black coffee mug with logo on a wood plank with the text 'pottery care 101: tips for cleaning and maintaining your pieces' on a blue background

There’s nothing quite like handmade stoneware pottery. Made from durable heavy raw materials like ceramic, clay, or porcelain, these food safe vessels are suitable for both hot liquids and cold beverages based on your sipping preferences.

With a mug that’s sure to become a quick favorite, it only makes sense to prioritize the best care so it lasts from brand new, all the way to when it could be considered an antique.

Grey Fox Pottery Handmade Mug Care

The right care starts with basic maintenance. These earthenware vessels are microwaveable, so heating water for tea or refreshing that cup of coffee is simple. The natural materials, however, do get hot when placed in the microwave. If you plan to microwave your mug for any length of time, take care to make sure the handle is safe to touch before grabbing it. You may wish to use a dish towel or oven mitt to keep your hands protected as you carefully remove your mug from the microwave after heating.

Grey Fox Pottery’s handmade mugs are dishwasher safe as well as microwave safe. These mugs have a ceramic bottom that is durable enough to withstand the high heat of a standard dishwasher cycle. Cork bottom mugs, however, are a little different. The cork bottoms are soft and gentle for surfaces, but they are a bit more delicate with the inclusion of such a porous material. Putting a cork bottom mug into the dishwasher can lead to the cork cracking, drying out, or otherwise breaking down.

green coffee mug laying on its side with the bottom of the mug shown with a cork pad attached, label on the bottom of the mug reads 'handmade USA'

To wash the cork bottom mug, we recommend a gentle hand wash. This ensures the mug is completely clean between uses, and that the cork will remain strong and intact at the same time. To dry, you may dry with a towel, or set the mug upside down to dry in a dish rack or on a counter. Ensure the cork bottom is completely dry before storing, in order to avoid unwanted remaining moisture.

Mug warmers are a great tool to keep hot beverages perfectly warm for longer periods. Grey Fox Pottery mugs are compatible with just about any mug warmer, but these should be avoided when using cork bottom mugs. Just like in the dishwasher, the excess heat generated by the mug warmer can cause the cork to break down and deteriorate over time.

Handmade Pottery FAQs

Some questions are asked more often than others when it comes to handmade pottery. To answer a few of these frequently asked questions:

What Do You Clean Pottery With?

Whether you’re using ceramic, stoneware, earthenware, or porcelain, washing should be gentle and simple. It’s best to opt for a mild soap or detergent, and one that is free from any abrasive additives. While these mugs are sturdy, strong, and durable, abrasive cleaning solvents can damage the glaze or discolor the mug over time.

You may wish to soak your mug in warm soapy water, and standard traditional mugs will hold up to this treatment just fine. However, if you are using a cork bottom mug, soaking for extended periods in warm water is not recommended. The soak can damage the cork over time. Cork bottom mugs should be washed in gentle, mild soap, warm water, and promptly dried before returning to their storage location.

How Do I Get Brown Stains Out Of My Mugs?

For most, stoneware mugs are the perfect sipping vessel for coffee or tea. After years of well-loved use, brown stains simply might come with the territory. The good news is that you don’t have to live with brown staining once it’s accumulated on your earthenware pottery.

white coffee mug with brown stains on the inside

There are two safe and gentle methods for removing brown staining from pottery mugs.

For mild staining, a simple soap soak may be suitable for complete removal. For this method, you’ll want to gather your mild dish soap of choice, warm water, and a soft sponge. First, apply a little soap to the interior of the mug, covering the stain as much as possible.

Once the soap has been applied, fill the mug with warm water and allow it to soak, undisturbed, for about 10 to 15 minutes. After the soaking period, use the soft sponge to wipe the staining away and rinse clean. Because the entire mug is not being submerged into water, this is a suitable method for either traditional or cork bottom mugs.

The second method is for more “soaked in” or complicated brown stains. For this method, you’ll want to gather some white vinegar, dish soap, warm water, and a soft sponge. Before applying any soap, fill your mug about halfway with white distilled vinegar, and then dilute with hot water until the mug is full. Allow this vinegar and water mixture to sit in the mug for around 10 to 15 minutes, then pour carefully down the sink drain.

Once the cup is empty, apply your gentle dish soap to the soft sponge and wash in warm water. If you find that stains remain after the soak and wash, you can simply repeat the process again allowing for a bit more soaking time.

Like the soap-only method, this vinegar method is suitable for cork or traditional bottom mugs as the entire mug is not submerged during the soaking process.

person cleaning a blue coffee mug under running water with soap and a sponge

Can Handmade Pottery Go Into The Dishwasher?

While handmade pottery may look delicate, most pieces are durable enough to withstand both dishwashers and microwaves. This keeps your favorite mugs as accessible and easy as they are fun to sip from. The exception is cork bottom mugs, which are a bit more delicate due to their more porous construction.

Handmade Pottery For All Occasions

There’s no wrong occasion for a handmade pottery gift. These customizable pieces are perfect for representing any business or commemorating any event. For custom design inspiration, you can find plenty of examples in our customer gallery, on Instagram, or via our Facebook page.

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