Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She'll be here periodically to answer your filthiest questions.

Do you have a preference on storing cups in a cupboard? Are they supposed to be right-side up or upside down? I know if they're right-side up, dust can get in them, but upside down seems grosser to me. Is there a correct call?

I do have a preference, yes! But, as with most discussions of storage options, it's just that: a preference. There are good reasons for my preference, and there are equally good reasons why one might prefer the other manner of storing glasses. Which means that while yes, there is a correct call, that correct call won't be the same for all people.

My personal preference is to store glasses rim-side up. That is, in part, because that's the way things were done in my house, and we generally tend to stick with the same habits we grew up with. That's probably the most common reason why people store glasses the way they store them. "It's what my mom did, so yeah, it's just what I do. I dunno." And that's fine!


There are, however, more rational reasons for storing glasses rim-side up, among them that the rim is the most delicate part of the glass and therefore the most prone to chipping or cracking—storing glasses rim-side up is considered the best practice for that reason. This is especially true for finer or more delicate glassware like crystal or vintage barware.

The other reasons for storing glasses rim-side up are to keep the lip of the glass off of the cabinet floors (more on that to come) and to allow glasses that may still be wet after washing an opportunity to air-dry.


HOWEVER. There are also good reasons why you might choose to store glassware rim-side down, which entirely have to do with the your home environment. If your home is prone to dust and/or bugs, storing the glasses rim-side down is a good way to go, to keep those things out of the glass. Oftentimes, this is a regional thing: Anecdotally, it seems like people in Texas tend toward the rim-side down method, because seriously, have you been to Texas? They have some big-ass bugs in Texas. Everything's bigger in etc. etc. etc.

If, for practical or just personal-preference reasons, you opt for storing glasses rim-side down, you can buffer them by laying down a cabinet mat, which will serve to protect the glassware and provide a layer between the glass and the cabinet floor, if the idea of having the rims of your glasses touching the shelf squicks you out. And that is a thing that very definitely squicks a lot of people out. You could, of course, clean your cabinet shelves, but that is another post for another day, my friends.


Speaking of shelves! If you've got an open-shelving situation, storing glasses rim-side down is optimal. There's a lot that goes on in the air in a kitchen, and you'll want to keep that out of your glasses.

Okay! That was an awful lot on glass storage, so to recap in a more digestible way, here's what you need to know.


Rim-Side Up

Pros: Better for the glasses; keeps rims off of potentially dirty cabinet floors; allows glasses that haven't been completely dried to air-dry, preventing mold or mildew from forming.


Cons: Allows dust and/or bugs to collect inside.

Rim-Side Down

Pros: Keeps out dust, bugs and droppings; best choice for open-shelving situations


Cons: More likely to cause chipping or cracking; puts rims in contact with potentially dirty cabinet floors.

Now, even after reading all of that, many of you will still express STRONG OPINIONS one way or another. To your minds, there will be no understanding of when and why and under what circumstances one might want to make a choice, vis-a-vis glassware storage, that differs from the choice you make in your own life. And you know what? Fine. Be that way. Scream at each other, carry on like children, be unreasonable. It's actually pretty fun for me to sit back and observe as you all work yourselves into a frenzy. I've heard it all already.

Jolie Kerr Informal poll: Do you store your drinking glasses rim-side up or rim-side down? Do you feel strongly about your choice?

Burneko rim side up

Tom Ley up

barry rim-up! the other way seems unsanitary. I don't want the place where I put my lips resting on the ground

Burneko the idea of drinking off a cup rim that's been rubbing on a cupboard shelf kinda grosses me out

Greg Howard up dude ew

harvilla usually down

Greg Howard wow.

harvilla i don't disagree with any of this

Greg Howard wow wow.

harvilla i'm a changed man

Burneko dammit harvilla, that's how you contracted giantism

Greg Howard you have kids!

harvilla those kids have way bigger problems

billy haisley yeah down

harvilla how scuzzy are your guys' cabinets exactly

Burneko not super scuzzy, but scuzzier than the air, for sure

Samer one shelf has a mat, so glasses go upside down on that
the other doesn't so glasses go right side up

Burneko waffler

Greg Howard doesn't matter how scuzzy they are, because I store the glasses rimside up

Burneko take a stand, samer
there's no benefit to storing them rim side down
what is the benefit of doing that

Greg Howard there is none, obviously.

Samer dust etc doesn't get in them

kyle rim down always

billy haisley my mom always told me it was to keep bugs out of them

Greg Howard rim up is not for cool people.
or down

Burneko i mean, are there a lot of dust storms inside your cupboard?
the inside of my cupboard is pretty placid, most of the time. not much weather in there

harvilla greg your need to immediately place everything in a cool/uncool binary is pretty uncool

Burneko saying that it's uncool is not for cool people

Greg Howard wow.

Burneko "I don't want my cups to get dust in them, so I'll just rub them all over a cupboard floor instead"

Greg Howard the cupboard floor is obviously dustier than the air, right? obviously.

Burneko I mean, I can slather the floor of my cupboard with mayonnaise if I want, because i don't rub the rims of my cups on it


I can't believe we made it through that entire discussion without making a single rimjob crack, which is why I just subjected you to that absolutely terrible pun.

Jolie Kerr is the author of the book My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag … And Other Things You Can't Ask Martha (Plume). Are you dirty? Check The Squalor Archive for assistance. Are you still dirty? Email her.


Image by Sam Woolley.

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