You’ve found them— the perfect mid-century pieces to bring a little Mad Men into your living room— but they bear the crud of a thousand cigarettes. How to do get this tobacco glaze off your latest find?
I had just such a dilemma, but two ingredients and a little elbow grease sorted them out perfectly. Problem is, now they look almost too good. ;-0
When I saw the pair of mid-century ceramic bird sculptures at an antique flea market, I knew I wanted them. They were amber and speckled with gold and just seemed like the coolest figurines in the store. So I scooped them up and headed to the check out counter.
Much later I had a chance to examine the birds more closely. Bits of white appeared through the amber and then I realized that the sculptures weren’t amber and gold in color. They were likely white and gold and the amber color was the result of a sitting in a typical mid-century living room for decades. In other words, years— though probably decades— of tobacco smoke had left residue on the ceramic and transformed their true color.
I knew of a “green” way to clean mold and mildew from the bathroom and wondered if it might work on cleaning my bird sculptures. I decided to give it a try.
Well, it worked.
Here’s how you can clean tobacco residue from your ceramics.
1- Gather together the following: Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking Soda, A Soft-Bristled Toothbrush, Paper Towels, and two small bowls.
2- Put down a thick layer of paper towels and set your ceramic object on top.
3- Put some hydrogen peroxide in one of your containers and the baking soda in the other.
4- Dip the toothbrush in the hydrogen peroxide and then in the baking soda formed a paste.
5- In a circular motion, gently brush the ceramic with the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda paste.
6- Occasionally submerge the toothbrush in the peroxide to clean it. Change it for fresh as needed as it will quickly turn brown from the removed tobacco residue.
7- Add more peroxide and baking soda to toothbrush as needed.
8- Periodically wiped down the ceramic to dry and remove residue.
9- When completely cleaned of tobacco residue, clean sculpture with a soft, damp cloth followed by a dry one.
10- Enjoy your rejuvenated ceramic knick knack!
PSA Warning: Now, if you are a smoker or know of a smoker you’d like to quit, show them these photos. If tobacco residue can stick so solidly to a hard surface like ceramic to the point that it changes its color and will only come off a chemical reaction and thorough brushing, imagine what it does to your insides! ;-0