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Please enjoy using your beautiful china, crystal and cutlery.  It is a pleasure to eat with quality dinnerware and we know that with good care, you will enjoy it for many years to come.  Here are some answers to common questions and hints on how to best look after your tableware:
1.  How can I best look after my dinnerware?
Hand washing your china, crystal and cutlery is ALWAYS the best method of cleaning!  Dishwashers however are an essential item in many households these days and most products are dishwasher safe if the water temperature is moderate and the correct detergent is used.  In NZ we recommend Finish Powerball TABLETS (not the powder) and Active Lemon powder.  

2.  Is there a recommended detergent in NZ?
Currently we recommend Finish Powerball 3in1 tablets or Active Lemon.  NB: we do NOT recommend Finish Powder.

3.  Will the platinum or gold edge on my dinnerware come off in the dishwasher?
With constant exposure to the dishwasher, yes your platinum/gold will come off.   If you want platinum/gold trimmed dinnerware to last your lifetime, you need to hand wash it.

4.  Is crystal ‘dishwasher safe’?
Crystal is best hand washed as it can become cloudy in the dishwasher.  Stemware should always be hand washed, as they are also more likely to move in the dishwasher and therefore be broken.  Any glassware with a platinum rim should be hand washed.  To prevent chipping, ensure glasses do not touch each other in the dishwasher.

5.  Are there any hints for best looking after cutlery?
  • Clean and dry cutlery as soon as possible after use.  Don’t leave your cutlery in water to soak or let it stand in the dishwasher overnight after running a rinse programme.  Mineral salts in water can attack the metal and cause unsightly stains.  In the humid atmosphere of a dishwasher, mineral salts can dry onto the cutlery and will start the process that leads to corrosion.
  • Likewise, rinse food off your cutlery promptly.  Acids found in food residue are surprisingly corrosive and if left on the cutlery, will attack the metal and cause pits and stains.
  • If washing in a dishwasher, we advise you take cutlery out as soon as the cycle is finished and wipe it dry before putting away.  Dishwasher salt residue, present in the humid atmosphere of the dishwasher, can dry onto the pieces and cause watermarks and stains.  Wiping when warm removes this fine corrosive residue.
  • Never use silver cleaner to polish stainless steel cutlery as it will damage the metal.

6.  What is thermal shock and how do I prevent it?
Thermal shock is a fluctuation in temperature causing stress in a material. It often results in fracture, especially in brittle materials such as ceramics or glass, eg. pouring boiling water into a cold bottle or teapot.  To prevent thermal shock, here are a few hints:
  • Always warm teapots before use by first filling with tap-hot water.
  • Similarly, it is best to put the milk into your mug or teacup before pouring in the coffee/tea.  If you don’t take milk, put a teaspoon in the cup, to dissipate some of the heat from the boiling water.
  • Don’t take ceramic casseroles or bakers out of a hot oven and put directly onto cold tiles or a cold stainless bench top.  Use a trivet or wooden breadboard.  Conversely, don’t take the same dishes from the freezer and put straight into a hot oven – it's best to defrost first and then put into a cold oven, before turning on the heat.  

7.  If dinnerware is oven safe, can I use it on the cooktop or elements also?
Tableware is not designed for use on a naked flame or element top.  Some tableware is ovenproof (eg. Denby stoneware and porcelain), but as a general rule, bone china cannot be used for cooking purposes (items may be warmed up to 100ºC but not above).  

8.  Can I put my dinnerware in the microwave?
Tableware without gold or platinum trim may be put in the microwave. If in doubt, do not put your dinnerware in the microwave.

9.  How can I stop scratches on my plates and what’s the best way to store plates?
When stacking plates, try not to slide them across each other, as long-term this will cause scratches in the glaze.  Whilst the surface of dinnerware is hard, the front of one plate can be scratched by the back of another.  We recommend placing a napkin or placemat between the items, when stacking.

When stacking large serve pieces, eg. platters, bowls etc, it is also wise to separate with a napkin/handee towel or teatowel.

10.  How does chipping occur and can I avoid it?
Remember that china and crystal/glass is all breakable and will chip or break if hit against something with enough force.  Avoid bumping glasses together and be careful of knocking things against taps when rinsing, or against each other when loading/unloading dishwashers.  

Store your crystal and mugs upright, not upside down on the rims.
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Raines Homewares
New Zealand