What Is The Difference Between Stoneware And Earthenware Clay? (Explore The Similarity And Complexity)




Are you tired of exploring the similarities and complexity about what is the difference between stoneware and earthenware? If so, then you are not alone; many people among us are grappling with this question as well as me. After a long time of research, I can accumulate all the differences between stoneware and earthenware. One of the main differences between earthenware and stoneware is

What Is The Difference Between Stoneware And Earthenware Clay

The firing temperature. Earthenware clay is fired at low to medium temperatures. On the other hand, Stoneware clay is fired at high temperatures.

 I also find out many interesting things. Read the full article now, pick up your all answers, and ensure when you choose earthenware and stoneware also know the cleaning process finally storing tips. So, let’s dive in.

Key Findings

  • The primary difference between stoneware and earthenware is their firing temperatures. Stoneware requires higher temperatures and earthenware low.
  • Earthenware is ideal for decorative pieces and is well-suited for functional items like dinnerware.
  • When choosing between earthenware and stoneware, consider the intended use of earthenware for decorative items and stoneware for durable, functional pieces.

What Is Earthenware Clay And Stoneware Clay?

Earthenware Clay:

Earthenware Clay is the most common type of clay found naturally in the soil. When we heard earthenware a common question arose in our mind that is what is earthenware clay made of? Earthenware is typically made of a combination of minerals, ball clay, kaoline clay, silica, feldspar, and other organic materials.

It is popular for being easy to use and needs a low temperature (around 1100 to 2100 degrees fahrenheit)to fire. Earthenware is porous, which means it absorbs water unless it’s glazed. Earthenware pieces allow you to make decorative items, and types of pottery items. Earthenware products, like vases, pots, dishes, and bowls.

Let’s discuss what is stoneware clay.

Stoneware Clay:

Stoneware Clays are a type of clay that is Made of naturally in the soil and used in pottery. Stoneware fired at higher temperatures (around 2100 to 2300 degrees fahrenheit). After firing, stoneware becomes a nonporous, glossy finish even without glazes, that’s means it doesn’t absorb water.

That’s why it is used for functional items like dinnerware. After firing, the color of the earthenware might change (the range of color changing from light grey or tan to dark brown). It depends on the type of clay.

What Is The Difference Between Stoneware And Earthenware Clay?

Here is the difference between earthenware and stoneware clay:

Earthenware Clay And Stoneware Clay
CharacteristicStoneware ClayEarthenware Clay
Made of a Type of ceramic materialFound naturally in the soil.
Firing Temperature Need the highest Firing Need Low Firing 
Fired Klin or Not It is better to fire stoneware clay in a klinYou can fire earthenware without klin, and bisque firing.
Possibility Of Firing Temperature around 1100 to 2100 degrees Fahrenheitaround 2100 to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit
PorosityLow Porosity.Non-porousHigher porosity. Smooth texture.Porous nature.
DurabilityMore durable than earthenware Less Durable.
Cracking PossibilitiesLow cracking possibilityThe possibility of cracking is higher than stoneware.
Appearance:It has a glass-like finish.Have a rustic appearance
GlazeGlazes may be used, But without glazing, it is also good.Typically requires glazes and sealing.
Common UseCommonly used for functional and decorative pottery.Commonly used for decorative items, dishes, and artware.
CostPretty ExpensiveReasonable 
ExamplesDinnerware, mugs,bakeware, etc.Flowers, pots, decorative items.

The above-mentioned table clears your confusion about What is the difference between stoneware and earthenware clay class.

 When To Choose Earthenware Or Stoneware Clay?

1. Earthenware Clay

This type of clay is typically chosen for its versatility and ease of use. 

When To Choose Earthenware Or Stoneware Clay
  • It’s ideal for beginners because it’s soft, easy to shape, and doesn’t require a high temperature to fire. 
  • Earthenware is perfect for decorative pieces or  earthenware pottery that won’t be used for cooking or holding liquids, as it is more porous and less durable than stoneware.
  • If you choose an earthenware pot for cooking, then ensure your earthenware has a food-safe glaze.

On the other hand,

2. Stoneware Clay 

Stoneware clay is much more durable and resistant. It’s fired at a higher temperature, which makes it waterproof even without glaze.

  •  Stoneware is safe for food. This makes it an excellent choice for functional items like dinnerware, mugs, baking dishes, etc.

In summary, If you’re creating decorative items or are new to pottery making, earthenware is the best choice due to its workability and lower firing temperature requirement. 

However, If you’re creating regular dinnerware, then stoneware would be a better option due to its durability and resistance.

So, if you are thinking, Which is better earthenware or stoneware? Both are best; one is for decorative items, and the other one is for dinnerware. Hopefully, it is clear  What is earthenware clay best for and stoneware.

