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How to Clean Porcelain Figurines

It is great to have lovely porcelain figurines to beautify your home. Buying them comes with a responsibility of regular maintenance to keep them in proper condition. This article describes methods of cleaning to keep them beautiful for generations to come.
HobbyZeal Staff
Many people love to buy porcelain figurines as collectibles and invest a lot of money in them. But simply buying these beautiful pieces is not enough. You need to take proper care of these decorative pieces so that they can remain in a well-maintained condition for many years. The prime requirement of porcelain figurines is an enclosed cabinet for storage. Dust is mainly responsible for making them dirty and altering their beauty. Therefore, storing them in a cabinet which protects them from dust accumulation is the best way of improving their longevity. Regular dusting of figurines can be done using a blusher brush, to remove dust that forms a layer on them over time. Regular dusting prevents them from getting excessively dirty, which later on calls for extensive cleaning.

Before starting the cleaning procedure, it is important to check whether the figurine is glazed or unglazed. Unglazed ones are painted after they are fired, which means that their paint will come off if treated with regular cleansers. You can check this by simply holding the figurine in light and look for shine. If it does not shine, it means it is unglazed. These should be cleaned using special enzyme cleansers available in the market. Glazed figurines have a plus point as they do not require special cleansers for cleaning. Now that we know what to check before cleaning, let's see the actual method of cleaning in detail.

Cleaning Regular Porcelain Figurines

Things Required
  • Mild hand-washing liquid
  • Paper towels
  • Micro-fiber cloth

Mix one teaspoon of mild hand-washing liquid with one gallon water to prepare the cleansing solution. Strong cleansers can be harmful for the figurine therefore, it is better to stick to a mild cleanser. Wet the micro-fiber cloth in the cleansing solution and use it to wipe out the accumulated dust. Do not scrub, as it may damage the paint. Micro-fiber cloth is recommended for cleaning because it is positively charged and capable of attracting negatively charged dust particles easily. This helps in proper cleaning of the figurine. If the porcelain piece has tough stains, soak it in the cleansing solution for some time and then wipe it with the cloth. If you have several figurines to clean, the best way is to fill up the sink with the cleansing solution and wash them one by one. A word of caution is to remember placing few layers of towel in the sink to prevent breaking of figurines due to slippage. Once cleaned, dry them using paper towels and place them in their cabinet.

Cleaning Rare Porcelain Figurines

Things Required
  • Mild porcelain-safe cleaning solution
  • Washcloth
  • Paper towels
  • Makeup brush

Rare porcelain figurines require special care and cleaning solutions. Get a mild porcelain-safe cleaning agent from the market for your rare collectibles. Read the instructions carefully before cleaning. It is advised to try the cleansing solution on a small part of the figurine to check whether it is safe for use or not. Once confirmed, start the actual cleaning procedure by dusting off the dirt using a makeup brush. Brushes are convenient to use and can remove dust from crevices easily. After dusting, dampen the washcloth with the cleansing solution and wipe it gently. For tough stains, soak the figurine in warm water for a few seconds and carefully scrub the stains. Rare porcelain figurines are precious and valuable therefore, think twice before scrubbing. Once cleaning is done, dry it properly using paper towels and keep it in a secure place. One more point that needs attention here is that many figurines have a hole at the base. To prevent mold growth inside the figurine due to moisture cover the hole with a tape before cleaning.

If you do not wish to buy a cleanser from the market, you can try using homemade cleansers for cleaning your decorative items. One way of making your own cleanser is to make a solution of one part of baking soda with ten parts of warm water. Another way is to use hydrogen peroxide and warm water in the ratio 1:10 and mix them thoroughly to make a stain remover solution for your figurines.

Porcelain is not only used to make figurines but is also used for making sink, and if you have one at your home, you should know how to clean a porcelain sink as it also has a separate cleaning procedure. The methods mentioned above for cleaning figurines are simple and easy to follow. You can use them as and when required to retain the beauty of your favorite decorative pieces for years to come.