Can You Fix Your Broken Dishware With Milk?

While videos and articles circulating the internet claim that placing cracked dishware, like fine china or ceramics, into warm milk will mend the item, this hack likely won't prove effective. It's true that milk contains a protein called casein that has adhesive properties, but letting your broken dishes sit in milk for two days won't form casein glue. The process of creating glue from milk is more complicated and time-consuming than these videos let on. Combining an acid, such as vinegar, with milk and heating it will form curds that can be made into glue, but depending on how much fat is in the dairy product, it might not be very strong.

Using skim milk to make glue is the best way to get a sturdy adhesive, but it may not work the way you want it to. While casein won't dissolve in water, it may be exposed to microorganisms, such as bacteria, when washed. These microscopic creatures will eat at and break down the glue, eventually rendering it ineffective.

How to fix pieces of broken dishware

While soaking it in milk won't save your shattered plate, there are other ways to fix broken porcelain or ceramic dishware. For example, an epoxy resin adhesive and hardener can help you put your plate or cup back together again. First, make sure the damaged china is totally clean, and then lay out the pieces. After figuring out how they fit together, you'll need to decide the order in which to glue them, though it's generally easier to mend the larger pieces first. Combine the adhesive and hardener before gently applying the mixture to your first two fragments. Once the glue is in place, push the pieces together and wipe off any excess epoxy. Repeat this process with all of the broken pieces.

After reassembling your dishware, the broken pieces will need to be fastened together until the adhesive is dry, or about 24 hours. Depending on the shape of the dish, you could use masking tape or rubber bands. For more delicate or intricately shaped pieces, try putting them in a box of sand to hold them together.

How to repair cracked or chipped dishware

Chips or cracks in porcelain and ceramics can also be repaired with epoxy resin. For a small crack in fine china, place the porcelain in the oven, set it to preheat at a low temperature, and leave it there while you mix your epoxy. Take it out of the oven once you notice the crack expanding and fill the fractured area with your glue. Place a piece of masking tape over the spot and as the dish cools, the crack should close and the glue will harden.

If you've chipped your favorite ceramic plate, a little epoxy putty, acrylic latex paint, and a shellac sealant can fix it. Take a small piece of putty and place it over the chip, pressing it to fill in the empty space. Once it's dry, you can use sandpaper to level it out to the height of the ceramic and brush it with latex paint that matches the color of your dish. After that's dried, adding an acrylic shellac sealant will help everything stay in place and give it a shine.

When repairing dishes that are used often, it's important to look for adhesives and sealants that are food-safe and heat-resistant. If your broken dishware has a lot of sentimental or monetary value, taking it to a professional to be restored is likely the best option.