The Best Ways To Clean Stoneware And Earthenware

Here are the step-by-step cleaning guides 

The Best Ways To Clean Stoneware And Earthenware

Step #1:Arrange All Materials:

You will need

  • Warm Water
  • Mild Dishes
  • Soap
  • A soft Cloth
  • Sponge
  • Baking Soda
  • Stubborn Stains

Step #2: Rinse First

Before you start cleaning, rinse your stoneware and earthenware under warm water to remove any loose dirt.

Step #3: Use Mild Soap

Apply a small amount of mild dish soap to a soft cloth or sponge. Gently scrub the surface of your stoneware and earthenware in circular motions.

Step #4: Stubborn Stain

Make a paste with baking soda and water (3 teaspoons baking soda to 1 teaspoon water). Apply this paste to the stain and let it sit for about 15 minutes before gently scrubbing it away with a soft cloth or sponge.

Step #5: Rinse Again 

After you’ve cleaned your stoneware and earthenware, rinse them again under warm water to remove any remaining soap residue.

Step #6: Dry Properly

Dry your pieces thoroughly after washing them to prevent moisture.

Step #7: Regular Maintenance

Regularly clean your stoneware and earthenware after each use to keep them looking their best for years to come.

Step #8: Avoid Dishwasher Use 

While some modern pieces may be dishwasher-safe, earthenware and stoneware are not safe for dishwashers. Traditional stoneware and earthenware should be hand washed only, as high temperatures can cause cracking or warping over time.

Step #9: Don’t Soak In Water For Long Periods 

Stoneware is porous, so avoid soaking these items in water for long periods, as this can lead to cracking when they dry out.   

Step #10: Use Soft Brushes 

For intricate designs on the pottery, use soft brushes like toothbrushes to clean the crevices without damaging the pottery.

Step By Step Guide To Store Your Earthenware And Stoneware

Step 1: Clean Your Earthenware And Stoneware

Before storing your earthenware and stoneware, make sure they are thoroughly cleaned. Use a soft sponge or cloth to gently clean the surface with warm water and mild dish soap. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools, as they can damage the finish of your pottery.

Step By Step Guide To Store Your Earthenware And Stoneware

Step 2: Dry Completely

After washing, dry your earthenware and stoneware completely. Any moisture left on the pottery can lead to mold growth during storage. You can air-dry them or use a soft towel.

Step 3: Wrap Each Piece Individually 

Wrap each piece of earthenware and stoneware individually in bubble wrap or packing paper. Make sure all parts of the pottery are covered, especially any protruding parts like handles.

Step 4: Choose The Right Storage Container 

Choose a container that is large enough to hold all your pieces without crowding. Plastic bins with lids are often a good choice because they protect against dust.

Step 5: Layer The Bottom Of The Container 

Before placing any items in the container, layer the bottom with crumpled packing paper or bubble wrap for extra cushioning.

Step 6: Place Heavier Items At The Bottom

Always place heavier items at the bottom of your storage container first..

Step 7: Fill Empty Spaces With Packing Material

After placing all items in the container, fill any empty spaces. Such as crumpled newspaper, foam peanuts, etc., to prevent movement.

Step 8: Store In A Cool, Dry Place 

Finally, store your containers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Terracotta Earthenware?

Most people are confused about whether is Terracotta a stoneware or earthenware. Yes, terracotta is a type of earthenware. Terracotta is a clay-based ceramic that is often porous and is typically fired at low to medium temperatures.

How Do I Know If My Clay Is Earthenware Or Stoneware?

It’s very simple to figure out if your clay is earthenware or stoneware; just check your clay body  or clay particles’ firing temperature. If it’s fired at a lower temperature, then it is earthenware. On the other hand,  Stoneware is fired at high temperatures.

The Main Difference Between Stoneware Vs Ceramic?

The main difference between stoneware and ceramic is their composition and firing temperatures. Stoneware is a type of ceramic that is fired at high temperatures. On the other hand, ceramic is a broader category of various materials, including earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. 

The Main Difference Between Earthenwere Vs Porceline?

The main difference between earthenware and porcelain clay is their firing temperatures. Earthenware is fired at lower temperatures and is more porous, making it suitable for decorative items. Porcelain, fired at higher temperatures, is used for fine dinnerware and decorative pieces.


After reading the whole article it is easy for you to define what is the difference between stoneware and earthenware clay. Now you can choose the right material for your project and also clean your project nicely way as a result you will get a new feel.

You can also store your favorite project safely.

About the author

Written By

William Prince

William Prince

Meet William Prince!

With over 20 years of ceramic artistry experience, William Prince is not just a skilled potter; he’s a passionate guide to your pottery journey. William holds a Fine Arts degree specialized in pottery and he was also nurtured under the guidance of renowned potters. With over two decades of experience, he seamlessly blends tradition with contemporary aesthetics.

William’s inspiration stems from nature’s imperfections, translating them into unique, organic pottery pieces. As a patient and warm-hearted teacher, he’s known for conducting pottery workshops and classes, nurturing talents with his expertise. Join William on “fishingflora.com” and let his mastery inspire your own pottery adventure. Uncover the magic of crafting pottery with a trusted mentor who’s dedicated to both the art and the artist.

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