Helpful Hints for Antiques & Collectibles**
By David Moncrief
Care and repair of antiques and collectibles is always a must - in some cases you'll want to spot clean new additions. This can involve something as simple as removing sticky residue left by a price tag or buying something you love, taking it home and 'fixing' it up. |
Many of the tips below can be applied to most items that fall into the categories, however, there are exceptions to everything, so when cleaning or repairing an item always use common sense. And, if there is any doubt as to results or procudure, or if the item has significant monetary or sentimental value - DON'T do anything - rather take the item to a conservator or someone professionally trained to clean and/or repair fine antiques.
Alabaster - Never use water to clean or soak alabaster items. They should be dusted with a soft brush and then wiped with a dry cleaning agent. Item can then be polished with a paste furniture wax if desired. We would recommend testing the wax on the bottom for results.
Bottle Stopper - if a stopper is stuck, try using a little Liquid Wrench. Wash both bottle and stopper to remove any residual residue.
Embroidery - fine hand embroidery should have a raised look and proper ironing will help maintain its beauty. The piece to be ironed should be placed face-down on a soft towel and then pressed. Depending on the item to be ironed, you may also find turning the item inside-out helps. Always use a light touch when ironing embroidery.
Glass - Residue left by masking tape, price labels or anything else sticky for that matter can be removed using commercial hand cleaner (non-abrasive), goo-gone or - in a pinch - vegetable oil from the kitchen. Pat the chosen agent onto the residue, let it sit for a few minutes then gently rub it off with a soft cloth and wash the glass. Never use any of these agents on anything that is porous or could absorb the oil, etc. leaving a stain or possibly change the color.
Gold Leaf - can be cleaned by lightly rubbing the gold leaf with a soft, lint-free cloth that has been dipped in onion juice.
Iron - for cleaning small pieces of cast iron, try soaking them in white vinegar for 24-48 hours. Rinse and dry very well. Skillets and other cooking utensils can then be seasoned.
Rhinestones - should never be washed in or under water as this will tarnish their foil backing. To clean rhinestone jewelry use a Q-tip or small soft brush (toothbrush works well) and some glass cleaner. Do not spray the cleaner onto the rhinestones but rather dip the Q-tip or brush into a small quantity of liquid and lightly brush. Rub dry with a soft dry cloth and allow to completely air dry. Never clean any jewelry over an open drain sink you may lose stones and not be able to retrieve or replace them.
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