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How To Clean Unglazed Ceramic Figurines

How To Clean Unglazed Ceramic Figurines


How To Clean Unglazed Ceramic Figurines: Unglazed ceramic figurines possess a unique and earthy charm, often favored for their natural, matte finish. These delicate works of art are prized for their intricate details and the way they capture the essence of their subject matter. Whether you’ve inherited these figurines or added them to your collection, it’s essential to maintain their beauty through proper cleaning and care.

This comprehensive guide on how to clean unglazed ceramic figurines delves into the intricacies of preserving and rejuvenating these exquisite pieces of art. While unglazed ceramics lack the protective glaze found on their glazed counterparts, they require a different approach to cleaning to avoid damage and preserve their delicate features.

From the removal of dust and grime to the gentle removal of stains and blemishes, this guide provides step-by-step instructions, tips, and precautions to ensure your unglazed ceramic figurines retain their original allure. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a newcomer to the world of ceramic art, understanding the proper cleaning techniques is essential for maintaining and showcasing these remarkable pieces in their best possible condition.

Join us on a journey to discover the secrets of caring for unglazed ceramic figurines, preserving their natural beauty for generations to come.

How To Clean Unglazed Ceramic Figurines

How do you clean matte porcelain figurines?

Dip a very soft cloth into the water and gently clean the porcelain figurine until it’s free of dirt. Always remember to use a lint free cloth. Never use any cleaning products that contain bleach or ammonia or abrasive components as these will damage your collectable.

Cleaning matte porcelain figurines requires gentle care to avoid damaging their delicate surfaces. Here’s how to clean them effectively:

Dust Removal: Start by removing loose dust and debris from the figurine’s surface. You can use a soft-bristle brush or a can of compressed air to blow away dust from crevices and intricate details.

Warm Soapy Water: Prepare a basin of lukewarm water with a few drops of mild dishwashing soap. Avoid using hot water, as it can damage the porcelain. Gently dip a soft, lint-free cloth or sponge into the soapy water and wring it out until it’s damp but not dripping wet.

Wipe Carefully: Wipe the figurine’s surface gently using the damp cloth or sponge. Be cautious around delicate or intricate areas, as excessive pressure can lead to damage. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing vigorously.

Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the cloth or sponge thoroughly to remove any soap residue, and then wipe the figurine again with clean, damp cloth to remove soap traces. Ensure that no moisture remains on the figurine.

Drying: Allow the figurine to air dry completely. Avoid using heat sources or direct sunlight to speed up the drying process, as these can cause cracking or fading.

Optional: Repowdering: If your matte porcelain figurine has lost some of its matte finish over time, you can use a fine talcum or cornstarch powder to restore the matte appearance. Apply the powder sparingly with a soft brush and gently buff the surface.

How do you clean ceramic material?

To make sure that ceramic retains its properties unaltered over time, wash it on a regular basis with water and a non-abrasive bleach-based detergent (gel, cream or spray), using a soft sponge to remove soap residues and prevent the formation of limescale.

Cleaning ceramic materials, whether they are ceramic figurines, tiles, or pottery, requires a gentle approach to preserve their finish and integrity:

Dust Removal: Begin by dusting the ceramic item with a soft-bristle brush or a dry, clean cloth. This step removes loose dirt and debris.

Lukewarm Soapy Water: Prepare a basin of lukewarm water and add a few drops of mild dish soap. Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the soapy water, wring it out until damp but not dripping, and gently wipe the ceramic surface. Avoid using abrasive scouring pads or harsh cleaning agents that can scratch or damage the finish.

Stain Spot Treatment: For stubborn stains, mix a paste of baking soda and water to form a thick, non-abrasive paste. Apply this paste to the stained area, let it sit for a few minutes, and then gently scrub with a soft brush or cloth. Rinse thoroughly.

Rinse and Dry: Rinse the ceramic item with clean water to remove soap residue. Ensure that no moisture remains on the surface. Pat it dry with a clean, dry cloth or allow it to air dry completely.

Regular Maintenance: To maintain the ceramic’s appearance, perform regular dusting and occasional cleaning as needed. Avoid exposing ceramics to extreme temperature changes, as this can cause cracking.

Sealing (if applicable): If your ceramic item has a glaze, it’s usually sealed. However, unglazed ceramics may benefit from a ceramic sealer, which helps protect the surface from moisture and stains.

Can unglazed ceramic get wet?

– You can put liquid into a piece of ceramic that hasn’t been glazed but the water will get absorbed into the porous ceramic, this will weaken it overtime and cause it to break.

Unglazed ceramic, also known as “bisque,” is porous and can absorb moisture. While it can get wet, there are important considerations:

Absorption: Unglazed ceramic is porous, meaning it can absorb liquids to varying degrees depending on its composition and density. The more porous the ceramic, the more it will absorb moisture.

