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Word of warning right from the start.. some head vases have cold paint applied to them and it will wash away with very minimal scrubbing. If the paint was applied before the vase was fired in a kiln, the paint is protected and it should not wash away. I suggest going slow with cleaning until you get familiar and can identify glazed Vs. cold painted items. At any rate, I never use harsh or abrasive cleaners. Usually I use only warm water and a soft cloth. If the vase is soiled and has been planted in, I use a mild detergent like a liquid hand soap. If the vase appears to have a buildup from being stored in a kitchen I will use Dawn dishwashing liquid. If the vase IS NOT COLD PAINTED and there is a heavy lime or mineral buildup, I will use diluted household white vinegar. The pics that I have attached are of a vase that I have in my collection that had been planted in. It was very dirty inside and there was a deep lime buildup on the inside rim. I completely submerged this vase in about a 20% vinegar solution (2 parts vinegar to 8 parts water). I left the vase completely submerged overnight. The next day the buildup was gone and she was none worse for the ware. Clear glaze crazing is normal in these gals and does not detract from the value unless it is dark. If your pottery has really dark crazing, there is a professional grade peroxide that can be used to remove it but I have never gone that route. I would consult with a professional if I had a vase with dark crazing that I wanted to clean. I hope this info helps.. REMEMBER use caution and don't be mad at me if your vases loses its paint if you decide to clean it!
Marlin, thank you very much for the cleaning information. Yes, it helps very much. I new into collecting ceramic and the cleaning comes along with the great treasures I find. I have learned to be careful. But all the advice I can get helps. So thank you very much.
Wow I have one that I purchased at auction. It had a pearly pink nail polish painted all over it. I removed it using nail polish remover and it came our beautifully. There was no cold paint in her, so I felt ok doing that!
That's great Deborah. I'm glad she cleaned up for you! If the vase had glaze applied over the paint and fired (most were) cleaning them this way makes sense. Years ago, I remember using a little nail polish remover on a Q tip to remove what looked liked black sharpie scribbles on a vase. It came right off and caused no issues. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Thanks Marlin for the information.