Caring for your Window Ornaments
Window ornaments bring beauty and color into our homes and offices, making us feel cheerful and at peace; one with the world. There are some stunningly beautiful ornamental sun catchers to choose from, and so many designs it would be difficult to say which are the nicest. It all comes down to personal taste in the end-whether you like flowers, animal ornaments, abstracts or other decorative shapes. So that you can make sure your crystal glass window ornaments continue to shine and sparkle in the sun the way they are supposed to, cleaning them from time to time is essential, making them look like new again. That way you can continue to enjoy their dazzling displays of iridescent light in your rooms and they will remain in good condition for many years. How to Clean Glass Ornaments Putting your window ornaments into the dishwasher is not a good idea. The detergent and the action of the dishwasher will damage the highly polished surface facets of the crystal, dulling them and diminishing their beauty, as well as losing the sharp, clear refraction that you enjoy so much. There is also the danger that the ornament may break; which could damage your dishwasher and it would be a shame to lose an ornament which brings you such much pleasure. To wash your window ornament in water, always make sure that you only use tepid to lukewarm water with a little dish-washing detergent added. Don’t use hot water as this stresses the crystals in the ornament. Should you find that the surfaces of the crystals are filmed over a little vinegar added to the warm water you wash the ornament in will help to remove this (use 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar). Wash the window ornament by hand as using a cloth may abrade the surface of the crystals, especially if the cloth is not brand new as it may contain tiny particles which you can’t see but will damage your prized ornament. A small, soft brush (e.g. a paintbrush) will help to remove any residue of dust or dirt from difficult areas in the design of the ornament and make sure that the whole sun catcher is spotlessly clean. Make sure you rinse the ornament off in clean tepid water (it is important never to subject your crystals to quick changes of temperature) and then dry it carefully with a soft, lint free cloth, avoiding touching the crystals with your fingers as this will then leave a residue of natural oils from your skin on the surfaces. It is not a good idea to allow your ornaments to air dry as this encourages the build-up of mineral deposits from the water. Another way you can clean your sun catchers is using glass and window cleaning spray, simply spraying the ornament and then buffing it dry using a soft, lint-free cloth. Some people like to use car windshield fluid as this engineered with a drying agent which evaporates very quickly and leaves the glass (or in this case crystals) spotlessly clean. Windshield cleaner is also stronger than household glass cleaner, so will remove those stubborn areas of grime more easily. For another option, you might like to use a solution of warm water, dish-washing detergent and a little ammonia. You can either leave the ornament to soak or dip it in and out of the solution until it is clean, before rinsing it in clean, warm water and then drying it. For valuable pieces of crystal which you may have collected or had presented to you over many years, and especially any items which have been given to you as a gift and have sentimental value, or are antique or collectible, you can use a solution of isopropyl alcohol to three parts distilled water. Spray the ornament and then wipe off the solution using soft cotton gloves to leave the crystals beautifully clear and shining. Clean the crystals in your ornaments at about two to six month intervals, depending on how much dirt they attract in the setting you usually keep them in. Handling and Drying Your Crystal Ornaments Some people like to use soft cotton gloves when they are cleaning their crystals and this can be helpful in handling your ornaments to avoid those accidental smudges. Leaving a residue on your ornaments won’t damage them, but will mean the surfaces attract dust more readily so your sun catchers will not refract the light quite as brilliantly and will need cleaning again sooner than if they are pristine. Don’t forget that, depending on how often you use the cotton gloves, they will need cleaning or replacing to avoid transferring dirt from them onto your ornaments. Never clean your ornaments with abrasive cleaning agents and make sure not to use any cloth for drying or buffing which may scratch and otherwise damage either the crystals or the design. Keeping a soft cloth for drying your crystals is recommended to avoid contamination by other chemicals or particles. Another way of drying your ornaments quickly is to use a hair dryer, making sure to use it on the cool setting to avoid overheating the crystals.