How to Properly Care for China: Storage and Cleaning

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Today we’re sharing a variety of ways to care for your dinnerware – whether it’s antique or dishwasher safe. Also, when it comes to seasonal dinnerware, we’re sharing the proper way to store it.

To Wash Dinnerware By Hand:

  1. Prior to washing delicate dinnerware by hand, be sure to rinse any excess food from the dish.
  2. If you’ve baked with the dishware, soak the baked dishes in detergent and hot water (not boiling water) and remove spots and remnants with a plastic scouring pad.
  3. Cushion dinnerware in a towel-lined sink or use a plastic basin. Be sure to do this particularly if the dinnerware is decorated with materials that may break or scratch easily- like gold, platinum, silver, or soft metals.
  4. Rubber mats may have a reaction with precious metals that can leave a brown mark on metal-decorated dinnerware. Use a rubber mat only to cushion the dinnerware not decorated with precious metals like gold, silver, or platinum.
  5. Be aware of faucet guards when cleaning your dishes.
  6. Avoid scratches of abrasive compounds like a powder cleanser and be sure to use a gentle soap or mild detergent with low-chlorine content. You do not want the detergent to react with the ornamentation.
  7. To remove stains (like those caused by tea and coffee) or brown spots caused by contact with rusty metal pans, silverware, etc., choose a nonabrasive cleaner with a more creamy consistency and apply it to the spots and stains with a soft sponge.
  8. When a buildup of film occurs on the dishes, buff the delicate dinnerware with a soft lint-free cloth.

The proper care of dinnerware in a dishwasher is as follows:

  1. Load dinnerware apart in the dishwasher so the vibration of the cleaning process does not make the pieces hit and scratch another.
  2. Make sure the bottom of the dishwasher is free of silverware, any broken pieces, or anything that could hit the dishes during the cleaning process.
  3. To keep metal decoration from getting too hot, turn off the dishwasher during the heated drying cycle.
  4. To avoid scratches or handprints, wait for metal-decorated dishware to cool off before wiping or unloading the pieces.
  5. The sudden changes from hot to cold temperatures can weaken ceramics. When the pieces are weakened, they can crack and bacteria may permeate the lines and collect around the cracks. To protect them, wash earthenware in warm water with a mild detergent.
  6. The buildup of film caused by hard water may be eliminated by the addition of two teaspoons of water softener to the dishwasher’s rinse cycle.

How to Care for Antique Dinnerware

  1. The chemicals in detergent and the heat in the dishwasher drying cycle can lighten or destroy color and ruin the decoration of antique or hand-painted dinnerware. Handwashing the antique dinnerware in a mild soap is recommended.
  2. Don’t hold an antique cup by the handle or an old teapot by the spout, support the pieces by placing fingers around the middle of them.
  3. Be sure to lift antique plates from the bottom rather than their rims.
  4. When you’ve broken an antique piece, take it to a professional for a consultation before attempting to repair it at home. Glue contains chemicals that can yellow and stain a piece and making the damage even worse.

To Store Dinnerware

  1. To protect plates that are stacked for storage – cover them with a paper towel, packing paper, a paper napkin, fabric, or foam.
  2. The weight of stacked plates can cause them to break, to distribute the weight evenly, stack the pieces of the same size and shape together – like dinner plates with dinner plates and the same salad plates with the same salad plates. To relieve the stress between the items, stack plates and bowls in columns of four or six and/or store plates upright in plate and dish racks.
  3. Did you know the rim is the most vulnerable part of a cup? Rather than stack cups for storage, hang them by the handles – preferably on plastic covered hooks or store cups in protective cases that are filmed with fabric or foam separators.
  4. Plastic storage cases can buffer and provide a cushion for dinnerware. They also provide a quick reference for what is what if you label the content. Storing your dishes in cases also makes them easy to carry to the area of use and prevents unnecessary travel or breaking- and it can also save steps when you’re ready to put the dinnerware away.
  5. Be aware that ceramic dinnerware is sensitive to changes in temperature. Storing them above or near a heating vent or near sunlight can cause the body and glaze to expand at different rates- this can lead to cracks and the weakening of the ceramic. Be aware of temperature changes depending upon where you decide to store your dinnerware.

HELPFUL HINT: our co-owner Brittany Lynn recommends these Brown Twill Round Plated Storage Cases for your China and other goods! 

Love,

Lily

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