Things You'll Need
Cream of tartar
You can prevent stains on your bone china by rinsing and/or washing your china soon after each use.
China cups can be soaked in a solution of 1 part of hydrogen peroxide, 3 parts of water and 1 drop of ammonia to help prevent staining.
Metal trim and other ornamentation may be damaged by whatever cleaning method you use. When in doubt, avoid trim and ornamentation with cleaning solutions or abrasive cloths and cleansers.
Dishes made of bone china add a touch of elegance to every occasion. Yet bone china also requires special handling. If it becomes stained, traditional abrasive cleaning methods can damage the delicate china. Fortunately, several common household items (as well as some specialty products found online and in stores) can restore your china to its former glory.
Determining Cause of Stain
Wash the bone china with mild detergent and a soft cloth. Don't use an abrasive pad (such as a scouring pad), as this will scratch and dull the china. Use warm water only; very hot water and sudden temperature changes can cause fine china to crack.
Examine the piece carefully. Note whether the stains are brown or gray and whether they have been caused by food/beverage or are hard water stains.
Dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover and rub the stain, avoiding any metal trim on the piece. Rinse the plate well with clear, warm water.
Removing Food Stains
Apply a bit of toothpaste to a gray stain. Rub it with a soft, clean cloth. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Use a mild abrasive to remove other stains. Baking soda, cream of tartar and salt can be used to polish china with a soft, damp cloth.
Use a special abrasive sponge that are made for delicate items to work on the stain. Read the label to make sure the sponge is safe for china.
Removing Hard Water Stains
Add 1/4 cup of plain distilled vinegar to your dishwasher's rinse container. Load the china in the dishwasher and run the cycle. (Make sure that your china is dishwasher safe before doing this.)
Check for stains. If they remain, try soaking the dishes overnight in a vinegar bath or in cool water with citrus rinds (lemon rinds work well).
Use a commercial lime/hard water stain remover to remove the stains. Make sure that the brand you choose is safe for china.
Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.