How to Clean a Decanter

Updated November 21, 2016

Decanters are commonly used to store a variety of liquids, including wine. Wine can leave a residue or even a slight stain on the glass that requires more than a simple washing process. Decanters are typically designed with a bulb-shaped base that tapers and narrows to a smaller neck. Cleaning a decanter can present some challenges that can be overcome with simple cleaning tricks at home.

Rinse the decanter with plain water to remove any remaining liquid. Pour water into the decanter and swish it around. Pour out the water.

Place several drops of dish detergent in the decanter. Fill the decanter one-quarter full with water along with one-eighth cup of uncooked rice.

Cover the top of the decanter with your hand and shake. Swish and shake the decanter to create a soapy solution and begin scrubbing the inside of the decanter with the rice as you swish.

Allow the solution to sit in the decanter for a day or so. Periodically swish the decanter to scrub the inside with the rice.

Pour out the soapy solution and rice. Scrub the inside neck of the decanter with a bottle brush, water and a small amount of detergent. Thoroughly rinse the decanter, inside and out, with running water until clean.


Consider using white vinegar, baking soda or even denture-cleaning tablets instead of dish detergent for mixing with water to clean the decanter. Also consider using small ball bearings or salt to replace the rice as a scrubber. Crushed ice also can be used. However, do not use the ice in conjunction with water because this will cause it to melt more rapidly.

Things You'll Need

  • Decanter
  • Dish detergent
  • Water
  • Rice
  • Bottle brush
  • White vinegar
  • Denture tablets
  • Baking soda
  • Small ball bearings
  • Salt
  • Crushed ice
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About the Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.