Use It or Lose it: How to Wash Fine China

 At MH, we’re all about elevating the everyday. That’s why we’re BIG advocates for actually enjoying our “nice” things on the daily. We make a point of using the real napkins; eating on the china, lighting the candle and making our beds with the best linens we can afford. Life’s too short not to use the good stuff. What are you saving it for?! 

In fact, some things are actually degraded by long stints in storage. Linens can deteriorate, perfume and candles lose their potency over time and storing fine china, in particular, can lead to brittleness and cracks if stored incorrectly. Use it or lose it, Sista! 

But I get it. Some pieces are really special and you don’t want to use them for Tuesday night leftovers. I store my good stuff, too (although I make it a point to use it at least once a month). 

I’ll give you permission to store some stuff, as long as you remember these tips for washing and storing your precious pieces:

  • No soaking! Wash them right after dinner.
  • Start with the cleanest dishes first. I like to start with the glasses and stemware and work my way through to the greasiest pots last, refilling warm water and adding dish soap as needed.
  • If you’re doing a LOT of delicate dishes, place a towel on the bottom of the sink before filling it with water to minimise the risk of cracking.
  • Use a mild dishwashing liquid and a soft brush (preferably with natural bristles). Harsh detergents and abrasive scrubbers could cause permanent damage to the glaze.
  • Use warm water, never hot, as sudden changes of temperature can cause delicate china or crystal to crack.
  • Wash one item at a time to avoid chipping or breakage.
  • Step away from the dishwasher! The extreme heat and harsh detergents aren’t great for delicate items, even if they’re labeled “dishwasher safe.” Better play it safe with the good stuff and hand wash. 
  • Dry dishes carefully with a clean, lint free dishcloth. I strongly recommend you use gloves as china is terrifically slippery when wet!
  • Place dishes in a rack for drying (or better yet, get a buddy to help you dry as you go).
  • If you ARE storing your china, make sure everything is BONE DRY before you put it away and then use paper plates in between each dish to avoid scratching.
  • If you use your fine china very rarely (and again…why???) at least make sure to wash it every couple of months or so to prevent brittleness and preserve the pattern and glaze. This is a great excuse for a fancy dinner party (or even takeaway Chinese on the good china)! 

Family dinners on real china can turn an ordinary weeknight dinner into an impromptu dinner party! Get a nice bottle, invite a friend over, use the linen napkins and marvel at how much better your default lasagna is when served on the good stuff. 

Bon appetit!