Should You Store Glassware Facing Up or Down? We Asked a Pro

Do you store your drinking glasses up or down? Which way is best? We asked an expert to settle the matter once and for all.

There are certain topics that everyone has an opinion on—which way the toilet paper roll should go, how early is too early to decorate for Christmas, and whether glasses should be stored rim up or rim down. While the answer to when you should put up seasonal decor is truly subjective (do what makes you happy!), we can weigh in on how to properly store your cups to ensure that they’re properly cared for to prevent damage and keep them clean, inside and out.

open wine drinking glass storage kitchen
Edmund Barr

Should You Store Your Glassware Facing Up or Down?

Often our ideas of how things like this should be done comes from the homes we were raised in. If your mother always stored her glasses rim up, chances are you do too, and you probably don’t question your habits. But when it comes to proper storage to keep your glasses clean and safe, is there actually a right way?

Generally speaking, yes. Jessica Dowd, owner of Modern Lifestyle Gifts, handles hundreds of glasses a week, and she has some definitive answers for us.

“I would recommend storing most sturdy cups rim down, no matter where they are being stored, in order to keep dirt, dust, and potentially bugs (depending on where you live!) from getting into them and accidentally being consumed,” Dowd says. This is even more important for homes with open shelving, she says, because there are more opportunities for the glasses to be exposed to potential contaminants.

However, there are a few other things to note about storing glasses upside down. Make sure your glassware is completely dry before putting it away, so you don’t risk any mold or mildew issues from trapped liquid. Also, you should regularly clean the insides and shelves of your cabinets if the rim of your glasses will be touching them, since that’s where you’ll be drinking from.

When You Shouldn’t Store Glassware Upside Down

Of course, there are a few situations where this rule does not apply, and you’re actually better off storing your glassware facing up. While keeping dirt and debris out of your glasses is an important concern, some glasses simply shouldn’t be stored upside down. For example, a vintage champagne flute or similar vessel is too likely to be damaged when stored that way.

Additionally, if glasses are frequently used, there’s less of a concern that they’re going to collect any dust, and storing them rim-down could actually put them more at risk of having the fragile rim chip or get broken, Dowd says.

“I know I’m not the only who accidentally has hit the bottom of a cup on the top of the shelf when putting it away and, if you were holding it upside down when that were to happen, it would be more likely for the rim to chip or crack,” Dowd says. So there is a case for keeping your favorite, used-daily coffee mug rim side up to ensure years of usability.

kitchen open storage shelves wine glasses
Brie Williams

What to Do with Delicate Glasses

So, what should you do to keep more fragile glasses clean if you can’t store them upside down? You have two good options depending on your preferred storage method.

If you still prefer to store some of your wine glasses upside down to avoid dust or other contaminants, you may want to consider using a padded liner in your cabinet. This will help cushion them and lessen the chances of the rims being damaged, though we still wouldn’t recommend this with extremely thin or fragile stemware.

Another option for keeping the inside of your more delicate glasses clean is to cover them with a paper topper, similar to the ones you’d find on a water glass in a hotel room. Though they might not be the most aesthetically pleasing option, these glass covers are inexpensive (and you can reuse them several times) and will keep both the interior and rims of your glasses pristine, so consider them as a solution for fragile stemware that is used infrequently and stored away in your cupboards between uses.

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