Cleaning porcelain, ceramics and glassware to make them last

Porcelain, ceramics, and glassware are all very fragile. Clean them carefully and they will last indefinitely.

Cleaning porcelain, ceramics and glassware to make them last

Definitely not dishwasher-safe

  • There are ways to clean your old glassware items and ceramic bowls, but putting them in the dishwasher isn't one of them.
  • Regardless of their condition, never place any antique bowls, plates, or dishes inside your dishwasher.

Clean cracked glassware carefully

  • Before cleaning any antique glassware, examine it for cracks or repairs. If you see any, don't immerse the glass in water.
  • Instead, try cleaning it with a cloth slightly dampened with a mild soapy solution.
  • Use a second cloth dampened with clean water to remove any excess soap, and then allow it to air-dry.

Hand wash undamaged glassware

  • If no cracks or repairs are spotted, you can wash the piece in warm water mixed with a bit of mild detergent.
  • Rinse off the soap by gradually lowering the glass into cold water. Don't plunge it in the water, as the change in temperature can cause it to crack.
  • Dry each piece by gently patting it with a chamois or towel.
  • Don't forget to line the washbasin and drying area with clean cloths or mats to guard against accidental breakage.
  • Also, never wash more than one piece of glassware at a time, and remember to use distilled or softened water if you have hard tap water.

Blow dust off porcelain

  • Instead of using a duster, brush, or cloth to wipe your delicate porcelain figurines, try using a can of compressed air to remove the surface dust.
  • Make sure to lay the objects on a soft towel first or hold them as you're spraying them to prevent the force of the air from knocking them down.
  • Cans of compressed air are available at photography-supply shops.

Clean ceramics gently

  • Never clean ceramics by immersing them in water.
  • Porous, unglazed, or cracked ceramic pieces often develop stains after being soaked in water.
  • Soaking can also cause old repairs to come loose. In addition, porous objects may absorb water that could result in future damage.
  • Never try to clean antique ceramics with flaking gilding or paint; such items require professional maintenance.
  • Before cleaning, brush off any loose dust or dirt using a dry, soft-bristled paintbrush.
  • Most glazed ceramics can be safely cleaned with a soft cloth or sponge dampened with some mild soapy water.
  • Gently rinse off any excess soap, and let the piece air dry on a clean towel.
  • Commercial detergents and soaps can leave stains on unglazed ceramics, but you can use equal parts water and ethyl alcohol applied to a soft cloth instead.

Remove stains from porcelain

  • Do you spend more time looking at the marks and stains on your favourite porcelain pieces than you do admiring their beauty?
  • Try removing the blemishes by applying cotton swabs or balls of cotton wool soaked in a solution of hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of ammonia.
  • Leave the cotton on top of stains for an hour or two, but don't let it dry out. (Use an eye dropper to keep it moist.) Do not use this method on pieces with gilt or painted designs, however.
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