Antiques can be a great reminder of our family, history, or even an exotic touch from another place and time. Caring for these items properly ensures that they can be passed down to another generation or sold for their highest value.
The following is a brief overview of caring for your vintage and antique collectibles. Sites such as the BBC and Antiques-UK provide detailed information on caring for various antiques. If you are in doubt you can contact a professional conservator that specializes in your type of antique.
Paper needs to be stored properly to preserve its value. Use acid-free and archival quality storage.
If you have a book that needs to be cleaned, use air to blow off dust and particles. Never wipe a book with a rag.
Don't store books and papers in sunlight - it will cause fading.
GLASS, POTTERY and PORCELAIN:
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. Never wash antique glass or dishes in the dishwasher since the extreme heat and harsh detergent may be harmful. Gently wipe glasses dry or allow dishes to air dry.
Store and display glass and dishes in a safe place away from heavy traffic. Avoid displaying on an open shelf, rail or on the wall, especially if there is heavy traffic through that area.
RUGS and TEXTILES:
Rugs and textiles require extremely gentle handling when moving, storing and 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 should be done with a soft, lint-free cloth. Wood furniture should only be waxed with quality beeswax. Avoid placing furnishings in bright light or in rooms which experience great changes in temperature or humidity. Be very cautious when moving antique furniture, always lifting and never dragging.
Clean with a soft brush, like a makeup brush, to remove dust. Next use windex, or other window type cleaner, and a very soft toothbrush to polish and clean. Do not use soap, or harsh abrasive.
It is a great privilege to own antiques and proper care will help your investment increase in value or enable you to pass them on for the enjoyment of your family.