Do you love vintage china and stoneware but not the age marks, such as utensil and food discoloration?
Then please let me pass along the tips and tricks I have used on my own collectibles.
For years I collected Ironstone serving pieces. Ironstone is porous so after years of use the oils and colors of food kept in the pieces actually migrate into the ironstone, leaving a brown or gray area.
What to do?
1. First, visit your local beauty supply business(the ones that sell to average people, not just cosmetologists)
2. Buy a large bottle of 30 Volume or higher, Developer.(the kind you use to mix with hair color) BE SURE TO GET THE LIQUID developer, not the creme!
3. Find a large plastic tub with air tight seal(such as a large Tupperware bowl) that your ironstone piece will fit in.
4. Place the ironstone in the tub and pour in the developer, completely covering the ironstone.
5. Seal the top and let it stay in the airtight container for at least 24 hours.(I've found that if you leave it longer, you sometimes don't have to execute the next step, unless the stain is deep and heavy).
6. After removing the ironstone from the developer bath( BE SURE NOT TO GET DEVELOPER ON YOU! (it's essentially bleach! that's how I can continue to say I'm still a natural blonde!) put the ironstone in an ovenproof dish, such as Pyrex and preheat the oven to about 275.
7. Place the dish with the ironstone in it into the oven and let it stay in the oven at 275 degrees until the dark stain oozes out!
8. Be sure to check on the ironstone periodically to see if the stain is baking out. You will be able to actually see dark bubbles of stain coming to the surface.
9. When you are satisfied with the amount of stain removed, take the dish out of the oven(use mitts) and let it cool.(I don't usually like to leave the dish longer than an hour. It can crack if dried out too much).
10. Give the ironstone a good, soapy bath to wash off the baked out stain! You can repeat the process to remove more stain.
Developer can be expensive! Although you can use it again and again, if the plastic or rubber soaking container is kept sealed. A less expensive alternative is to buy ALOT of commone Hydrogen Peroxide. However, since it has less concentrated bleaching power, I have found, it's less expensive in the long run to buy the more powerful developer!
How to Remove(or at least reduce) Ugly Gray/Black Utensil Stains from China Tableware
I've tried all sorts of concoctions over the years to clean antique and vintage china back to it's original condition. The method described below currently gives me the Best result.
1. First I spray on a great product called Awesome(available at lost cost stores such as Dollar General) to clean the easy dirt and grime, revealing the set-in marks.
2. Then take a creme silver polish(such as Wright's) and put some on a Dry Eraser. (the white cleaning tool by that name sold by just about every cleaning supply company)
3. Rub the utensil stains with the dry eraser(don't be afraid to apply pressure). This will remove alot of the stain and give the plate, etc a new shine.
Disclaimer: As I stated before, I'm still experimenting to find something that will completely remove the stains, so far, this method at least reduces them!
Good luck and happy cleaning!