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How should I clean and store my glassware?
While glassware is an integral and even elegant part of your kitchen, dining and entertaining setup, unlike other elements, it can often be overlooked when it comes to caring for it properly.
In the same way that you take great care in selecting the right kind of glassware for your needs, it's also important to clean and store your glassware with respect so it will look good and serve you well over the long-haul.
Cleaning Your Glassware
There are a number of ways you can clean your glassware but, when it comes to getting the best results, the following steps are important to follow:
Rinsing glasses immediately after use - not necessarily washing them - is an important first step. If it's been a long night entertaining friends and family and you don't have the energy to clean up, a thorough wash can wait until morning. But rinsing immediately after use reduces the chance of liquids - red wine, tea, coffee or cordials - from staining the glass and also saves you elbow grease the next day.
When washing glassware, simply run some warm-to-hot water in your sink, a dab of detergent - or baking soda, vinegar and lemon works a treat, if you prefer something more natural - and gently wash inside and outside the glass with a lint-free cloth. Rinse the glasses thoroughly to remove cleaning residues and odours and don't use too much detergent so you don't impact the flavour of the next beverage in the glass.
Note: Though warm-to-hot water produces good results and plays a role in eliminating bacteria and breaking down greasy residues, if the water is too hot, you risk cracking thin or fine glassware.
If you've got a dishwasher, don't use it for older glassware because there's a chance you'll crack and scratch it or break stems with the hotter water temperature. Newer glassware is much more dishwasher-friendly but refer to the product packaging for advice. If you're hell-bent on using the dishwasher, always use a light or rinse cycle. But, you will eventually need to give your glasses some 'handwashing TLC' because rinsing aids are notorious for leaving a film.
Here's a glass cleaner recipe for bringing your glassware back to life:
- 2 cups of water (distilled or filtered works best to reduce residue)
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 10 drops of essential oil of choice (a citrus oil such as lemon, lime, orange or a combination will help reduce the smell of the vinegar)
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray on the glassware. Use a lint-free cloth to wipe it off and then buff to a perfect shine.
Drying (or not) after washing is in the eye of the (glass) holder. It's perfectly fine to leave your washed glassware to air-dry in a dish-rack, or on a cotton or linen handtowel, but this can also leave water spots. Giving your glassware a gentle wipe, again with a cotton or linen cleaning cloth, provides the best long-term results.
Storing Your Glassware
When it comes to storing your glassware, there are two competing schools of thought: rim up and rim down. While there are definite dos and donts when it comes to cleaning glassware, there are no hard and fast correct rules for storing it, other than to make sure there is space between your glassware. So let's look at both.
There's a lot of support for storing glassware with the rim facing up (and base facing down). For instance, there's less risk of contamination arising from the rim coming into contact with less-than-clean surfaces, and the accumulation of dust isn't an issue because regular use prevents any build-up. There's also the fact that some glass isn't strong enough, nor was it designed to be stored with the rim down.
The thinking behind storing your glassware with the rim down (or base facing up) is to minimise dust build-up inside the glass while it's in your cupboard. The problem here is, while rim down will certainly minimise any dust or environmental build-up inside the glass, if you don't thoroughly dry your glassware before placing it back in your cupboard, you run the risk of contaminating the rim of your glass when it makes direct contact with the cupboard shelf.
If you're a dyed-in-the-wool member of 'Team Down', try the following tips to avoid unintentional contamination, as well as prolonging the life of your glassware:
- Always thoroughly dry your glassware before storing it.
- Give the cupboard shelf a quick wipe down before you store your glassware.
- Consider purchasing rubber mesh or webbing (you might have seen in bars, pubs or clubs) and use it to line the shelf where your glassware is stored.
Design a ding-free zone
Whether you're 'Team Down' or 'Team Up', one thing that's widely agreed on is do not cram too many glasses into a cupboard. You might be pressured for space but storing glassware tightly in cupboards or wall units increases the chance of scratches and breakage, as well as the inevitable (and annoying) 'clang' as the bodies of the glassware make contact when opening and closing other doors in your kitchen. Give your glassware some room and help keep it ding-free.
You might consider your glassware to be temporary or even disposable but there's really no reason why glasses, especially the more expensive and beautiful items, can't last you a lifetime. A little bit of love goes a long way.
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