Wine 101 Feature: Decanter cleaning suggestions

The oxiclean contains sodium percarbonate which is also called proxy carb. Its used in wineries as a non chlorine sanitizer. I use it to clean tanks, then afterwards rinse it with a solution of citric acid or tartaric acid. Citric is cheaper. I take wine glasses, dip them in a solution of proxy carb and warm water for a few minutes. Then rinse and you will notice a dull appearance to the glasses. Then dip in a solution of citric and the glasses are cleaner than the day they were made and sparkle like hamster eyes in the moonlight. The combination of the caustic agent followed by a water rinse and then an acid rinse will remove everything. You can probably use diluted solution of white wine vinegar as the final rinse if you can’t get citric. Some of the stuff online suggests oxiclean is just pure sodium percarbonate. In 50 lb bags its around $80 (in case you have alot of glasses.) It cleans to surgical levels of clean in terms of removing/dissolving organic crap and in terms of sterile sanitation. Don’t get the shit on your skin or in your eyes. It’s caustic and will burn sear flesh. Not immediately, but you get the picture. It’s an oxidizing agent. If I use it for several days without gloves I notice some loss of skin layers on my hands and cracking. It will burn your eyes. Maybe exaggerating the risk, but use common sense.

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I’ve tried everything short of the caustic chemical cleaners mentioned here, and nothing has worked better for me than hot water immediately after use, so I usually push myself to jump on this particularly b/c they are such a pain to clean.

We had dinner at Philadelphia’s long running classic, Le Bec Fin, last night. My wife asked the sommelier how they get their decanters so clean. She said they use Efferdent. Drop it in and rinse the next day. I have to try that one.

I bought the stainless steel BB’s that I swirl with some lemon juice with satisfaction.

Oh! It’s your wine glasses you’re talking about.

Sounded like a good description of a wine on first reading.


A good soak with store-brand denture tablets did the trick for me… and it’s really easy to do!

I just rinse with very hot water several times and then hang upside down to dry. When I get an old decanter that has some discoloration on the bottom, I’ve had success with a soak of hot water mixed with about 1/4 cup of white vinegar, followed by the hot water rinse. I’ll have to try the denture tablet thing, as it sounds like a good idea.

For a cheap and easy fix I use ice cubes tossed in salt with some lemon juice. Salt will stick to the ice making it coarse and lightly granulated with a soft sort of “sand paper” texture. Lemon juice is your citric acid which of course helps cut through the junk at the bottom. Swirl and whirl until content, rinse with warm water. For multiple decanters, just transfer the contents to the next one. Rinse and repeat.

I too love the Proxy Cab and citric method. I often just do a hot water rinse and try to do the “oxy cleaning” every month at least. I hate stained decanters!!!

Try ice cubes, salt, and lemon wedges. Swirl 'em around in the decanter for a bit then give a good rinse.


Based on the advice above, I tried the denture tablet solution and it worked like a charm! I suggest trying it twice at first, then using a single treatment to keep it clean, but the residue is gone without having to deal with BBs or funky brushes. Thanks for the advice!

Yep. Grab a cheap pack of denture cleanser tablets. Any brand.

Wow, I may try this!!


If I have a few stubborn spots I will throw some rock salt in the decanter and give it a few swirls with hot water then a rinse with RO water to minimize the hard water spots. I try to make sure it is rinsed every time before the night is over also.

I’ve started using denture tablets and they work fabulous and are super easy.

denture tablets unmatched. alka selzer tabs in a pinch are good too.

My wife, Ms. Clean, just used hydrogen peroxide, H202, to clean a badly stained decanter and it did the job.