There is nothing quite as beautiful as the gleam of sparkling crockery, whether it’s a table set for a dinner party or a peek into a kitchen cupboard by a prospective house purchaser. But for most people, sparkling crockery seems to be the stuff of fairy tales as they regard their streaked and stained cups and glasses. So here are a few tips to help you make your crockery really shine:
- Do use detergents that are specially formulated to protect fine tableware and follow instructions on the recommended amounts of detergents, when using a dishwasher. Also make sure that the rinse aid and salt reservoirs are topped up.
- Do try to remove most stains or burnt particles by just soaking in warm soapy water first, before washing. Leave it to soak for at least 15 minutes, before washing gently using a cloth, nylon net pad or a plastic sponge but never a harsh abrasive cleaner, metal pad or steel wool. Rinse well in hot water and wipe dry with a towel.
- Do use tooth powder to remove minute marks caused by metal deposits from cutlery.
- Do use vinegar to remove general stains: vinegar is very effective at cutting through grease and will also “freshen up” crockery in general. However, it can leave a potent smell.
- Do use baking soda to remove stains from tea and coffee: dip a damp cloth in baking soda and rub gently, before rinsing clean.
- Do use vegetable oil to remove water marks from highly-glazed crockery – rub the surface and then allow to stand for 2 hours, before cleaning as usual.
- Do use white vinegar in your dishwasher: place a cup on the bottom rack and run for the full cycle to prevent a soapy film on your glassware. You should also use a cup of white vinegar once a month to reduce the soap scum on the inner machinery.
- Do use lemon juice on a variety of stains: choose one that is bright and firm, with a fine-grained skin and that feels heavy as this will be a better indicator of juicy flesh than overall size. Lemon juice will usually work on the same stains as vinegar (e.g., hard-water stains) but it will smell nicer.
- Do be careful when using turmeric – this bright yellow spice will stain anything it touches and is particularly lethal to white crockery. Again, baking soda (made into a paste with water) is useful on these types of stains, as well as vinegar and lemon juice, followed by normal washing in detergent.
- Don’t use fine bone china for cooking and never expose it to a naked flame or a sudden temperature change, such as washing a hot plate in very cold water.
- Don’t use any crockery which has gold or other metallic trims in the microwave
- Don’t use dishwasher detergents that are strongly caustic or scouring powders, if washing crockery in the dishwasher.
- Don’t use scourers or abrasive materials that may damage the surface, if washing crockery by hand.
- Don’t slide plates one over the other when storing them, as this can scratch the glaze. For long term storage, it is best to use paper or tissue between them to minimise scratching.
- Don’t ignore hard-water stains (limescale stains): these are the result of calcium and magnesium deposits when “hard water” reacts with metals or soaps to form insoluble build-ups. Not only are they unsightly but they can affect the taste of the crockery contents, such as coffee. Tackle them by rubbing with vinegar or lemon juice.
Unfortunately, crockery that has been burnt may be irreparable – if the china is charred inside, then it is damaged and only a restorer may be able to remove the stain.
With considerate use and careful cleaning, you should enjoy many years of use from your crockery and ensure that they always look their sparkling best.