5 tips for cleaning precious porcelain

Fragile and glass-like, porcelain must be cleaned with care. How you clean it is determined by the porcelain finish — either bisque unglazed or a glossy glazed.

5 tips for cleaning precious porcelain

1. Wash carefully

Use a plastic basin or a sink lined with a towel or rubber mat to protect against breakage.

2. Remove dirt and grime

  • For either glazed or unglazed porcelain, first try using a mild solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid.
  • Wipe with a washcloth or scrub gently with a soft, nylon-bristled dishwashing brush.
  • An old, soft toothbrush is great for getting into all the nooks and crannies.
  • Rinse well using clean water. If that doesn't remove all the stains, try something stronger such as an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Always rinse porcelain well, immediately after cleaning. These cleaning compounds can stain or etch the delicate surface.
  • Air dry in a dish drainer or on a folded towel on the countertop.

3. Wipe away coffee or tea stains

Gently scrub the inside of porcelain cups or a porcelain teapot with a cloth or soft-bristled brush and a paste made from bicarbonate of soda and water.

4. Remove dirt from hard-to-reach crannies

  • To clean irregularly shaped areas of bisque porcelain such as inside flowers or in the folded hands of a figurine, use a spray-on, bleach-based product.
  • On glazed porcelain, scrubbing the same crannies with a toothbrush and soapy water should be sufficient.
  • Spray the product on, wait a few minutes and then rinse it well with fresh water.
  • Always clean before trying the bleach spray or the bleach may set the stain.

5. Attack stubborn stains

  • Soak the bisque porcelain (or the stained part of the piece) in a container filled with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Leave it until the stain is gone, which could take anything from 15 minutes to 72 hours.
  • To rinse the piece, soak it in clean water (ideally distilled) for as long as you soaked it in the hydrogen peroxide.
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