Before we get started I just wanted to say that this is my method for looking after ceramics, if it doesn’t work for you then feel free to disregard my advice totally!
Ceramics are created to be used, eventually they need cleaning to keep them looking shiny. Some pottery pieces will require more tender loving care than others but if you look after them they’ll last for years to come.
Dealing with cracks
If you gently chime your piece of pottery using your finger it should make a high pitched ringing noise. If it doesn’t then you’ve got a crack, its up to you to decide if you can live with this or not. From a hygiene point of view cracks in a pot can be breeding grounds for bacteria, so it might be better to get rid of these.
Dealing with chips
Chips in pots have similar problems to cracks. Chips can equally pose a health hazard and a risk of personal injury, these are best thrown away.
Dealing with crazing
Look at the surface of your piece, sometimes cracking in the surface of the glaze can occur. This is actually called ‘crazing’.
Pieces that have crazed don’t always have to end up in the bin. They can be used for dry food items, candles or other decorative uses.
Ideally crazed pots should be cleaned with a damp cloth rather than being put into a dishwasher. When washing crazed pots water can leak into the layer of glaze which obviously can pose a problem.
A note about crawling
You may not have ever heard of crawling before, its actually a pottery term for what happens when the consistency of the glaze is too thick and it drags or pools along the surface of the pot. This can cause lumps, bumps and an irregular discolouration of the glaze but it doesn’t affect your usage of the piece.
If you do have damaged pots you don’t always have to throw them away. Think about new ways you can use them perhaps in the garden or your garage!