Last fall I picked up a few new/old pieces of pottery on etsy to grow
winter bulbs in.  One of the McCoy planters turned out to be too shallow
for bulbs so it sat on my kitchen shelf until I needed a small dish to strip paint
off a few small pieces of hardware that I wanted to put back on the bathroom door.

So I mixed up a little Arm & Hammer washing soda in a few cups of water
and submerged the hardware in the liquid.   I put the dish on an old
cookie sheet and set in the oven just to make sure it was inaccessible
to the cats and came back a few days later.

I found this:

The washing soda, which is sodium carbonite, apparently leached through
fine crazing in the glaze--which I can't even see--and crystalized on the outside
of the dish.  Doesn't it look like coral?

So if a solution can seep through a glazed container, it's understandable how
easily old china pieces can become stained by food and tea.

When I was at Andrew Spindler Antiques in Essex last month, I 
was drawn to a bowl of primitive clothes pins.  They were really
old, handmade, time and use-worn clothes pins...but I was more interested
in the scallop-edged bowl they were sitting in.  

So Andrew dumped out the clothes pins, washed up the bowl and 
wrapped it up in bubble wrap and packed it up...

...with the 1964 Peony Folly Cove print pillow.

(I love that pillow.  It's amazing how a
50-year-old design can still look so current.)

Anyway, the bowl had a brown stain at the bottom so  I thought I'd try
something I recently saw Meg from Pigtown Design use on some stained
china:  letting a solution of Oxiclean go to wok on the stain under the glaze. 

I mixed up one scoopful with about a cup of hot water
and let the solution sit in the bowl all day.  About 12 hours.

And, voila.  Perfect!  

The solution seeped through the glaze and bleached
the porcelain underneath.  Thanks, Meg!