How To: Dinnerware and Linens At Their Finest
There's nothing worse than having company for dinner and realizing that your table settings aren't looking their best.
These quick tips and maintenance regimens will keep your dinnerware in top condition and prolong its lifespan.
Storage: Hang linens to reduce wrinkling, and avoid creasing the linens along the same fold lines every time you use them.
Cleaning: Always follow the label's directions, but most cotton and linen tablecloths and napkins can be washed and ironed. To remove stains, blot some liquid laundry detergent on the spot and wash it in cold water. You can use 1/4 cup of bleach in the wash cycle to brighten white linens. To remove candle wax, allow it to harden first, then gently pry it away with a butter knife. Place the stained area between paper towels and run an iron on low heat over it to loosen the remaining wax.
Storage: To avoid chips and scratches, place felt or paper towels in between stacked plates, bowls or cups. Foam-padded china protectors, with built-in dividers, are ideal for storing your valuable china.
Cleaning: Avoid using the dishwasher because it can lead to chips and wear the finish on china patterns with gold, silver or platinum. Instead, wash your china by hand in hot water with everyday dishwashing soap.
Crystal or Glass Stemware
Storage: Contrary to popular opinion, you should store your stemware upright because inversion puts too much pressure on the fragile part of the glass. Use a rubber shelf liner to reduce the risk of scratches, and leave enough room in between so they don't touch.
Cleaning: Consider using a sink mat or cushion, and wash your stemware in warm (not hot) soapy water. To make your glasses really sparkle, rinse them in warm water mixed with a tablespoon of white vinegar. Dry stemware by hand with a cotton towel to avoid water spots.
Storage: The best way to keep your silver from tarnishing while in storage is to keep it rolled in pacific cloth, a fabric that absorbs the sulfur that causes oxidation and tarnishing.
Cleaning: Try to rinse your silverware as soon as you're done using it to avoid staining. Then, wash each piece by hand, as dishwasher detergent can damage silver's luster. Dry your silverware with a soft cloth to reduce water spots. To remove tarnish, use a non-abrasive silver polish.
Follow these simple steps to maintain your linens, silverware, crystal stemware and china, and you can count on them to last.
--- This entry originally appeared on MyGourmetConnection and has been updated for the ZEST blog