When your home is filled with, or cluttered with Collectibles, it can be a little intimidating to think about cleaning them all. And even though I never consciously think "it's time to spring clean", this is the time of the year I start pulling stuff off the shelves, weeding out, and putting away.
To sum it up, it's when I start looking with disgust at the layer of grime on the kitchen cookie jars. It might be the cheery daffodil blooms that set off that inner alarm clock, but I tend to think it's the prolific sprouting of garage sale signs that does it.
Dusting is Best!
Most of the time a good dusting will do the job and for those days three products that are indispensable are Swiffer Dusters, a can of compressed air and Pledge Furniture Wipes, all listed in Cheap Things to Save Your Collection and Your Sanity link below.
But there comes a time in the life of all collectors when dusting is just not going to cut it. Yes, that means taking those jars and figurines down from shelves and doing a thorough cleaning. It'll make you feel better, make your stuff look nicer and the chance to change the display around a bit is always refreshing.
Cleaning Ceramic, Pottery and China
Figurines: Hummels, Department 56, Charming Tales.
Never, ever, wash these in soap and water. If dusting doesn't get it, use a barely-damp soft cloth (old t-shirts are best) to clean the pieces. If the figurine isn't completely smooth, e.g. has a rough surface, I would use a feather duster or aerosol blast of air. Otherwise the Swiffer is tool of choice.
Slippery when wet is the warning here. Use a Rubbermaid sink pad in the bottom of the sink or just put a soft terry cloth towel on the bottom and on the edges before filling with water. Fill the sink or plastic dishpan with warm soapy water. Do one piece at a time, wash quickly, rinse and let air dry*.
If you have a dishwasher, use the clean empty dishwasher for air drying, leaving the door open while the stuff dries.
*When air-drying several large items that don't fit into a dish drainer, line the kitchen counter with a layer of newspapers (12 - 15 sheets or more), then cover the newspapers with a single layer of paper towels. Items will air-dry in a fairly short time, as newspaper will really soak up the water, while the paper towels keeps the newsprint off the items.
Cold Painted Jars, Salt & Peppers
If it's cold painted the only way I would ever wash an item like this is never. But unfortunately sometimes a piece needs to be more than dusted and in this case the secret is to very carefully use a slightly wet cloth. Take special care when doing the painted areas. If you're not careful, don't be surprised if you wind up with an all white piece. And no, that doesn't make it any rarer!
Completely Glazed Kitchen Ceramics:
Never soak any ceramic piece such as a cookie jar, salt and peppers, reamer in soapy water for even a few minutes. If there are any minute hairline cracks or crazing, they'll quickly show up when water gets into them. Fill a lined sink with warm soapy water, doing one piece at a time, dip into the water, use a cloth or sponge to wash it, rinse off and let air dry.
Glassware and Glass Pieces:
Line a sink with towel, mat or use a plastic dishpan. Fill with soapy warm water and dip each glass in carefully. Use a soft dishcloth to swish around the glass. Add a little vinegar to warm water for rinsing. Air dry.
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