How to care for vintage china

How to look after your vintage china

Vintage and antique china

Vintage and antique china has been around a long time, and we want to make sure that you get to use and enjoy yours for many years. We use our own vintage china every day, and have found it to be very hard wearing, if looked after properly.

Read our 10 tips on how to look after vintage and antique china to keep it looking its best:

  • Handle with care. Vintage bone china is quite fragile, compared to modern china or stoneware, so always handle with care, and if you are transporting it wrap each piece of china in newspaper or bubble wrap to stop it chipping its neighbours. 
  • Always hand wash vintage and antique china if you want it to keep its good looks and its value. Vintage and antique china was around before dishwashers where invented, and so were not designed to be dishwasher safe, unlike modern china. You can always tell when vintage china has been through a dishwasher as the pattern appears faded and the gilding may be missing. This greatly devalues the china and does nothing for the looks of the piece. Dishwasher powder is very abrasive in its cleaning and so vintage bone china and antique porcelain that has gone through a dishwasher may also appear as if its been 'sandblasted' with a dulled appearance rather than the usual translucent appearance. 
  • Green Fairy washing up liquid in hot (not boiling) water is great for getting your vintage and antique china clean and then simply rinse it under the cold tap, and leave to drain, and then dry it with a tea towel.
  • Use a plastic washing up bowl to wash your vintage china when washing your vintage china as this will cushion it and reduce risk of damage
  • Avoid putting too many pieces of china in the wash bowl at once as they may chip each other
  • Store your vintage china carefully-leave space between really precious pieces so that they do not damage each other. If putting them away into storage wrap each piece carefully in paper. Newspaper is good for this as its widely available for free.
  • Keep vintage and antique china frost free as freezing may crack your china and definitely do not put it in your freezer.
  • Avoid extremely high temperatures with your vintage china-we have found most vintage and antique bone china and porcelain will not cope with very high oven temperatures so it is best not to use it for cooking. Use it for serving your food in but they are generally not oven proof.
  • Vintage and antique china is not suitable to use in a microwave and doing so will usually crack it. The gilding on vintage china will also spark if you put it in the microwave (our children discovered this!!) 
  • Avoid using very abrasive scrubbers or pan scourers on vintage gilded and antique bone china as you may remove the gilding or pattern or scratch the surface. Gentle cleaning with a cloth is best. 

And one final tip enjoy and use your vintage china

This might sound like a lot of work, but it really isn't. The main thing is to enjoy your vintage china and use it regularly. The reason so much vintage china is in near mint condition is that it was rarely used and dishwashers and microwaves had not been invented. 

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