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.

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


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
you can spare some time to take a look.”

Also from  Stephen Pollock-Hill of 
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.

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.