Removing Red Wine Residue

I’ve got a couple of great wine tasting glasses – my favorite is my Riedel Sommelier Cabernet/Merlot/Bordeaux Wine Glass, though I use my Riedel Stemless Tasting Glass a bit more often for everyday consumption and tasting. These are both wonderful glasses – well made, and great for helping detect faint notes in the wine’s nose. But, both are a bit tricky to clean. They are both deep, meaning the bottom is relatively difficult to reach. I drink more reds than whites, and I’ve found the glasses can build up a bit of dark residue in the bottom. I normally try to rinse out the glasses after each use, but even with that I found that over time this dark crud builds up.

The residue resists normal cleaning – soaking with hot water and hand dishwashing soap, rubbing with a sponge on a stick, etc. doesn’t seem to dent it. I’d guess that its persistence is due to its being a combination of the red wines and water hardness. Once it’s in there, though, it’s quite resistant to any gentle cleaning method. I’ve been reluctant to put these fine Riedel glasses in the dishwasher. I’m not overly worried about the agitation or heat from the dishwasher bothering the glasses, but I do fear that if a coffee mug or other heavy item started floating around in there it could take out an $80 investment.

Fortunately, I stumbled across an easy and safe solution. I put a very small amount of dishwasher soap – Cascade in this case – in the glass, along with some hot water. A bit of swirling, a few minutes of sitting, and the residue had dissolbed completely. What hours of sitting in soapy water and vigorous scrubbing couldn’t dent vanished with no effort at all. I assume that the dishwasher soap has some more aggressive cleaning agents and perhaps some that deal with hard water issues. In any case, if you have any red wine residue issues in your glasses, give dishwasher soap a try.

5 thoughts on “Removing Red Wine Residue”

  1. The dishwasher soap really works! My husband and I are lightweights and only drink a half a bottle of wine with dinner. As soon as I open a bottle, I pour half of the wine into an old 325 ml glass screw-top liquor bottle leaving no air space and put it in the refrigerator to store it (by the way- this preserves the wine pretty well). I was finding it next to impossible to get all of the wine residue out of the storage bottle. The dishwasher soap (I used Cascade, too) and hot water did the trick! Thanks for the tip!

    Have been struggling to remove the stuff from a decanter for days. This technique really works.
    Thank you so much.

  3. We had some bottles of homemade red wine around for awhile that left residue behind as we used them up and could not get the stains out so we could re-use them. This worked to near perfection within a minute or so vs trying several other methods that we had even left soaking for many hours. We also used Cascade dishwasher detergent. Thanks!!

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