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While the tree is the center of attention during the holidays, your keepsake ornaments are the pieces that reflect the light and carry fond memories for most of us.  And the most delicate pieces--whether handmade by little hands in years past or fragile glass heirlooms--may need cleaning to keep their sparkle through the season.
 
Gather needed materials:  a soft pair of cotton gloves to prevent the natural oils in your hands from damaging paint or adding grime, a soft, lint-free cotton cloth, mild cleaner and water in spray bottles, paste wax, cotton swabs, a feather duster or small soft-bristled paint brush, electrostatic fabric (like Swiffer), warm water and a hair dryer. Polishing creams for silver or metallics too.

For glass, wood or plastic:  First wipe ornaments with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove dust.  Spritz a cloth with mild cleaner to wipe off spots or stains.  Be VERY careful not to use too much or wipe too much (Mercury glass ornaments should NOT be cleaned with anything but a dry cloth.) Stubborn, old film may disappear with a rub of paste wax.  Carefully buff until it shines.  Use the cotton swabs to clean small crevices.

For gold or silver plate:  Wipe with a DRY cotton cloth in a circular motion.  Then use polishing cream and a soft cloth to carefully restore shine.

Crystal, porcelain or glittered ornaments:  Dust with a feather duster or small paint brush.  Tamp carefully with an electrostatic cloth for more stubborn dust.

Wax ornaments:  Use warm water and a soft cloth or swabs to clean.  Then use a hair dryer on low to soften and reshape wax as necessary.

Paper, cardboard, pine cones:  Dust  top to bottom with a soft paint brush.  If dust is stubborn, spritz the brush with warm water only first...just until barely damp.

To Restore or Repair:  Touch-up lacquered ornaments with gilding paint or acrylic metallic paints found at craft stores.  You can refresh glitter using a small paintbrush to add glue over existing glitter, then roll it carefully in new glitter.

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