After a house fire, I had many glass and ceramic items to clean. The polyurathane that had coated my walls left a film like black glossy paint on them. I found if I soaked them in ammonia over night, they washed clean, even my Hummels.
I used a plastic paint bucket with lid. I also found out the hard way without rubber gloves even the ammonia fumes would burn my hands!
Hope this helps someone out. Fires are one of the worst things that can happen to a family. Most of my treasures were from my late mother-in-law. I was so happy to be able to save and clean them without damage.
By Tomboy53 from Conway, SC
i have a $10 porcelain or ceramic incense burner, it takes the cones and the smoke comes out of the mouth and ears, burning these leaves a bunch of residue, i found out that hot, soapy water helps loosen it, and walmart brand heavy duty oven cleaner sprayed inside of it(only spray the inside) will remove it
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I have a porcelain figurine with a lot of smoke damage. My husband once smoked and the figure is all yellow from the smoke. How can I safely clean it?
I don't know if this will work, but I use denture tablets to clean out old dirty bottles and it works just fine! It doesn't hurt dentures, so it shouldn't your vase ! (03/17/2005)
Is there any reason why you can't just wash it? If it is fully glazed I would just wash it in warm soapy water with a soft cloth. Wash it in a plastic bowl or place a towel in the sink to ensure it doesn't get knocked/chipped on the sink or tap/faucet. Use a soft toothbrush to get in any cracks and crevices.
By Jo Bodey
Put into your sink bowl, then spray with 409 spray. It does a wonderful job. Then rinse off with just warm water. iIdo this with my little hurricane lamps. (03/17/2005)
If nothing else works, try toothpaste made specifically for smokers and very gently brush it on and rinse. It may remove the yellow smoke stain. (03/21/2005)
Before cleaning with any commercial cleaner, you must be sure the painted design is under the glaze. You can tell this by holding the piece to the light to see if the paint has a shine over it. If not, then the design was done after the firing and may come off with rubbing with any kind of brush or cleaner. Most conservationists use an enzyme cleaner... but if you don't have access to one, then good old 'spit' works. Yes, spit. it may seem a bit gross, but it is so neutral as to not harm the paint. use a soft Q-tip and gently rub over each area a bit at a time. if you are patient (and it takes patience and lots of time) it will work well. Often you cannot tell if there is any paint over the glaze until it is clean, but why take the chance. It works well. Then if there is no paint that is applied over the glaze when you are finished, you can wash in a mild liquid detergent. Make sure there are no holes in the piece as there are often in figurines. Some of the 19th century upright figures have holes for sand so the figure can be weighted. If water gets in the holes, mould can grow so easily. It likes dark and damp places. So be sure not to immerse in water. All the best with your piece.
I swear by pine sol and water, it'll peel the smoke and yellow off anything; walls, figurines, windows, even fabrics. 1/4 cup into the washer with the smoke smelly stuff, no detergent, no bleach either. Wash through one cycle, then wash again to remove the pine sol residue, you could use detergent the second time but still no bleach. Whatever the articles were will come out fresh as new. This works for tobacco smoke and smoke damage from a fire. Also works good for mildewed items, just be gentle if the fabric calls for it. (12/30/2008)