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Glassware Storage Tips

glassware storage on shelf

Proper glassware storage is important in preventing breakage. Even the smallest chip or crack is unacceptable because you could cut your lip using a glass like that. But when stored correctly, your favorite drinking glasses, cups, and stemware can practically last forever. Follow these tips to store your beverage glasses so that they remain undamaged and last a long time.

Learn how to store your drinking glasses and dishes so that they are accessible, but don't crack or chip.

The drinking glasses in your home can probably be classified as either every day or occasional/"fancy" glassware. Both have similar storage requirements, but there are a few differences. Your everyday glasses need to be stored in a manner that is both convenient and safe. Easy access is a priority, but so is safety. If you don't pay attention, your lips can be easily cut by chipped glass or china. The parts of the glasses and cups most vulnerable to damage are the rim, the stem of wine glasses, and the thin handles on cups or mugs.

There are two schools of thought on whether it is best to store the glassware right side up, or upside down. Storing your glassware right side up will better protect the rim. This results in longer lasting mugs and dishes with fewer chips or cracks that could hurt you. On the other hand, if you store your glasses upside down, it helps prevent dust and germs from being ingested. This can result in better health for you and your family. So which is better? The answer is both methods are correct. It simply depends on whether you will keep those glasses inside a cabinet with a tight-fitting door, or whether they will be left out on open shelves. Everyday glassware kept inside a cabinet can be stored right side up, but glasses on open shelves must be stored with rims facing down to prevent accumulation of dirt and dust in the bowl.

How to Store Everyday Dishes & Glassware Inside a Cabinet

Inside a cabinet is the preferred way to store the mugs and glassware you use every day. Assuming you don't have a problem with bugs, there is no need to turn the glass upside down. These glasses are protected by the cabinet door. Because they are the "everyday" dishes, they are washed frequently. Together, the door and the washing offer enough protection from dirt and dust. Store all your mugs and milk/water glasses upright inside a cabinet to reduce damage to the rim or handles and make them last longer.

Everyday dishes
As long as the cabinet doors fit reasonably well, you can store your everyday glasses and dishes right side up inside the cabinet. Don't worry about turning them upside down to reduce dust. The cabinet door should prevent dirt and dust from accumulating. Frequent — probably daily — washing also keeps dust and dirt at bay.

How to Manage Glassware Storage on Open Shelves

Kitchens and pantries with open shelves are very popular. But glassware stored this way must be turned upside down unless you plan to wash it again before using it. This helps to prevent household dust and airborne contaminants from settling inside the bowl. The rims are more prone to damage and the glassware may not last as long, but better health is worth the risk. Always inspect each glass or cup before using it for chips or cracks that could cause harm.

Dishes and glasses stored on open shelves
The glasses stored on these open shelves are all stored with the rim down and the bottom up to prevent contaminants from entering the bowl.

Crystal, China, and Stemware Storage Considerations:

In some ways, storage for your fancy glasses is similar to your everyday mugs and water glasses. If you have a display cabinet for your china and crystal, use it. Higher quality doors and hinges will keep your breakable glasses safe and keep out dust as well. Some even include lighting and glass shelves so that the cabinet can act as a display case, elevating your beverage containers into a form of art. Just like with your every day glassware, your crystal and china beverage glasses can be stored upright. However, give your fine china cups and crystal goblets more space around them than your mugs and water glasses. This means you can fit less into the cabinet, but so be it. This type of glassware is usually rather delicate, making it especially susceptible to breakage. So take care with how you store it.

Upper cabinets over home bar with glasswear inside
The glassware stored in this cabinet is used as both display and for drinking. It can be stored upright due to the protection offered by the cabinet door.

Casual wine glasses or other inexpensive stemware can be stored upside down using an under-the-cabinet hanging rack. The advantage of these is that they free up cabinet space and also automatically place the correct distance between your glasses on each side. If you drink a lot of wine, you may want to invest in one of these because they are very convenient. However, this type of rack is not safe for your crystal goblets and glasses. Your expensive glassware is better off in a cabinet.

Mudroom cubbies plus a big shoe cabinet organize the rear entrance
This wine glass holder mounts under your kitchen cabinets. It suspends the wine glass upside down by its foot. This prevents dust from collecting in the bowl and also helps prevent damage to the glass.

Long Term Storage for Glassware:

wrap dishes carefully before before packing away
Wrap dishes carefully before packing them away.

If you need to pack away your china and crystal glassware for any reason, the most important consideration is to do it carefully. First wash and dry each piece. Each glass or cup must be wrapped in paper for cushioning. Better yet, use bubble wrap to prevent breakage. Find a sturdy cardboard box or plastic storage container for packing. Before placing your glassware in the box, add a little paper or bubble wrap to the bottom and sides for extra padding. Most importantly, do not overpack the box. Make sure there is enough room and wrapping so that items don't clink against each other. Cups and glasses should always be stored rim side up when packed away in boxes. Try to avoid stacking items, but if you must, paper must be used between each item. Never let glass, crystal, or china rub against another piece.

To make the packing process easier, invest in quilted storage boxes. These boxes are padded with individual compartments for each glass, eliminating a lot of the wrapping. A zipper top makes it easier to get at your glasses and dishes for those special events. When you've got everything packed up, remember that this box is fragile. Don't stack any other boxes on top of it.

Quilted boxes with compartments for storing stemware
Quilted stemware saver. Photo from Bed Bath & Beyond

Keep your prized crystal goblets and china cups for many generations through proper glassware storage.

There's really no reason why your prized glassware can't last forever if you take care of it. Why not take the time to store it right and make it into a family heirloom? It's nice to have something you can hand down for many generations. Just be sure to keep it in a cabinet if you are using it. Pack it away carefully and be mindful of where you store it. Avoid temperature extremes that might cause the glass to shatter by keeping it in an indoor, heat-controlled environment. If you follow these tips, there's no reason why your glassware won't last for many generations to come.