Have you just started collecting antiques or have you been given some beautiful heirlooms and haven’t a clue how to care of them?
Antiques can be a wonderful reminder of our family, history or even an exotic touch from another place and time. Caring for these special items makes sure they can be passed down to another generation or sold at the greatest value.
Sites such as the BBC and Antiques-UK provide all kinds of information on caring for antiques. If you are in doubt contact a professional conservator. Following will provide further help in caring for your antiques.
With glass, pottery and porcelain, avoid extremes and handle carefully. Wash individually in a padded washing basin to prevent chips. Use warm water – never hot or cold – and a gentle cleanser with a soft bristled brush. Don’t ever put antique glasses or dishes in the dishwasher. The extreme heat and harsh detergent can be harmful. Carefully wipe glasses dry and allow dishes to air dry. Liquids left in glassware can stain so avoid leaving cut flowers for example in contact with the glass if the water starts to turn or the leaves start to dry out.
Store or display glass and dishes in a safe place. Avoid displaying on an open shelf, rail or on the wall if your home is subject to vibrations from nearby trains or is busy with people passing by.
Both rugs and textiles require very gentle handling when moving, storing or cleaning. Moving should be done slowly and carefully as antique fabrics are delicate and can easily tear or pull apart. Rugs should be rolled with the pile facing outwards to prevent crushing or damage. Garments should be hung on sturdy hangers and covered in white cotton or rolled with acid free paper and tied closed on either end. Rugs and textiles can be cleaned gently with a vacuum on a low setting. Be very careful with textiles as the suction can pull fibers apart. For spills it is recommended by BBC antiques to put white paper towels under the rug and above, replacing them until no more liquid comes out. Any other cleaning should be done by an expert. Avoid exposure to sun or humidity.
Dusting of furniture should be done with a soft, lint-free cloth and wooden furniture only waxed with quality beeswax. Avoid placing furnishings in bright light or in rooms which have great changes in temperature or humidity. When moving antique furniture, always lift and never drag.
Antiques have a wow factor with most everyone, so proper care will help your investment increase in value or enable you to pass them on for the enjoyment of your family.