Crystal Cleaning

Written by Cassandra Merkling (last updated April 24, 2023)

First, I have to mention that I'm very glad you want to keep your crystal clean. However, it may be too late for some of you, since crystal can be permanently etched by minerals in water (in the case of vases) and other harsh materials, such as harsh cleaners and rubbed on dirt, etc. That having been said, let us move on to the different methods out there that people use.

There are a lot of ways to clean crystal. If you have lime or other water-related spots on your crystal, you can try getting it to come off with just a solution of three parts water to one part vinegar or use full-strength vinegar. You can try using hot water with a couple of denture tablets (dollar-store brands are fine in this case), which should get the minerals and water spots off on the first try. Some people use a little ammonia in the sink when they are washing their crystal, and that helps them get marks off of it. If you do wash your crystal in the sink, try keeping a bath towel as a liner for the bottom of the sink, so that your crystal will be protected from any accidental dropping or clattering.

For wine stains, you may find it useful to make a poultice of whiting (which does not harm glass or crystal and can be found in the paint department or online) by applying it to your crystal's stain after it has been dampened with water. Rub with a very soft, non-abrasive cotton cloth. This method is great because it not only works immediately, but you can polish all your crystal with whiting and it will shine like new. You can also fill your receptacle with a cup of cold water and two tablespoons of uncooked rice, seal it, and shake it around a bit to scrub off the stain. You can also try "scrubbing" with baking soda and, again, a non-abrasive cloth.

If you want to get really intricate about your attempt to clean your crystal, here is one method that I have heard works really well: Using a microfiber cloth that is soaked in soapy water (one half a quart to two or three drops of liquid dish detergent), polish already-dampened crystal with sprinkled-on whiting. Then, when you have taken all the stain off with that method, hand-wash your crystal in a container of separate soapy water like you would any of your good dishes, avoiding any embellishments such as gold, platinum, or silver, so that you do not remove them. Dry with another soft, non-abrasive cloth, taking care to remove any leftover whiting.

One more idea: Rub clean crystal with a dryer sheet. Then, buff the sheet's residue off your crystal with a non-abrasive cloth. It will not only be shiny, but it will repel dust as well.

Author Bio

Cassandra Merkling


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