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September 25, 2015

Some Cleaning Tips For Vintage Pyrex

by Andrea

 

With the popularity of vintage Pyrex growing as a collectible, I am sure a lot of us have come across pieces that looked like they’ve seen better days.  I’ve got a couple of dos and don’ts for you to help you rescue some of the pieces that you find, and keep them looking great.

 

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We’ve all come across pieces like this, I am sure – lots of icky stuff caked and baked on, dish soap doesn’t seem to touch it.  You can see my secret weapon for this peeking out of the corner here – oven cleaner!  I personally use the fume free, it’s taken care of any gunky Pyrex I’ve found;  I’ve also heard that the non-fume free works even better, keep that in mind of you’ve got particularly tough gunk.

 

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So, all you will need to do is completely cover your dish with oven cleaner …

 

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And cover with some plastic bags and leave it to sit.  A few hours is minimum, I often leave my pieces overnight (which is what I did with this one).

 

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It will come out looking like this – but now all you’ve got to do is wipe.

 

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The gunk will come right off!

 

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Here’s my freshly cleaned dish, looking brand new!  This method also works great for vintage Corningware.

 

A couple of other things I would like to mention – First off, no dishwasher!!  The horribly damaged, cloudy, missing paint Pyrex that you see is almost always due to dishwashers.  Although todays soaps are much less harsh than the soaps from back then, it’s still not worth the risk.  Especially if you have items with gold on them.  Secondly, be careful of Barkeeper’s Friend!  There are quite a few recommendations out there for using Barkeeper’s Friend for removing utensil marks, hard water buildup, etc from vintage Pyrex.  Although it will work, it is very harsh, it will also often take the paint right off of the dish, especially if there’s gold design.  For utensil marks, metal polish is a far better alternative, and a vinegar soak is great for getting rid of hard water buildup.  I’ve seen examples where people have accidentally taken the paint right off in their first swipe with Barkeeper’s Friend, so if you’re determined to try it, be careful!

 

 

Have a great weekend, everybody!

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9 Responses to Some Cleaning Tips For Vintage Pyrex

  1. Asia Reply

    September 25, 2015 at 11:58 am

    On the topic of using Barkeeper’s friend: the normal formula is probably too harsh, but they do make one designed for ceramic cooktops which I’ve used to remove carbonization from a ceramic (Ozeri) brand wok and it didn’t do any damage to the surface while doing an amazing job of cleaning the buildup off. With a little caution, that formula might be better suited to cleaning pyrex and other borosilicate glassware.

    • Andrea Reply

      September 25, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Interesting. I’ve not seen the ceramic cook top formula around here. From what I understand it is the acid in regular Barkeeper’s Friend that makes it so harsh – do you know if that version still has the acid?

      • Asia Reply

        September 25, 2015 at 7:23 pm

        I believe it’s basically the same active ingredient, but in different concentration and I think less abrasives, but you’d probably want to confirm that with a more knowledgeable source.

  2. sherree Reply

    September 25, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    I use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on nasty ones that I have purchased. I have never had an issue with it scratching or hurting any design or paint finish 🙂

  3. Andrea Reply

    September 25, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    While I have quite a few Pyrex bowls etc. that still have a nice finish, I have inherited a few that are so badly faded and “dishwashered” that they look like they have leprosy. Is there anyway to completely strip away the old, hazy finish? I would normaly try to salvage whatever finish was left, but these are REALLY bad, and the plain white is much better to look at.

    • Andrea Reply

      September 27, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      This is the one scenario where you do want to use Barkeeper’s Friend, Andrea! Barkeeper’s Friend and steel wool with scrubbing will take the remainder of the paint off. I’ve also has good luck with automotive grade sandpaper and wet sanding if you have any stubborn spots that don’t want to come off.

  4. Lyn Dono Reply

    September 26, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    I found a yellow with black kitchen ware design oval Pyrex baker at the Salvation Army. It was the gunkiest, funkiest piece ever. It was gross just to pick it up off the shelf and put it in my cart. After washing it with dish soap, and then using Mr Clean Magic Eraser I had made some head way. But wow were my hands and arms tired. Someone here, sorry I’ve forgotten who, suggested oven cleaner. It worked so, so well. The piece looked great and I sold it on eBay for a good price. The only thing I want to suggest is don’t be an idiot like me and please wear gloves when working with the oven cleaner. I didn’t have fingerprints for about a week…ha-ha!

  5. Debra (@aka_smartypants) Reply

    December 8, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks so much for this. I have a feeling a lot of grocery stores managers are going to be wondering why all the oven cleaner is flying off the shelves!

  6. Pat in PA Reply

    December 19, 2015 at 9:46 am

    A very old product is Bon Ami–a cleanser whose tag line is “Hasn’t scratched yet!” I use this on all my pyrex, corning ware, and stainless steel. You’ll need a little elbow grease, but it makes the items sparkle. My stepdad was a sign painter and would even clean windows with Bon Ami before starting a lettering job! But thanks for the info on oven cleaner–looks like it did a great job!

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