Caring for your Wedgwood

Caring for your Wedgwood

It’s amazing how many households, not just in Britain but around the world, have at least one item of Wedgwood in them. These treasured pieces often hold sentimental value – from Christmas baubles that are brought out of storage once a year to ornaments taking pride of place on the mantelpiece all year round - but how best to care for them?

We asked our experts to give us the lowdown.

Jasper

Before undertaking any washing, carefully examine the piece to ensure that there are no areas which have been damaged and glued or repaired. It is also worth checking that none of the bas-relief ornaments are damaged or have “lifted” away from the body of the piece.

Wash the jasper body by carefully using a soft cloth and a mild detergent diluted with warm water. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth. For more difficult marks, gently rubbing with an old tooth brush or soft nail brush with a mild detergent should remove any ingrained old dirt. For stubborn stains, soak in a biological washing powder and rinse very thoroughly several times. Dry with a soft cloth or leave in the air to dry naturally. Do not use abrasive materials on jasper.

Where pieces of jasper have sterling silver or EPNS mounts, do not immerse in water as this can loosen the fixings of the mounts. Clean the silver with a specialist silver cleaning cloth.

Black Basalt

Black basalt is a stoneware body but should not be washed in the same way as jasper. Over time black basalt gains a natural surface patina which is lost when washed. Black basalt objects benefit from handling and should be dusted with a soft lint free cloth.

Be careful when wearing gold rings and other jewellery whilst handling items manufactured in the black basalt body, as it is a natural touch-stone for precious metals and gold can leave indelible marks or streaks on the surface of the object.

Bone China

Bone china is one of the strongest forms of ceramic tableware.

Old bone china should be washed by hand in warm soapy water, rinsed thoroughly and dried either in the air or with a soft drying cloth. Modern bone china useful wares can become stained from use, so bear the following in mind:

• Tea and coffee stains can be removed with a gentle sterilising fluid, such as Milton’s.
• Bar Keepers Friend will remove ‘pencil marks’ caused by minute deposits of metal from cutlery. 
• Abrasives and harsh scourers should not be used on bone china tableware.
• Very sharp knives, used with pressure, will scratch the surface of the pieces and should be avoided, if possible.

Modern bone china can be placed in a dishwasher, where indicated on the piece or the accompanying literature. Wedgwood recommends the detergents listed below when machine washing your bone china. The correct quantities, as specified by the manufacturers, should be used on all occasions. Under no circumstances should industrial detergents be used on Wedgwood tableware as this will damage the finish. Approved cleaning agents in the UK:

• Finish Liquid
• Marks and Spencer Liquid
• Waitrose Concentrated Liquid

In hard water areas, deposits may form on the bone china tableware over time if the water is allowed to dry on the ware. These soluble deposits can be easily removed with a dilute acid, such as vinegar.

Queen’s Ware

Items of old Queen’s ware should be washed in warm soapy water and rinsed thoroughly in clean water, then dried with a soft tea towel.

Some modern earthenware productions are dishwasher safe, but only when clearly marked on the piece with the words: ‘Dishwasher safe’. Use only the recommended detergents.