Which way should you store your drinking glasses in a cupboard?
February 28, 2005 5:04 PM   Subscribe

Which way should you store your drinking glasses in a cupboard? Should they be stored right side up so the lip isn't contaminated by the surface? Or, should they be stored up side down to prevent dust from getting into the cup?
posted by quadog to Food & Drink (26 answers total)
I put a clean, decorative cloth napkin on a shelf, and put the glasses face down onto the napkin.
posted by AlexReynolds at 5:21 PM on February 28, 2005

Using a cloth could trap air and water, encouraging mold. As a bartender we would use a plastic mesh cut to the shape of the shelf which would get disinfected every night. At home I store my glasses upright so that any water evaporates completely so no mold collects. Dust would only really be a problem if you are allergic.
posted by scazza at 5:27 PM on February 28, 2005

Since our glasses are stored in a closed cupboard just a bit taller than the glasses themselves, and we don't have a ton of glasses so there's good turnaround, dust isn't a problem.

Mostly, I store mine upright because I once lived in a place with mice. I did not care to rest the lip where mouse crap had once been.
posted by frykitty at 5:40 PM on February 28, 2005

Wow, opposite of fry kitty. I turn them upside down to protect the inside from bugs going in and pooping all over it. Those damn, insidious bugs.

Really, mold has never been a problem for me. I think this is a toilet paper outside or inside type question. Flipping glasses over when they're facing down adds a little bit of flair and style to the mundane task of grabbing a cup.
posted by geoff. at 5:49 PM on February 28, 2005

Upside-down. I let the glasses dry in the rack before putting them away and dust out the cupboards about once a month.

Palmetto bugs can live for a month without food, and an 80-year-old Floridian woodframe house will have them no matter how heavily you fumigate. Ew.
posted by cmyk at 5:52 PM on February 28, 2005

I store them upright and shake out the bugs before I drink out of them, whether this is right or not is anyone's guess.
posted by jessamyn at 6:02 PM on February 28, 2005

I don't think it makes any difference.

We used to store ours upside down, but the ones in the back sometimes got a funky taste from having been upside down in the cupboard too long. Nothing extreme, but noticeable.

Now we store them rightside up. I'm not sure what bugs would be creeping through the cracks of the cupboards to sit on the edge of my glasses and taunt me, so I'm okay with that.
posted by jdroth at 6:07 PM on February 28, 2005

dust = insect filth
posted by crunchburger at 6:11 PM on February 28, 2005

Response by poster: I think this is a toilet paper outside or inside type question.

No, that question isn't even up for debate. Don't get me started!

There has got to be a clear answer to the cup question but I haven't been swayed either way thus far.
posted by quadog at 6:13 PM on February 28, 2005

I like the plastic wrapped glasses from Holiday Inn.....
posted by caddis at 6:17 PM on February 28, 2005

Personally, I always store them upside down because that's how my family does it, it's actually never occured to me to be concerned about the shelf contaminating the lip of the glass. I haven't died of mold yet, and my student house is wildly unclean. I highly doubt there is one single Miss-Manners-esque rationale for either method. Do whatever quells your OHGODGERMS meter most effectively.

Technically, crunchburger is correct in that those allergic to dust are actually irritated by the feces of dust mites wafting through the air. According to my microbio friend who is allergic anyway.
posted by nelleish at 6:29 PM on February 28, 2005

If they're something you care about/expensive, store them right-side up. The rim is the weakest part of the glass.
posted by mimi at 6:35 PM on February 28, 2005

I put them upside-down on the rack, and leave them there until I need them again. Dust will only fall into them if it swirls upward, and nothing touches the lip to speak of. Of course, part of the rack touches the inside of the cup, but I guess I just don't think about that much.
posted by bingo at 6:37 PM on February 28, 2005

Flipping glasses over when they're facing down adds a little bit of flair and style to the mundane task of grabbing a cup.
apparently my *wow* factor is set way too high. From now on I am going to notice the awesomeness of flipping the cup off the shelf.

I will say, to answer your question, we have those rubbery net-like cabinet liners (that cost like 2 dollars for 20 yards or something) with the glasses rim down. Never had a problem with mold; dust seems to be a more pressing issue. And whatever man-made material that is i'm sure can not possibly breed any life, be it mold, bacteria or otherwise. Plus, as we mentioned, there's the flipping...
posted by indiebass at 7:03 PM on February 28, 2005

If your glasses are all the same size, you can put them right side up with a cutting board on top of them. Sounds pretty OCD, but I've contemplated worse.
posted by ontic at 8:40 PM on February 28, 2005

I store my water glasses in the fridge freezer door. That way they're both clean and cold.

