How to remove red wine stains in a decanter

Updated April 17, 2017

Few things decorate a table more beautifully than a decanter of red wine. However when decanters are used frequently or aren't cleaned thoroughly, the inside of the glass may become stained by the pigments in the red wine. Unlike most other vessels, a decanter has a thin neck and fuller base which makes it more difficult to clean thoroughly. However by using just a few common kitchen items, effective removal of red wine stains is possible.

Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid to the decanter and fill it with hot (not boiling) water.

Let the soapy water stand for one to two hours.

Carefully dump the water into the sink. Do not rinse the decanter.

Pour ½ cup of uncooked rice into the decanter.

Add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of hot water to the decanter.

Gently shake the mixture from side to side and up and down for 1 to 2 minutes.

Dump the mixture into the sink, using a strainer to catch the rice.

Rinse out the decanter thoroughly and turn it upside down to dry on a dish rack.


To prevent stains, fill the decanter with warm soapy water immediately after each use. Shake it gently, rinse and air dry. To freshen the inside of a decanter and get it looking like new again, use baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle ¼ cup of baking soda into the decanter, followed by a cup of vinegar. Swirl around the inside of the decanter, rinse thoroughly and air dry. For stubborn stains, drop a denture cleaning tablet into the decanter and fill it ¾ full of warm water. Let the mixture stand for fifteen to thirty minutes. Dump out the mixture and rinse. Repeat the process two to three times, using a new denture cleaning tablet each time. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.


Many decanters are made of delicate glass. Use caution when handling the container with wet hands. It is best to hold the decanter with a towel to prevent slippage. Be sure to use a strainer when dumping out the rice and liquid. Uncooked rice can clog sinks and may damage garbage disposals. Always rinse the decanter thoroughly so as not to leave any of the vinegar residue on the glass. Don't be fooled by nicely packaged, high-priced wine stain removers. They are usually no more effective than less expensive pantry items.

Things You'll Need

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Hot (not boiling) water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • Strainer
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About the Author

Emily Meyer is an accomplished writer and contributor on matters of business, lifestyle, and current trends. A graduate of University of San Diego, Meyer runs a Southern California based consulting firm. Her work has been published in leading publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, Elle, San Diego Magazine and Self.