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How To Clean China The Old Fashioned Way

How To Clean China The Old Fashioned Way
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Follow these old-time tips to clean china to remove stains and add shine to your favorite dishware.

How To Clean China
How To Clean China The Old Fashioned Way

Shine and Clean China

To clean china, use a mixture of lemon juice and salt. Just rub it on with a damp cloth and rinse. Wash china in water that’s warm, not hot. Water that is too hot can lead to crazing—small lines and cracks in the glaze.

If your china is already crazed, don’t use it to serve food. Butter, fruit, cheese and cream can cause staining along the crack lines.

If you have dishwasher-safe china, stagger plates of different sizes when loading it into the dishwasher. That way their edges won’t touch, and you’ll avoid chipping and scratches.

Remove Brown Stains from China

To remove stubborn brown stains on old china, rub on a solution of equal parts vinegar and salt, then rinse.

Remove Tea and Coffee Stains from China Cups

Wash your china cups, saucers and teapots as soon after using them as you can. If there is a tiny crack in the glaze, coffee or tea left there will leave a stain on the china.

To remove coffee or tea stains from a cup, wet the cup with vinegar. Then dampen a rag with water, dip it in baking soda or salt and swab out the stain.

Another treatment to remove tea or coffee stains on china is to apply 20% hydrogen peroxide, wash and rinse. (Regular household hydrogen peroxide is 3% strength. The 20% solution — available at pharmacies — acts as a bleaching agent.)

Clean Gold-Trimmed Dishes

To clean gold-trimmed dishes, first scrape them with a rubber scraper and then wash with mild dishwashing liquid. Never use an abrasive cleaner. If the mild dishwashing liquid isn’t enough to remove food from the gold trim, try rubbing the trim with a paste of baking soda and water applied with a soft cloth.

Remove Metal Marks from China

Never wash china in an aluminum pan or allow it to come in contact with aluminum in the dishwasher. Aluminum rubbing against china can create gray, pencil thin lines that are often impossible to get out.

If a metal utensil does leave a mark on your china, gently rub the dish with a mild scouring powder or plastic scouring pad. Be careful to avoid rubbing off any decorative trim.


To read about someone who works with china all the time, check out our post on Dean Schulefand, and read about the steps he takes to repair broken china.

This post was originally published in 2011 and is updated regularly.

Updated Thursday, September 29th, 2011
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