Melamine dishes are popular with restaurants and caterers because of their beauty and durability. These dishes come in an array of colors, designs, and sizes and are perfect for just about any occasion.
Although melamine dishes offer many advantages, they require special care to keep them looking like new. A few simple steps help you care for these dishes so they remain beautiful for many years of service.
What Are Melamine Dishes?
Melamine is a popular material for dishes. Manufacturers use melamine-formaldehyde resin and form it into various shapes using heat. After this heating process, a small amount of melamine remains in the plastic.
A German scientist created melamine in 1834. Manufacturers form melamine from hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon. It was not until the 1930s that manufacturers began using melamine to make dishes.
Melamine dishes became popular then and now remain because they are practically unbreakable. These durable dishes hold up well for many years without breaking down as long as they receive proper care. Properly cleaning melamine dishes is critical for keeping them performing well over the years.
How to Clean Melamine Dishes
As with many other dishes, including porcelain, there are specific steps for cleaning melamine dishes. Ideally, hand wash all melamine dishes and never use any scrubbers that could cause scratches and mar the surface.
Using a soft sponge and a gentle degreasing dish soap is the best way to keep melamine plates, bowls, and cups beautiful. With stuck-on food, you should soak the dishes in warm soapy water for a few minutes to loosen the debris. Never use any metal scrapers to remove stuck-on food from plates and bowls.
Can You Wash Melamine Dishes in the Dishwasher?
You can wash melamine dishes in the dishwasher. Many restaurants use these dishes in service and ensure they are clean and sanitized using dishwashers. Like all other types of dinnerware, pre-rinsing ensures melamine plates, bowls, and cups come out of the dishwasher clean.
How to Remove Stains from Melamine Dishes
The number one reason people experience food stains on their melamine dishes is that they are not following the proper cleaning steps. Sauces and foods allowed to sit on melamine plates will cause staining. Tomato-based foods are the number one type to stain melamine dishes.
Make sure to rinse the dishes to remove any food residue immediately. Allowing sauces and food particles to dry on the plates leads to staining. If staining occurs, an oxygen-releasing compound and dishwashing machine powder form a powerful stain remover.
Create a solution of an oxygen-releasing compound and dishwasher powder in a sink of warm water. Allow the dishes to sit for at least four hours in this solution. After four hours, you may scrub the dishes with a non-abrasive pad. If the stain does not respond after four hours, you may need to soak it overnight.
Can You Use Bleach to Clean Melamine Dishes?
Never use bleach to clean melamine dishes. Bleach is corrosive and can break down the surface of melamine dishes. Over time, bleaching this material leads to damage that results in deep staining and greater melamine leaching. Avoid using caustic materials when cleaning melamine.
How to Remove Gray Stains on Melamine Dishes
Melamine can develop a gray film that dulls the surface area of these dishes. Some people think the gray stains are caused by food, but they result from hard water. If you have hard water, washing by hand or in the dishwasher will leave behind stains over time.
Many people recommend cleaning gray stains on melamine with a denture cleansing tablet. Drop a tablet in lukewarm water and allow it to sit until dissolved. Use this liquid to clean the stains.
Some people use baking soda to remove this buildup of hard minerals, but it is gritty and can scratch your dishes. Be careful when using baking soda. Although effective, a baking soda paste could cause damage to your dishes if used improperly.
How to Clean Knife Marks
Over time, melamine dishes can become marred with knife marks, especially in commercial kitchens. These knife marks can leave behind embedded food particles and dirt that become unsanitary.
Cleaning the knife marks requires a soft toothbrush and a little elbow grease. If the marks are caused by grease, a common dish liquid will clean them with a little scrubbing.
If the marks have embedded grime from years of improper cleaning, you may need to use baking soda and a medium toothbrush to free this gunk and ensure the dishes are clean again.
What Are the Benefits of Melamine Dishes?
Benefits abound when using melamine dishes. Those considering this material for their dinnerware should consider the following advantages.
- Melamine is hardwearing and can last for decades with proper care.
- This material is scratch-resistant with normal use. Knives can dig into the material over time and cause scratches. Use care to avoid cutting food on this dinnerware.
- Melamine dinnerware is lightweight, making it easy to use.
- Melamine dinnerware is beautiful, cleans easily, and is dishwasher-safe.
Keep Your Melamine Dinnerware Beautiful
Proper cleaning is essential for keeping melamine dinnerware sanitary and beautiful. Owners should wash melamine dishes immediately after a meal. Allowing food debris to sit on plates, cups, and bowls leaves behind stains.
Melamine is one of the most versatile materials, allowing for the creation of beautiful dinnerware pieces that are often indistinguishable from crockery without the worries of breakage and scratches.
Hand wash your melamine dishes for the best results. Dishwashers are considered safe for melamine dishes, but practice caution. Over time, constant exposure to higher dishwasher temperatures can lead to dulling.
If stains develop, they arise from improper care. Rinsing the dishes immediately after eating will help you avoid unsightly stains. When stains arise, a simple soak can often remove them.
Melamine dishes are beautiful and economical. Do not use these dishes in the microwave, and keep them away from high-heat sources. Proper care will keep your dishes beautiful for many years to come.