Ceramic Dinnerware: The Right Choice for Your Home?
Ceramic dinnerware has been a popular choice for centuries. It’s versatile, stylish, and can be created in a range of designs, colors, and patterns. Whether you're looking for something casual or formal, ceramic dinnerware can fit the bill. But before you decide to purchase ceramic dinnerware for everyday use, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. In this article, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of using ceramic dinnerware for everyday use.
Pros of Using Ceramic Dinnerware for Everyday Use
Ceramic dinnerware offers many benefits when used for everyday purposes. Here are some of the top advantages:
Ceramic dinnerware is a popular choice for everyday use due to its durability and resistance to chipping and scratching, making it a good option for families with children. Ceramic dinnerware can also withstand daily use and being washed in a dishwasher, making it an excellent choice for everyday meals.
Ceramic is produced by firing clay at high temperatures, making it a very healthy material that is non-porous and safe to use. Ceramic dishes are heat-friendly, which means they can be used in a microwave or oven, unlike plastic, which can break and melt when heated.
Most glazed pottery won't experience a problem when placed into the dishwasher, but low-fire clays may not be as durable. It's important to check if your ceramic dinnerware is heat-resistant before you use it in a microwave or oven.
When purchasing ceramic dinnerware, make sure to check if it's dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, and heat-resistant to ensure that it's a good fit for your needs.
Ceramic dinnerware is a versatile choice for everyday use because it is available in a range of colors, patterns, and designs, making it suitable for casual or formal occasions. Ceramic dinnerware is also durable and resistant to scratches and chips, making it a practical choice for daily use.
Unlike plastic or glass alternatives, ceramic dinnerware can withstand extreme heat, ensuring that your meals stay warm for longer. Ceramic dinnerware can usually be used in the microwave, oven, and dishwasher, making it easy to clean and maintain.
Ceramic dinnerware can also be used to create a unique ambiance, as there are many different styles and designs to choose from. For example, rustic reef ceramic plates can enhance the visual appeal of your food and impress your guests. Ceramic dinnerware can be paired with neutral-tone decors, such as a vase, napkins, plus salt and pepper shakers to complete the look.
When ceramic dinnerware is heated, it takes longer to cool down than other materials, such as glass or metal. This makes it ideal for keeping food warm for longer periods of time, which is particularly useful when hosting a dinner party or serving a large family meal.
Ceramic dinnerware is also heat-resistant, which means that it can withstand high temperatures without breaking or melting. This makes it convenient and easy for any family member to handle, as they are less likely to burn their hands. Additionally, ceramic dishes don't melt when you fill them with hot food or warm liquids.
When considering ceramic dinnerware for everyday use, it is important to note that not all ceramic dinnerware is oven-safe. Some glazes used to coat ceramic dinnerware are not oven-safe, so it is important to check with your dinnerware supplier before placing a ceramic plate in the oven.
In order to keep food warm on ceramic dinnerware, it is recommended to warm the plates for serving by stacking them in an oven for 15 minutes at the lowest oven temperature — between 150 to 200 F. You could also use a warming drawer or toaster oven, if large enough. Once heated, the plates can keep the food warm for up to 20 minutes, depending on the temperature in your dining room.
Ceramic dinnerware is an eco-friendly choice because it is made from natural materials, such as clay and water, and can be recycled. Additionally, ceramic dinnerware is durable and long-lasting, reducing the need for frequent replacements and waste.
When it comes to eco-friendly dinnerware, it's important to consider the materials used. Some ceramic dinnerware brands use recycled and sustainably-sourced materials, such as virgin porcelain ceramic, to create their products. Other brands focus on creating non-toxic pottery dinnerware that is safe for both people and the environment.
Using recycled ceramic tableware is not only better for the planet but also a stylish and unique choice. It conserves natural resources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, decreases waste, and adds character to any home or restaurant.
When these products are ground up, they can be incorporated into tiles or new dishes. An artist might choose to reglaze old dishes, extending their lives through a process of redesigning, reglazing, and refiring. But while ceramic dishes are recyclable, it can be difficult to find recyclers who accept ceramics.
