How To Clean a Wine Decanter

We clean dishes daily without much thought, but cleaning a wine decanter is more complicated than an ordinary dish. Washing a wine decanter with traditional soap and water isn’t recommended since soap can leave behind a residue that may affect the taste of wine. But how do you wash a wine decanter with no soap?

Here’s how to clean a wine decanter in short:

  1. Empty and rinse the decanter.
  2. Let it soak to remove stains.
  3. Add vinegar and rinse again.
  4. Combine salt and crushed ice.
  5. Use cleaning beads.
  6. Allow the decanter to dry completely before using.

Alternatively, you can also use cleaning beads to clean a decanter. Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps to help you get your wine decanter clean and stain-free in no time.

cleaning decanter

Cleaning a Wine Decanter in 5 Steps

1. Empty and Rinse Wine Decanter

While ordinary dishes can be optionally rinsed and thrown into the dishwasher, experts don’t recommend that for a wine decanter. Your first step to properly caring for your wine decanter should always be to rinse it with warm water as soon as it’s empty.

The sooner you rinse the decanter, the less likely stains are to occur. But as we know, it’s not always possible to rinse immediately, especially when you’re busy hosting a dinner party, for example. Luckily, when this happens, it’s still possible to get rid of those pesky wine stains.

2. Let It Soak To Remove Stains

Most of the time, simply soaking in warm water is enough to remove wine stains. Soaking is an important step in cleaning any dish with stains or stuck-on food. So, allow your wine decanter to soak in warm water to help with stains.

Your wine decanter only needs to soak in warm water for a few minutes. Keep in mind, soaking the decanter for hours won’t help any more than a few minutes. Anything that’s going to happen occurs quickly, and leaving it for too long is a waste of time.

3. Add Vinegar and Rinse Again

After soaking the wine decanter in warm water, add some vinegar to the water. It’s best to use plain white vinegar for this task because it’s great for cleaning and deodorizing.

Also, other types of vinegar may stain the decanter. Not to mention, most vinegars smell bad, but white vinegar is far less offensive.

Add a splash of vinegar into the water-filled decanter and swirl it around as much as possible. This allows the vinegar and water to mix and clean the entire decanter. If possible, cover the top of the decanter and shake it for maximum cleaning power.

You’ll likely smell the vinegar when cleaning the decanter, as it’s working to neutralize the smell leftover from the wine. Once you feel the decanter is thoroughly cleaned, rinse out the vinegar solution with warm water.

Even if you use white vinegar, the smell may linger after performing this step. To remove this odor, simply rinse the decanter a few more times with warm water.

This is why it’s best to use white vinegar as this won’t smell as strong as others, and the smell will be easier to get rid of.

4. Combine Salt and Crushed Ice

It’s possible, even after cleaning with a vinegar solution, for stains to remain on your decanter. If this is the case for you, you can use ice and salt to attempt to remove them.

Essentially, these two things act like a wool pad and scrape the inside of the decanter and to remove stubborn stains.This works best with coarse salt, but whatever you have available will be okay.

For this trick, add a pinch or two of salt to your decanter followed by some crushed ice. (Depending on your decanter, you may have to crush the ice quite a bit for it to fit through the opening.)

With the ice and salt combined, cover the tip of the decanter and carefully shake it. This will allow the ice and salt to reach the entire decanter. Once you think it’s clean enough, you can either leave the solution to melt or rinse it out right away.

Rinse the wine decanter with warm water until the salt solution is completely gone. Salt is a great help when it comes to cleaning and removing stains, but even the slightest remaining residue can greatly affect the next wine poured into the decanter.

5. Allow the Decanter To Dry Completely Before Using

Cleaning is an important part of keeping your decanter stain-free and clean for future use, but drying your wine decanter is also important. Water spots and calcium buildup from hard water are both concerns when not properly drying your decanter.

The best way to dry your wine decanter is to turn it upside down and allow it to drain from the decanter. This will ensure that water won’t sit in the bottom of the decanter, leaving a water spot.

Make sure you do this safely, as some decanters with small tops may fall over if left unsupervised.


How To Clean a Wine Decanter Using Cleaning Beads

If you’re looking for a long-term wine decanter cleaning solution, then look no further than cleaning beads. These stainless steel beads are made to be used with warm water and swirled around in your decanter to clean it without using soap.

These beads will clean your decanter as an alternative to the cleaning method above, like salt, vinegar.

While those methods can be effective, they can also leave behind residue and change the taste of your wine if you don’t rinse well enough. Cleaning beads eliminate this potential issue since they leave no such residues.

If you’re considering cleaning beads, try these stainless steel reusable cleaning beads such as the Navaris Cleaning Balls (available on

These are an inexpensive, reliable choice that require minimum upkeep–simply rinse between uses. Plus, they’re made of stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about them forming rust.

To clean a wine decanter using cleaning beads, follow these simple steps:

  1. Place cleaning beads inside your decanter
  2. Add a small amount of water
  3. Swirl the decanter gently to remove stains, dirt, sediment, and residue and sediment from all the problem areas
  4. Pour the beads out the decanter and into a strainer
  5. Place decanter upside-down to air dry

Gently pat your cleaning beads dry before using them again to clean another item, or place them back into their container for storage.

Related Article: How to Decant Wine Without a Decanter

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your wine decanter is an important but sensitive task all wine lovers eventually face. Remember, using soap to clean a wine decanter isn’t recommended because it can leave a residue that affects the taste of your wine.

Simply follow the steps above to ensure your wine decanter is clean, stainless, and ready to use whenever you want.

Read Also: Should a Decanter Be Airtight?

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