A Last-Minute Trick for Smudge-Free Wine Glasses

Sparkling glassware, courtesy my friendly neighborhood barista.

April 15, 2022
Photo by Julia Gartland

Picture this: You’re having your closest friends and family over for...I don't occasion worth celebrating (or no occasion at all). You have prepped and planned well ahead of time, and have a delicious and unforgettable menu ready to go. Accompanying the meal are some of your favorite wines that you've meticulously paired with the dishes. The last thing you want to discover, just as your guests are about to arrive (or worse still, midway through your meal), is that your wine glasses appear smudged or stained.

No matter what method you use to wash your glassware (in my home, everything other than grandma’s heirlooms goes into the dishwasher) and how quickly you get to drying them, it’s likely that when you resurface them after a few weeks, some spots remain. And there’s nothing like water spots to make your wine glasses appear dirty even when they’re actually clean. I know what you’re thinking: I really don’t have time to wash them at the eleventh hour. And to that I say: You’re in luck, because you don’t have to.

But first, credit where credit’s due. This is a trick I learned a couple weeks ago when I was at my favorite neighborhood cafe in Brooklyn, chatting with the barista about things like citrus and cakes and clouds (it made perfect sense at the time). She continued working as we talked, and that’s when I took note of what she was doing, which was polishing glasses in a way I had never seen before.

So, here’s how it goes. Just before your guests arrive, line up your glassware. Turn on your kettle or put some water in a pot to boil. When the water has come to a boil, turn it off. Now, hold each glass by the stem and invert it above the water just enough to get the glass steamed up (if it’s stemless, be careful not to hold it too close to the steaming water). Next, grab a soft, clean microfiber cloth with your free hand and polish away. You’ll know you’re done when no steam remains inside the glass. Repeat on the rest of your glassware and watch ‘em sparkle and shine.

Later that week, I decided I wouldn’t wait for a gathering to try this cleaning trick out for myself. My glassware truly gleamed. I held one aloft and gave a silent toast—to the person who came up with the idea and saved us all from the ignominy of dirty-looking glassware.

Have a preferred way to polish your glassware? Let us know in the comments!
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Written by: Arati Menon

Arati grew up hanging off the petticoat-tails of three generations of Indian matriarchs who used food to speak their language of love—and she finds herself instinctually following suit. Life has taken her all across the world, but she carries with her a menagerie of inherited home and kitchen objects that serve as her anchor. Formerly at GQ and Architectural Digest, she's now based in Brooklyn.


Carol G. April 26, 2022
I really don't like the advertisements that are like fast talking "used car salesmen". It cheapens your wonderful Food52. I looked up Dr. Gundry (sp) and he may be correct but it is not backed by research you can check yourself and if it was so great - he would.
If it is "too good to be true it usually isn't." These advertisements fall into that category. You've always been First Class and these ads between your informative cooking tips, etc. have no class.
Caroline's C. April 21, 2022
This is great! I am going to follow your lead and test this out as an excuse to also have a glass of wine! Out of curiosity, what kind of cake were you discussing with the barista?
Arati M. April 21, 2022
Ah, I was wondering if someone would ask! It's called nuvole or nuvola (meaning cloud), a Neapolitan dessert that I crave on the daily!
Caroline's C. April 21, 2022
We're cake people, so we had to ask! We will have to try and make one at the bakery soon!