By choosing ceramic dinnerware, you're making a choice that's better for the environment. Ceramic dishes are free from harmful chemicals and are more durable than plastic plates and containers. They are also made from natural materials and do not contain harmful chemicals that can leach into your food, making ceramics a safer and healthier option for serving and storing your meals.
Cons of Using Ceramic Dinnerware for Everyday Use
While ceramic dinnerware has many benefits, there are some drawbacks to consider when using it for everyday purposes:
Ceramic dinnerware is fragile and can break easily. If dropped or knocked, it may crack or shatter, which can be dangerous. This makes it a less practical choice for families with young children or for those who are prone to accidents.
Here are some tips on how to store and protect your ceramic dinnerware...
Proper storage is key to preventing breakage. Here are some tips:
- Store your dinnerware in a convenient location, such as a cabinet or shelf, where it is easily accessible but not in the way.
- Avoid stacking plates and bowls too high, as this can cause them to topple over and break. Instead, stack them in small groups of 2-3.
- Use plate racks or dividers to keep plates and bowls separated and prevent them from rubbing against each other.
- Store cups and mugs upside down to prevent dust and debris from accumulating inside them.
Proper handling is also important to prevent breakage. Here are some tips:
- Avoid sudden temperature changes, as ceramic dinnerware is sensitive to changes in temperature. For example, do not place hot dinnerware in cold water or vice versa.
- Do not use ceramic dinnerware to cook food, as exposure to high temperatures and direct contact with an open flame can crack or shatter ceramic, porcelain, and melamine dishes.
- For the true preservationists, you can avoid using metal utensils on ceramic dinnerware, as they can scratch the surface. Using plastic or wooden utensils instead.
Ceramic dinnerware is heavier than other materials, such as plastic or melamine, which can make it more difficult to handle, particularly for those with mobility issues or arthritis. So if ceramic dinnerware isn't the right choice for you, there are several alternatives to consider
Melamine is a durable, lightweight plastic that's perfect for everyday use. It's affordable, dishwasher safe, and comes in a range of colors and designs.
Porcelain is thinner with fine edges and therefore is lighter than ceramics. It is more durable and stronger than ceramic cookware because the heating is done at higher temperatures.
Vitrified glass is a type of glass that has been treated to withstand thermal shock, making it ideal for use in the oven, microwave, and dishwasher. As for the weight, it's similar to ceramics so not much of an alternative here.
Metal is also an option, but it can scratch and dent easily. While generally much lighter than ceramics, the weight depends on what kind of metal is used so will vary from set to set.
Ceramic dinnerware is prone to staining if it's not glazed because the unglazed surface is porous, which means that liquids and food particles can seep into the tiny pores and cause discoloration. Unglazed ceramic dinnerware is also more susceptible to scratches and abrasions, which can trap food particles and lead to staining over time. On the other hand, glazed ceramic dinnerware can also get stains after prolonged use.
Stains occur due to seepage of moisture through very small (and sometimes invisible to the naked eye) cracks in the glaze, often referred to as crazing, crackles, or pinholes in the glaze. The penetrated moisture combined with organic matter (tea & coffee, oil, fat, food, dust, etc.) evolves into bacteria that typically is brown or black in color present between the glazed craze lines or in the clay body under the glaze. Scrubbing the surface will not help, and using bleach or chlorine may remove the stains but also can damage your ceramic item.
Here are some ways to remove stains from glazed ceramic dinnerware
Baking Soda Method: Fill a sink with hot water and mild dishwashing liquid. Add 1 cup of white vinegar. Place the dinnerware in the sink and allow it to soak for 10 minutes. Wash each piece with a soft sponge or cloth. Lay the wet dishes on a towel with the stains facing up. Pour 2 tablespoons of baking soda into a bowl and add enough water to make a thick paste. Stir the solution with a soft toothbrush and apply it to the stains. Rinse the dishes with warm water.
Hydrogen Peroxide Method: Place the stained dinnerware in a container large enough that it can be completely submerged in it. Fill the container with enough hydrogen peroxide to cover the item and place the lid on the container. Allow the dinnerware to soak in the hydrogen peroxide for several hours or overnight. Rinse the dishes with warm water.
