How to Clean and Preserve a Hand Blown Glass Items

Hand blown glass pieces are intricate works of art that require special care to maintain. Whether you’ve recently acquired a glass sculpture for your collection or inherited a cherished piece, knowing the proper cleaning and preservation techniques is essential. Below, we spoke to our talented team to get their diverse perspectives on how best to effectively clean and preserve your hand blown glass piece/s. Follow the below steps to ensure that it remains a stunning item in your home for years to come.

1: Handle with Care

Before embarking on the cleaning process, it’s important to handle the glass item with utmost care. For sculptures, always hold it by the base or a sturdy part of the piece to avoid applying excessive pressure or stress on delicate areas. By handling gently, you reduce the risk of accidental damage during the cleaning process.

2: Choose the Right Cleaning Solution

While our bicchiere (glasses) are dishwasher safe, you may have wondered how best to care for and clean a glass sculpture or more detailed item. When it comes to cleaning hand blown glass, it’s important to avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the surface. Our team recommends opting for a mild, non-abrasive glass cleaner or create a solution of warm water and a few drops of gentle dish soap. “A little bit of Windex” – a dream situation for Gus Portokalos from My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Film, 2002).

These solutions effectively remove dirt, dust, and fingerprints without causing harm to the delicate glass surface.

3: Dusting and Preparing the Sculpture:

Start by gently dusting the glass sculpture using a soft, lint-free cloth or a soft-bristled brush. This initial step removes any loose particles and prevents them from scratching the glass during the cleaning process. To protect your work surface and prevent accidental damage, place a clean, soft towel or a layer of padding underneath the item during this step.

Insight from the furnace:

Did you know that cleaning of a piece is actually considered during the design phase? When creating a glass sculpture, we must take into consideration the need for cleaning and accessibility of intricate details and hard-to-reach areas. By designing pieces with the ability to clean them in mind, we can ensure that maintenance is more manageable for the owner.

4: Cleaning the Glass Surface

Choosing the cleaning material saw some disagreements amongst our team. Some suggested that to clean the glass surface you would use a lint-free cloth while others mentioned extra fine steel wool (a specialist product which is much finer than usual steel wool). Nonetheless, with whichever you have access to, dip this  into the glass cleaner or warm soapy water solution. Gently wipe the surface of the glass sculpture in small, circular motions. It’s important not to scrub vigorously or apply excessive pressure, as this can lead to scratches or damage. Pay close attention to intricate details and hard-to-reach areas. You can also use a cotton swab or a soft brush if necessary.

Insight from the furnce:

 If using super fine steel wool, please ensure your safety by wearing gloves and consider wearing a mask when using steel wool to avoid skin irritation and fine shavings. Avoid using rusty steel wool on glass or delicate surfaces as it can be coarse. We should note that please, before using the steel wool, do perform a spot test or test on another surface. Even though 0000 steel wool is commonly used by professionals on glass…taking precautions is always recommended.

5: Rinsing and Drying

After cleaning, thoroughly rinse the sculpture with clean water to remove any residue from the cleaning solution. Ensure that no soap or cleaner is left behind. Next, gently pat the sculpture dry using a soft, absorbent cloth. Avoid rubbing the glass at this time as this can cause scratches or smudges. Importantly, allow the sculpture to air dry completely before handling it further.

6: Regular Maintenance

To preserve the beauty of your hand blown glass piece, regular maintenance is key. Dust the sculpture frequently using a soft, lint-free cloth to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris.

7: Storage and Display

In addition to proper cleaning and maintenance, the storage and display of hand blown glass sculptures are also crucial for their preservation. When not on display, we recommend storing in a clean, dry, and dust-free environment. You can use acid-free tissue paper or cloth to wrap the item and protect it from potential scratches or damage.

8: Professional Restoration and Repair

If your hand blown glass sculpture has suffered significant damage or deterioration over time, it’s best to seek professional restoration and repair services. Professionals have the expertise and tools to restore the sculpture to its original beauty. Attempting to repair the sculpture yourself may lead to further damage, so it’s important to entrust it to skilled professionals.

Cleaning and preserving hand blown glass items requires delicate handling, the use of gentle cleaning solutions, regular maintenance, and proper storage and display. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can ensure that your glass piece remains a stunning item in your home for years to come.