Staining: Because it can absorb liquids, unglazed ceramic is prone to staining from colored liquids or substances. These stains can be difficult to remove.

Frost and Expansion: In outdoor environments, unglazed ceramic can absorb water and, when exposed to freezing temperatures, may expand as the water freezes. This expansion can lead to cracking or damage.

Protection: To protect unglazed ceramic from moisture, it’s advisable to seal it with a ceramic sealer or an appropriate sealant. This will reduce its porosity and make it more resistant to moisture absorption and staining.

Cleaning: When cleaning unglazed ceramic, avoid using excessive water, and choose gentle cleaning methods to minimize moisture exposure.

What is unglazed ceramic called?

Biscuit (also known as bisque) refers to any pottery that has been fired in a kiln without a ceramic glaze. This can be a final product such as biscuit porcelain or unglazed earthenware (such as terracotta) or, most commonly, an intermediate stage in a glazed final product.

Unglazed ceramic is often referred to as “bisque.” Bisque ceramics are essentially clay objects that have been fired in a kiln, but they have not undergone the final glazing process that would provide them with a glassy, protective coating. As a result, bisque ceramics maintain their natural, porous texture.

Bisqueware can come in various forms, including pottery, figurines, tiles, and other clay-based objects. It is highly versatile and is often used as a canvas for painting or decorating, as the porous surface readily accepts paints, stains, and glazes.

The term “bisque” is widely used in the world of ceramics and pottery to distinguish between unglazed pieces and those that have been glazed. Unglazed ceramics like bisqueware are favored for their absorbent quality, making them ideal for certain artistic techniques and crafts. However, because they lack the protective glaze, they are also more susceptible to moisture absorption, staining, and damage, so they require careful handling and sometimes sealing with a ceramic sealer for protection.

How To Clean Unglazed Ceramic Figurines

What are the basic steps for cleaning unglazed ceramic figurines?

Cleaning unglazed ceramic figurines requires a gentle touch and careful attention to detail to preserve their natural beauty. Here are the basic steps for cleaning unglazed ceramic figurines:

Preparation: Begin by preparing a clean and clutter-free workspace. Lay down a soft, clean cloth or towel to protect the figurines from any hard surfaces.

Dust Removal: Use a soft-bristle brush or a clean, dry, and soft paintbrush to gently remove loose dust and debris from the figurine’s surface. Start at the top and work your way down, ensuring you reach all the crevices and details.

Spot Cleaning: If there are specific spots or stains on the figurine, dampen a clean, soft cloth or sponge with lukewarm water. Gently blot the affected area without scrubbing. Avoid excessive moisture, as unglazed ceramics can be porous and absorb water.

Stain Removal (Optional): For stubborn stains, you can create a mild cleaning solution by mixing a few drops of mild dish soap with lukewarm water. Dab the stained area with the solution using a soft cloth or sponge, then rinse by dabbing with clean water. Be cautious not to oversaturate.

Rinse and Dry: If you’ve used any cleaning solutions, ensure that you thoroughly rinse the figurine with a damp cloth to remove any residue. Pat the figurine dry with a clean, dry cloth, ensuring there’s no lingering moisture.

Final Inspection: Examine the figurine closely to ensure that it’s clean and free of any remaining dirt or stains. If needed, repeat the spot-cleaning process.

Display with Care: Once the figurine is completely dry, place it back in its display area or cabinet. Ensure that it’s protected from dust and handling to maintain its cleanliness.

Are there specific cleaning products or tools recommended for unglazed ceramics?

Cleaning unglazed ceramics requires special care, and it’s important to use gentle products and tools to avoid damaging the delicate surface. Here are some recommended cleaning products and tools for unglazed ceramics:

Soft-Bristle Brush: A soft-bristle brush, like a clean and dry paintbrush, is excellent for removing loose dust and debris from the figurine’s surface. The soft bristles won’t scratch the ceramic.

Clean, Soft Cloths or Sponges: Use clean, soft cloths or sponges for spot cleaning and wiping down the figurine. Microfiber cloths are a good choice as they are gentle and lint-free.

Lukewarm Water: Water is often all you need for basic cleaning. Use lukewarm water to dampen your cloth or sponge for spot cleaning. Avoid hot water, as it can be too harsh for unglazed ceramics.

Mild Dish Soap: If you need a cleaning solution for stubborn stains, use a few drops of mild dish soap mixed with lukewarm water. Ensure it’s a gentle, non-abrasive soap. Be sparing with the soap and rinse thoroughly to avoid residue.

