Get your glasses gleaming in no time!

By Maryn Liles
Westend61 / Getty Images

With a 5-star reputation on the line, many elite restaurants put a lot of effort into ensuring every detail of a place setting is perfect, from precisely aligning each piece of flatware to making sure every glass is sparkling.

But you don’t have to dine out at a fancy restaurant to get gleaming, streak-free glassware. While hand-polishing every glass might be too much effort for everyday eating at home, for special occasions making sure your glasses and stemware sparkle is an easy way to elevate the look of your tablescape.

The secret isn’t scrubbing away with a traditional polishing cloth, like you’d expect.

“We don't use more traditional polishing rags, like microfiber cloths, to shine glassware because they tend to leave small fibers behind,” explains Matt Ortega, bar manager at Purveyor in Huntsville, AL. “Plus, when they start to get damp, they no longer dry and shine as well.”

Instead, the surprising way these fine dining restaurants shine their glassware actually involves using coffee filters.

“Coffee filters make some of the best polishing cloths because of their close-knit weave,” Ortega says. “Plus, since they don’t leave lint or fibers behind like more traditional polishing rags can, they cut down on polishing time, too. It doesn't leave any streaks and is great to use on everything — from your glassware to your kitchen windows.”

Ortega explains how to polish glassware — or any other glass surface in your home, like mirrors or glass dinner plates —  to a streak-free shine using coffee filters. Just follow his three simple steps, and your glasses and stemware will have that 5-star sparkle in no time.

How to Polish Glasses

1. Start with the base

Hold your glass by the stem and start by rubbing a clean coffee filter all over the base of the glass, buffing out any fingerprints or streaks using small circular motions.

2. Polish the outside

Still holding the stem, use the coffee filter to wipe the outside of the glass completely. Holding your glass up to the light as you polish can help you see any hard-to-spot smudges.

3. Shining the inside of your glass

Finally, wipe the lip and inside of the glass using the same technique. Grip the base of your glassware using the coffee filter to carry it to the table, to ensure you don’t get any new fingerprints on it during transport.

You can usually use each coffee filter to shine 5 to 10 glasses before it needs to be replaced with a fresh one.

If you don’t have coffee filters on hand, Ortega recommends newspaper, since its fine weave mimics that of coffee filters. And, no, we know what you’re thinking — the ink won’t rub off onto the glasses you’re trying to polish. “Aside from newspaper, you can also use steam, such as that from a cappuccino milk steamer, to effectively polish your glassware,” he suggests. Just hover the glass upside-down over over the steam for extra cleaning power.

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