Vinegar and Salt Method: Mix vinegar with salt to form a paste. Apply the paste to the stained area. Do not rub it onto the surface or the salt may scratch the surface of the glaze. Rinse the dish with warm water.
To prevent stains on glazed ceramic dinnerware, it's important to follow proper cleaning and care instructions
Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, which can damage the glaze. Instead, use mild dishwashing liquid and a soft sponge or cloth to clean the dishes.
If the dishes have any designs or images on them, make sure they are under the glaze before washing them. For example, if there are any lines, inlays, or images on your porcelain dish, run your finger over the surface of the dish. If the dish is perfectly smooth and you can’t feel anything raised on the plate, the dish can be washed like standard porcelain. If the material is raised, do not wash it like a standard dish.
It's also important to avoid exposing glazed ceramic dinnerware to extreme temperatures, such as placing hot dishes in cold water or vice versa, as this can cause the glaze to crack and lead to staining.
Finally, consider seasoning your stoneware and earthenware to prevent stains and odors and enjoy the dinnerware for a longer period of time.
Ceramic dinnerware can be more expensive than other materials, such as plastic or melamine. This can make it a less practical choice for those on a tight budget.
First, the production process of ceramic dinnerware is more complex and time-consuming than that of plastic or melamine dinnerware. Ceramic dinnerware is made from clay that is molded, glazed, and fired at high temperatures to create a durable and long-lasting product. The production process requires skilled labor and specialized equipment, which can drive up the cost of production.
Second, ceramic dinnerware is often considered a higher quality and more luxurious option than plastic or melamine dinnerware. Ceramic dinnerware is more durable and long-lasting than plastic or melamine dinnerware, and it is often more aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, ceramic dinnerware is often associated with special occasions and formal events, which can increase its perceived value.
Third, the cost of raw materials for ceramic dinnerware can be higher than that of plastic or melamine dinnerware. The raw materials used to make ceramic dinnerware, such as clay and glazes, can be more expensive than the materials used to make plastic or melamine dinnerware.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Ceramic Dinnerware
When choosing ceramic dinnerware, there are several factors to consider:
Ceramic dinnerware is available in a variety of styles, including modern, traditional, rustic, and unique. Here are some ideas for styling your ceramic dinnerware table setting based on your preferences:
If you prefer a modern style, consider choosing ceramic dinnerware with clean lines and simple designs. Look for pieces with geometric shapes or bold patterns. You can also mix and match different colors and textures to create a unique look.
For a more traditional look, choose ceramic dinnerware with classic designs, such as floral patterns or intricate details. You can also opt for pieces with a vintage feel, such as those with a crackle glaze or hand-weathered finish.
To create a rustic table setting, choose ceramic dinnerware with earthy tones and natural textures. Look for pieces with a handmade feel, such as those with an irregular shape or a rough surface. You can also mix and match different patterns and colors to create a cozy, eclectic look.
If you're looking for something truly unique, consider choosing ceramic dinnerware that is handmade or one-of-a-kind. Look for pieces with unusual shapes or designs, such as those with a marbled or speckled finish. You can also mix and match different styles and colors to create a personalized look.
Choosing the right ceramic dinnerware for your needs involves considering various factors. Here are some important factors to consider:
Everyday Use vs. Special Occasions
Consider whether you need the dinnerware for everyday use or special occasions. If you're looking for everyday use, you may want to consider porcelain, stoneware, or Vitrelle glass, which are affordable, easy to care for, and durable. For special occasions, you may want to consider bone-china dinnerware to wow your guests.
Dishwasher and Microwave Safe
Consider whether you want your dinnerware to be dishwasher and microwave safe. Most stoneware and porcelain dishes are safe for use in the microwave and dishwasher, but enamel dishes are not microwave-safe. Look for dinnerware that's microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe, and chip-resistant.
Design and Style
Consider the design and style of the dinnerware. Finding a dinnerware pattern you love is important, but factors such as weight and durability should also play a role in your selection. There are many styles and materials available, including glazed earthenware, pottery, bone china, fine china, porcelain, terra cotta, and stoneware. Choose a style that complements your home decor and personal taste.
