What is the Best Way to Clean Crystal?

Sonal Panse

Easily breakable and often valuable, crystal requires careful handling. Knowing how to clean crystal can minimize chances of damage. To clean crystal items like dinnerware, jewelry, figurines or chandeliers, the crystal cleaning must be done by hand.

Isopropyl alcohol, which can be diluted and used to clean crystal.
Isopropyl alcohol, which can be diluted and used to clean crystal.

Take a tubful of lukewarm water and add some mild soap and vinegar to it. Rinse dinnerware in this. With a soft-bristle toothbrush or a sponge pad, scrub gently to remove accumulated dirt.

Vinegar, which can be used to clean crystal.
Vinegar, which can be used to clean crystal.

Keep the crystal immersed in the soapy vinegar rinse to get rid of spots or cloudy marks. A rinse made by dissolving a denture cleaning tablet in water is also effective. However, if the glass has developed too much cloudiness, the damage may be irreversible. It is best to try and prevent such clouding from happening altogether. The culprits are often strong detergents, So try to avoid those and use mild, home-made cleaners for everyday crystal cleaning.

Mild soap may be used to clean crystal jewelry.
Mild soap may be used to clean crystal jewelry.

Try a bleach and warm water combination. Another option is a baking powder and lemon juice paste. Soaking two spoonfuls of rice in water and then immersing the crystal in it can vanquish some stains.

If not, buy the best glass cleaners available in the market. Check the label to make sure the cleaning product does not contain any damaging ammonia in it. Whether using a home-made or store-bought rinse to clean crystal, hold the items under clean running water afterwards and wash well.

Spread out the dinnerware on a clean counter next. Never pile or heap one on top of another. Allow the items to air dry. Then polish each with a soft lint-free cloth to make the crystal sparkle.

Some of the cleaning techniques used for cleaning crystal dinnerware can be used to clean crystal figurines as well. If it is not feasible to soak the figurines in the rinse water, wet a newspaper in it and wipe them with that. With jewelry, where the settings might tarnish if soaked, the same procedure can be followed.

To clean crystal chandeliers, switch off the electricity and lower them from the ceiling. Wrap protective plastic about the electric bulbs. Prepare a cleaning rinse of one part isopropyl alcohol and three parts water.

Dip a cloth in this rinse and carefully wipe the crystal chandelier. Follow up this wet wipe by wiping with a dry cloth. Spraying the chandelier with the rinse would be faster, but wiping each part is a more thorough and more effective way to clean crystal chandeliers.

An ultrasonic jewelry cleaner might be used to clean crystal jewelry.
An ultrasonic jewelry cleaner might be used to clean crystal jewelry.

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Discussion Comments


The Swarovski beads are machine made and put together mostly in China, so we have a situation the same as Waterford Crystal.

Both are marketed on their name, not on the products. Waterford's quality was not very good and had a lot of flaws and bubbles as they were handblown and it is almost impossible to control this issue when crystal comes from a furnace via hand.

Swarovski uses small beads mostly, and it is very difficult to see any flaws, but they do not produce any better designs than any Chinese producer does. They use the same products, but Swarovski may have a more skilled design department. I think it is a bad choice for investment.

I have my own crystal studio, where we make almost anything in crystal and I have very skilled craftsmen. We can also make design ideas at very moderate costs. (not inflated as Swarovski). We also concentrate a lot on the corporate awards industry and we engrave logos and any inscriptions.


My father collected crystal. I don't think he intended to start, but he had some with my mother and when they got divorced she went overseas and couldn't really take it. And then he was given some, and then he saw some for a really good price and it escalated from there.

I don't know if he ever cleans it though, because all it ever seems to do is sit in a couple of display cabinets in the front room. There are crystal cleaning companies around, so I think one day I'll just call one and give him the services as a gift, rather than let all that beautiful crystal sit there.

The good thing is that as it isn't being used at all, it probably will come out of the cleaning without any harm, but still, better safe than sorry.


These are some really good tips for cleaning crystal glass. My father used to give my mother little crystal figurines for her birthday every year so she has a lot of them and they can get very dusty sitting on the shelf.

I think she uses a vinegar solution to clean them and then wipes them with the same kind of cloth you use for wiping eye glasses and laptop screens. You can get this cloth at an electronic store if you want one.

She's managed to keep them sparkling for years so it must work, although I'd always be worried I'd knock a piece off one of them.

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