Monday, May 24, 2010

How to Whiten Ironstone

On a recent trip to the Salvation Army I purchased a white ironstone platter for 49 cents.
Although it was somewhat discolored (not the worst I have seen), I thought it was a great bargain. It was also the perfect price for attempting Pam Stamey’s simple three step process for whitening ironstone. (July/August 2001 edition Country Home magazine)
Country Home magazine

What I Did:
#1 - Soak ironstone in clear water for 24 hours.
#2 – While wearing heavy-duty rubber gloves, fill a tub with 40-percent clear peroxide. (I purchased mine at Sally Beauty Supply for $5 a bottle.) Place ironstone in the peroxide, making sure the entire piece is submerged. Pam recommends letting the ironstone soak for 5 to 7 days.
I let my platter soak for 6 days. After removing it from the peroxide it was already much whiter.

#3 – Preheat an electric oven to 250 degrees. (Do not use a gas oven.) Put ironstone in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Pam bakes her pieces on glass plates. I used a cookie tray lined with parchment paper.
The brown color should rise to the surface (which it did on my platter). Remove from oven. Let cool. Wash in hot soapy water.

Final Results:
You can see from the pictures below this process really works. Most of the large brown spots have disappeared and the platter is much whiter.


What I learned:
Since this is such an easy process, I won’t be passing up ironstone that is significantly discolored any more.

Although my results were not as dramatic as the Country Home picture shown above - my platter still had a few brown marks - it was definitely a lot whiter and brighter.

I am looking forward to trying Pam’s method for repairing chipped and cracked ironstone - as soon as I find an appropriate piece of china.

The saleswoman at the beauty supply store told me the peroxide would remain good for a year after it was opened. She also told me it could be saved and reused. Does anyone know if this is true? I saved the peroxide I bought but want to make sure it is safe to use again.

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40 comments:

***Holly*** said...

I love it when I learn how to make something old or damaged look new again! Thanks! :)

handbags*n*pigtails said...

Wow, what a great tip. Thanks for sharing!
Sarah
HandbagsNPigtails.blogspot.com

Leah said...

wow..49 cents!?!? where do you live because i want to move there! your roadside finds are amazing too! i love ironstone...i've just recently started collecting it...but it seems popular around here because the pieces are always $10 and up, even for small pieces. i can't wait to use this whitening trick to whiten up a few pieces i picked up recently.

Paula said...

Great tip! I have a piece to two that I'd like to try this method on to get them a little whiter.

Anita said...

This is a great tip. I was wondering the same thing about reusing the peroxide. Let us know what you find out. I wish I could find anything around here for .49!

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

What a doable process. Thanks so much for sharing this! I'll be linking.

Maria said...

Amazing! Peroxide got dark red wine stains out of a pair of jeans too!
It's an amazing thing we have right in our cupboards!
I love your plate!
~Maria

Katie said...

wow! thanks. Unfortunately we only have gas ovens around where I live. that stinks.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Wow, that is great to know, i use it on linen a lot, never thought about ironstone!!

Carol

GrannySue said...

What a great post. I can't wait to try it, especially to see if it works on colored ironstone.

Michelle @ Sweet Something said...

Great information...I had no idea! I've passed on discolored items before...but this is a great method! Thanks for sharing!

michiganhome said...

Wow, it looks great. And I know you'll do something lovely with it, too! Have a great day.
-Michiganhome

Sandy said...

Great tips! I went to Good Will yesterday and found more bargains. Always looking ...

Great blog!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I never knew this! Thank you so much for sharing such a great tip.

Kim said...

I hate to sound like a knucklehead, but here goes, what qualifies as "ironstone"? Beautiful job by the way, this project looks really satisfying.

Feather Hen said...

Looks awesome! Just a thought on reusing the peroxide... Regular peroxide oxidizes in the light, that is why it is in a dark container. Once it is exposed to light/air for a while it doesn't work any more. That being said, I don't know how similar hair peroxide and regular peroxide are. Hope that helps!

Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage said...

Wow great technique!

Style Sisters said...

I had no idea you could do this. This is a great tutorial. Thanks for the info. Stop by and check out my creative memorial day table decorations. They are fun and unique.

Karin

arkie said...

Thanks for posting this! I have a few pieces that I could try this on.

