Care of ceramics

Cleaning complex models

  • Before you wash your porcelain, make sure that it is in a stable condition. Beware of old repairs. In the past glues were not as stable as those used today, even plaster of Paris was sometimes used (which will dissolve in water).
  • Soak in warm water to loosen the dirt (put an old towel in the bottom of the sink or bowl to provide a more forgiving surface).
  • Use a little washing up liquid and a long bristled paint brush to remove dirt from mouldings and difficult to reach parts of a model.
  • Stubborn marks and nicotine can usually be cleaned of the surface of even a mat glazed piece by using neat washing up liquid and a soft cloth.
  • Unglazed and undecorated Parian can be soaked in a solution of washing powder to restore its colour. Gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush may also help to remove stubborn marks.
  • Always rinse well with luke warm water and leave to dry. (a showerhead is useful for this).

Storage

  • Dramatic change in temperature is the most common cause cracking china.
  • If you store china in the loft, make sure it is insulated well with thick paper – brown paper is fine, but acid free tissue is best.
  • Do not bring china down from a freezing loft in the winter and unwrap it in front of the fire! Or put cold china into hot water, it is likely to crack.
  • Do not store ceramics in a damp atmosphere. The water vapour will penetrate any minute cracks or crazing in the glaze. With temperature changes the water will expand and contract and may make any cracks worse.
  • Never use sellotape to attach a lid to a vase as it may pull off any gold decoration when you try to remove it. Sellotape also perishes in time and will leave a dark yellow stain.

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