How to Clean Antique PotteryAntique pottery is beautiful, but often marred by many years’ worth of dirt and build-up. A piece of antique pottery restored to its full former glory is a wonderful thing, but one that can only be achieved with care. Read these tips to find out how to clean antique pottery.


Some cleaning methods will be inappropriate for certain types of pottery. If you are unsure if you should use a certain cleaning method, you can test it in an inconspicuous spot on the piece. If your pottery is very old, delicate, or valuable, you might consult a museum conservator or restorer for advice on its maintenance.

How to Remove Hard Water Deposits

The best way to remove hard water deposits is with vinegar. Fill the inside of the piece with vinegar (or if there are deposits on the outside, submerge the whole thing) and let it soak. How long the piece needs to soak will depend on the severity of the build up. Many deposits can be gotten rid of with a soak of 30 minutes to a few hours. Some might take days. Loosely scrub the deposits with a clean white cloth every so often. Soak until the deposits are gone. Dump the vinegar and rinse with soft or distilled water.

How to Remove Sticky Things

WD-40 works well for removing stickers or sticky things. Spray the WD-40 directly onto the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes to loosen the adhesive. Then wipe away the mess using a clean white cloth.

How to Remove Crazing Stains

Crazing stains are caused by seepage through tiny cracks in the glazing of a pottery piece. Hydrogen peroxide can be used on these stains. You can also use 40% peroxide, often found at beauty supply stores and stronger than regular hydrogen peroxide.

Fill a container large enough to accommodate the piece with hydrogen peroxide. (Darker containers that will not let in light are recommended; light hastens the breakdown of peroxide.) Submerge the piece. Some people have needed to soak their pottery for weeks, so be patient.


Do not use chlorine bleach to clean antique pottery. It will cause the glaze to flake and destroy your pottery.

Clean Antique Pottery is Even More Beautiful

We emphasize that you should be very careful when cleaning these beautiful and delicate items. Do research about your particular piece and, if possible, connect with local experts that can help you.