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by Abigail Van Buren

Ink Stains Mar Great-Grandmother's China

DEAR ABBY: Twenty years ago, I inherited eight place settings of china that belonged to my great-grandmother. I had no place to display it, so I carefully wrapped each piece in newspaper and put them inside a hard-sided plastic tote.

When I moved into my current apartment five years ago, my mother was helping me unpack, and we wanted to put the china set in a cupboard above the refrigerator. When we started unpacking, we found many of the pieces had become stained from the ink in the newspaper.

Abby, my mother and I are heartbroken. My great-grandmother collected each piece of this set with Green Stamps during World War II, and I hate that it's now damaged. Do you know of a way I can safely get this staining out of the china? -- HEARTBROKEN IN MINNESOTA

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: I researched your question at and found several suggestions for removing newsprint stains from dishes. One involves using a pencil eraser; another, a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. However, if you are afraid these methods could further damage your china set, call the nearest art museum and speak with someone in their restoration department. I wish you and your mother good luck.

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