How to care for ceramics

How to care for ceramics

Stoneware ceramic is very durable with normal use. It gets fired twice during the creation process. The second firing, the glaze firing, makes the surface vitreous by melting the silica in the glazes to a glass like surface. This makes the ceramic food safe with the kind of clays and glazes I use (unless otherwise noted in the product description).

During the process of making ceramics, a certain hand made quality emerges. It can be a makers mark, a brush stoke, an iron speck beauty mark from a nearby vessel during the kiln firing. This is a natural part of the creative process of handmaking each piece. The throwing and trimming process along with the firings give each piece a unique expression that tells its story and there may be small imperfections as part of this process.

Taking good care of your ceramics give your pieces longevity and well loved ceramics, like a good marble counter top, will get more character as time marches on.

Food safe

All my ceramics are stoneware and are food safe. Any exception to this will be noted in the description.

All my glazes are lead free.

Dishwasher safe

Stoneware is safe to put in the dishwasher. However, the caustic nature of dishwasher soap will show wear on your ceramics over time.

Some glazes can crackle when exposed to hot washing cycles or steam disinfectant washing cycles and this will alter the appearance of the piece irreversibly. Over time, the crackle can darken in color, especially if exposed to darker colored or staining foods. Washing the piece immediately can help mitigate this. 

Special pieces should be hand washed with warm soapy water and a non abrasive scrubber.

Microwave safe

It is safe to use ceramics in the microwave.

If in doubt, you can test it out by fillling a vessel with water and microwave it for 30 seconds. If the ceramic piece is hotter than the water at that point, it is not safe to use in the microwave.

Oven safe

Handmade ceramics are generally oven safe, but can crack if introduced to sudden changes in temperature. Therefore it is not recommended to put a vessel into a pre-heated oven. 

I have spoken to a number of potters that use their ceramics in the oven and they feel it is safe to use if put in a cold oven, then heated up. After removing the vessel from the oven, it should be allowed to cool down slowly. And a certain, although minimal, risk of breakage must still be assumed. 

Stain removal

If you do get a stain on your ceramics it can generally be removed with baking soda or vinegar. 

The unglazed portions of ceramics such as the foot ring on a bowl or the bottom of a vase are more prone to staining than the glazed parts and these stains are easier to remove if they are removed soon after occurring. Foods that are known to stain are coffee, tea, turmeric, red wine, beets etc.