In most homes the upkeep of expensive ceramic ware or crockery is a point of discussion. The biggest fear is of it breaking or chipping while using it, storing it or washing up. These things need to be taken care of. The first thing is to protect your crockery from cracking and chipping by keeping it in small stacks in a proper cupboard.
How to wash ceramic dinnerware
Using a dishwasher? Why not? Most modern china can be washed in the dishwasher. But for hand painted, metal trimmed or antique china, you have to be more careful as it may fade in hot water and strong dishwasher detergent. It's recommended that you wash it by hand. If you have a set, you can also test it by washing the same piece daily for several weeks in the dishwasher. After that, compare the rest of the set to see if there's fading. If you prefer to use dishwasher to hand washing, after the dishes have been washed, open up the dishwasher and let dry on the racks.
Next, to clean any food coated on ceramic or glassware, put a small amount of dishwash detergent in it, add hot water, and allow to soak for less than half an hour. Your plates will rinse clean, and your cleanup time will be reduced significantly.
While washing you should avoid using too hot water. Due to its characteristic thickness, your ceramic dinnerware may be damaged by exposure to extremely hot temperatures, such as boiling water or other liquids. This may happen, for example, when you put a lot of hot food in your plate. To avoid this, next time you should put a small amount of the hot food in the plate, just enough to cover the bottom. Leave this small amount to heat the plate for few seconds, and then pour the rest of the meal into the plate.
For storage, ceramic dinnerware pieces are best stored stacked in a pile (or piles). This should be done to avoid scratches. Whenever you want to use them, try not to pull a piece directly from the stack. Instead, lift all the pieces that are in the top of the selected one, and then pull the piece out.
How to maintain plastic dinnerware
Plastic dinnerware is usually made of melamine plastic. It is hard and smooth and keeps its shape well. However, do not use it in microwave oven as it absorbs heat and can get hot enough so often, blister, and crack. Plastic dinnerware is both safe when washed by hand and used in the dishwasher. Using scouring powder is not suggested as it will scratch the surface. To remove stains, you should use any fine cleaner made for cleaning melamine.
How to maintain the hard kitchenware, the pots and pans
Wash your kitchenware in soapy water. If necessary, use a plastic scouring pad or wooden scraper to remove burnt-on food. Burnt-on food may be loosened by soaking in a solution of 2 teaspoons baking soda and 200 ml water. It is suggested to avoid rough scouring powder so that nothing is scratched, non stick or otherwise. A solution of vinegar and water can remove deposits in your vessels in case of hard water.
Don't forget to wear gloves to keep your hands smooth while washing up.
Generally speaking, proper care and maintenance of your quality kitchenware is essential, not only for aesthetics, but in many cases for function and endurance as well. Don't think twice to invest a little time and effort to follow a routine maintenance schedule. It can make a huge difference in how a product performs and how long it is likely to continue to function in your kitchen.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.