Sandy@Life Began In A Garden said...

HI. I am a hairdresser, have been for 32 years. The difference between the peroxide you get at a drug store and what hairdressers use to do highlights and color are HUGE. Drug store stuff is a 3% solution. Forty volume peroxide is the strongest stuff usable for hair, will turn black hair blonde in an hour or less.
Peroxide for hair chemically is H2O2. That, of course, is 2 Hydrogen and 3 oxygen molecules. When exposed to air the oxygen molecules start to leave, evaporate. After enough time, you've got H2O, aka water(don't recommend drinking it). So if you've soaked something in it for 6 days, it is not usable again.
Sorry, I know that was long, thanks for reading, hope I was clear!

Marilyn Holeman said...

I'm just visiting from Reinvented. I thought this was a fabulous post, but I am curious about why you can't use a gas oven. Do you know? Thanks!!

nouveaustitch said...

I think I'll print this out for my kids (or their kids someday) so when all my ironstone starts looking dingy, they'll know what to do. Thanks!

Ellen

kayce hughes said...

great tutorial! I will not be on the hunt for some ironstone.

The Prudent Homemaker said...

I don't know if there is a differnce between ironstone and stoneware.
I have stoneware plates, as well as some melamine bowls. Whenever they start to get brown, I pull out the bleach. I pour a little concentrated bleach on them (in the sink), swish it around with my dish brush, and then rinse themoff, and they're fine. I wonder if something so simple would work for your ironstone; I don't know.

When I'm done I use the brush to bleach the sink. I always wear an apron when I do this, and I take off my ring, but I haven't worn gloves (I suppose I could, but I usually don't touch the bleach).


Your way is very interesting.

Carolyn @ My Backyard Eden said...

Great tutorial! Now I won't pass up that old stained ironstone!

Thanks for sharing at My Backyard Eden!

Shel at Dreamy Nest said...

Very cool!! I'm soo saving this tip. I don't have any ironstone yet, but I hope to soon. Wish I could find prices like you found, though. :) Thank you for sharing this!

Julie said...

Wow! Great tip. Thanks!

Recycled Rita said...

What a great tutorial! I am going to buy some ironstone now! karen...

TexNan said...

Great post! Couple of things: Most definitely you can reuse the peroxide so long as you keep it sealed and in a dark place. I have done. And this works for items other than ironstone, i.e. china and pottery, which is all I've ever used it on. The difference in the process you used and what I do (which could have to do with the difference in the items we're cleaning) is that I neither pre-wet nor post-bake. I simply place item in a container, seal it and check occasionally. Using this process, it can take two to three weeks (which might have to do with the fact that I only do one of your three steps. I'll have to check that out!). I recently brightened a set of mid-century Japanese shakers plus sugar bowl. They look practically new.

Sandy said...

How many pieces of Ironstone I have passed up because of stains.. never again.. thank you for this info!

Living It At Home said...

I am so happy I stopped by! I love Ironstone and pass some of them up because of the discoloration! This is a very helpful tip! Thank you for sharing it.

Have a wonderful weekend. Love your cute plate!

Trish @TheOldPostRoad said...

That is cool. Thanks for the demo!

Its So Very Cheri said...

Awesome-I wonder if you redid the process if it would whiten up even more.

Cheri

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

WOW! And, I have TWO bottles of 40% peroxide I was getting ready to pitch....I had used it for my hair, but my BFF told me I only needed 30% for my color...WHOOOPPPEEE!

Thanks for passing those instructions along. I'll be trying this for sure.

Warm blessings,
Spencer

Holly said...

GREAT TIP! I too will not be passing up these beauties anymore either!

Room to Inspire said...

Thanks so much for posting the great info - I will be passing them up no more! And thanks for linking up to Be Inspired last week.

Chelsea

FineArtPainting said...

never knew you could do this.
thx for the tip!

Laura said...

This is a great tip! Do you cover the tub with the peroxide, or do you leave it open? I'm trying to figure out where to put it for the 5-7 days that our cats will not get into... :)

Red Door Home said...

Yes, I covered the tub with a lid.

janet said...

Great post! I recently read that you should NEVER use bleach to clean ironstone.

I believe you method is the preferred one.

Janet xox

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