Although you can remove light dust, airborne pet hair, and even soot from an oil painting yourself, a deeper, more thorough cleaning should always be left to a professional. As long as the painting isn’t damaged, however, you can prolong the life of your oil painting with these easy maintenance steps.
You Will Need:
- Soft brush
- Compressed air
- Fresh white bread
Steps to Remove the Dust:
- While the painting is in the vertical position, gently go over it with a soft brush to remove loose debris. Work from the top down and from side to side in a consistent motion.
- If the painting is very dirty, use canned air for thorough cleaning. This should be sufficient to remove most stubborn hair and dust. Follow the instructions on the can of product that you choose; most of these products will require you to hold the can at an angle several inches away from the surface of the painting. Keep in mind that this could be too strong for your painting and accidentally chip the paint or dislodge a tip from a brush stroke.
- If the painting is still dirty or has smoke residue on it, it would be best to have it professionally restored. However, there is a home remedy that you can try if professional restoration is not possible. To do that, lay the painting on a horizontal sturdy surface.
- Remove the crust from a piece of soft white bread.
- Press the bread to the surface to get rid of the smoke residue, or any remaining hair or stubborn dust. Lift and repeat. Replace bread with a fresh piece when it’s soiled.
- Stand the painting up and repeat step one to remove any lingering crumbs or remaining debris.
Additional Tips and Advice
- If you desire a deeper clean, you can purchase an art restoration kit from an art supply store. Follow the directions carefully, and clean at your own risk! If the painting has value, it’s always worth the investment to have it cleaned properly by a professional.
- Avoid introducing moisture to the surface of your painting. It can seep inside invisible cracks and cause damage.
- Do not attempt to clean a damaged painting.
- Do not use a feather duster or dusting cloth to clean an oil painting, as they can leave scratches or push the dirt into the painting.
- Saving Stuff by Don Williams
- Fix It, Clean It, and Make It Last by Gayle K. Wood