Ceramic dinnerware is a popular choice for its durability, versatility, and aesthetic appeal. Here are some ways to check the quality of ceramic dinnerware:
One of the main technical indicators for evaluating the quality of ceramic tableware is appearance quality. The inspection of appearance quality includes the error of capacity, caliber, height, weight, and defect.
Different regions and areas have different methods and requirements for appearance quality. When inspecting ceramic dinnerware, look for any stains or scratches on the ceramic body. When there are noticeable faults, it is not considered clean and may not be of good quality. Additionally, check whether any pattern or color's location, shape, and size are consistent.
Thermal Shock Test
The thermal shock test is used to determine the durability of the item after a sudden and rapid change in temperature. This test is particularly important for porcelain dinnerware, which can crack and break if heated too quickly.
To perform this test, place the dinnerware in boiling water for a few minutes, then immediately transfer it to ice water. If the dinnerware can withstand the sudden change in temperature without cracking or breaking, it is of good quality.
Stain Resistance Test
To test the stain resistance of porcelain dinnerware, pour a colored liquid, such as red wine or tomato sauce, onto the surface of the dinnerware and let it sit for a few hours. If the dinnerware is able to resist the stain and can be easily cleaned with soap and water, it is of good quality.
Most dinnerware is designed to be dishwasher safe. To test the dishwasher resistance of ceramic dinnerware, place it in the dishwasher and run it through a cycle. If the dinnerware remains intact and does not show signs of wear or damage, it is of good quality.
Smoothness of the Bottom
The bottom of the plate should be even and smooth, with no dent marks. Check the bottom of the dinnerware to ensure that it is smooth and level.
To test the microwave adaptability of ceramic dinnerware, place it in the microwave and heat it for a few minutes. If the dinnerware does not break, melt, release toxins, or experience electrical arcing, it is of good quality.
When choosing ceramic dinnerware, it is important to consider safety indicators such as lead and cadmium release, thermal stability, dishwasher stability, and microwave safety.
Materials and Workmanship
Different types of ceramic dinnerware have different features. For example, good quality bone china tableware should be milk-white, very thin, and light with uniformed thickness.
Stoneware dinnerware sets have a special finishing glaze that gives a smooth look to the material and an impermeable finish, making it ideal for everyday use and family-friendly.
When inspecting ceramic dinnerware, look for any imperfections, such as bubbles, cracks, or chips, which may indicate poor workmanship.
How to Care for Ceramic Dinnerware
To ensure your ceramic dinnerware lasts for years to come, it's important to care for it properly. Here are some tips for caring for ceramic dinnerware:
Hand Wash... if You Can be Bothered
Hand washing ceramic dishware is a great way to keep it in good condition, but not essential. Here are some specific things to consider:
Proper Cleaning Techniques
When washing ceramic dishware, use warm, soapy water and a sponge. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers that can scratch the surface of the dinnerware.
If you need to remove serious stains, you can use a mild, slightly caustic solution like an all-purpose cleanser, but make sure it says it can be used on ceramic and rinse it off immediately.
For painted or decorative porcelain, rinse gently by hand with plain water to avoid wearing away any designs or images that sit on top of the porcelain’s glaze.
Ceramic dishware can scratch over time, so it's important to handle it with care. Avoid using sharp cutlery on stone plates, as it can cause marks and scratches over time.
To prevent scratches on stoneware, choose the best quality plates and dishes you can afford, made from good quality materials, baked at a high heat, and with good quality hard glazes to protect them.
When stacking plates and bowls, place something protective between each plate, such as paper plates, to prevent scratches.
Dishwashing Products to Use
Use normal dishwashing liquid and a soft sponge to wash ceramic dishware. You can also use baking soda and water to spot clean porcelain. For serious stains, you can soak dishes in a vinegar solution for 2-3 hours to soften them.
Drying and Storage Tips
After washing, rinse your ceramic dishware in cold water to avoid cracks and dry it with a soft towel.
Avoid stacking cups for storage; instead, hang them by the handles or keep them in protector cases with foam.
Store your ceramic dishware in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to avoid weakening the ceramics.
