Do you have some antique crystal glassware? Perhaps you inherited a few pieces from your grandmother, or maybe you’re a collector and you’ve accumulated some nice glasses and vases. Or maybe you have an older home with a gorgeous crystal chandelier in the dining room. Do you know how to care for your antique crystal glassware?

Displaying Your Antique Crystal Glassware

Whenever possible, antique crystal should be displayed in a dust-proof display case. It should be kept out of direct sunlight, and high humidity is discouraged. Many crystal pieces have glued components, and sunlight and humidity damage the glue.

Using Your Antique Crystal Glassware

It is all right to use your antique crystal glassware. It was meant to be used; however, because it is valuable and delicate, use it carefully. These are the items you save for special occasions. Use them for romantic dinners for two or special family gatherings and not for the children’s table.

Use only high quality paraffin, soy wax, or beeswax candles in antique crystal glassware candleholders. Low quality waxes can be difficult to remove.

Do not allow juice, wine, or vinegar to sit in antique crystal glassware for long periods of time. Serving wine in your crystal glasses is fine, but rinse them afterward. Acidic liquids can leach the lead out of the crystal.

Speaking of lead, if antique crystal glassware has a white powdery coating, it may be due to lead leaching out of the item. Do not use that item to drink from. Professional grinding and polishing are necessary to remove the residue.

When you use your antique crystal glassware, you must be prepared for breakage. If a broken vase or glass will send you over the edge, don’t use it. Save the item for display only.

Cleaning Your Antique Crystal Glassware

First, remove any dust. It’s best to do this by blowing it off with canned air. Don’t wipe dust away; it may have fine abrasive particles that can scratch the item.

Carefully wash antique crystal in warm soapy water. Crystal chandelier cleaner is the best product for washing, but gentle dish soap or delicates laundry detergent will work, too. Do not use any product that contains ammonia or phosphates. Wash by hand and never put crystal in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent and the vigorous cleaning action of dishwashers can chip, crack, or spot the item.

It’s safest to line your sinks with soft towels before washing antique crystal glassware. Some people recommend putting a rubber cap over the faucet, too, to prevent chipping if you accidentally hit a glass with the faucet.

Antique crystal glassware should be air-dried, not wiped with a cloth. Wear lint-free cotton gloves when handling the freshly washed glassware.

Display your antique crystal glassware where you can enjoy it, use it carefully and clean it gently. You’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful pieces for years, and pass them down to future generations.