Guest post by Kathryn Osborne.
I adopt vintage Pyrex. You know, the cool colorful ones with patterns that used to line the cabinets of generations ago?
My passion for Pyrex began with inspiration from two friends, also Pyrex adopters, and some beautiful pieces given to me from my late grandmother. I saw those pieces of my grandmother’s, and immediately flashed back to big, southern holiday meals filled with family and love.
So why do I say adopter instead of collector? Because I do not go online and pay the absorbent prices of resellers, nor those of the antique stores with shelves full of shiny, yet expensive, Pyrex. Instead I spend my lunch breaks searching thrift stores and my weekends hunting at garage sales for these beautiful dishes of old. I adopt them from the bottom of molding boxes, the top of dusty shelves, the backs of neighbors’ cabinets, and then I clean them up and proudly give them a new life displayed in my kitchen.
Based on my preferred procurement style, I find many of these beautiful pieces in sad shape. There are many tricks to cleaning these; and many require harsh, abrasive chemicals. There are also a few natural options for cleaning vintage Pyrex, and I will share these with you so you can avoid additional damage to any of these oldies-but-goodies hiding out in your kitchen.
- Soak in hot water and give the piece a good old fashion scrub. The hotter the water, the better.
- If that doesn’t do the trick, soak the piece overnight in vinegar and scrub again.
- If that vintage grime is still holding on tight, take a drop of lemon oil, apply to the grub, and work it in well. Lemon oil is a great cleaning agent.
*If the Pyrex still needs work, consider oven cleaner, magic eraser, or Bar Keeper’s Friend. Read up on these products before using, as some can remove design and shine.
The saddest symptom I find is loss of shine. Some pieces have their shine, or a bit of shine, but many have fallen victim to the modern dishwasher. Dishwasher damage, or DWD, is sadly irreversible. For pieces you plan to use and display, it is time to bring out the lemon oil again and give the piece a good coating. Coconut oil can also be used for a more pronounced shine, but if you use the coconut oil, you cannot put the pieces in the oven. They will turn black. Both options can make Pyrex a little slippery, so hold on tight.
That’s all for now, I’m off to the thrift store!
Founder of the Oregon Pyrex Exchange