Porcelain
Antique porcelian and fine china requires special care. Look after it and be rewarded with a lifetime of beauty.

Cleaning

Avoid damaging your antique porcelain by learning how to clean it correctly with our simple guide:
  • Use an aerosol of compressed air to remove surface dust.
  • Wash the surface with a soft brush in warm water with a little, gentle washing-up liquid.
  • Rinse with clean water of the same temperature.
  • Put the pieces aside to dry naturally - don't rub them dry.
  • Never use abrasive products, bathroom cleaners, dishwasher powders or bleach on ceramics.

Porcelain








Repairing
  • Don't heat up cracked pieces in the oven because this can extend the crack, split the object altogether or open up old repairs. There are many kinds of adhesives and their use in repair of valued ceramics requires training and an understanding of chemistry.
  • If you use adhesives to repair a ceramic you'll probably find it seeps out. Commercial glues can easily yellow and can be difficult to remove.
  • Don't use hydrogen peroxide or sterilising preparations. Their ingredients can react and cause damage, including staining.
  • Sandpaper and scalpels should not be used.
  • Painting a damaged area should be avoided as you won't get an exact colour match (there are over 100 shades of white); colour matching takes great skill and training.
  • Soaking old ceramics can have hidden dangers. Old repairs could become loose and porous pieces will absorb water that could cause future damage.
  • If a ceramic has been repaired (even by a conservator) don't use it for serving  food. It could be a health hazard.
  • If you discover damage on a piece that is special to you, contact a qualified ceramics conservator to discuss treatment. A bad home repair will cost more to rectify than getting professional advice from the start.

Preventing accidents

Although you can't prevent accidents, you can certainly take precautions to make sure the risk is reduced:
  • Avoid handling cups, pots and vases by the handles or other vulnerable areas. Age and hidden repairs may have weakened them.
  • Hairline cracks worsen with rough handling.
  • When carrying ceramics be aware of loose pieces like lids that could come off. Remove them first and carry pieces with two hands.  If you have heavy items, make sure they are well supported and get help with doors. It is often safer to move items (even within your home) in a box or basket padded with tissue or clean cloths.

Safe display

Part of the joy of collecting ceramics is being able to appreciate them in your home environment and putting them on display. Make sure that by doing this, however, you're not exposing them to any risk of damage. Consider the following:
  • Are they somewhere that people (or animals) could knock them off?
  • Is your home prone to vibrations from trains/traffic or planes?
  • Will pieces suffer from nicotine stains or coal dust?

Display cabinets are often the best place for ceramics. Make sure objects can be set back from the edge and there is enough space between each item. Plate stands can also be used for display but make sure they are stable and won't topple over easily.

If you want to display a plate on the wall, try using spring-loaded, plastic-coated wire racks. Make sure the rack fits the plate properly - if it's too small and is difficult to place around the edge of the plate it will cause unnecessary stress.

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