediately after using it just let it soak in warm water. This will usually prevent any gunk or stains from building up before you clean it. 

Also, don’t be afraid of combining all the above cleaning methods. Sometimes, there will be stains that are tough to get out. By combining several cleaning methods, you’ll be able to clean even the toughest stains. 

Use a Special Drying Rack

Standard drying racks may not hold your precious decanter. Plus, you want to make sure your decanter dries efficiently after cleaning it. 

Fortunately, there are several excellent drying racks on the market that are made just for wine decanters. They are shaped to hold your decanter perfectly, allowing it to air dry.

Keep Your Decanter Clean

A decanter is the perfect tool for enjoying wine. Some wines benefit from being decanted and you can really taste the difference. 

It’s important to keep your decanter clean after every use. By doing this, you’ll have perfectly decanted wine every time without the chance of ruining a bottle. If you want to know more about decanters and how to use them, see our Beginner’s Guide to Wine Decanting.