How to Care for Just About Anything
Hammered Aluminum, Poor Man's Silver
1. Use it. Counterintuitively, using your aluminum tableware regularly prevents pitting, tarnishing, oxidation, and other 'injuries'. Why? Because you'll clean it after you use it. When it is on the highest shelf of your unused dishes cabinet, you won't.
2. Gently! Use mild detergent and a soft brush to remove food particles from crevices. Use a soft dish towel to dry. Don't let it air dry, water spots may occur.
3. Aluminum may be cleaned with a paste of baking soda and lemon juice. Use a soft brush, rinse thoroughly, dry it immediately.
4. To remove oxidation from vintage aluminum dishes, soak the dish in a pot, or sink, of VERY hot water with 2 - 3 tablespoons of white vinegar and 2 -3 teaspoons of cream of tartar. Allow the dish to soak for at least 30 minutes, repeating the process as layers of rust loosen.
5. Aluminum wheel polish (from the automotive care dept. at the big box stores) will polish clean dishes after debris and oxidation have been removed.
6. If you feel you MUST use steel wool, use 0000 grade from the furniture refinishing section of your hardware store, Use a very small and even, light touch, circular motion starting in the center of the dish, working your way to the edge. Rinse thoroughly, and dry immediately.
7. Never use abrasive materials such as soap-filled steel wool pads or cleaners intended for other metals.
8. Never wash anything aluminum in the dishwasher - you won't wreck it but you will make it uglier.
Use, care, and storage
Water. Heat, Oil. Smoke. Detergents.
These five things will damage your ceramic items, quite often, beyond repair. The appearance of your treasures will be affected and any amount of damage will certainly devalue them. For the purpose of this instruction, I am referring to decorative glazed ceramics including porcelain, fine china, and bone china.*
As a reminder about the differences between ceramics, pottery, porcelain, and fine china read, or re-read https://www.avintageaddiction.com/post/ceramics-pottery-porcelain-fine-china-what-is-the-difference-and-does-it-matter
Treat yourself to a bunch of pretty peonies t put in grandma’s vase.
Use Aunt Em’s red rooster tile trivet every time you serve a chicken dish.
Fill the plate a friend handpainted for you with cookies the next time she comes over for coffee.
Because you'll clean it after you use it.
When it is on the highest shelf of your unused dishes cabinet or displayed on an etagere, you won't.
Frequent use and loving care are the most honorable way to pay homage to our vintage items and their heritage.
Objects in good condition can be safely cleaned to remove surface matter
Inspect the object for condition, looking for chips, cracks, previous repair, flaking glaze, and crazing**. If anything has changed since your last inspection something must change in the place or way you use, clean or store it.
Remove loose dust and debris with a soft bristle brush. For gentle cleaning of anything delicate, I use extra-soft toddler toothbrushes from the dollar store.
Depending on the size and degree of ornamentation of your piece, a soft-bristled artist's or basting brush might be your desired tool.
Avoid using cloth as it may snag on fragile surfaces.
Washing with tap water is acceptable, but distilled or deionized water is preferable. Distilled water is mineral-free, making it less likely to leave water spots.
The water temperature should be room temperature to lukewarm. Prevent damage by avoiding exposing your objects to temperature change
Do not use detergents.
Sure, using a spritz of 409 or MR. Clean is tempting, especially for thrift finds and items used or displayed near your kitchen that collect a film of sticky greasy gunk. Just don’t.
I know you will so let’s alter that rule. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, use any product containing bleach or ammonia.
IF YOU MUST:
Use 50/50 water and white vinegar and your softest brush
After a light scrubbing, rinse with water and let air dry.
If additional cleaning is needed, this time use one tablespoon of baking soda mixed with one cup of water.
Repeat until you get the desired results.
Better yet, follow a schedule for dealing with these items regularly - bi-weekly or monthly - so you are not cleaning years of oil and debris.
Don’t immerse it!
Water will enter the hollow portions of the object, resulting in the formation of mold inside your piece.
Never use heat to reduce drying time.
Let the heat escape. Open your cabinet doors.
The first day of each month, open the doors before you go to bed, close them in the morning.
Simple. (Says the women whose kitchen calendar says November 2019 in March 2020.)
Let it breathe
Bubble wrap and foam pads are for shipping, not for storage. The heat they retail WILL mar your items
Use acid-free, chemically inert storage papers and ample padding of white cotton cloth without any ink or dye. Dyes may bleed onto the item.
*Unglazed fired ceramics can be destroyed by washing. Low-fired ceramics should not be washed because the soft clay will turn to mud when exposed to water.
* * Crazing - What is crazing?
Crazing is when the overglaze cracks. Crazing occurs from temperature, use, and time.