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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
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Here are questions related to Cleaning Smoke Residue From Ceramic and Porcelain Figurines.
My Hummel figurines were in a bad fire. Why did they look like there was only black smoke on them from a distance and still looked all together and OK, but when someone touched them, they all fell apart into cinders?
Please answer my question.
By Val J. from Torrance, CA
My best guess would be they were super-heated by the fire, that even if they didn't look damaged until touched, the heat changed the ceramic base.