Crystal awards, plaques, and trophies are stunning out of the box and send their message beautifully for years to come. Though durable, these awards require upkeep to continue looking their best through the years, no matter where they’re displayed. Let’s go over how to properly care for your plaques and trophies without risking any damage to the material or its engravings.
Keeping Your Crystal Looking New
Crystal has a distinct advantage over metal or wood trophies, as time and moisture rarely have too much of an impact on the material itself. Most recipients won’t notice any changes to their award for a long time, and that’s part of why we at Crystal Central believe so much in these stunning gifts.
Still, owners should take steps to protect and preserve their crystal for as long as possible. Luckily, these steps are easy to incorporate into your usual cleaning routine and require no special chemicals or expensive cleaning supplies.
A Proper Cleaning Schedule
A good place to start is with a great cleaning schedule. If you display your awards in the office, it’s worthwhile to take some time to dust off any framed photos, important objects, books, and your award. This makes for a cleaner workspace and a more presentable office as well. In places with a lot of foot traffic, a weekly dusting ensures that the cleaning process is fast and easy every time.
There’s less of an incentive to keep up with a weekly clean at home. While frequent dusting does protect your award, dusting your award at least once a month is good enough to keep it glimmering where it stands.
The Right Tools for the Job
How you clean your award matters. Ideally, you should only use microfiber cloths or soft rags to clean the object’s surface. These cloths are gentle and unlikely to lead to any scratching or smudging during cleaning. Avoid cleaning your award with the same cloth that you use to clean a shelf or desk, as it can carry large specs of dirt and press them into the award as you wipe it down. In a pinch, a paper towel does the trick.
Cleaning Beyond Dust and Fingerprints
If you need to clean your award beyond a gentle dusting or wipe down, avoid spraying any liquid directly onto the surface. Warm water is ideal for cleaning the award, but if a stain, mark, or substance just isn’t budging, you have options.
Heavily diluted white vinegar can help lift grime so you can wipe it away. Remember to only spray the diluted vinegar onto a cloth, not the surface of the award itself. If your mixture is too acidic, you may damage the award’s material. Continuously cleaning with high-acidity liquids wears away at the award over time. Other chemical substances are also options, but in general, it’s best to start with warm water and consider anything else a last resort.
Protecting Your Engraving
Perhaps the most important aspect of any award is its engraving. Whether your name, an explanation of your accomplishment, or a personal message from a friend, these words give the award more meaning. However, the inscriptions are also the perfect trap for dust and dirt. Not every swipe of a soft towel can lift dust out of these crevices, so use other techniques.
Tiny Tools for Tiny Spaces
If a microfiber cloth isn’t cutting it, it’s time to turn to tiny tools. Cotton swabs are great for getting into larger engravings. A soft-bristled toothbrush can easily handle the rest. Remember to clean in brush strokes instead of scrubbing or grinding when using either tool. The goal is to lift the dirt and dust out of the engraving and wipe with the proper cloth immediately after.
Preventing Dust and Dirt Buildup
The need to clean your award is inevitable, but there are steps you can take to make cleaning less intensive and frequent. Here are some ideas on how to prevent dust and dirt buildup from detracting from the appearance of your plaques and trophies.
Finding the Perfect Display
Display cases are truly the ideal solution for protecting your award from the dirt of the outside world. Lit glass displays truly accentuate an award’s presence while preventing dust from settling into the engravings or notches of the design. However, the trade-off is that you now need to give the display itself a quick wipe down now and then.
Shelves and desks are the most common places to keep awards when a display case isn’t feasible. While these areas do expose an award to dust, the bigger cleaning concern is everything else that happens in that area. Eating at the same desk as a trophy comes with a chance of getting food on the award or spilling beverages on it, and cleaning soda out of an engraving is far from ideal. The best way to keep an award clean is to put it somewhere visible but difficult to disturb.
Moving the Plaque or Trophy
Moving the plaque or trophy presents new opportunities for dust and dirt buildup to occur. As you pack an award, consider wrapping it in a soft cloth before surrounding it with protective materials like packing peanuts, shaped Styrofoam, or bubble wrap. Effective labeling on the box prevents it from getting tossed around and makes it easy for you to keep the trophy away from the bustle and mess of moving or home renovation. It’s easiest to treat your award in the same way you would figurines or expensive dishes and keep it grouped with those items until you unpack it.
At Crystal Central, we proudly offer high-quality, long-lasting crystal gifts that commemorate achievements for years to come. We hope that this guide on how to properly care for your plaques and trophies extends the lifetime and beauty of your awards even further. Perhaps adding a quick dusting of your award into your cleaning routine gives you a reason to reflect on your accomplishments and take pride in the work you’ve done!