Cleaning Gilt or Gilding on Bone China – The Vintage Teacup
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Cleaning Gilt or Gilding on Bone China

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All fine china requires some level of specialized care, with particular concerns existing for gold detailed pieces. Nearly every popular china manufacturer has a pattern featuring gold details, often rim trims, handles and highlights. Spouts and footings are often heavily decorated in gold.

Hand washing is the preferred method for cleaning china. When cleaning bone china, use non-abrasive mild detergent and wipe with soft, non-abrasive rags to gently remove any excess food or sauce. Lemon-based detergents are best avoided when it comes to fine china, as repeated use of lemon-based cleaners can cause pitting in delicate gold details.

Sometimes, oxidation or discoloration can occur on gold details.  After being taken out of storage or before displaying in a display cabinet, gold details on china should be polished. Use a gentle, gold-approved polishing agent for this task and apply it using a soft jeweler's cloth.

For serious discoloration, it may be necessary to use ammonia or other products on the gold details to remove tarnish.

Always start with the most gentle option and progress from there. The gilding is a very fine, applied, decorative layer and over time and use, will wear down. Rubbing and/or polishing is speeding up this process and should only ever be done sparingly.


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