What's the best way to wash and dry wine glasses?

It's after midnight. The Champagne, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay has disappeared, along with the dinner guests who had to get back to the babysitter/back on Tinder/back on the wagon. There were only six of them but there's a wedding's worth of dirty glasses on the table.

Will you make like Martha Stewart and line the sink with a fluffy towel before tenderly washing each wine glass by hand? Play dishwasher Tetris and cram in the lot? Or will you flee the scene until tomorrow?

It is good to know that these days most modern stemware is dishwasher-safe. 

When the time comes to tackle the job, hand-washing purists look aghast at those who reckon the dishwasher is there for a reason. Sorry, hand-washers – it's been a long campaign, but the dishwasher faction is definitely gaining back ground.

Why so? Dishwashers have improved, and glass manufacturers have got better at making "stems" that will survive mechanical cleaning. Although traditional cut crystal such as Waterford or Stuart can be damaged by harsh detergents and high temperatures – and may develop a cloudy haze if not washed by hand – the current generation of finer, thinner wine glasses are increasingly designed for the dishwasher.

Remember: If you drink then dry, you're a bloody idiot.

The Australian brand Plumm says its entire range of modern crystal glasses is dishwasher-friendly; the fact that they are widely used in restaurants testifies to their durability.

That said, dishwashers can leave glasses with a detergent residue with potential to affect the smell and taste of wine. It can also cause bubbles to quickly fall flat.

Once the dishwasher rinse cycle and dry has finished is best to give your glasses a final rinse and allow them to air dry, no cloth drying as this is another opportunity for breakage to occur.

Washing dos and don'ts

Do ... rinse red wine puddles out of glasses instead of leaving them overnight to form hard-to-clean stains.

Air dry your glasses where possible. 

Do ... wipe dirty rims with a damp, soapy cloth before loading the dishwasher. Protein from food like meats can react with tannin, leaving an unsightly appearance on the rim of the glass, this will 'cook on' in a dishwasher if left there. Also helps get rid of lipstick.

Do ... give wine glasses plenty of space in the dishwasher; minimise scratches by avoiding jostling with other glasses or metal.

Do ... rinse glasses after they come out of the dishwasher to get rid of detergent smells and residues.

The party may be over, but it's best to wash dishes once sober.

Don't ... risk traditional crystal in the dishwasher unless the manufacturer says it is safe. Waterford recommends hand-washing its glasses one at a time in "moderately hot water" using a mild detergent and soft cloth. Rinse well.

Don't ... overdo the detergent. If the water is hot enough and the glass not that dirty, you may get away with no detergent at all.

Don't ... use abrasive scourers or highly scented detergents. Riedel recommends white vinegar for cleaning stains and coffee-machine cleaner is also a great tool for removing watermarks and wine stains from the bottom of decanters and glasses.

Wipe off lipstick marks before you wash.

Drying dos and don'ts

Do ... remember that if you drink then dry, you're a bloody idiot. Minimise breakages by leaving glasses to air dry, or deal with them the next day.

Do ... know that hard water with a high mineral content can leave deposits on your glasses; polishing can help.

Don't ... use a twisting motion when drying or polishing a glass. It's an easy way to snap the stem.

Don't ... dry with cloths that have been washed or dried with fabric softeners, highly scented detergents or dryer "fragrances". The softeners may leave a residue and synthetic fragrances can interfere with the wine.

Storing dos and don'ts

Do ... store glasses the right way up, to avoid chipping the rims and trapping cupboard odours in the bowl.

Don't ... put them anywhere smelly, even the smell of scented candles can linger on your glassware.

At Grand Cru, we are not only the wine fridge experts but can now provide you with a range of premium Riedel and Plumm glassware to suit all popular varietals and occasions.