As any conservator will tell you prior to movement, your ceramic should be given a quick inspection to determine if there are any cracks, fault-lines or repairs to be wary of. This is to exert as little pressure as possible on any weak areas. Any handles or similar protrusions are to be avoided due to their fragile nature. Complete composure is needed at this time so no ‘pretending to drop’ jokes or shouting out ‘Boo!’ When moved and safely nuzzled in the foam you can begin the clean with another quick inspection. This is to determine if any sections need to be avoided. If a cracked or chipped surface is cleaned, the moisture can creep in under the surface and cause further damage so that gets avoided like the plague.
Painted designs or gilding work are generally avoided too as they would have been added after the ceramic was fired and glazed and therefore not protected by the tough exterior. The cleaning process can differ slightly depending on the finish of your object. With brush in hand the first thing is to remove the visible dust from the surface. Then the fun begins. Dampened cotton wool is a very effective remover of ingrained dirt and can be used to clean those ‘hard to reach’ areas. This can be done to great effect by creating a little swab on the end of a cocktail or Kebab stick. (After the Kebab has been eaten obviously)