Before and After: Removing Calcium Deposits from an Antique Jardiniere

I have been looking for this particular “cattail” designed jardinière/flower pot for at least five years now. It all started when I purchased the jardinière pedestal at a garage sale way back when. It had the wrong pot sitting on it, so I asked if it would be possible to just buy the base. Austin and Angela had been told to keep an eye out for a brown and green flower pot with cattails on it. In searching, I have attended tons of auctions, tag sales, garages sales, flea markets and antique malls hoping to find the pot to sit on top of my base. In the meantime, this pedestal sat in a corner of my living room, often being used as a bench by my boys when I wasn’t looking. So finally this weekend it was found at our favorite seller’s booth at a local flea market. Yes! My “cattail” Jardiniere is now complete!

before and after 1

Now for its problems. It does have a small chip and hair-line crack, but I had been looking for it for so long I didn’t bat an eye. And then there is the inside that I didn’t pay much attention to until I got home. It was a bit of a mess.

before and after 2

Have you ever made the decision not to buy an old flower pot or vase because of the build-up of calcium deposits inside of it? Well this is how I  cleaned my must-have piece of vintage pottery. This is a simple process, but remember, old pottery might be more fragile then you think. Take care in doing this. It is always smart to test a small area when trying out new cleaning methods.

I first washed it with warm water and mild dish soap. I had some improvement, but I wanted more. Be careful not to let the pottery slide out of your hands when washing it.

before and after 3

A small amount of dish soap and water.

After letting it sit for a few minutes in the soapy water, I began scrubbing it with a soft scrub brush. I used the rough side of the sponge on the calcium build-up. After rinsing I had this.

before and after 4

It looked much cleaner and most of the dirt removed, but the calcium build-up was still thick.

The next step was soaking it in white vinegar. I was a little leery using vinegar since I have a hair-line crack in my pot, but it didn’t seem to hurt it. I read to soak it for 24 hours, but after 4 I decided to see if I could see any improvements. I emptied the vinegar into another container so save it for more soaking later. Then I rinsed out the inside with water and used a soft scrub brush again.

Here is what I had.

before and after 6

Even better, but still not good enough, so back in the vinegar went. The next morning about eight hours later I checked it again. I didn’t have to do much scrubbing this time and the outcome was exciting.

before and after 7

I am very, very happy with this!

before and after 2


before and after 8


When I find the base I will post a picture, but since our move it has been packed away. Somewhere…

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One Comment

  1. Debra
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Can’t wait to see it on the base. Have never heard of or seen one of these and I love it!

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