Way back in the dark ages (okay, 2010) when I was in wine school at the Culinary Institute of America, I learned a lot about formal wine service that I now ignore. But there were a few pieces of advice I did absorb, and one of them was my instructor Christie Dufault’s recommendation for glass cleaner: Restaurant Crystal Clean. I’ve been a loyal customer ever since, and my friends and family are probably almost as sick of listening to me yammer on about this stuff as they are of me lecturing them about sunscreen.
A few months ago, though, I noticed it was out of stock on Amazon, and I was so concerned, I called the owner of the company, Douglas Savage, and asked what was up. He assured me it would be back in stock soon, and lo, it is. You can buy it here.
Buy: Restaurant Crystal Clean, $30 for 16 ounces
Of course any ol’ dish soap will get your glasses clean, but many are strongly scented and will leave your next glass of Chardonnay smelling like spring fresh chemical flowers and tasting faintly bitter. RCC is almost totally odorless and tasteless. Its plant-based formula took Savage two years to develop, and it’s cruelty-free and biodegradable. At almost $30 for a 16-ounce bottle, it’s a lot to spend on, you know, soap, but I promise it’s worth it — and a little goes a long way.
So if your glassware is looking a little stained or dusty after languishing in a cabinet all summer while you drank rosé from a plastic tumbler by the pool, here are a few ways to use RCC to get it looking shiny and perfect again — whether you wash all your wine glasses by hand or normally use the dishwasher and just want to give them a little extra love once in a while.
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For day-to-day cleaning, just use this as you would any other dishwashing liquid. Put a drop or two on your sponge (really!), gently scrub, rinse, and dry with a polishing rag, or gently shake the excess water off and let them air dry because you are no longer fancy enough to care about spots.
If you’ve stayed up a little too late drinking red wine with your friends and went to bed without washing the wine glasses or decanter you used, don’t worry — we’ve all done this. Do this enough, though, and you’ll end up with reddish-brown stains. To use RCC as a stain soak, mix a few drops with warm water, fill up the glass or decanter, and swish it around. Then let it sit overnight. The next day, gently scrub with a sponge and rinse. You’ll be surprised how much staining this removes.
Long-wear lipstick is great, but some long-wear formulas do this annoying thing where a little will transfer onto a glass, and then heat from the dishwasher will kind of bake it on. The oils in lipstick also make it hard for dishwashers to get off, leaving you with these faint lip prints that never leave. The mica in shimmery lipsticks is especially bad about baking on and never coming off. While you can use oil, I prefer RCC to remove lipstick stains because I find that it rinses cleaner. Take a little bit on your fingers (if I’m washing glasses I didn’t use myself, I wear rubber gloves) and really rub it into the stain. Then rinse it off and either put it in the dishwasher or hand-wash. I’ve never met a lipstick stain this stuff couldn’t get out.
You might think your glasses are getting clean day to day, but they might not be as clean as you think — especially if you normally put your glasses in the dishwasher. Every few months (or once or twice a year if you don’t use your glasses very much), it’s good to do a deep clean. Fill up your sink with hot water, squirt a generous blurt of RCC into the water, agitate to mix, and place as many as will comfortably fit in the sink and be totally submerged. Move them around with gloved hands, and really kind of get in there with your fingers to make sure the cleanser is penetrating all parts of the glasses. I like to leave them for 20 minutes or so if I have time. Drain the sink, then rinse and dry as usual. You’ll be surprised how much cleaner your glasses look!
Man, that was a lot about washing glasses! I hope you enjoy Restaurant Crystal Clean as much as I do, and if you have any glassware maintenance tips, leave them in the comments!
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