Bring that Vintage Enamelware Back to Life!
If you're lucky, Grandma has a bunch of enamel kitchenware lying around and, if you're even luckier, you can talk her into parting with some of her enamelware stash. If not, you'll want to purchase a piece or two because, after a long lull, enamelware has become a must-have among collectors and retro kitchen buffs.
Don't let it's dusty, rusty condition scare you. You can breath new life into old enamelware by cleaning it back to a condition worthy of display or use. But because these items are vintage (some even VERY vintage) you need to make sure that it is cleaned and maintained properly. There are some essential do's and don'ts when it comes to cleaning vintage enamelware;
Do: Keep it simple by first washing it with good 'ole hot, soapy water. Some of those tough-looking stains aren't so tough when put up against the cleaning power of simple dishwashing liquid and H2O. Plus this cleaning method is really, really gentle on that delicate old enamelware.
Do: Clean it gently using a soft cloth. The exterior gloss of older enamelware may have thin spots, so make sure you clean it with a slow, gentle motion.
Do: Battle tougher stains or rust by boiling your vintage enamel cookware in water with peeled potatoes OR a teaspoon of baking soda. These two products somehow weaken and help remove those nastier stains and ensure shiny clean results. If that doesn't work, try soaking in a mixture of one part vinegar to three parts water. Vinegar will help eliminate mineral depostis as well.
As a last resort you can try something stronger, like Whink or other commercial rust remover, being careful to test a small, inconspicuous spot first.
Don't: Clean your vintage enamelware with a scourer or other harsh products. The delicate layers won't take kindly to all the scratching, and you could decrease its value.
Don't: Clean your vintage enamelware in a dishwasher. Dishwashers use high-pressure water sprays and they can chip and damage the valuable layers of enamel.
Don't: Leave it sitting around in water. Be sure to dry it thoroughly after washing it, or the water could eventually cause corrosion and rust.