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Caring for Melamine Dishes and Glasses: What You Need to Know About Stains and How to Remove Them

Caring for Melamine Dishes and Glasses: What You Need to Know About Stains and How to Remove Them - bzyoo

Melamine dishes and glassware are durable, heat-resistant, and lightweight material, which makes it easy for diners and servers to carry them. This dishware is available in several forms, with saucers, plates, trays, cups, and cutlery options from which users can choose. Melamine dishes are produced in many styles and colors, making it an easy and affordable way to enhance a table setting. In this guide, we’ll explain what melamine is and discuss how to care for and remove stains from melamine dishware.

Melamine: What’s It Made Of?

Melamine is made of a nitrogen-rich chemical compound with an organic base. Its heat resistance and durability make it the perfect material with which strong dinnerware, cutlery, and drinking glasses are produced. Melamine’s well-known durability is created by combining resins with hardeners, and tableware is sold in a wide selection of shapes, colors, and designs.

Quality Matters

While there’s no official grading system for melamine tableware, many manufacturers sell their products based on density and weight. All melamine dishes and glasses are lightweight and durable, but the quality may vary.

Lower-quality melamine products tend to be less dense, making them a less expensive option. Luxury melamine tableware is heavier and denser, but much lighter than porcelain. High-quality melamine plates and glasses are more resistant to stains, so they’re popular among restaurant owners.

Frequently Asked Questions About Melamine Dishware

The durability and affordability of melamine tableware are two of its best qualities, but safety concerns make some potential users ask whether other types of dinnerware may be a better buy. From microwave use to cleaning, we’ll answer some melamine FAQs in the paragraphs below.

  • Is it safe? While some studies have questioned the safety of these dishes, the Food and Drug Administration’s Safety and Risk Assessment of Melamine says that melamine tableware is safe to use. If food is kept at 160°F or below, it will not absorb the chemicals found in melamine.
  • Does melamine contain BPA? Some melamine dishes and flatware contain BPA at acceptable levels. However, many sellers offer BPA-free products that meet the NSF’s safety requirements.
  • Can melamine dishes be put in the dishwasher? Melamine glasses and dishes are dishwasher safe, as they can handle high temperatures. Furthermore, melamine’s heat retention properties allow it to dry faster than conventional dinnerware.
  • Is it safe to put melamine dishes in the microwave? No, these dishes are not safe for microwave use. Although melamine can withstand high temperatures, it shouldn’t be heated while full of food.
  • What causes stains on melamine dishware? Calcium and magnesium are the most common causes of melamine stains. When these minerals mix with proteins from food residue, the buildup sticks to the dishes, giving them a stained, cloudy appearance that worsens with time. 
  • Is there anyone who should not use melamine? Although melamine dishware is a common choice in commercial foodservice, it is not the right choice for everyone. For an example, if an establishment uses steak knives and heat lamps, melamine dishes may not be appropriate.

When melamine dishware is well maintained, it shouldn’t stain or become discolored. If it does, though, these handling and care tips may help restore its color and luster.

Melamine Handling

When using and caring for melamine dishware, it is important to remember that heat is its main vulnerability. If these dishes and glasses are exposed to high heat over extended periods, they may break, blister, discolor, and stain.

Although these dishes are durable, handling them carefully will prevent staining and damage. Do not strike melamine dishes against other surfaces and avoid throwing them into the sink. To prevent staining and scratches on melamine surfaces, minimize the use of serrated knives.

Cleaning and Stain Removal

Melamine tableware is technically dishwasher safe, but there are a few stain removal and mitigation tips to consider. Prevent stains by washing used dishes as soon as possible and following this list of melamine cleaning tips.

  • Do rinse dishes immediately after use. 
  • Do wipe away food residue.
  • Do pre-soak dishes.
  • Do not use bleach to sanitize or clean melamine dishware.
  • Do not scrub dishes with a scouring pad.
  • Do not submerge melamine bowls, plates, and cups in boiling water, as the products may soften when they absorb heat.

Vinegar is a natural stain remover that works well on melamine. Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and hot water before allowing the dishes to soak for ten minutes or more. After soaking the dishes, scrub the stains with a mild detergent and rinse.

Soak tableware in a bleach-free detergent twice a month to maintain cleanliness after stain removal. Allow the dishes to soak for up to an hour for best results. If stains are set in, add an oxygen-releasing cleaner to the soaking solution.

Rinsing and Polishing Melamine Tableware

When cleaning melamine dishes, be sure to rinse thoroughly. If a stain persists, repeat the cleansing process as often as needed. Once you've rinsed the dishes, dry them with a soft towel before storing them in a clean cupboard.

Handling Dishes With Care

Quality melamine dishware feels and looks like porcelain, and most products are polished to a high gloss. These plates and cups are durable enough to withstand short drops, but they will chip if handled roughly. If you’re looking for a long-lasting dish solution, choosing melamine tableware will help you save money.

Replacing Stained Melamine Dishware

Even with proper cleansing and stain removal, an occasional dish replacement may be necessary. Serving a meal on scratched or stained dishes may leave an unfavorable impression, as a stained dish can look dirty even after cleaning and sanitization. By following these tips and replacing pieces when necessary, you’ll keep guests happy while gaining valuable peace of mind.

Proper Care Makes Melamine Plates, Cups, and Bowls Last

Melamine dishware is durable and lightweight, and that’s why it’s so popular among home and commercial cooks. Now that you’ve learned how to care for these dishes, consider bringing some melamine dishes into your kitchen today.