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Choosing & washing types of glasses

4 Nov 2015

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With Christmas in everyone’s sights, no doubt your calendar is starting to fill up with lots of pre-planned friends and family catch ups. Here at Simply Brilliant, there’s no mistaking what a wonderful time of year it is to entertain!

But with all of the celebrating coming up, we thought what better time than to share some tips about drinking glasses? More specifically, how to choose the right drinking glass for whatever you’re serving, and how to wash each type correctly afterwards.



It’s a common myth that it’s best to wash stemmed drinking glasses by hand. This is a hangover (pun intended) from a time when dishwashers, and dishwasher detergents, weren’t as sophisticated as they’ve become in recent years. 

Since all glasses are different however, they can’t be washed in the same way. The many different variations in shape, size and thickness need to be reflected in the approach you take, as the way you position, stack and order glasses will help ensure their safety and avoid breakages. The following is a simple guide to the main types of glasses we hope will be making more of an appearance in your household in the coming months:



There are two types of wine glass: red and white wine glasses. Red wine glasses have a broad and round bowl and a short stem. By contrast, white wine glasses are longer and narrower. This is because a red requires more space to circulate and react with the air, smoothing out complex flavours, whereas a white requires a glass that inhibits oxidisation, to preserve the subtler nuanced flavours.

As with all drinking glasses it is important to load wine glasses onto the top rack, away from any other dishes. To accommodate the white wine glasses it may be necessary to lower the rack to make space for their longer stems, a feature available on many modern dishwashers. It is also important to ensure they are not touching each other, as this could cause them to crack as they knock together.



The Martini glass came about in the early 20th century, as an evolution of the often confused cocktail glass. They were designed much like the wine glasses, to control oxidization, with the shape and profile of the bowl giving the gin maximum exposure to the air. This, allowing the flavours to open up and the complex botanicals to be discerned. 

Martini or cocktail glasses need to be washed carefully, since they have an even longer and more delicate stem than their wine counterparts – so lowering the top rack to create more space here is a must. It’s also very important to make sure you space them out well to ensure they have enough space to move without making contact with any other objects.



The short stem of the brandy glass combined with a large surface area means that the alcohol contained within starts to evaporate much more quickly. This, combined with the sides curving, means that the bowl fills up with the brandy’s aroma, allowing you to get the full hit of flavour.

Because of their design, they can be washed more like red wine glasses. There’s no need to lower the top rack, but as their low centre of gravity makes them prone to sliding around, be sure to give them enough space to avoid them knocking against other glasses in the dishwasher.



Crystal glass was originally made by replacing the calcium content of glass with lead. (Fun fact: the earliest crystal pieces found date back to 1400BC!) When it comes to crystal glasses it is best to check with the specific manufacturers as different manufacturers recommend different dishwasher specifications. Some may specify that their glasses are too thin for a dishwasher, whereas others say it is safe to wash on a cycle that keeps the temperature below 65°C. 

Either way, it’s important when washing crystal to use a mild detergent, and Dartington Crystal and Villeroy & Boch both recommend Finish detergent for dishwasher use (follow manufacturer directions).


So there you have it, now you know what glass is what, it’s time to invite some family and friends over to test them all out. Just make sure you do so responsibly – and that you also take advantage of this month’s 25% OFF Finish Quantum Max offer to help with the cleaning up afterwards. Simply download your coupon now for redemption at Woolworths until 05.12.15. Cheers!