Experts agree that a little extra care of your collectible ornaments helps to maintain and increase their value. A build up of dust damages the finish and reduces their value. Before you put your ornaments away, take time to dust and clean them lightly.
Cleaning Hollow, Fragile Ornaments: Be cautious when cleaning hollow glass, porcelain or crystal Christmas ornaments, drops or garlands and especially gentle if the surface of your ornament is hand painted or decorated with glitter. Always use a soft, natural hair brush for cleaning your ornaments. Look for sable, ox or squirrel hair artist brushes in the filbert, hake, oval wash or square wash shapes at your local artist supply store or at a reputable artist supply store on line. Never use water, soap, solvents, liquid or anything wet of any kind on hand painted or glittered ornaments. Glass/ porcelain/ crystal ornaments with a plain, smooth or undecorated surface can be cleaned with a clean, soft dry lint-free cloth. Since most collectible glass or porcelain ornaments are delicate, avoid handling them excessively. Set them down on a soft, well-padded surface to clean. Handle the pieces carefully, do not squeeze the body of the ornament when you hold it for cleaning. Otherwise, you could break it. A cylindrical ornament stand (such as an egg, sphere or paperweight stand) will be helpful for holding your ornament steady while you are cleaning it.
Cleaning Fragile Solid Ornaments: Solid glass ornaments, crystal drops, glass bead or porcelain garlands can be cleaned with a soft cloth moistened by a few drops of a good quality, gentle glass cleaner without solvents. A one/three parts mixture of white vinegar and water will also work but could damage the brass connectors between the garland beads. Solid crystal, glass or porcelain ornaments are less susceptible to contact breakage but, should still be handled carefully. Set them down on a soft, well-padded surface to clean. A cylindrical stand (such as an egg, sphere or paperweight stand) will be helpful for holding ornaments steady while cleaning. Plastic cleaning gloves with roughened finger tips will give you a better grip on the item and stop a glass/crystal garland from slipping through your fingers (onto the floor!) They'll also prevent unwanted fingerprints on the surface of a cleaned crystal ornament or garland.
Cleaning Metal Ornaments: Sterling silver, silver plated or solid brass metal ornaments can be cleaned with a clean, soft cloth or with a cloth impregnated with cleaning solution recommended by the manufacturer of the ornament. A similar type of cloth is normally available at your local jewelry store. Clean your solid metal - sterling silver, brass, gold ornaments, garlands or ornament hooks with a jeweler recommended polish or polish impregnated cloth. If your ornaments are nickel silver, 14-24K gold, silver or brass plated , they are probably also lacquered to prevent tarnish. Using polish on them may damage the finish. So, be sure to check with the manufacturer and follow their recommended cleaning procedure.
Cleaning Resin Ornaments: Use a soft, natural hair brush - such as mentioned above unless the ornament is
glitttered. The resin itself is imperious to water. However, the paint and decorations applied to the ornament may not be. To be on the safe side do not use water, solvents or anything wet of any kind on these ornaments / collectibles either. Follow the manufacturers' recommended cleaning procedure.
Cleaning Paper Ornaments: Paper or cast paper ornaments should be wrapped in unbuffered tissue and stored flat. Follow the manufacturers' recommendations for cleaning.
After cleaning, wrap the ornaments in acid-free, unbuffered tissue paper, archive quality paper towels or acid free lightweight cotton batting (thin cotton stuffing sometimes used for quilts, padding in garments or pillows). Here's a tip that could save you money: Bounty white paper towels are acid free. Please note that Bounty is not marked or advertised as archival quality, unbuffered or acid free. However, Proctor and Gamble has verified for us that none of their Bounty
white paper towels contain acid. They suggest using it for storing ornaments or small collectibles.
What is Not Recommended Storage for archival quality wrapping or storing of collectible ornaments?
newspaper unless it is acid free,
unbuffered, unprinted, archival quality newsprint
fabric softener sheets unless they are
unbuffered, acid free unbuffered paper sheets or shred ( unbuffered tissue is fine.)
Storage in plastic / acrylic boxes, wrapping paper.
Do not use a sealed plastic bag directly against your ornaments. In fact, you should not use any plastic of any kind for storing your ornaments or ornament tree because it holds moisture. Moisture will ultimately destroy the finish on your ornaments. If you can find one, look for a storage box made of acid free paper or a storage system especially created to provide archival quality storage for your collection of ornaments.
If you have too many ornaments for
the typical ornament storage box, you can line a large plastic tub container with thick layers of acid free tissue, wrap each ornament individually in acid free tissue and store it in the container. After the ornaments are seated, fill the spaces around the ornaments and the container to the top with acid free shred to keep the ornaments from knocking against each other - especially if your storage box or container does not have individual dividers. Make sure it has a secure, tight-fitting lid and store the container in a cool, dry area because plastic containers can trap moisture. Use desiccants to control unwanted moisture inside the container.
Store your packed ornaments in a dry room where the temperature and humidity is constant and moderate all year around. Avoid storage spaces with fluctuations in the moisture level, heat or cold such as your basement, attic or garage unless these areas are the same cool, dry temperature year around or equipped with an automatic climate control. Why? Extremes in temperature can cause surface cracking in the finish on your ornaments or cracks in the ornament itself. A bedroom closet or any storage space on an interior wall would be ideal.
When you set your ornaments out on display, avoid placing them in direct sunlight or close to a source of heat. Make sure electric lights do not touch them when arranged on your tree. With proper care, your collectible ornaments will last a lifetime and remain the family heirlooms you intended them to be when you made your purchase.
Thanks for buying ornament stands and trees, display stands and pedestals or archival quality ornament storage from Ornament
Trees.com. We appreciate your confidence in our products.
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