Caring for Antiques
How to clean antique Christmas decorations
Collected over the years, Christmas decorations are regarded by many of us rather like old friends. Taking them out each December is a bit like a reunion, their sparkle kindling fond memories of past festive gatherings. But the reality can be rather di !erent. If you haven’t packed your much-loved baubles away carefully, months in storage in a dusty a" ic may have taken their toll, but the fragility of many tree ornaments makes them tricky to clean. So how best to deal with a year’s worth of dust and also keep them as pristine as possible for the next festive season?
You Will Need
1. A soft brush – a large make-up brush or a soft toothbrush are ideal 2. A soft cloth 3. Sturdy plastic storage containers with well-fitting lids 4. Original cardboard boxes if available 5. Cardboard tubes (such as kitchen towel) 6. Tissue paper
1 Clean grimy painted glass baubles by gently brushing with a dry soft brush. Use the side of the brush and minimal pressure to avoid removing glitter and fragile finishes. Moisture can damage the paint, especially on vintage decorations, so damp cloths should not be used. 2 Polish unpainted plain glass baubles with a soft cloth and a little glass cleaner. 3 Gently dust vintage tinsel with a dry cloth and finish with a damp one. 4 Using the upholstery fitting of a vacuum cleaner on the lowest setting, vacuum synthetic trees to remove dust, then wipe with a damp cloth. And when it’s all over… 5 Storage: replace baubles in their original boxes if you have them and then put them in large plastic storage boxes. Otherwise, line the base of a storage box with a thick layer of crunched up tissue paper. Starting with the sturdiest, wrap each decoration separately in tissue before arranging in a single layer.
Avoid placing decorations too closely together. Top the decorations with a layer of tissue and another layer of decorations. Continue until the box is full but not crammed. Label the box – try to store similar types of decorations together.