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Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by victoria3 » May 2nd 17 8:50 pm

File Apr 02, 3 39 55 PM.jpeg

As a tea drinker who uses a collection of vintage unglazed teapots, I have over the years found various ways to reset these pots. I have gone through each of these steps below, with good results, so thought I would locate the information in one area for everyone. Recently I got a very dirty old yixing pot and had to go one step further, so am sharing the whole process with you. If you have reset older unglazed pots, or very thin ones, let me know what method you used.

*This is assuming your pot is not super fragile or very thin*
*I have only done this with pots from 1960s forward, older pots may need even greater attention and care*


Awakening Old Yixing (old pot that hasn’t been used for a long time)
1. Leave teapot in filtered or spring water for two days.
2. On day three put teapot into large stovetop pan, with trivet or towel under pot and lid. Simmer the teapot for 30mins-1hr.
3. Turn the power off and let the pot cool down overnight.
4. Next morning rinse with hot water. It may be ready to use, if not repeat or proceed to next step.

Resetting Old Yixing (dirty, smelly)
1. Put a large pan on the stove, lined inside with a cloth or trivet. 3/4 fill with filtered water. The pan should be large enough to completely submerge the teapot.
2. Bring the water to a slow boil, reduce heat to a simmer and gently cook for 1hour.
3. Allow the water to cool with pot inside.
4. Discard water setting pot aside.
5. Refill the pot with filtered water, bring to a boil and add a few tablespoons of the tea leaves that are not fancy or leaves that you used a few times already. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and steep the leaves for 30 minutes. Strain out the leaves and return the teapot to the tea letting it rest overnight.
6. Wash pot with hot water, place pot in bowl, drench with hot water and after a few minutes hand dry with soft cloth and place in sunny spot to thoroughly dry.
7. Fill teapot with just boiled filtered water let cool overnight. Taste water, if distasteful repeat steps 1-6 several times and or proceed below.
8. If teapot water tastes fine use cleaned teapot as a tea pitcher for a week or two to reset pot.

Option1 Filter out leaves Option2 leave in-sm.jpg

If pot is still dirty, moldy or smelly then try the following;
Getting Rid of Discoloration in Yixing
Scrub with Baking Soda, using non abrasive material so not to scratch clay.

if pot is still not clean then;
Follow steps 1-6 in Resetting Old Yixing only also add 1-3TBS Baking Soda & simmer for 1hr.

if pot is still not clean then;
If Discoloration & or Mold remains use Sodium Percarbonate
I’m not using chlorine in this step because chlorine will not penetrate porous surfaces, only the water penetrates, while chlorine stays on surface, leaving mold's roots alive and eventual having mold return. Percarbonate by-products are non-toxic and environmentally safe.

1. Put 1TBS Percarbonate into vessel large enough to submerge teapot into (like pyrex pitcher) & put 1TBS of Percarbonate into teapot.
2. Boil filtered water & pour into pot & holding vessel. Stir the mix. Place lid on teapot.
3. Let it cool & then rinse & lightly scrub where needed again with toothbrush or nonabrasive cloth.
4. Rinse a few times with hot water.
5. Put a large pan on the stove, lined inside with a cloth or trivet. 3/4 fill with filtered water. The pan should be large enough to completely submerge the teapot.
6. Bring the water to a slow boil, reduce heat to a simmer and gently cook for 30 minutes.
7. Discard water setting pot aside.
8. Let it dry completely preferably in the sun.
9. Fill teapot with boiling filtered water and let it sit overnight. If no off taste is present then you can now use the teapot.
10. Use cleaned teapot as a tea pitcher for a week or two to reset pot.
after Baking Soda & Percarbonate-sm.jpg
After boiling in Baking Soda some stains remained. After Percarbonate all stains are gone.
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Last edited by victoria3 on May 2nd 17 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by jayinhk » May 2nd 17 9:07 pm

Nice, I'll have to give the sodium percarbonate a whirl on a few of my pots! Nice little guide. I've used isopropyl alcohol for some stains.

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by William » May 2nd 17 9:10 pm

This is a good practice guide, Victoria. Well done!

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by victoria3 » May 2nd 17 9:17 pm

jayinhk wrote: Nice, I'll have to give the sodium percarbonate a whirl on a few of my pots! Nice little guide. I've used isopropyl alcohol for some stains.
The alcohol removes oil stains?

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by jayinhk » May 3rd 17 2:34 am

victoria3 wrote:
jayinhk wrote: Nice, I'll have to give the sodium percarbonate a whirl on a few of my pots! Nice little guide. I've used isopropyl alcohol for some stains.
The alcohol removes oil stains?
Yes, I even had a pot that was sent over and stained with oil paint! I won't ever use it and I got a full refund, but I got 99% of the paint off with isopropanol. Pity, it's a nice Chaozhou pot.

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by victoria3 » May 3rd 17 2:57 am

jayinhk wrote:
victoria3 wrote:
jayinhk wrote: Nice, I'll have to give the sodium percarbonate a whirl on a few of my pots! Nice little guide. I've used isopropyl alcohol for some stains.
The alcohol removes oil stains?
Yes, I even had a pot that was sent over and stained with oil paint! I won't ever use it and I got a full refund, but I got 99% of the paint off with isopropanol. Pity, it's a nice Chaozhou pot.
Interesting. By the way, I don't think thin Chaozhou pots can take the heat vibration of a 30min-1hr simmer. What do you think?

