Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Got a trick to get rid of water stains in a carafe?
—Benoit S., Canada
Sure, I have a bunch of them. Water stains in a carafe or decanter are typically caused by mineral deposits in your water. I’d start by using a mild acid such as vinegar or lemon juice to see if that works. I’ve also heard ammonia can be effective. Sometimes the cleanser could also use a boost from something mildly abrasive, so baking soda, uncooked rice or rock salt might help. They also sell reusable cleaning beads that are like fancy BB pellets.
If none of the above work, there are products made to combat calcium and lime build-up; read the instructions carefully and rinse like crazy when you’re done. My decanters tend to get a build-up of red wine stains, and I’ve found that denture tablets work really well for those—you just have to rinse really well afterwards to get rid of any minty fresh notes.
To help prevent stains in the future, wash by hand and dry immediately after with a lint-free cloth.