Ask the Domestic Life Stylist: How to Protect Fine Dinnerware

Ask The Domestic Life Stylistlisa-lifestyleexpert-265-110

Lisa our resident fine living expert answers your questions each Thursday.

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My husband and I have some beautiful china that we received as a wedding gift almost 10 years ago. I am embarrassed to say that just last month I pulled out the china to at least use it as decor for our dining room. I would finally like to use them to eat, but don’t want to mess them up. Do you use fine china? If so, how do you protect it from knife scratches or other unavoidable happenings that come with using dishware?
~ Moira, Lexington, VA

Fine dinnerware

Moira, I am so excited that you are finally going to delve into the land of fine dinnerware. The thing about nice things is that they often don’t stay nice forever. Even so, the finer things in life are meant to be savored and enjoyed. Do you remember when people had pretty living rooms and wouldn’t even sit in them? Some people even had their couch cushions covered in plastic as to not mess them up.

Those days are long gone. The thing about fine living is you have to live it. Here are some ways that you can gain some utility from your wedding gift and still enjoy the china for years to come.


Wash your china in warm soapy water using mild dish soap. Avoid using abrasive cleaners and solvents. Do not put your china in the dishwasher or microwave.


Store your fine dinnerware in a cool dry place. Avoid direct light and any temperature extremes. Wrap individual pieces in soft cloth such as dinner napkins. Make sure to put the napkins between each plate as to avoid accidental chipping or breaking during storage. Do not use newspapers to wrap the dinnerware as the imprint of the paper may stain and ruin the your fine dinnerware. Many department stores also sell china storage chests for when the dinnerware is not in use.


Getting a few scratches on your plate from the use of cutlery during eating is hardly avoidable. You can minimize such scratches by limiting  use to special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and special holidays like Valentine’s Day. To play it safe, I would not use the china for foods that are notorious stain-makers such as tumeric, curry, pomegranate and anything grape based to avoid yellowing and staining.

Lastly, to answer your question, I do not own any fine china just yet. But, I have seen many beautiful pieces in the shops in London and the future looks very promising.

Come back on Thursday for another edition of “Ask The Domestic Life Stylist”.


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Lisa is passionate about fine living and sharing with others how to live life at home with finesse and style. If you want to do the same, follow her blog at The Domestic Life Stylist or Facebook page.


  1. ellen beck says

    We had a break in and our wedding china was stolen and then replaced. (luckily my Father in Law was still stationed in Japan and ordered more) You know what I figured out? I was going to USE it. China like almost everything else becomes ‘dated’ (think wedding dresses) . I have been married for almost 30 years and we take out the ‘good’ stuff often. I hand wash it and am a bit more careful maybe but I like seeing it and like using it.

  2. Cynthia P says

    I have quite a bit of (what I consider) fine china . . . all purchased at yard sales and estate sales. Hardly any of it matches, but that’s what I like so much about it.

  3. Amy Adams says

    I gave my china away as we never used it. I bought high end stoneware instead and use that when serving guests. I feel better using that than worrying about my china. Plus, my son didn’t want it when I leave this earth so there was really no point in keeping it.

  4. Lynn C says

    For everyday meals, I use paper plates or plastic plates I buy at end of summer sales for 50 cents or less apiece. I have some nice pink granite stoneware from Pier 1 Imports, but I seldom use it because it’s easy to chip or break. I also have some antique China from my grandmother, but I keep it safely displayed in a hutch and wouldn’t use it to eat from unless it was a VERY special occasion. I hear people say “use the good China” a lot, but it’s inconvenient, and I’d be really sad if anything got damaged. I’d rather keep it as part of my home decor, but then again, I hardly ever entertain. That’s what restaurants are for.

  5. Cynthia C says

    Sorry to say I don’t use my good china at all. It is beautiful, but it’s too much trouble to hand wash and put away in its protective storage pouches. Too bad, I know.

  6. Sarah L says

    If you have items that you think are ‘too good to use’, either use them or get rid of them. Otherwise you just have expensive junk taking up valuable space.

  7. Mya Murphy says

    I have to admit, being on SSI, and not ever having the funds for anything like this, it doesn’t apply, but will pass along.

  8. rose paden says

    I have to admit my fine china scares me so much! I have it put away and i never use it. It was a wedding gift from my husbands family in Austria. Handcrafted and VERY expensive. Some day i may use it, thanks for the great tips!

  9. JD says

    Except for stains, ceramic is very tough. So not too much to worry about, except leaving acidic foodstuff leftovers. Otherwise, China should last, even to dulling sharp knives. The “softest” part of a ceramic may be the laquer used to coat the China.

  10. Wendi S says

    My kids are far too energetic now to use my china often. I do love to eat using it. I swear it make the meal “Fancier”.

  11. Betty C says

    I have some “good” china but no longer have complete sets. I used it often when the children were growing up because I enjoyed having the table look nice. Many pieces were broken but if I really wanted to I could find replacement pieces. It’s only me at home now and I still occasionally bring out the good stuff just for myself.

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