Bet that outgassing rubbery stuff tastes really good in the glasses, indiebass. Ever notice that film inside your car windshield? Same thing: outgassing plastics and rubber. Mmmm-Mmmm!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:59 PM on February 28, 2005

Upside down. Because I always have.

Now, though, I think I'm going to have a little crisis about it. I'll be back later for the definitive answer.
posted by pompomtom at 10:33 PM on February 28, 2005

I keep mine in the dishwasher, the cleanest place on earth! Or it could be less germophobe, more lazy. Plus, they seem so happy in their little grooves, ensured of their personal space by the orderly pegs.
posted by tinamonster at 10:47 PM on February 28, 2005

Right side up. I was upside-down until a girlfriend with a fussy, pedantic, microbiologist relative clued me in. They considered it common sense that putting a dirty rim directly against your lips HAD to be worse than the alternative. Upside-down glassware now looks to me like a sign of insecurity. It says: I don't know WHAT happens in this cupboard when the doors are closed.
posted by coelecanth at 11:08 PM on February 28, 2005

Response by poster: At this point I am leaning toward storing the cups right side up. But . . . Geoff does make a good point about the flair and style points one acquires with the flipping of the cup.

It seems the answer may lie in the type of environment in which the glasses are being stored.

A bar = upside down
An old house = upside down
A modern residence = right side up
Space shuttle = doesn't matter
posted by quadog at 11:48 PM on February 28, 2005

I store my glasses upside down because I'm too lazy to dry them properly after washing.
posted by philscience at 1:09 AM on March 1, 2005

No wait... Get ready for this!

These glasses, you see, are cone shaped. How I approach the storage issue is to ALTERNATE up-down-up-down-ect., fitting the glasses as close to each other for maximum storage efficiency, and giving the end user the choice between dust/bug feces or mold/rat feces!
posted by nautone at 3:33 AM on March 1, 2005

Used to be upside-down, until I was educated in the ways of glassware. Not only is the rim the weakest point in a glass, storing a glass upsidedown -- particularly right after you've cleaned it -- will give all your drinks a terrible funky smell to them. Unless you store your used ashtrays along with your dust and bunny collection in your cupboards, dust shouldn't be a serious issue.

If you're that paranoid about dust, why not do the sensible thing and clean your cupboard?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:06 AM on March 1, 2005

if it's stemware, invest in cheap wire stemware racks like these which can be mounted under a cabinet or shelf, and hang them. No dust in the cup, no mold, and no dirty rims.

Can't help you with non-stemware though
posted by darsh at 6:14 AM on March 1, 2005

Ok, so I used to be a microbiologist, and now I feel compelled to say some things.

Every microbiologist I know has gone a little obsessive-compulsive about *something*. But the thing is, you can't go OCD about *everything*. You have to develop a coping mechanism or you'll wind up in a bubble.

My coping mechanism is to say, "Well, I didn't know this before and I never got sick." Then pick one or two things to focus on and let the rest go. Washing your hands with reasonable frequency and keeping those fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth will keep you free of the majority of airborne diseases. Good food prep habits will keep you free of most foodborne diseases. These two things will go further toward keeping you healthy than stressing out about glasses.

Ok, next point. Household dust is mostly human skin. You can do a very simple experiment where you take a Petri dish with food designed to grow only mold. Leave the lid off. I've left the lid off overnight, and you never get more than a handful of individuals landing on the plate from airborne contamination - even if you have it right next to a radiator. Now, this is semi-dependent on your climate of course. But in the northern US, even in the summer, we never get more than 4-5 colonies when the lid is left off for an hour.

So perhaps you are of the school of thought that all fungus is always bad for you? Well, first, I hope you never eat bread, drink beer, eat mushrooms, or take penicillin. Second, even if you take precautions to keep dust from falling in your glasses, you are still inhaling that dust. You still pick it up on your fingers (and then you rub it in your nose, eyes, mouth). You chew on your pens, and you lick your silverware. The dust still lands on your food while you cook. And let me reiterate - it probably didn't make you sick before you learned all this.

I'd be a lot more concerned about rodent feces in the cabinets. And my glasses are stored rightside up. We don't have rodents. If you have rodent feces, look up Hanta.

***Some parts of dust, such as lead, are especially toxic to children of a particular age. However, if you live in a house with a serious lead dust problem, turning glasses upside down in a closed cupboard doesn't fix the problem of the kids breathing or licking their dust-coated fingers and toys. If you have lead dust and children, you need to be taking very different precautions.
posted by arabelladragon at 9:07 AM on March 1, 2005

Don't have mice.
Don't have bugs.
Do have cabinet doors.
Right side up.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:38 AM on March 1, 2005

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