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Cleaning Antique Enamelware

By Jacqueline Wilt, R.N., C.E.M.T.

Tags: antique enamelware, vintage kitchen, Jackie Wilt, Kansas, baking soda, kitchen collectibles,

Life and Adventures at Diamond W RanchWhile poking around the Kansas City Farmer’s Market last weekend, I discovered this beautiful cobalt blue swirl enamelware (aka graniteware) muffin tin.

Antique enamelware muffin tin in good condition

I have collected antique blue swirl enamelware for years and was THRILLED to find this piece in relatively good condition, and for a great price! The only problem I saw was that the underside had a thick layer of baked-on dirt.

Enamelware before cleaning

Enough that it obliterated much of the beautiful blue swirl pattern.

I wasn’t sure how to get the baked on gunk off, or if it was even possible to do. Enamelware is easy to scratch, can be cracked, and will flake off. I didn’t want to damage my find! My mom and dad have bought and sold antiques for years, and my mom has a penchant for kitchen antiques, so she has had her share of experience cleaning antique pieces. I called her for advice.

Her remedy was surprisingly simple: baking soda. Per Mom’s advice, I soaked the muffin tin in hot water first to loosen the greasy baked-on gunk. Then I sprinkled baking soda all over the back of the tin. Using a soft kitchen washcloth and warm water, I gently scrubbed at the gunk to remove it.

Cleaning antique enamelware

It came off surprisingly easily! The pictures show before and after. I think it looks pretty good so far, and will only get better the more I work on it! Thanks, Mom!

Looking better already