In a previous blog post, I conducted an experiment to see if decanting wine really affected the taste.
That test revealed that it does. As a result, I use my decanter often.
Decanters are never cleaned with soap because no one wants the taste of their wine impacted by cleaning products that could remain in the decanter. As such, the normal cleaning procedure is to just rinse out the decanter with tap water and make sure it 100% dry before its next use. The rinsing process works well but is not 100% effective. Sometimes a little bit of slightly wine-infused water remains. When the water evaporates, the result is:
What to do? What to do? There's actually a solution to this problem: cleaning beads shaped like flying saucers. From the customer reviews, it appears that the saucer shape works better than purely spherical ones.
I tried them, and they really work. Since the beads did not come with instructions, here is what I did:
Turn on the faucet and let the water get fairly hot.
I didn't use boiling water because I thought it might crack the decanter.
Fill the decanter with very hot water.
Add the wine beads.
In my case, the opening of the decanter was wider than the little container that the beads came in. Had this not been the case, I would have used a funnel.
Use two hands to gently rock the decanter from side to side for about 3 minutes. Don't shake it vigorously as the hot water will splash out of the decanter. Position the decanter at various angles to ensure that the beads roll back and forth, touching both sides and the bottom of the decanter. As the beads work their magic, the water begins to look like an aquarium with fish food as flakes of dried wine separate from the glass and float in the water.
Empty the contents of the decanter into a strainer to catch the beads.
Rinse the decanter once more with normal-temperature tap water to ensure that no dislodged stain-particles remain.
To clean the beads for the next use, run tap water over the beads in the strainer and move them around with your finger. I did this because I didn't want to re-introduce any wine particles into the decanter on the next cleaning.
I assume that the beads are rust proof; however, I didn't want to take that chance. So before i put them back in their original container, I spread them out on a towel and patted them with another towel. That probably did the trick, but I wasn't sure, so I dried the strainer with a towel, put the beads back in the strainer, and used a hair dryer to make sure the beads were 100% dry. I then carefully poured them back into the container (with a bowl underneath) in case any missed.
The end-result is a decanter that is squeaky clean.
You can see that the result is not perfect, but 99% of the stains are gone. Perhaps the end-result will improve with future or repeated cleanings?
Allow the decanter to dry.
This process allows the decanter to look its best, and the wine to taste its best.
For fun, I converted this blog post into an Instructable (my second one ever):
Cleanliness is alive in the lab.