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I have a decanter which I use fairly often to pour out wines. I typically rinse it with hot water after the last wine has come out, but I cannot prevent it from forming 'residual' wine stains over time.

The last time I wanted to clean it, I looked on the internet for advice on cleaning. There are tons of it (Stained wine decanter), but I noticed that there are quite a lot of things around that don't work (or don't work well) and I figured that the question is basically plain chemistry.

Therefore, my question is, can somebody explain how I can best clean the wine stains from my decanter? Please, also explain the chemistry behind the method you propose so I know why it should work.

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It's a bit of a blunt instrument, but I'd tend to just go straight for hydrogen peroxide if it's available where you are. It breaks up all sorts of organic dyes via oxidation, and it slowly decomposes by itself, especially in sunlight, so you can just rinse (thoroughly) and leave it to dry in the sun.

(NB: I have never owned a wine decanter, and take no responsibility if your decanter dissolves, explodes, or spontaneously gains the ability to sing operatically.)

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  • $\begingroup$ I can see whether I can get some at the local pharmacy. I think a dilute version of $\ce{H2O2}$ is used to desinfect infections of the mouth. Do you think a dilute version of $\ce{H2O2}$ will do the trick as well? $\endgroup$ – Michiel Apr 19 '13 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ @michielm: Dilute solutions in water are the typical way to get it, and should work perfectly well. You might want something slightly stronger than the 3% solutions used as mouthwash but that might be okay if it's the easiest to get hold of -- 6 to 15% solutions seem fairly typical for bleaching and cleaning. Use gloves and wash your hands immediately after use, and if you use a strong solution and it makes white marks on your skin, don't worry, it's only the very top layer and it'll rub off after an hour or so. (I speak from experience with 30% on that.) $\endgroup$ – Aesin Apr 19 '13 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ 3 % peroxide for a mouth wash is much too much! Some drops of that 3 % solution into a glass of water is the recipe! BTW, any household bleach would remove those stains. No need to buy the peroxide, if you happen to have some eau de Labarraque or eau de Javelle at home. :=) $\endgroup$ – Georg Apr 23 '13 at 15:47

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