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How to Care for Glassware

A major component of food service establishments ranging from high-end restaurants to local sports bars is their glassware. Since you regularly use, clean, and reuse glasses throughout the day, properly caring for them can save you money and time. Your business will operate more smoothly when you know how to increase the longevity of your glasses by correctly cleaning, handling, and storing them to prevent breaks.

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Use the following links to learn about how to clean glassware:

  1. Cleaning Glassware
  2. How to Clean Crystal Glassware
  3. How to Dry Glassware
  4. How to Handle Glassware
  5. How to Transport and Store Glassware

Glassware Cleaning Video

Cleaning Glassware

Cleaning glassware properly has many benefits, including eliminating germs to prevent illness and increasing the longevity of your glasses. Additionally, clean glasses improve customers' perceptions of your establishment, while dirty or smudged glasses can harm your reputation. As you outline proper cleaning procedures for drinking glasses and other dishes, follow all health and safety guidelines to prevent fines.

Using a Dishwasher

There are many types of dishwasher-safe glasses. This makes cleaning easy and convenient in a high-volume restaurant or bar. You can clean dishwasher-safe glasses in a glass washer, which is designed to wash glasses in the most efficient manner possible. They can usually wash up to 2,000 glasses per hour and one cycle takes about 90 seconds to complete.

Use the following steps as a guide for washing your glassware in a glass washer:

Restaurant Equipment
  1. Check the water hardness at the location of use. Then, regulate the water hardness range for the dishwasher.
  2. Pour out any leftover ice or liquid in the glass.
  3. Use a dishwasher rack so your glasses avoid contact with each other, pots, cutlery, and other dishes.
  4. Load glasses into the correctly sized glass rack, and position the glasses so that they are free draining. By positioning the glasses correctly, you can prevent unwanted marks or stains from forming on your glasses.
  5. Place the glass rack into the glass washer and shut the door.
  6. Set the glass washer to your washing preferences and start the cycle.
  7. Open the dishwasher briefly at the end of its cycle to let the steam pass. Avoid opening fully until the dishwasher has cooled.

Using a Glass Washing Machine

Using a glass washing machine is ideal for cleaning glasses that aren't dishwasher safe. They have brushes shaped to fit perfectly inside the bowl of the glass to thoroughly clean the interior. Whether you choose an electric glass washing machine or a manual option, these machines offer increased efficiency over cleaning glassware by hand.

Use the following steps as a guide for washing your glasses using a glass washing machine:

Restaurant Equipment
  1. Clean all sinks before using the machine.
  2. Place the machine in a sink filled with hot soapy water.
  3. Empty the remaining contents of the glass into a drain.
  4. Place the dirty glass over the middle scrub brush and rotate the glass on the brushes until all signs of residue are gone.
  5. Rinse and then sanitize the glass in separate sink compartments.

Handwashing Glassware

When handwashing glassware, use a soft surface material like a microfiber cloth. You will also need a stainless-steel sink with separate sections for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing.

Use the following steps as a guide for washing your drinking glasses by hand:

Restaurant Equipment
  1. Clean all sinks used for washing.
  2. Empty the contents of the glass.
  3. Clean the glass in hot water with a detergent solution.
  4. Rinse the glass in another sink to remove extra traces of food or detergent.
  5. Sanitize the glass in a separate sink by soaking it in hot water or a sanitizer.

How to Clean Crystal Glassware

For high-end establishments, knowing how to clean crystal glassware can prevent significant recurring costs. Crystal glasses are far more delicate than their counterparts, so all crystal glasses should be hand-washed unless otherwise noted. This technique helps to cut down on the damage done by dishwashers and tough detergents.

Follow these steps when washing crystal:

  1. Line a sink with a dish towel or soft cloth and fill it with warm water. The soft lining helps to prevent cracks or breaks.

  2. Use a mild detergent to wash out the glasses one at a time.

  3. Rinse with a vinegar-water solution and sanitize. The vinegar-water solution can help remove existing water spots and prevent future blotches.

Polishing Crystal

Unlike other glassware, crystal frequently requires an extra step before customers use it. Many people choose crystal for the sparkle and clarity of the glass, so finding spots or a cloudy film on crystal is off-putting. Therefore, polishing crystal glassware guarantees that the best qualities of your crystal remain prevalent. Here are a few ways to shine crystal to perfection and cut down on the spots.

Restaurant Equipment

First, restore shine by making a paste that includes ½ teaspoon of both salt and white vinegar. Carefully apply the paste and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and polish with a fine polishing microfiber cloth or an electric glass polisher.

A second way to reduce smudges on crystal is by eliminating the effects of hard water. Sometimes when glasses are not dried correctly, water can leave behind spots. This effect also happens when the water you’re using to wash is “hard,” and letting water sit in a crystal glass allows mineral deposits and hard water to build up. This also happens when glassware is air-dried. To combat this effect, use a fine-polishing microfiber cloth to wipe away any excess smudges.

How to Dry Glassware

Properly drying glasses is a vital part of glassware upkeep. It is best to dry glasses with a linen towel or a microfiber cloth immediately after cleaning them. During this process, note the thickness of the glass to avoid applying too much pressure and damaging the glass. Avoid touching the inside of the glass bowl while drying it to ensure your fingers do not smudge it or leave prints.

Use the following steps when drying glassware:

  1. Make sure you hold the glass by the bowl. Holding the glass by the stem or base could result in breakage, so it is best to avoid grabbing the glass at either of these points.

  2. Use the cloth to gently dry the glass. Do not use excessive pressure.

  3. Run the cloth along the outside of the glass as the final step to clean away fingerprints.

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How to Handle Glassware

There is nothing worse than the sound of glass shattering in a restaurant, especially during the lunch or dinner rush. Broken or chipped glasses can compromise the safety of workers and guests, and replacing damaged glasses can prove expensive over time. Employees also must take the time to clean up the glass, which pulls them out of service.

Knowing how to handle glassware reduces the possibility of broken glasses and saves time and money. Below are a few specific areas where you can help lower the chance of breaking glasses.

Restaurant Equipment
  • Avoid mechanical shock: When a glass contacts other glasses or utensils, it compromises the strength of the glass. To avoid this, store glasses in glass racks.
  • Avoid thermal shock: If glasses are exposed to a quick and drastic change in temperature, the glass can chip or crack. To avoid this, adjust glasses to different temperatures by letting them slowly adjust to room temperature first.
  • Avoid stacking glasses: Rather than carrying glassware in “bouquets” or stacking them, carry one glass in each hand at a time and use glass racks to transport multiple glasses. This reduces the risk of chipping the glass and weakening it.
  • Keep silverware and glassware separate: Placing silverware inside glassware to transport it causes the glass to weaken from mechanical shock. Instead, keep metal silverware in designated silverware bins.

How to Transport and Store Glassware

Employees regularly transport glasses in a restaurant, traveling from the dish area to tables and back again. There are several dollies, racks, and trays that help to move glassware quickly and safely. Using glassware racks and non-skid trays allows servers to transport multiple glasses at once. It also helps to reduce the chances of broken glasses. Properly storing glassware is also important and knowing how to store glasses can keep them clean and ready for use.

Restaurant Equipment
  • Glass racks: For an efficient way to clean and transport different types of glasses at once, use glass racks to hold cocktail glasses, shot glasses, wine glasses, water glasses, pint glasses, and more.
  • Dollies: Using dollies in your kitchen allows you to transport several glass racks at once.
  • Dust covers: Place a dust cover over any glassware in storage or transit to keep out dust and ensure the glasses remain pristine.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.

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