Milk Glass Care and Usage

Milk glass, also known as opal glass, is absolutely beautiful but also useful because they are often seen as large bowls or bowl-like shapes. However, oftentimes people won’t buy the milk glass they see because it looks dirty and brown. Is milk glass fragile, and how do you clean it?

Milk glass is fragile and can’t necessarily be repaired after it has been broken. Milk glass is safe to use, but pieces made in the early 1800s may contain small amounts of lead in the paint. Milk glass containers are commonly used as fruit bowls and can be cleaned with soap and water.

Milk glass is beautiful and is often seen in antique stores or shops with crafted glass. If you want to know more about how to clean milk glass, keep reading.

milk glass fan vase with blue silver crest rim

Is Milk Glass Fragile

Milk glass is very fragile. The glass is relatively thin and has many designs incorporated that sometimes compromise the integrity of the glass.

Like all glass, milk glass will break if you drop it. It won’t break if you put it down on a counter or table, but if it falls it will likely shatter. Unfortunately, it is hard to repair milk glass as it typically breaks into small shards rather than large pieces. If it breaks into large pieces and you do try to repair it, the cracks in the glass will still show. How easy it will be to hide the cracks will vary depending on where the cracks are and what you put in the milk glass.

When you purchase milk glass, ask the cashier to wrap it in glass paper so it doesn’t break during the car ride home. If you are moving to a new home, wrap your milk glass pieces in bubble wrap before you put them in a box.

Is Milk Glass Safe to Use

Milk glass is safe to use. Some antique pieces may contain small amounts of lead that won’t be harmful if you eat food that is put in the bowl. Even today’s glassware contains small amounts of lead.

You likely won’t find lead in your milk glass pieces unless they were made in the 1800s. However, there is an easy way to test if your milk glass has lead in it. Just tap the outside of the milk glass with your knuckles. If it rings like a bell, it contains lead. You can also purchase a home lead test and determine how much lead is in the milk glass piece that you have. (Source)

Mik glass typically has bone ash, feldspar, tin dioxide, arsenic, or antimony in it. These ingredients give the milk glass its opaque appearance.

Milk glass 4 cups pearls and tears pattern

How Do You Clean Milk Glass

It is relatively easy to clean milk glass as long as you use the correct chemicals. If you use harsh chemicals like bleach, the material will wear away and the design will disappear.

Cleaning Methods for Milk Glass

  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Water and soap
  • Water and cleaning tablets
  • Water and amonia

When you purchase a milk glass container, clean it with soap and water. If there are spots that still have dirt on it or the glass is stained, use baking soda and vinegar or cleaning tablets and water. Denture cleaning tablets work wonders. Don’t use bleach on milk glass. (Source)

When you clean milk glass with water and soap or with denture-leaning tablets, fill a large tub with warm water and soap (or tablets). Then put the milk glass in the tub and let it soak for at least 30 minutes. Then use a toothbrush to brush away the dirt hiding in the crevices. If your milk glass is large and doesn’t fit in the tub, flip it after 30 minutes and let the other side soak in the water. (Source)

After all of the dirt is brushed off the milk glass, take it out of the water and let it air dry or dry it off with a lint-free towel. Then you can put anything you like into your milk glass!

Never put milk glass in the dishwasher. Because milk glass is fragile, it will break or become chipped when it knocks against the other dishes that are in your dishwasher. Milk glass pieces also tend to be quite large, so they won’t fit in your dishwasher properly. (Source)

If you purchased stained milk glass, fill a spray bottle with 1 part ammonia and 5 parts water. Spray the solution onto the stained area and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then wipe away the solution with water and dry it with a towel. (Source)

Milk glass is easy to find nowadays because it used to be very popular. It was decorative, but it was also used as a fruit bowl or filled with flowers.

Milk glass is opaque or translucent and is typically white. However, it can also be blue, black, brown, pink, or yellow. Milk glass is still being made today by glassmakers, but it isn’t as popular as it has been in the past. New designs and patterns are constantly being made for milk glass pieces, but milk glass with classic designs is also constantly being made by glassmakers.

You can typically find milk glass in antique stores as they are considered antique pieces, but you can also find them in glass stores or stores that center around the home if you want to purchase a newly made milk glass piece.

Overall, it is very easy to take care of milk glass. Just clean it gently and thoroughly when you purchase it, set it on the table or counter, and fill it with whatever you want to put inside. It will become a statement piece in your home, but it will also be highly functional as well as beautiful.

If you want to purchase milk glass, you can find many pieces on Etsy that have already been cleaned and possibly painted, or you can contact a local glassmaker and ask where you can find some milk glass pieces.

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