Avoid Extreme Temperature Changes
Ceramic can withstand and handle temperatures up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can be very sensitive to a quick change in temperature. This is called thermal shock, which occurs when different parts of an object expand or contract unevenly due to sudden temperature change, whether hot to cold or cold to hot. This unexpected expansion or contraction puts strain on the object, to the point that it may crack, warp, or even break. Therefore, it is important to avoid exposing ceramic dinnerware to extreme temperatures to prevent it from cracking or shattering.
If you want to use ceramic dinnerware in the oven, you should always check to see if it is oven safe. Some ceramic dinnerware is oven safe, but not all. If the packaging doesn’t state that they are oven-safe, look for an image on the bottom of your dinnerware.
Storing ceramic dinnerware properly is important to prevent breakage and damage. Here are some tips to keep your dinnerware safe:
- Stack plates of similar size together, but don't stack them too high. Stack bowls and dishes in columns of four or six to be safe. Too much weight can cause breakage and abrasion.
- Avoid placing dishes close to each other in the dishwasher as this can result in chipping or cracking. Set the dishwasher at the appropriate temperature and use settings as stated in the manual. As a general rule, avoid using a high heat drying setting for porcelain dinnerware.
- If possible, store dinnerware in a closed cabinet. Stack dinnerware of the same size and shape together to distribute weight evenly. You can also store plates upright in plate racks. To protect the under-rims of dinnerware from chips and cracks during storage, place a paper towel or a piece of fabric between the crockery.
- Instead of stacking cups for storage, hang them by the handles or keep them in protector cases with foam separators.
It's also important to avoid storing your dinnerware in a place where it can be easily knocked over. If you have a glass-fronted sideboard, make sure that the dishes aren’t crowded or touching. You can put a square of chamois leather under each object so it won’t wobble.
If you can't avoid stacking plates, put a few layers of folded acid-free tissue paper or a piece of polyethylene foam between each dish. Even a napkin will do—direct impact is the most likely cause of cracks, chips, and scratches.
Inspect your ceramic dinnerware regularly for cracks or chips. If you notice any damage, stop using the dinnerware immediately.
Read more about caring for ceramic dinnerware.
Alternatives to Ceramic Dinnerware
If ceramic dinnerware isn't the right choice for you, there are several alternatives to consider:
Melamine dinnerware is a type of plastic found in many reusable plates, utensils, and cups. The FDA has ruled that melamine is safe to use. Here are some of the top advantages and disadvantages of using melamine dinnerware:
- Melamine dinnerware is affordable, durable, and reusable.
- It is dishwasher-safe and easy to clean.
- Melamine dinnerware is lightweight and easy to handle.
- Melamine dinnerware is not for use in the microwave.
- Melamine dinnerware is not suitable for serving acidic foods due to melamine migration.
- Melamine can potentially leak into food and drink products if it gets too hot.
Glass dinnerware is usually fired at extremely high temperatures, making it durable and non-porous. Here are some of the top advantages and disadvantages of using glass dinnerware:
- Glass dinnerware is very durable and chip- and crack-resistant.
- It is microwave- and dishwasher-safe.
- Glass dinnerware is eco-friendly and non-toxic.
- Glass dinnerware is prone to uneven heat distribution, making it best suited to dishes like baked pasta, quick breads, and pot pies.
- Glass dinnerware can be hard to find replacements for all your cookware needs.
- Glass dinnerware can crack easily and shatter when dropped.
Metal dinnerware has started to take off in recent years as people decide that trading their plastic cooking tools for metal is the healthier choice. Here are some of the top advantages and disadvantages of using metal dinnerware:
- Metal dinnerware is durable and can last for years.
- It is non-toxic and chemical-free.
- Metal dinnerware is dishwasher-safe and easy to clean.
- Metal utensils are prone to scratches and damage over time, leading to rust and corrosion.
- Some metals, such as copper, are reactive to acidic foods like vinegar, tomato, and lemon.
- Metal dinnerware can be heavy and not easily stackable.
Ceramic dinnerware is a popular choice for everyday use. It's durable, versatile, and eco-friendly. However, it can be fragile, heavy, and prone to staining. When choosing ceramic dinnerware, it's important to consider your personal style, functionality, quality, and budget. With proper care, ceramic dinnerware can last for years to come. If ceramic dinnerware isn't the right choice for you, there are several alternatives to consider, such as melamine, glass, and stainless steel.