Crystal Care and Cleaning Tips
Is It Crystal, Or Is It Glass?
Crystal is glass that has lead oxide in it. The
reason for adding the lead oxide is to increase the density of
the glass which in turn will make the glass more reflective and
add brilliance. The more lead in the glass, the more colors that
are reflected. You may also notice that some crystal is heavier
than others. This is because the more lead, the heavier the piece.
Hand made crystal glass will usually always
have a few small "seed bubbles". This happens when rising
air gets trapped when the crystal is being made. These air bubbles
can only be seen when a piece of crystal is held up to a strong
light. This is a good sign that your piece was more than likely
Other signs of handcrafted crystal are chill marks
(indentations on the surface of the glass) and flow lines. None
of these constitute a flaw in the piece, but rather a sign of
Even the finest crystal will have minor variations
in clarity, occasional bubbles, chill marks and flow lines. These
are inevitables in hand blown and molded crystal.
Crystal is also "soft" because of the
lead content. It will be important for you to know how to care
for your crystal as even dust can act as an abrasive and cause
General Crystal Care Tips
Crystal Cleaning Tips
Store your crystal where it won't touch other
Do not store crystal glasses upside down as
it can put stress to the rim, which is very delicate.
Carry your pieces one at a time rather than
carrying as a bunch by the stems.
If your crystal breaks and you can save it,
use a clear-drying epoxy that was made just for glass and
glue it back together. Then set in the sun for a bit to help
the bonding process.
Dust can act as an abrasive and can "scratch"
the surface. Make sure you only clean with a mild detergent
and use a lint free cloth for drying.
For glasses with gold rims or an edge design,
never soak in solutions containing ammonia. Stick to using
a mild detergent only.
Always hand wash when possible or if you are
brave enough to put your crystal in the dishwasher (not recommended),
make sure you use a very gentle cycle and mild detergent.
When washing by hand and after rinsing, fill the bowls or
flutes with clean hot water and leave them sit until you are
ready to dry them. Using a clean cotton dish towel will polish
and clean a warm wet glass very quickly. If you let the glasses
air dry and then try to dry them you can wind up with smears
and streaks on the glass.
When washing, use only warm water AND rinse
with warm water. Quick changes in temperature can cause cracking
If you notice that your crystal has a haze
or clouding look to it and are having trouble removing it,
you need to move to the next level and try cleaning with a
hard water stain remover such as CLR or Lime Away. Some people
have even used #000 very fine steel wool with a mild dish
detergent to remove stubborn haze. But I wouldn't resort to
the steel wool unless none of the other solutions worked.
When washing, make sure you have a rubber
matt in the sink bottom, or a towel just incase your hands
are slippery and the glass drops.
Wash your crystal before food can harden.
This will make it much easier to clean without having to put
hard pressure on the item or scrap it causing scratches.
Add a little vinegar to the dish water to
keep hard water spots from appearing.
Crystal is a beautiful keepsake that can be handed
down from generation to generation. Taking these extra steps will
preserve your crystal for years to come!