Home Tips: China and Crystal Care

Tips on how to keep your china and crystal looking its best.
Julie Feagin Sandner

If there’s anyone you can trust for straight-up advice on china and crystal, it’s the person who sold it to you. That’s why we asked John Jordan, owner of Protocol―a gift shop specializing in tableware including china and crystal―in Wilmington, North Carolina, to share his tips on keeping pieces looking just as good as the day you bought them.

China Chat

  • Most patterns made within the past 20 years will hold up better in the dishwasher than your great-great-grandmother’s will. But it’s always safer to hand wash, so follow these tips.
  • Fill the sink with tepid water, and wash one dish at a time using a mild detergent.
  • Avoid soaps with lemon or bleach additives as they can harm the surface of dishware.
  • Don’t let dishes sit in soapy water too long. If you can’t get to them right away, give dishes a quick rinse to remove as much food as possible.

If you must use the dishwasher, keep these things in mind.

  • Use the gentle cycle.
  • Use a mild detergent, and avoid lemon-scented products. Citric acids can harm delicate surfaces.
  • Don’t overstuff the racks. Leave plenty of room between plates so they won’t hit each other during the rinse cycle. Plus, you’ll get a cleaner dish because the water can reach all areas.
  • Wash pots and pans separately.
  • Turn off the heat cycle. To do this, activate the energy-saving setting on your dishwasher.

Store With Care

  • Place a cushioned layer between each piece. Use scraps of flannel, coffee filters, or felt.
  • Avoid storing china in areas that get too hot, such as an attic.
  • Stack no more than two teacups together.

Make Your Crystal Sparkle
Once again, the dishwasher isn’t the best cleaning device for your prized crystal pieces. Over time, when the heat from a dishwasher combines with other minerals such as lime, iron, or calcium, it will bake into the pores of crystal, causing a cloudy appearance. Here are some tips to keep your crystal, well, crystal clear.

  • Wash in lukewarm water with a mild, nonabrasive detergent. Place a rubber mat or dish towel in the bottom of your sink for extra protection against chipping and breaking. Avoid too many suds―the extra bubbles will leave residue.
  • Add a splash of white vinegar to the rinse water for a spot-free finish.
  • Dry the crystal with a lint-free cloth before storing. And be gentle―don’t twist glasses from the base.