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Special Dishes and Serving Pieces:
Know When to Wash by Hand

A special occasion meal often means celebrating with fancy "themed" dishware. It’s important to treat these favorite pieces with special care to "keep them in the family" for years to come! Here are tips for determining when hand dishwashing (versus putting them in the dishwasher) is required.

WHAT

Ramona Lynam  St  Patrick's Day China
Image used with permission: Ramona Lynam
These special-occasion items should be hand washed to preserve their finishes:
  • Crystal
  • Decorated glassware
  • Hand-painted ceramics or stoneware
  • Milk glass
  • Pewter
  • Silver
  • Items with precious metal (such as gold or platinum trim)

HOW

When washing by hand, follow these easy instructions:

1. Use clean, hot water and liquid dish soap.

2. Start with lightly soiled items, followed by plates, serving dishes, and finally any remaining cookware.

  • Change the dishwashing solution if it becomes greasy, too cool, or if the suds disappear.
  • Some cookware manufacturers specify that certain types of cookware should not be immersed in water. Use the "neat" method to wash those items (squirt dish soap directly on the sponge or dish cloth and use it straight on the dirty dishware).

3. Use care with glassware, particularly those delicate items that could break and potentially cause injury.

4. Rinse by dipping in a rinsing sink or pan, passing under a stream or spray of hot water; or, after racking dishes, by pouring or spraying water over them. Be sure to rinse inside cups, bowls and glassware.

5. Air dry or wipe with a clean towel useful when glassware or flatware is spotted or filmed. Buffing silverware with a soft, clean, lint-free cloth actually improves its patina.

6. Store clean, special occasion items carefully, using quilted containers or bubble wrap – so they’ll be ready to go next time!