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I bought some melamine plates and bowls for using when I have lots of people around. They worked fine.

My question is: What is the safest way to store them? (They will be used infrequently, maybe every six to twelve months).

(I looked on Google without much success).

I thought of two options:

  • Put away in a cupboard, uncovered (the top ones might gradually get dusty)
  • Store inside a plastic freezer bag, and the put into the cupboard

I was wondering if the plastic bag is a bad idea? It is intended to keep them as clean as the day they were put away, but maybe the melamine needs to breath or something or it might develop a funny taste?

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Although there is a known problem with so-called melamine furniture and shelving off gassing of formaldehyde, the source is the particle board within, and not the melamine veneer.

Melamine dinnerware — often known by the genericized brand name, melmac — is by itself quite stable.

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Either of your storage options should work just fine for melmac. Assuming your cupboard has a door that's kept closed, the dishes might not accumulate very much dust. However, you could use a paper, plastic, or cloth towel or bag as a dust cover — or else just rinse off the top dishes before you use them.

If you decide to seal the melmac in a freezer bag, it will not suffocate and should be just fine. Just make sure it's absolutely dry before you seal it up.

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    @NickGammon If you stack them upside-down in a clean cupboard, any dust would only accumulate on the bottom. But honestly - if it's been stored so long it got dusty, just wipe or rinse it off before using... – Ecnerwal Feb 8 '16 at 22:49
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    Both of the answers given so far were very helpful, +1 to both. :) I'm accepting this one because it is a bit more detailed. I think I won't use the bags, because although they may be dry @rackandboneman has a point about maybe even a change in humidity might make them get odours. So I'll just cover them with a tea-towel, if anything. – Nick Gammon Feb 9 '16 at 5:16
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A rubbermaid bin with a (non-airtight) lid could be neat and clean.

Really airtight containers with only cookware in them... that can get surprisingly damp with seasonal changes, if warm moist air is locked in and the room gets cooler. Made that mistake once with rarely needed food processor accessories in a big spare lock'n'lock.... they were ripe for the dishwasher afterwards because something developed an actual off smell in there.

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