hintsandthings.co.uk »Utility Room

Cleaning Glassware, How to Clean Lead Crystal And Glass, Troubleshooting, Removing Labels etc.


Chipped rims – provided the chip is shallow and the glass if valuable enough, have the rim ground down but it will be shorter than the rest.

If two glasses are stuck together – fill the inner glass with iced water and repeatedly dip the outer glass in a bowl of warm water. Gradually increase the temperature of the warm water until the outer glass has expanded sufficiently for the two glasses to be separated.  Warning – increase temperature gradually otherwise the glass may break.

Decanter stopper stuck – wrap the next of the decanter in a fairly hot, damp towel and use the handle of a wooden spoon to gently tap opposite sides of the stopper.  Or pour two or three drips of cooking oil around the decanter’s rim and leave in a warm place.

Stained decanters – to remove stains in the base of a decanter half fill with warm, soapy water and add 2 tablespoons of rice (uncooked of course!!).  Swirl the mixture round several times over thirty minutes and then pour it out.  Rinse thoroughly and stand upside down to drain dry.  I have been told that crushed egg shells will also do the trick. (See notes below)

To successfully removed red wine stains from a decanter use the equivalent of Steradent for cleaning false teeth! I tried everything from various chemicals, vinegar and egg shells, but only the Steradent actually did the trick.

Dee Shorthouse

To remove the remains of sticky labels.  This does depend on the type of adhesive used on the label as some are impervious to water and others are not, however, I have found it is usually a case of trial and error to see what works. Here are a few things to try –

Rub with a cloth dipped in methylated spirits.


Sprinkle on talcum powder and rub with your finger.


Soak label/sticker with vinegar leave until saturated, then peel off.


(I know this sounds disgusting) but a little saliva on your finger rubbed over the offending label often does the trick.

Manfred writes –

The best thing for removing paper labels is a product called De-Solv-It. It’s a citrus based cleaner (I like it better than Goof-Off or Goo Gone) that’s available at WalMart and some hardware stores. Just spray it on (or better drip it on) a paper label (keeping the label horizontal) and give it 5-20 minutes to soak thru and soften the adhesive underneath and more times then not you can just lift the label right off. A paper towel with some fresh De-Solv-It will then quickly allow you to wipe off any remaining adhesive. Rinse with water (or soap and water) and the surface will be squeaky clean.

If the label is plastic coated or you’re trying to remove tape this method won’t work since the De-Solv-It won’t be able to soak thru. Here I use De-Solv-It around the edges and my fingernail to slowly peal back the label or tape. When the De-Solv-It comes in contact with the adhesive under the label it pretty much neutralizes it and that allows you to keep working the label loose with your fingernail. This method isn’t as easy as with paper labels but it does work without risk of scratching or damaging the underlying surface.

De-Solv-It also works well on removing tar, crayon, grease, ink and somewhat well on permanent marker. Denatured alcohol works really well on permanent marker and on really old dried (petrified) tape residue.

I’ve removed literally 1,000’s of labels, pieces of tape and all kinds of ink markings from all sorts of things and this stuff works better than anything else I’ve found. Hope this helps.

In response to this page I have received the following from a company who have been in the antique business for more than 20 years, I thought it may be of interest – Further to your hints on how to clean the inside of vessels, we have been in the antique business for more then 20 years and have heard lots of stories of lemon juice and lead shot, egg shells and vinegar even bleach to clean the insides of sick glass. But to tell the truth, many of these things are only a short term fix and once the glass is stained it can never be right by swirling substances inside.

The other cure is prevention, do not put the sachets to keep flowers alive in crystal vases or leave alcohol in decanters for long periods. We put glassware on mechanical brushes and remove the inner skin of the glass. As with all repairs there is a small risk but this is normally only if the item is cracked of chipped. All items cost £20 plus p&p to clean up to the size of a large decanter and the results are amazing. We also repair glass when chipped and supply a wide range of specialist services only available from a handful of companies worldwide. Our website is at www.facetsglass.co.uk hope you can spare some time to take a look.”.

Also from  Stephen Pollock-Hill of http://www.nazeing-glass.com/ – Glass manufacturers for over 40 years!

Decanter stains. If the decanter is old or modern and contains lead crystal, it can be acid dipped by a glass cutter who posses the right equipment to repolish the surface.

*As a glass manufacturer we would NOT recommend using a “scouring pad” to remove stain from lead crystal! There are plastic soft and hard scouring pads and metal ones. the last two will inflict more damage than was there before.

Vinegar in a strong solution or even a proprietary household cleaner with a limescale remover can be tried. If the stain is a build up of lime it will be removed, if it is an attack of the surface from powerful dishwasher use at high temperatures over a long period it can only be removed by a repolish by an expert. Some glass manufacturers from their factory shop offer a repolishing service.