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by williammimi70 » May 3rd 17 5:41 am

Thank you very much
I have a few old teapots and I will try this method :D

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by victoria3 » May 3rd 17 6:19 am

williammimi70 wrote: Thank you very much
I have a few old teapots and I will try this method :D
Perfect, if you go to step 2 just make sure not to let the lid or pot rattle in the stove top pot-and protect with cloth or trivot and keep a watchful eye-ear.

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by williammimi70 » May 3rd 17 6:30 am

victoria3 wrote:
williammimi70 wrote: Thank you very much
I have a few old teapots and I will try this method :D
Perfect, if you go to step 2 just make sure not to let the lid or pot rattle in the stove top pot-and protect with cloth or trivot and keep a watchful eye-ear.
Thank you
I will be careful :D

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by jayinhk » May 3rd 17 7:21 am

victoria3 wrote:
jayinhk wrote:
victoria3 wrote:
jayinhk wrote: Nice, I'll have to give the sodium percarbonate a whirl on a few of my pots! Nice little guide. I've used isopropyl alcohol for some stains.
The alcohol removes oil stains?
Yes, I even had a pot that was sent over and stained with oil paint! I won't ever use it and I got a full refund, but I got 99% of the paint off with isopropanol. Pity, it's a nice Chaozhou pot.
Interesting. By the way, I don't think thin Chaozhou pots can take the heat vibration of a 30min-1hr simmer. What do you think?
I never boil or simmer pots anymore. I would just rinse and soak in boiling water, or fill with boiling water and pour out repeatedly. If that isn't enough, then I would move onto mild abrasives and chemicals

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by victoria3 » May 3rd 17 5:27 pm

jayinhk wrote:
victoria3 wrote:
jayinhk wrote:
victoria3 wrote:
jayinhk wrote: Nice, I'll have to give the sodium percarbonate a whirl on a few of my pots! Nice little guide. I've used isopropyl alcohol for some stains.
The alcohol removes oil stains?
Yes, I even had a pot that was sent over and stained with oil paint! I won't ever use it and I got a full refund, but I got 99% of the paint off with isopropanol. Pity, it's a nice Chaozhou pot.
Interesting. By the way, I don't think thin Chaozhou pots can take the heat vibration of a 30min-1hr simmer. What do you think?
I never boil or simmer pots anymore. I would just rinse and soak in boiling water, or fill with boiling water and pour out repeatedly. If that isn't enough, then I would move onto mild abrasives and chemicals
If the pot is not to thin, or centuries old, simmering doesn't damage a pot as long as one is cautious, keeping an eye on the simmer, and making sure no ratteling is going on. A trivot and or a cloth inside the stove top pot is important also, as well as letting teapot rest in pot for a while before removing.

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by jayinhk » May 3rd 17 7:10 pm

victoria3 wrote:
jayinhk wrote:
victoria3 wrote:
jayinhk wrote:
victoria3 wrote:
jayinhk wrote: Nice, I'll have to give the sodium percarbonate a whirl on a few of my pots! Nice little guide. I've used isopropyl alcohol for some stains.
The alcohol removes oil stains?
Yes, I even had a pot that was sent over and stained with oil paint! I won't ever use it and I got a full refund, but I got 99% of the paint off with isopropanol. Pity, it's a nice Chaozhou pot.
Interesting. By the way, I don't think thin Chaozhou pots can take the heat vibration of a 30min-1hr simmer. What do you think?
I never boil or simmer pots anymore. I would just rinse and soak in boiling water, or fill with boiling water and pour out repeatedly. If that isn't enough, then I would move onto mild abrasives and chemicals
If the pot is not to thin, or centuries old, simmering doesn't damage a pot as long as one is cautious, keeping an eye on the simmer, and making sure no ratteling is going on. A trivot and or a cloth inside the stove top pot is important also, as well as letting teapot rest in pot for a while before removing.
While that is true, I just don't see the point. If hot water won't remove it, boiling won't either, and as far as seasoning, I've noticed no difference with identical clay pots that are rinsed and seasoned without the boil/simmer vs pots that are simmered in tea.

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by Zared » May 3rd 17 11:30 pm

I did it years ago because everyone said we should. I don't see a point in doing it anymore. Now I just scrub an unused pot with warm water to remove any dust/clay. Then I'll over brew cheap tea in and it's ready to go. If it's dirty or moldy than I'll give it a bleach bath. Soak in fresh hot water a few times. I'll finish it with a tea soak.

I suspect the origins of boiling came about outta people's fear of using bleach.

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Re: Awakening & Resetting Unglazed Ceramics/ Yixing from Discoloration, Staining & Mold

by victoria3 » May 4th 17 1:11 am

Seems we each have our own encounters with dirty, smelly, moldy pots. In my case, as you can see from the 1st before & after picture, there were years of solid residue and what looked like mold. I didn't want to take any chances with the mold so took the cleaning a step further than usual using Sodium Percarbonate to go deeper than Clorox bleach would. Clorox bleach will only remove mold on the surface, it does not penetrate a porous surface or reach out of site spores & their tentacles, percarbonate does penetrate though.

Yixing is somewhat porous,with tinny pores all over, the advantage of simmering in fresh water is that it helps to remove a greater amount of residue left over from the last user and or storage mildew. If the pot is not very dirty then this step might not be necessary. Prolonged exposure to high heat during simmering helps to unclog those small pores giving them a deep cleansing bath.