Of course, you should always follow manufacturer's instructions to ensure the longest life for your dinnerware, but here are some helpful tips for cleaning and storing your prized china.
Southern Living Magazine notes that food is china's number one enemy and "the longer food sits on a plate, the more acid eats away at the glaze. If you don't plan on doing the dishes immediately, give your china a quick rinse to remove as much food as possible." This also eliminates dried on messes that are difficult to clean.
Never use a scouring pad or steel wool. The scraping is bad for the glaze and makes your china vulnerable to scratches, stains and unsightly metal markings. If necessary, use a rubber spatula to scrape food off of fine china dinnerware.
Do not over soak your china. If dishes soak for too long, the glaze can be compromised. This sometimes happen if your dishes are soaked in a harsh chemical solution. Once the glaze is compromised, the dishes are more likely to scratch or stain.
When washing your china by hand, use a mild detergent in warm water and line the bottom and sides of the sink with a soft towel or rubber mat to prevent scratches and dings.
After washing and rinsing, drain dishes in a plastic or wooden drying rack and wipe dry with a soft cloth before putting away.
If you insist on using the dishwasher use a very mild non-lemon-scented detergent that does not contain bleach on a gentle cycle. Never use the normal settings on a dishwasher because the extreme heat of the normal cycle may fade the gold or platinum bands and any colored decorations. Avoid overloading the washer and stack the dishes so that none of the pieces can knock against each other during the cycle; pay special attention to cup handles and other protruding decorations.
StorageFor many of us, china tends to be kept in storage for most of the year and brought out only on holidays and special occasions but while it’s not in use china needs to be well protected.
China is made to be used & enjoyed and storing it in areas where temperature and humidity levels can't be controlled will have adverse effects. If you don't use your dishes often, it is a good idea to wash them at least once a year to keep impurities from damaging the glaze.
If plates are to be stacked, make sure it is no more than four high and for extra protection add a cushioned layer, like a paper towel, coffee filter, felt, or fleece between each piece. The Tea House Times suggests using doilies of lace or fine crochet under your china collectibles to add texture and complete the setting.
Never stack cups when storing your china as it can weaken the rim and cause cracking and chipping. The handle position also causes coffee cups to awkwardly nest within one another so that the stacks often become top-heavy and tip over. Instead, consider storing cups in a cup rack or on hooks for easy separation.
Alternatively, hanging fine china on the wall is a great way to enjoy it all year long but only use hangers with clear plastic tubing over the wire ends to provide padding and prevent scratches.
Caring for your fine china is not as difficult as you may think and with my super helpful tips it can be simple. The most common china issues are stains and surface crack but armed with the proper cleaning and storing techniques your fine dinnerware collections will shine as it is passed down from generation to generation.
Don’t forget to check out the many designers and dinnerware collections available at Chelsea Gifts Online when adding to your sets.