In our house we have a general rule that if a piece of clothing isn’t made to come out of the dryer “wrinkle-free”, it had better be an exceptional piece if you want to buy it. The same goes for the kitchen – it we can’t put it in the dishwasher, think twice.
But, one thing we do enjoy splurging for from time to time is a fine bottle of wine. So naturally, one of the exceptions to the “dishwasher-only” rule is our crystal stemware and decanters, which do require some special handling to maintain their brilliance and delicate beauty. The combination of conditions in a dishwasher – the abrasive detergents, excessively hot water, hot drying, rubbing and rough motion – can cause cloudiness, scratches, surface abrasions and even cracks in fine crystal.
The simplest way to safely clean crystal is hand washing with warm to moderately hot water and a mild dish detergent. If the water is too hot for your hand, it is likely too hot for the crystal as well. Use a soft dish cloth for washing. Rinse with clean warm water and allow to air dry upside down in your dish rack. Adding a small amount of ammonia can also prevent water spots during drying.
A small amount of vinegar or ammonia added to the wash water is also recommended to remove cloudiness. In general, about one to two tablespoons of vinegar or ammonia added is recommended for about two cups (16 ounces) of water. If this does not remove the cloudiness, try soaking the item in warm water and vinegar (or ammonia) for half an hour, rinsing with warm water and allowing it to air dry. If this still does not remove the cloudiness, then you may need to purchase a crystal cleanser from a specialty supply store.
To gently remove cloudiness from the inside of a decanter, fill the decanter about half-way with the warm soapy water and vinegar (or ammonia) mixture. Add enough uncooked rice to provide a sufficient rubbing action, which may be about one cup, depending on the size of the decanter. Gently swish and swirl this mixture for about two minutes and drain. Rinse with clean warm water and allow to air dry upside down in your dish rack.
Another tip for cleaning stains from the inside of a decanter is to fill the item half-way and drop in a denture cleaning tablet. Allow the tablet to fizz and soak for a few minutes, then rinse and air dry as mentioned above.