Antique porcelain and pottery

BADA is the leading trade association for the fine art, design and antiques community. Read our guide to caring for antique porcelain and antique pottery.

Handle with care

Common sense is the key to handling antique porcelain. Decorative pieces may often be extremely fragile.

Before handling, remove any items of jewellery that could scratch or mark your item's surface.

Always pick up a ceramic item by the main part of the body.

Never hold porcelain or pottery objects by extremities, such as a handle or spout.

Cleaning antique pottery

Pottery is porous which means that air and water can pass through it.

Therefore, antique pottery should only ever be cleaned with a soft damp cloth. Alternatively, it can be briefly immersed in cool water.

No matter how dirty your item is, never leave antique pottery to soak in water.

Cleaning antique porcelain

Antique porcelain can be washed gently in warm water with a dash of washing up liquid.

Never use abrasive cleaners as they may damage the enamel.

Antique porcelain and antique pottery

Home repairs

For minor  repairs, never use adhesive tape to hold loose items in place.

Adhesive tapes bind tightly to enamel and gilding. This can cause permanent damage on removal.

For temporary repairs, BADA recommend a reusable putty such as blu-tack for a safer solution.


The safest way to store porcelain and antique pottery is in a display case or cabinet.

Be aware that vibrations from passing traffic or uneven flooring can cause objects to move.

Always store your ceramics a safe distance apart from one another. This will help reduce to avoid any collisions.

You can further reduce the risk of unwanted movement by placing your ceramic items on a piece of chamois leather.

To view dealers who specialise in antique pottery and porcelain click here

To browse objects of antique pottery and porcelain online click here

For advice on caring for antique glass click here

For BADA recommended specialists in packing and shipping antiques and fine art click here