Whether you are the kind of person who keeps all their best glass, china and silverware for a special occasion, or one who likes to set out the table for dinner with fine accessories every day, it’s important to know how to take proper care of your tableware.
While everyday plates, glasses and cutlery can be put through the dishwasher or jumbled together in the washing up bowl for good measure, the nicer items need a little more thought and care.
For this post we turned to the experts from Such & Such – a great place online for unique tableware, and they gave us some practical tips for taking care of your more delicate tableware items:
- Delicate table cloths and napkins
The first item of tableware to take care of is the table cloth and matching napkins which you use to frame all your delicate china and utensils. If you have a delicate table cloth with embroidery, or silks, or fine colours then you can’t just stick it in the washing machine after a meal.
You need to treat it carefully and if it should suffer any mishaps that might cause stains like red wine spills or sauces, then take it to a specialist cleaner to look after it properly. Trying to clean it yourself could end up with you destroying it or making the stains ten times worse.
- Silver cutlery
Your sterling silver cutlery can be cleaned in a dishwasher if you wish to, with a limited amount of dishwasher cleaner, however, it’s always safer to wash by hand to prevent scratching and other damage.
You need to keep silver polished on a regular basis to remove the black tarnish which occurs naturally over time, and store them in a case with a soft base to keep them shiny and scratch-free.
- Gold or gold-plated cutlery
This is a far more delicate metal than silver and much softer, so should always be washed carefully by hand, and dried with a soft cloth. It should also be stored in a case with a soft base to avoid scratches as gold and gold plate are very easily damaged.
- Silver-plated cutlery
If you are using silver plated cutlery rather than solid silver, you can wash these in the dishwasher but avoid putting them next to steel cutlery as these two metals react together and will cause some unsightly discoloration.
- Decorative porcelain
If you have plain white porcelain, the chances are it is dishwasher proof but you should always check with the manufacturer first and if you are at all worried then wash it by hand to be on the safe side.
Porcelain which is hand-painted or has any kind of metallic finish must always be washed carefully by hand and should never be put in a microwave or a dishwasher if you want to keep it safe and looking its best.
Normal glassware such as wine glasses or tumblers are generally dishwasher safe, however, if the glasses have delicate stems, or are very thin, such as champagne flutes, it might be safer to hand wash them to avoid breakages.
Crystal glasses should always be washed by hand using a very mild dishwasher and for both crystal and regular glasses, you can polish them to remove water spots and film that comes from washing up.
If you like to use candlesticks as part of your tableware then these too need looking after and cleaning after every use, unless you like the covered in wax look. Care of them will largely depend on the material they are made of but you need to try to remove as much of the wax as possible before putting them away and try giving them a regular polish to keep up the shine and protect the surface from the heat of the melted wax too.
Your tableware should take pride of place on your dining table when you have visitors, at special occasions and whenever you have plans for a nice meal at home, so you need to keep it looking its best.
As long as you follow the care instructions provided with your items when you buy them, and make sure to hand wash everything that is delicate and breakable, your tableware should last a long time.
While it might be convenient to put everything in the dishwasher after a big dinner party and forget about it until the morning, when it comes to delicate glasses or painted porcelain it’s not worth the risk.
It might be the last thing you want to do after hosting an evening meal, but hand washing all of your porcelain and glasses really is the only way to make sure it’s all safe and clean without risk of damage – unless you manage to drop any of it of course. Tableware which is well cared for will last a lifetime.