You've either created a masterpiece or you’ve had baby or dog prints taken and your ceramic has been professionally glazed and fired.  You've now collected it and taken it home or given it as a gift. That's the end of the process, right? Well, no actually! It is important that you understand how to keep your precious pottery at its best.

Food-safe items…

Washing : Plates, mugs and bowls etc are all food safe but should be hand washed.  Hand-painted earthenware pottery should not be washed in a dishwasher. The extreme temperature and harsh dishwasher tablets may have an abrasive effect, could cause the glaze to go dull and earthenware is porous and will absorb water if there is any part with a gap in the glaze (if the piece has been “dry-footed” or if the kiln stilt has caused a break in the glaze.   Similarly, when handwashing, avoid leaving your hand painted pieces in a sink of water, soaking with other items.    

Microwaving : definitely do not microwave your hand-painted items.   If you are heating soup in a hand-painted mug or bowl in the microwave, for example, the soup may heat to a suitable temperature, but the mug or bowl itself could burn your hand or mouth where it's overheated due to the moisture content in the pottery.

Baubles & Christmas Ornaments…

Be careful where they are stored! The glaze over the top of the ceramic is thin and can be prone to thermal shock. In most cases this will not damage the pottery but may 'crack' or 'craze' the glaze where you will see very fine lines across the surface. If you store your Christmas ornaments in the shed or in the attic, be aware that across the course of a year getting hot and cold with all the temperatures as the seasons change may cause this.

Please note, particularly on rounded items such as baubles, the slighest knock can also cause the over glaze to crack so treat them and pack them carefully.  Crazing, or cracking of the outside glaze can happen to a piece that cost little just as much as a piece worth £500. It can happen 3 days after firing or 30 years... or never but with this advice you're much more likely to get 'forever' out of them!

Outside Items

The same applies as above - if you're putting items in the garden or on a graveside be aware that in a severe temperature drop or hard frost you might find that the glaze crazes and cracks. It'll be unlikely the pottery will crack but if the glaze cracks then eventually the item will absorb moisture and this will weaken the piece.  Bring pieces in during the depths of winter.


It's worth noting that some pottery appears indestructible and some doesn't.  You will hear stories of people using dishwashers and microwaves all the time with no adverse effects, however this is our advice and only YOU can decide how your pottery is looked-after if it is precious to you.