Solutions for all your porcelain problems

Simple white china and clear glass look elegant but feel casual. It’s all in the details, so choose pierced and etched designs to add interest without distracting.

Lauren Rubinstein

Issues with your favorite china? Let us help! It’s no fun to deal with porcelain stains, but sometimes you can’t avoid them. Stains happen. That’s because we’d rather be enjoying our pieces—not looking at them stacked, unused, in the china cabinet. So start taking care of your porcelain and work to reverse the damage that comes from using and enjoying your favorite plates, bowls, and table settings. When cleaning china, always start with the mildest cleansing agents to prevent further damage. Your first line of defense should always be warm water and a mild dishwashing soap. Be sure to wash soon after using your china to prevent further staining. (Don’t even think about leaving it in the sink overnight!) If the mild solutions don’t work, only then should you try harsher cleansers. Try these tips for cleaning the porcelain stains from your china, and let us know what works for you.

Everyday Clean

This is your regular routine for china cleaning. Wash your pieces with warm water and a mild dishwashing liquid, like Dawn. This should prevent further staining and keep your china looking shiny and new.

Mild Soak

If a simple clean doesn’t do the trick, try soaking your stained china in a combination of water and your regular dishwashing liquid. You should leave your china submerged in the soapy mixture for a few hours. When you're combating more intense stains, increase the time spent soaking.

Spot Cleaning

Spot clean your china with a baking soda paste to remove isolated stains. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with water or white vinegar to form a paste. Scrub the spot or stain with the paste, and rinse.

Soaking Solution

If mild soaking and spot cleaning don’t work, try mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 1 cup of water. For 2 cups of water, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Increase the added amounts in relation to the number of cups of water you use. Mix the solution, and soak the stained china for a few hours. Rinse and repeat until the china is clean.

Hydrogen Peroxide

You should avoid bleach when dealing with china, but if you must, you can try using a hydrogen peroxide solution to brighten up your china pieces. A 20% hydrogen peroxide solution has been known to remove yellow stains. The bottles of hydrogen peroxide that you find at the drugstore are 3% strength, so the higher percentage helps with bleaching the stains from the china. Wash or soak using the solution, and rinse with water.

Be careful if you have china with patterns or pieces that are rimmed with gold or silver. Use only mild solutions and soft cloths with those pieces. Also: Always test these strategies first. Try them out on a small, hidden portion of your china first to ensure that they won’t damage your pieces even more. Once you have confirmed that the solution won’t hurt your china, you can use it with the rest of your plates, bowls, cups, and saucers.

WATCH: 5 Common Cleaning Mistakes Video

What strategies do you use to clean your china? We’ve also heard about mixing lemon juice and salt to use as a cleaning agent and another version that calls for making a solution of vinegar and salt. What’s your go-to?

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