How do I Care for Porcelain Figurines?

C. Mitchell
C. Mitchell
Porcelain figures may be cleaned with mild soap and water.
Porcelain figures may be cleaned with mild soap and water.

Proper care for porcelain figurines centers primarily on protection, both from damage and from environmental harms. Choosing a display case or shelf for your figurines is a good way to ensure that they remain out of harm's way. Regular dusting with a soft cloth, or cleansing with mild soap and water, can help ensure that your figurines continue looking as bright and vibrant as the day you first received them. In most respects, caring for and cleaning porcelain figurines is simple, but it must always be done carefully and with a gentle hand.

Porcelain figurines derive a lot of their beauty and aesthetic appeal from their delicate nature and general fragility. Many figurines and porcelain knickknacks can also be quite valuable. Displaying porcelain figurines is usually part of the joy of owning them, but can raise a few challenges when it comes to proper care.

The most important part of caring for your figurines is finding them a safe home. Many people display porcelain figurines in china cabinets or on shelves that are high enough to keep them out of harm’s way from accidental bumps or movements. Placing felt bottoms on figurines can be also good way of protecting figurines from sliding, particularly if they are set on glass or another slippery surface. Many figurine owners who live in earthquake-prone areas or who expect disruptions from children or pets place a bit of adhesive or porcelain-safe putty on the bottoms of their porcelain figurines to prevent them from falling off of shelves.

Regular cleaning is also an important part of porcelain care. Porcelain figurines, like most elements of home decor, are particularly susceptible to dust. Over time, dust build-up can damage the surface of a porcelain figurine, a well as take away from its good looks.

Dusting porcelain figurines can be a tricky endeavor, and it requires a lot of patience. For the most part, chemical dusting sprays and products should be avoided, as they can, in some instances, damage the figurine’s surface. A better approach is to simply rub the figurine with a microfiber or other soft cloth. If there are crevices that you cannot easily reach, try using a makeup brush or soft paintbrush.

There may be times when your porcelain figurines actually need to be washed. Occasional washing can be good for porcelain, as it can bring back the surface’s shine, but it is imperative that you use only mild soaps — nothing that contains bleach or ammonia. Chemicals can strip away paint or glaze, and can corrode the porcelain of even plain pieces.

Again, gentleness is essential. Rather than holding figurines under running water, try soaking them for a short time to eliminate any unnecessary pressure on the porcelain surface. Be sure to dry them thoroughly before putting them back on display.

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    • Porcelain figures may be cleaned with mild soap and water.
      Porcelain figures may be cleaned with mild soap and water.