How to Clean Carved Ivory

By China Zmuida
Sculpted Ivory Box

Ivory is a porous material, which means that the care of the material is important. To keep it from yellowing or becoming stained, take steps to ensure that your ivory will look good as new for years to come.

Dust your ivory piece with a soft cloth, to keep it free of dust particles. Don't add any dust polish to your cloth. It isn't necessary. Just a cloth will suffice. If you're touch is too rough, you can scratch the ivory. Since the bone is made of dentine, the material is very soft.

Rinse your pieces in a mild soap and water solution if your ivory becomes greasy or soiled. Never allow your ivory to soak in the solution.

Dry your ivory immediately to prevent it from splitting or cracking.

Dip a cloth in baking soda to rub all over your ivory after it has dried. Wipe the baking soda off with a wet cloth, and dry the ivory.

Whiten your ivory if it is starting to yellow. Mix the juice of one lemon with about 1/2 cup of water. Wipe the ivory with the solution, and then dry it.

Tip

Don't always cover your ivory or keep it in the dark. Ivory does best when it's exposed to light. If it's kept in the dark, it will begin to turn an off-yellow to yellowish color. Keep your ivory in a humid environment. It doesn't do well in a dry, arid environment.

Warning

Never let your ivory pieces soak in water. Never put ivory pieces (i.e. silverware that has ivory) in a dishwasher.