How to Clean a Decanter

Cleaning glasses is simple. Cleaning and keeping a decanter clean is another story. Even if you rinse it after every use, because of the shape and hard to reach places, it will stain.

Here is a trick that some of you might have been aware of but I didn’t know.

Here’s a tip by Michel Charbonneau, a friend and client of barbuVINS.

We were in an Ontario winery looking at a display of decanters when Michel points to a beautiful Riedel decanter that has an odd shape (Decanter Twenty Twelve by Riedel). My immediate response to his admiration reflects that I may be too practical when it comes to wine: I wondered immediately how I would keep this decanter clean.

He smiled and said I had much to learn about cleaning decanters…

Here is his trick that works wonderfully. Don’t hesitate to share it with you wine-loving friends.

1. Requirements: stained decanter and denture cleaner

2. Fill the decanter with warm/hot water (not scalding hot)

3. Leave room for the fizz. You can top it up later if you have stains in the neck of the decanter.

4. Add one denture cleaner tablet (2 for really stained decanters like ours)

5. Let fizz and the water will turn blue. Some scum will come off right away.

6. Gently swirl the decanter to help remove the stains and to cover the neck area if you don’t plan to add more water.
Be patient… you could leave it overnight if you wish.
Here is a time-lapse view of the cleaning process.

5 minutes

15 minutes

30 minutes

2.5 hours


Empty the denture cleaner solution, rinse thoroughly the decanter and use a decanter brush to remove the remaining stains.

To properly finish the job, use a brush to remove last bits of stains. They will come off really easily.
You can use a flexible decanter brush or the Cuisipro Magnetic Spot Scrubber should do the trick.
I haven’t yet tried the latter but it apparently does wonders.

For drying, use a decanter drying stand and finish the job with a microfiber polishing cloth (Final Touch; Microfiber polishing cloth, available for 7$-10$ at The Bay).

Remember to “prime” your decanter before using it. Not only after a thorough cleaning like this, but before every use. After testing the wine to make sure the bottle is good, pour the remainder of the tasting glass in the decanter. Swirl it around to cover all the surface, then empty the decanter.


It’s now ready for use.