How to Clean Your Paintings Without Damaging Them

Updated February 1st, 2023

Artwork is a popular home decor concept. Not many of us like our walls to be any colour other than white, but whilst that might give our homes a neutral and airy quality, it doesn’t necessarily inspire the imagination.

Artworks can give your walls a splash of colour and personality, with many choosing their art based on their own hobbies, passion or even religion. That being said, however, they are not the easiest decor pieces to maintain. This is especially true when it comes to canvases and oil paintings. It’s not as if you can simply get the cloth and spray – unless you want to make your subtle art piece into more of a Picasso.

So how do you deep-clean paintings without actually damaging them? Here are a few tricks and tips to get you on your way and ensure all of your house remains squeaky clean.

Choose Your Painting Wisely

Firstly, it’s important to say that the way in which you clean your art depends entirely on what form of art it is. If you are yet to buy an art piece and you’re already worrying about the cleaning process, then look for sites offering templates that are notoriously easier to clean. For instance, sites such as also offer copper and concrete art – both of which will not need to be regularly cleaned as much as your average canvas painting.

Olive Oil Isn’t Just For Cooking

If, however, you have adorned – or wish to adorn – your home with canvases, then you need to be prepared for cleaning jobs. The best and most convenient way to do this is by taking a cotton cloth and soaking it in olive-oil based water. This will help to get rid of the dirt that has accumulated without actually affecting the paint itself. If you’re a little worried, try Q-tips to ensure you don’t crack or break hardened paint.

Give It A Pat On The Back

A lot of the time, it is dust that affects the visual aesthetic of your painting, and there’s an easy way to get around this without even touching the art itself. All you have to do is remove the frame from the wall and pat it gently on the back of the canvas. This will disperse the majority of the dust, and if there is any more, simply use a small thinly-bristled brush to remove the rest.

Bread Isn’t Just For… Eating?

Okay, weird one, but it honestly works. The next time you have leftover bread that you don’t want to eat, don’t bin it. Instead, cut it up and use the soft innards to dab gently at the painting. By doing this, you will slowly remove any grime. Not only that, but you can see exactly how much grime there is and when it is finally absent from the painting simply by keeping an eye on the quality of the bread. As well as this, you can also clean oil paintings with potatoes. But we suggest you start with bread. It depends how hungry you are.

Don’t Go Too Far

Lastly, it’s important to mention that cleaning art isn’t exactly easy. You know this is the case when some of the cleaning options involve bread and olive oil. It’s a tricky, intricate task and it can drive a few people mad – especially if any of the painting ends up becoming damaged. If the job seems too difficult or if the area is badly affected, then it’s always wiser to bring it to a professional art cleaner. It might cost a little money, but it will ensure that your art is returned in great shape and continues to light up your household walls for years to come.

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