Workable tips for washing fine china

The term fine china evokes images of fragile delicacy, but most china manufactured today is made to be functional as well as elegant. Companies know today's busy consumer wants utility as well as beauty. So most china made in the last 24 years is dishwasher safe and says so explicitly on the bottom of the piece.

Workable tips for washing fine china

1. Exception to the dishwasher rule

Notable exceptions to this are dinner sets with bands made of precious metal such as platinum or gold. The high heat of the dishwasher's drying cycle will cause the metal to soften.

2. Don’t use a citrus detergent

  • Avoid detergents that are lemon-scented, because they contain citrus, which can corrode the metal, whether you're washing by hand or machine.
  • Hand washing is also required for antique or hand-painted china. The force and heat of dishwashers has proven too much for fragile pieces.

3. Washing china in the dishwasher

  • Load the pieces carefully so they won't bump into each other and chip.
  • Make sure aluminium utensils and lightweight foil containers don't rub against dishes during the wash cycle, because that can create black or grey marks.

4. To hand wash antique or hand-painted china

  • Start by lining the bottom of the sink with a rubber mat or dish towel.
  • Half-fill the sink with warm water and a mild dishwashing liquid.
  • To prevent chipping, take care not to overload the sink with dishes.
  • Remove rings and jewelry to prevent scratching the china and, for the same reason, wash cutlery separately.
  • Use a soft cloth or sponge for cleaning.
  • Wash or soak the items as soon after eating as possible, to prevent the problem of dried-on food and staining. Acidic foods such as eggs and mayonnaise can damage the glaze if left on for long periods.
  • To remove dried food, soak the china in a grease-cutting dishwashing liquid, then scrub gently with a nylon scouring pad.
  • Never use a metal pad, and avoid steel wool and gritty cleansers as well.
  • Make sure you are careful when placing the dishes in the drainer to prevent scratches and chips.

5. To wash china figurines and sculptures

  • Hand wash using the mildest soap.
  • Dry by hand with a soft cloth.
  • If the piece has a wooden base, don't let the wood get wet.
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