A decanter is most known for providing a nice, elegant-looking vessel for wines, but it also serves a more important purpose: a decanter subtly enhances the wine’s taste and aroma. It is used to aerate younger wines and separate sediment from the liquid in older wines, thereby preventing a potential bitter flavour.
How good is it in improving the taste of wine? Very, such that some wine enthusiasts even suggest using a decanter for any wine, even white wine.
For this reason, it’s important to properly take care of your decanter. However, if you own one at home, then you know that cleaning this glass piece is not as simple as wiping the inside of the bottle with a cloth or using a sponge to reach the base. Because of the shape of the decanter – narrow neck and wide bottom – cleaning it can be a little tricky.
There is a variety of methods of cleaning a decanter that you can try. The main things that you need are a scrubber and cleaning solution.
For scrubbers, a lot of people swear to the time-tested crushed ice and coarse salt, which will remove residual wine without leaving its own aroma. You can also use uncooked rice, commercially available small bearings, or even crushed egg shells. For the cleaning solution, you can choose from the following combinations: vinegar and water (or alternatively, undiluted white vinegar), detergent and water, denture tablets and water, baking soda and water, or lemon juice.
How to clean a decanter?
For general cleaning of decanters, simply swish dish soap and water with a scrubber and then rinse. Allow to dry.
For that involving stains and wine rings, a common problem in dinner parties, the cleaning process is more thorough. Below is a guide to help you:
First, rinse out the decanter to remove remaining liquid.
Pour in cleaning solution with water.
Add a scrubber and swirl around for a couple of minutes. The scrubbers should scrape off stubborn sediments on the sides of the decanter.
Remove the contents and then clean with soapy water.
Use a bottle brush to scrub the bottom of the decanter, whether it has long or short neck.
Rinse with water.
Fill with water and a small amount of bleach. Allow to set in for at least 15 minutes. Remove the mixture and rinse very thoroughly with hot water.
Some people don’t like to use bleach. As a milder alternative, you can rinse the inside of the decanter with rice wine vinegar, or white vinegar, and, subsequently, with distilled water. This will also prevent spotting when drying.
Allow to dry by suspending it upside down in the dish rack.
It’s not suggested to use a dishwasher for cleaning a decanter because it is made of crystal, which can easily break or get everlasting scratches.
Decanters are naturally prone to staining because of tannins and pigments from grapes, which eventually build up on the surface. If stains had already built up, you can always restore its condition and help make it look brand new by following the steps mentioned above. However, a lot of times, simple, regular cleaning will save you lots of trouble.
Always remember that a nice, polished decanter is part of serving a good glass of wine.