How do I bring out the color on a vintage cookie jar?


I bought a vintage cookie jar. It looked perfect. When I got home I washed it and now the color looks faded, almost chalky. How can I restore the vibrant color that it was before I washed it?

  12 answers
  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Jun 23, 2020

    Hi Tina, is your water generally high in calcium? Do you normally see cloudiness on your dishes? If you do it may just be a calcium film. I would try spot cleaning it with a soft rag and little white vinegar and see if that works.

    • Tina Tina on Jul 03, 2020

      No, we don't have high calcium. I think the water I put in the sink was just too hot. I will try the soft rag and white vinegar. I was also told a high gloss clear spray. I'll try the vinegar and test a high gloss spray on the bottom.

      Thanks for your help :)

  • Maura White Maura White on Jun 23, 2020

    Do you have a picture of it so we can see it?

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Jun 23, 2020

    If it truly needs repainting, I would try some craft paints. It may not have a baked on glaze finish. Good luck and stay safe!

  • on Jun 23, 2020

    A photo would really help! But maybe a high gloss clear spray paint could help?

  • Recreated Designs Recreated Designs on Jun 23, 2020

    Hi Tina, Unfortunately, if it is vintage and the water did something to the paint you would either need to repaint it and loose the vintage value/look or enjoy it with it's new finish. Does it feel like the clear coat came off when you washed it? Did you use anything other than water?

    • See 1 previous
    • Recreated Designs Recreated Designs on Jul 07, 2020

      Hi Tina, You could definitely try a wax to bring back the shine. I would try in a little inconspicuous spot at the back first though just to make sure that the wax does not take off any of the remaining paint. Wax has to be buffed to be shiny so you want to make sure that when you do that you won't loose any paint if it is chalky now.

  • William William on Jun 23, 2020

    No No No Don't repaint. First try the vinegar on a cloth and see if that helps. If not use Rustoleum Clear gloss spray paint or clear spray glaze from Michaels. Three light coats should do it.

    • Tina Tina on Jul 03, 2020


      I was not going to paint it. I didn't want to lose the natural vintage look. Thank you so much for the advice. I will try that...

      Tina :)

  • Dee Dee on Jun 23, 2020

    I totally agree with William and was going to tell you the same method. Except add a drop or two of Dawn to the vinegar and water mix. Rinse well then get Rustoleum gloss paint or clear lacquer gloss spray paint. Let dry completely before using.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 24, 2020

    Hello Tina,

    Try painting it with Art Acrylics, or maybe Sharpies? Good luck!

  • K. Rupp K. Rupp on Jun 24, 2020

    It looks faded just from washing it? Is the color on the cookie jar painted on? Or is it part of the ceramic? See if the image is part of the ceramic or if it is a film. It might just be a film and wasn't supposed to be washed. It's weird it would do that. I have seen that happen on mugs but only over time when it has been used in the microwave.

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom Holly Lengner - Lost Mom on Jun 24, 2020

    What is the cookie jar make out of? I know they sell restoring sprays and finishes for ceramics.

    • Tina Tina on Jul 03, 2020

      I will look for a restoring spray.

      Thank you very much :)

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Jun 24, 2020


    Is it a solid color or does it have items painted on it? any time you need to wash antique pieces never use anything but warm water and one drop or two of Dawn blue dishwashing detergent that is what antique dealers use on their items.

  • Hi there. This is a very thorough article and it does mention paint that fades when washed called cold paint. It's paint that was applied after an item was fired and glazed. and another

    They don't say how to restore them, but if this is indeed what they were it may help you to know how to bring back the shine.