White Vinegar: In some cases, white vinegar diluted with water can be used for spot cleaning or removing mineral deposits. Mix one part vinegar with three parts water, and test it on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Soft Toothbrush: For intricate details and hard-to-reach areas, a soft toothbrush can be used gently. Be cautious not to apply too much pressure.

Compressed Air: If you have access to compressed air in a can, it can be useful for blowing away dust and debris from tiny crevices without touching the figurine.

How can I safely remove dust and debris from delicate ceramic figurines?

Safely removing dust and debris from delicate ceramic figurines is essential to maintain their appearance without causing any damage. Here’s a step-by-step guide to safely remove dust and debris:

Prepare a Clean Workspace: Choose a clean and clutter-free area to work on your figurines. Lay down a soft, clean cloth or towel to protect the figurines from any hard surfaces.

Use a Soft Brush: Start by using a soft-bristle brush, like a clean, dry paintbrush or a makeup brush. Soft bristles ensure that you won’t scratch the delicate surface of the figurines. Begin at the top and gently brush downward, working your way around the figurine.

Pay Attention to Crevices: Dust and debris often accumulate in tiny crevices and details. Use the soft brush to carefully reach these areas, taking your time to ensure thorough cleaning without applying excessive pressure.

Blow Away Loose Dust: If you have access to compressed air in a can, you can use it to blow away loose dust and debris from hard-to-reach places. Maintain a safe distance and use short, controlled bursts of air.

Spot Check: After brushing and blowing away dust, closely inspect the figurine to ensure all dust and debris are removed. If needed, repeat the process until you’re satisfied with the cleanliness.

Avoid Direct Contact: When handling delicate figurines, avoid touching them directly, especially if your hands are not clean. Oils and residues from your skin can transfer to the ceramic.

Display with Care: Once cleaned, return the figurine to its display area or cabinet, ensuring it’s protected from dust and handling.

How can I protect the natural finish of unglazed ceramic figurines while cleaning them?

Protecting the natural finish of unglazed ceramic figurines while cleaning them is crucial to ensure their longevity and beauty. Here are some tips to safeguard the figurines’ delicate surface:

Handle with Clean Hands: Before you start cleaning, wash your hands thoroughly to remove oils and dirt. Handling figurines with clean hands helps prevent transferring residues that can affect the unglazed surface.

Use Soft Tools: Opt for soft, non-abrasive tools like clean, dry paintbrushes, soft cloths, or makeup brushes for cleaning. Avoid abrasive scrubbers or materials that could scratch the ceramic.

Minimal Moisture: Unglazed ceramics are porous, so it’s crucial to use minimal moisture during cleaning. Dampen your cleaning cloth or sponge just enough for effective cleaning but not so much that water could seep into the ceramic.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Stick to mild cleaning solutions like a few drops of mild dish soap diluted in lukewarm water, if needed. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the figurine’s finish.

Gentle Patting: When spot cleaning, use a gentle patting motion rather than rubbing or scrubbing. This reduces the risk of abrasion or damage to the porous surface.

Test in a Hidden Area: Before using any cleaning solution, test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the figurine to ensure it doesn’t react adversely with the ceramic.

Dry Thoroughly: After cleaning, make sure the figurine is completely dry before returning it to its display area. Any lingering moisture can potentially damage the surface.

Regular Dusting: To minimize the need for extensive cleaning, engage in regular dusting with a soft brush to prevent dust buildup.

How To Clean Unglazed Ceramic Figurines


Learning how to clean unglazed ceramic figurines is a practice of both preservation and appreciation. These delicate works of art possess a unique and natural beauty that requires special care to maintain. By following the recommended steps and precautions outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your unglazed ceramic figurines retain their original allure while avoiding any damage to their delicate surfaces.

The process begins with creating a clean and organized workspace, using the right tools and materials. Gentle cleaning techniques, such as dusting with soft brushes and using minimal moisture, are essential to prevent any harm to the figurines. When spot cleaning is necessary, mild solutions and a delicate touch are key. Avoiding harsh chemicals and abrasive materials is paramount to safeguarding the figurines’ natural finish.

Remember that regular maintenance, including dusting and periodic inspection, can significantly reduce the need for extensive cleaning. This proactive approach not only helps preserve the figurines but also allows you to enjoy their beauty for years to come without the worry of irreversible damage.

Cleaning unglazed ceramic figurines is not just a chore; it’s a way to connect with and care for these remarkable pieces of art. It’s a practice that ensures their longevity and allows you to continue delighting in their intricate details and unique aesthetics. So, embrace the art of cleaning and cherish your unglazed ceramic figurines as they deserve.


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Sophia is a creative and passionate entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Bubble Slides, a rapidly growing company that designs and produces innovative and eco-friendly children's water slides. She continues to innovate and improve her products, always keeping in mind the well-being of children and the environment.

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