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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Scrub, Scrub and scrub some more.

My hand painted every day dishes from Italy 

 need to be rescued.  Maybe you have dishes that show their age like mine.  
All it takes is a little elbow grease to make them look like new again.  

My cereal bowls have suffered the most. 
Silver cutlery makes the dark marks, and fruit discolors the white. 

 Help is on the way. All nice and new again. 

An ordinary kitchen sponge and a little scrubbing powder is all it takes. 

  Keep scrubbing until all of the lines and discoloration is gone.  
Don't worry about the design.  Nothing is going to happen to it. 
Wash thoroughly. 

My Italian dishes are more than forty years old and now they look as if I bought them yesterday.   

This treatment works for most hand painted ceramics.  It's only the top glaze that becomes discolored from constant use. 

Gold decoration is a little more delicate.   

There is one other treatment.  It involves a kiln and firing your dinner ware to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.  

To re-fire in the  kiln is a last resort fix.  It is better that you try the above described method first. 

Of course, I can always paint another set for you. 

Or you can come for a visit in the summer and I will teach you how to paint your own.  

I purposefully left off the yellow band around the outside rim of the plates...that way it doesn't show the little nicks they are bound to get with lots of use.  

By the way, 
it is -7 degrees Fahrenheit outside, that is -21.67 Celsius.

Stay warm,



  1. I found some nice Lenox plates that were pretty bad looking from use, but bought them anyway, knowing they could be cleaned up with your method to look like new! It is a great way to rescue expensive plates at the thrift store. Thanks for reminding everyone of this simple fix-it.
    Have a wonderful weekend...and stay warm, Gina.

    1. Hello Marigene, That is great news. I wasn't sure if it only worked with plates that are hand painted in Italy.
      The sun has come out and everything is so pretty with the new snow.

  2. Dear Gina,
    my set of your hand painted Hortensia plates do not need any treatment at this time. They look as new and lovely as the day I received them. However, I will try your method on some everyday white plates which have plenty of marks, but are otherwise in good shape. Thanks for a great tip.
    Warm greetings, Sieglinde

    1. Dear Sieglinde, I am so glad that your Hortensia plates do not show any marks. I really don't know what causes the marks. I know that it has something to do with my silver plate utensils.
      I would really be interested in knowing if you are able to remove some of the marks from your white china. .

  3. Dear Gina,

    I have family dishes from the 1800s that are showing wear and discoloration, though it is more like crackling. I wonder if soaking in bleach would help? I'm not overly worried about their condition, but as you might imagine, I always choose to use the whitest dishes. (They belonged to my father's step-mother's grandparents.)

    The weather here will reach the 70s today, but I won't need to turn on the air-conditioning, as my masonry house retains the coolness from the previous evening . . .

    1. Dear Mark, I would try the scrubbing method first but let the scouring powder, mixed with water, sit on the surface of the plates for a little while, then wash.
      Crazing happens sooner or later. The only way to correct crazing is to clean plates thoroughly and have a ceramist add a layer of clear ceramic glaze and fire to at least cone 06 or 1823 degrees. That is about a 24 hour process. If your plates are decorated with gold your temperature needs to be much lower, about cone 016.
      I haven't tried bleach, it might work because scouring powder has bleach in it.

      Your plates have quite a history. Often it is best to leave them as is. However, I would try a little careful scrubbing just to see if you like them better that way.

    2. Yes, the plates have an interesting history. They are old English china (with a gold edge) and they belonged to New England potato farmers by the name of Packard, I'm glad to have them because they are a link to my step-grandmother, to whom I felt very close. I'll try your suggestion on whichever plate is the most stained of the lot.

    3. Good idea Mark, but be careful with the gold. Let me know how they turn out.

  4. It's amazing how the plates became shiny and glossy again after just scrubbing:) I don't have plates that old or this decorative. My oldest plates were made in China in 2008, and they are boring white except for one that is red which I earned from spending too much in a grocery store. I am looking into buying some more decorative plates though...

    1. Dear Ordinary, I bet that there is nothing ordinary about you. Plain, ordinary white dishes are always beautiful. They are a good start from which to build upon. Happy New Year to you and yours. Gina

  5. How beautiful are those plates and so nice of you to share how you cleaned them up. I have had dishes that got those marks before, and never knew how to clean them up. Thanks bunches. BTW, I got my clear ornaments, but have not yet done any painting on them. I may wait until we have snow and I have nothing to do. Happy New Year Gina~

    1. Dear Mary, I am so pleased that you found some clear glass ornaments. You will see how easy they are to paint.
      I hope that you kept your dishes which were discolored. Let me know how they turn out after you apply my cleaning method.

  6. I'm behind with your lovely posts - blame it on a special winter wedding!!!

    Do you use Bar Keeper's Friend cleanser Gina? I find that to be such an amazing scouring powder that causes no damage to any surface. I love especially how it cleans my stainless cookware, also baked on bits on the older baking dishes etc. Of course now I own some Le Creuset baking dishes - of course they are fantastic and nothing ever sticks enough that plain old dish detergent and hot water won't remove. They are 'worth their weight in gold' I say! Just wish they'd make a really large one for roasting copius amounts of mixed veggies in one dish.

    Most of my dish ware is now plain white and in good shape - but I do have a few older odd pieces where I need to use your tip. I have lots of old transfer ware china I've collected, some with cracks and chips but still so pretty, and I use them mostly as serve ware (like the plate the almond cookies are on!).

    Lovely interesting and helpful post dear.
    Thank you - Mary

  7. Dear Mary, I have not used Bar Keeper's Friend and didn't know about it. Thanks for the tip. I will look for it. I love my Le Creuset pots and pans. Wish I had more of it. It does such a superior job for any kind of cooking and baking. I also love my Römer Topf for baking one meal dishes.
    I'm glad to hear that you still use your beautiful old dishes. As serving pieces they are so special.