How to Clean an Antique Globe


Shiloh asked: How do I clean an old globe without damaging it? It is approximately 70 years old. It is made of paper covered with varnish.

Antique globes are a treasure that should be handled with great care to ensure that the paper underneath the protective coating does not become damaged. Major cleanings should be left to professionals, but surface cleanings can be completed at home. Here’s what to do.

You Will Need:

  • Soft cloths
  • Water
  • Mild detergent

Steps to Clean the Globe:

  1. Before attempting any cleaning procedures, it will be necessary to inspect the piece thoroughly for any weak or damaged areas.
  2. Use a soft cloth to gently wipe away any dust or loose dirt. Often times, this is sufficient for cleaning an antique piece.
  3. If there is excessive soiling and the piece is in good condition, you could try to wipe away the dirt with a moist, soft cloth.
  4. Start with plain water and moisten a soft cloth.
  5. Wring the cloth out extremely well. Water and paper do not mix, so you do not want any moisture to sit on the surface of the globe.
  6. Work in small sections and gently wipe, do not scrub, the surface to remove dirt build-up.
  7. Dry the area immediately with a clean, soft cloth.
  8. Continue with the next section until the entire globe has been cleaned.
  9. If the dirt is not removed, a small amount of mild detergent can be mixed with the water.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Avoid using any abrasive or harsh cleansers on antique paper products.
  • Stop immediately if you see any removal of the print and either leave it as is or consult a professional.
  • The less water used the better. Many times, it is better to have a small amount of dirt remaining if removing it means the piece will become damaged.


  1. I have over 60 + world globes and have cleaned them the way they say, except I used a little Murphy Oil Soap and water. I do it once a year, as a lot of them sit on shelves around my living room. The oldest one is from the ’30s.

  2. I didn’t like the idea of putting water on a paper globe even if it is varnished. I just used alcohol on a paper towel and it worked great. The globe I was cleaning was covered in dust. It’s shining like new now.

  3. Hey globes,
    I have over 200 globes. I use a light mist of Windex spayed on a soft paper towel or felt cloth. Moving slowly in a small circle motions with very little pressure works great. Glass, Tin, Paper. Never use water. Try the bottom areas first to test on your own. Also, I have a fan on the globe, which makes the drying quicker.

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