Dating as far back as 14th-century Germany, beer steins are valued and highly sought-after collectibles. Organizations like Stein Collectors International Inc. are dedicated to "understanding of the art, culture and manufacture of beer steins, drinking vessels and related items, from antiquity to modern times." It's important to keep your beer steins clean to maintain their beauty and value, but it's also important to clean them properly and in a manner specific to the material used to create them.
Line the bottom of your sink with a rubber mat or a large towel. Beer steins are delicate and slippery when wet, so this will provide a cushion if you lose your grip.
Fill your sink halfway with warm, soapy water. Use mild dishwashing liquid.
Submerge your ceramic, glass, crystal or pewter beer stein in the warm water. If your beer stein is excessively grimy, allow it to soak for three to five minutes.
Bathe the stein carefully with your hands, rubbing gently to remove dirt and debris.
Use gentle strokes with new sponge or a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove stubborn dirt.
Rinse your beer stein thoroughly in warm water. Dry with a clean, soft, 100 percent cotton towel, and then set it on a soft towel to air dry for four to six hours. Leave the lid open to allow the inside to dry.
Remove stubborn dirt and grime from pewter with a mild abrasive cleaner (like Soft Scrub) and a new, damp sponge. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Dry well with a 100 percent cotton towel.
Clean wooden beer steins with a new, clean sponge soaked in warm water. Dry thoroughly with a 100 percent cotton towel. Do not immerse wooden beer steins in water.
Clean ivory beer steins with a soft, dry cloth. If stubborn dirt remains, dip a cotton swab in a 50/50 ethyl alcohol and distilled water solution, blot the swab with a paper towel, clean the dirty spot and dry immediately. Test the solution in a hidden area of your beer stein first. If problems persist, contact a professional conservator.