Well it only took two jars for me to realize how I was lead astray. Yes, there are some jars that can be put into a dishwasher, but not many. The only ones I might wash that way are fairly new ones that did not have years of love, nicks and possible hidden crazing.
There are many things to know before washing or cleaning pottery cookie jars. It's hard to figure out how a jar that has been fired at super-high temperatures could be brought down by some soap and water, but it can and has happened.
Before cleaning any jars ask yourself:
- Are they cold painted?
Cold painting is when the color or glaze is added after a firing in the kiln. And it can come right off. The result is an all white or all blank jar and no, that doesn't make it ultra-rare.
- Does the jar have a matte or glossy finish?
Although there are not many jars with a matte finish, be careful with these, as they don't take to the water quite like a duck. I've still washed them in soapy water, but very quickly and carefully, before the water has a chance to be absorbed into the pottery piece.
- Are there any cracks or chips?
There are many times I thought a jar was free of cracks, but a dip in water produces a jar covered with crazing as the water soaks into these pieces.
- Is it repaired?
Depending on the process used, a glued finial can come right off when left in a pan of water.
The very worst spot for storing and displaying jars is right where many of us do just that -- in the kitchen. They can look great above the cabinets, but just a few months of cooking can cause nasty greasy build-ups on the jars. If your jars have any of the above problems, washing in soapy water can cause problems, that's when dusting and moving to a grease free environment is the best solution.
When it was time for another good cleaning, I decided to take pictures of the process to show what I consider the best ways to wash and clean jars.