Cleaning Your Fine Collectibles

If you are a collector of fine collectibles, then you probably have faced this dilemma: How do I keep my fine collectibles clean? Porcelain, as well as ceramic collectibles, requires special care. You don’t want to just “dunk” items you have spent a lot of time finding into soapy water in order to display them in your home or business. You need to be cautious before trying new cleaning techniques. You don’t want the items to be destroyed!

Obviously, your ceramic and porcelain items can be dusted… carefully. A lot of them are washable with the use of a mild soap and water, but again, be cautious. Be careful to first check in an inconspicuous place. You don’t want to ruin the collectible piece – one little “ruined” area is better than all of it being ruined!

Cotton swabs come in handy when testing a porcelain/ceramic collectible. Try dabbing the swab on the item using a mild soap and water solution. Be sure to find a place that is not easily seen when your item is on display. If the item passes this “spot check” then you should proceed with caution. Clean a little at a time.

Very soft, full paint brushes are an ideal way to dust hard-to-get-to areas. A lot of fine crystal collectors use ammonia-based cleaners. Beware! After using an ammonia-based cleanser, you may find that you have a cloudy residue build-up on your fine crystals. Did you know that they actually make a crystal chandelier cleaner? One thing to remember: never place your fine crystal collectibles in the dishwasher!

Of course, if you are a collector of fine items, you will know how to be very careful and take your time when cleaning them. It’s akin to spending time in the grocery store selecting the best tomatoes >>> After spending all that time, would you want them carelessly placed in the bottom of your shopping bag, under cans of soup?!?

Some occasions when a “specialty cleaner” will be required are when your fine collectibles are made out of different metals (silver, gold, copper, etc.) or when your fine collectibles are made of wood, paper and/or other delicate materials. Antique dolls, for example, require reputable doll specialists. Remember, there are some items that can be either damaged or made to lose their value if they have been altered during the cleaning process. Antique wooden furniture will lose its value if it is repaired during the cleaning process. And, obviously, paper items such as stamps will be worthless if they are cleaned the wrong way. The same goes for most antique collectibles.

When cleaning your fine collectibles, there is a very easy rule to follow: take your time, be careful, and pretest. And, when needed, consult a “specialty cleaner.” If you follow this very simple rule, you will be able to enjoy your fine collectibles for many years to come.