Cleaning vintage glass and antique porcelain should be done with the utmost of care. Before you wash your porcelain piece you have to remove the dust and the dirt from it. For un-restored antique porcelain you can use a soft brush to remove the dirt and use a mild dishwashing liquid to wash it. Never ever use abrasive cleaners or put porcelain in your dishwasher. Never immerse your porcelain in water completely, it is best to use a damp cloth to clean porcelain items. Use a dabbing or gentle wiping motion. If the porcelain piece has no stains, it is best to leave it alone and use a dry cleaning method instead. Use a dry, soft brush to remove dust and any particles. While cleaning your antique piece you have to take extra care to place it on a soft towel or other soft fabric.
If there is a need to remove some stains from the antique porcelain you can use cotton soaked in hydrogen peroxide (20% vol) and ammonia. You can re-soak the cotton swabs if needed during the cleaning process.
Vintage glass should also be never cleaned in a dishwasher or by using an abrasive cleaner. Wash one piece at a time using mild dishwashing liquid and warm water. Use a plastic bowl or bucket while you wash vintage glass pieces.
Before cleaning glass, take off any jewelry you have on your hands such as rings or bracelets so you don’t risk scratching your piece. If you have hard water, consider using bottled or filtered water instead of tap water. Also, pad the washing and drying area with some soft towels or cloths.
If the glass you are cleaning is stained by alcohol or usage of hard water, you can use citric acid or white vinegar with warm water to clean such glasses.
For glass that has a foggy look to it, that is not original to the glass, toothpaste or denture whitening paste will work. Simply put a dab of the paste on your finger and gently rub the glass. This also removes smoke stains from being in a house where there are smokers.
For glass with mineral or chemical deposits, you can use the same chemical cleaner that you use to clean your bathtub or tile from calcium deposits. Be sure to rinse the chemical off quickly though.
When cleaning any glass, it is critical to use lukewarm water to rinse only. Using water that is too hot or too cold may risk shattering the glass.
For very expensive or old cut glass, etched glass or painted glass, be extra careful. Cleaning may damage these surfaces. For very fragile glass like this, it may be best to consult a professional conservator.
Avoid using strong acids while cleaning older glasses since they may etch the glass and spoil the look of the vintage glass.
After cleaning, it is best to let your antiques, whether glass or porcelain to air dry for a bit, then use a soft, lint free towel to gently dab any excess water off of them.
With careful cleaning and handling, your vintage glass and antique porcelain items will look beautiful for years to come.