So you wash your vase or decanter, but find that there is a misty white mark or residue left on the inside. You know what it is, it's limescale. It won't rinse out and of course it is just where you can't reach with a bottle brush.

Or maybe you've had a good dinner party and committed the cardinal sin of leaving some red wine or port in the decanter or wine jug overnight. Instead of a white stain, you have a red one. It is the same thing. The glass has not stained, but the microscopic particles of limescale clinging to the inside of the glass have been dyed red.

What to do?

  • You could move house to a soft water area? Failing that, how you dry the decanter can help. You need to get the inside dry, not let it evaporate slowly leaving a residue. Balancing a decanter precariously on its head to drain it is never a good idea - I'm too mean to buy a decanter dryer, but I keep a thin broom handle that I insert inside the decanter and use that as a spike to drain it on.
    Decanter Drying Stand
  • Insert a long wick of kitchen towel into the decanter and leave overnight, this helps remove any last traces of condensation
  • A drop of rinse aid from the dishwasher when washing the inside of the decanter helps water drain more freely when you rinse with clean water.
  • Rinse with cold boiled water from the kettle. It has already deposited (most of) its limescale.
  • If you have a stain or white ring, DO NOT attack it with anything abrasive. Lead crystal glass is soft and will scratch, making the problem worse.
  • Limescale can be dissolved out. Is dissolves out more readily in cold water than hot water.
  • Clear spirit vinegar swirled and left on the residue will normally remove it.
  • You might have heard that Steradent tablets will clean the inside of decanters. It has never worked for us.
  • If all else fails you can purchase soft 'shot' like small ball bearings that can be swirled around to gently rub the deposit free. Safer than extracting the lead shot from an old 12 bore cartridge.
    Cleaning Balls