Wines with sediment or youthful wines can benefit from the decanting process. The shape of a decanter allows for any sediment to be caught and the wine to be exposed to oxygen, softening any harsh flavours. However the long, slender neck makes reaching the bottom difficult when cleaning. A decanter that is not cleaned properly after use results in a stained, possibly foul smelling decanter.
Empty all liquid from the vessel.
Rinse the decanter with hot water.
Soak it in water overnight. Do not use soap.
Add a scrubbing agent, salt and lemon juice. Scrubbing agents include anything that can scrape off a residue such as eggshells, rice, or dried beans.
Add a little water and swirl the mixture to remove dried wine.
Rinse the decanter thoroughly with warm water. Follow with a rinse of cold, distilled water. Hard water tends to leave water stains.
Place the decanter upside down on a drying stand. A regular drying rack can be used. Be careful as decanters are very fragile.
Feed a dry cloth through the neck until it reaches the bottom of the decanter.
Use a wooden spoon handle to guide the cloth.
Dry the bottom thoroughly.
Steam the outside of the decanter over a teapot or pot of boiling water to remove any water stains. Wear gloves to prevent fingerprints.
Cap the decanter to prevent dust from entering during storage. Store the decanter right side up for stability.
Special decanter wire brushes or small metal cleaning beads are useful in scrubbing dried wine from the bottom of the vessel. These tools can be purchased online or at a wine shop.