Good china is surprisingly durable. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat it like it’s special. And, no, we’re not talking about tucking it away in an upper cabinet that the kids can’t reach (although that helps). To keep fine china in heirloom condition, you’ll need a strategy and the right gear to help you succeed.
What china care gear will work for you? Consider these questions before you decide.
1. Do you want cases or a rack?
If you’re constantly bringing out the good china (and you should!), then you may want to look into organization racks rather than protective cases. Racks are easier to access and don’t require that you unpack the china each time you use it.
China that’s reserved for holidays and special occasions (translation: it only sees the light of day a few times a year) should be stored in a protective case. These cases keep dirt and grime away, while also preventing chips, nicks, and scratches.
2. How many place settings & other pieces do you have?
Before you hit the store, count your place settings. Typically china protectors store settings for 12, with separate containers for cups, dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, and saucers. These sets don’t provide storage for serveware, stemware, or flatware, however: You’ll have to buy separate storage units for those items.
3. Which materials make sense for you?
Protective gear comes in faux leather, vinyl, cotton, and microfiber. Pick the one that you find easiest to clean (would you rather throw it in the laundry or wipe it down?). Items with quilted exteriors and internal padding provide the most protection.
Once you’ve selected the external materials, take a look at how it opens and closes. Pick protective gear that’s easy to access–zippers at the top are a popular option. And while we’re on the subject: Rare is the person who enjoys fighting with a stuck zipper. Make this aspect of your life a little bit easier by purchasing protective gear with a self-correcting zipper.
And don’t forget dividers. They keep dishes from knocking into one another and potentially chipping, or in the worst case scenario, breaking. Many protective sets come with dish and cup dividers. If the set you choose doesn’t, you can buy dividers separately. Or as a cheap alternative, lay sheets of plastic bubble wrap between the dishes.
4. Should you go bigger?
If you really want to give your china the royal treatment, store it in a buffet or sideboard. These free-standing units are not only a beautiful piece of furniture, but they give you plenty of space to tuck your china away so it isn’t mingling with the rest of the dinnerware. Both typically come with drawers or doors and some even lock for extra protection.
Have a tip for protecting your china? Let us know in the space below.