Chinese lacquer can be cleaned by lightly dusting with a cloth made of natural fibers such as cotton. It can be wiped down with a slightly damp cloth. Chinese lacquer should never be submerged in water or left with water sitting on it because it can damage the structure of the piece.
Chinese lacquer has been around for many centuries and is often considered one of the first plastics that existed. The Chinese used this method to cover important structures and other objects. They obtained the lacquer from the sap of various trees and poured it over the objects that were valuable. The lacquer was left to harden with temperature changes often induced to help it harden faster. Once it was hard, it was able to provide a protective layer on the objects that it covered. Some Chinese lacquered pieces were fitted with embellishments and stones to make them appear more valuable.
Although it has been around for centuries, it can still be extremely delicate. Due to the age of most Chinese lacquer pieces, they can be extremely fragile and susceptible to the elements around them. It is important to never use commercial cleaners and to keep them out of direct sunlight.