TO CLEAN OR NOT TO CLEAN PORCELAIN AND HOW TO DO IT
by Stewart Hopewell
Yes, by all means, clean your porcelain, and I'll tell you how to do it in just a minute. But first, believe me, you can only make it look better if you give your porcelain a careful and loving cleaning. So, go ahead and get rid of the dust, dirt, nicotine, house paint, and I don't know what all, by cleaning your porcelain. As a seller/dealer of quality porcelain, I can certainly tell you that after I have cleaned my acquired porcelain, I have been able to increase my investment because the piece looked so much better. Bottom line, I think, is to always and periodically clean your pieces of porcelain.
Ok, so how do we clean delicate and precious porcelain? What works for me is to arrange a few of the pieces of porcelain I wish to clean around my kitchen sink. I make sure that I have lots of rubber mats hanging over the sides of the sink for protection, and you might even consider a rubber tipped attachment for the water spout. You never can tell what you might bump in to. On one side of my kitchen double sink, I have warm water mixed with mild dish washing detergent. The other side I use for rinsing right under the spout, again with warm water, which is more comfortable to the skin to deal with. If you don't have a double sink, put your mix of warm water and dish detergent in a rubber dish pan.
My favorite pre-wash aid for porcelain is the commercial product Formula 409. I use it all the time and on most anything, with no damage at all. Liberally spray your piece with Formula 409 and let it sit on paper towels for about 30 seconds, then rinse it under warm water. Now, in the warm water and dish detergent mix, hand washes the piece. I seldom if ever use a instrument such as a toothbrush or scrubber. The emphasis here is not to rub too hard, especially on raised areas of the piece. After I have hand washed the piece, I rinse it again, and then I place it on paper towels, to drip dry. Later, I will finish drying the porcelain by pat drying it with a paper towel, before I put it away. If you come across some stubborn scotch tape residue, I have found the Product "Goof Off" very helpful with out causing any damage to the porcelain. By the way, you would be surprised how often you find porcelain which came out of a home that has small drops of house paint on it. Between using your fingernail lightly and using "Goof Off", it's Pretty easy to remove.
Don't be afraid of your porcelain, but on the other hand, don't mistreat it. Keep it clean! It's much easier to enjoy fine porcelain when it is clean, and if done correctly and safely, it's not too difficult. Try it, you will like it!
Stewart Hopewell is the owner of www.eliterepeats.com. We sell top quality antique porcelain, including Nippon China, Noritake China, Limoges, China, RS Prussia porcelain, Royal Doulton and other antique Japanese porcelain through our online Internet stores at eBay and Rubylane.