We all love to decorate our walls with beautiful and aesthetic oil paintings because these wall hangings truly make our homes more antique, royal, meaningful, and relatable to our personalities. But just like everything, these oil paintings also have a bad side which is related to their placement and cleaning. So, to bail you out of this mess, we prepared a whole guide answering “How to clean an oil painting” which will give you the best tips and tricks to make sure that your oil painting remains tidy and shiny forever. Without any ado, let’s begin!
When do you need to clean an oil painting?
Below are a few situations which are a hint to remind you about the high time of cleaning your oil paintings. Let’s read them one by one.
- You are noticing the dullness of the painting.
- The painting is looking flaky.
- A layer of dust has stuck on the oil painting.
- You have detected any stain there.
- Mold is growing on the painting.
How to clean an oil painting?
There are two easiest and most effective ways through which you can clean your oil painting and make it look new again. To know about them more specifically, read the below-shared points:
Method 1: Using a soft brush
The steps for using a soft brush to clean an oil painting are mentioned below:
Step 1: First of all, take down the painting from the wall and keep it in a stable place like a table or floor.
Step 2: Now, select a big brush according to the size of your painting. Make sure that your brush is soft and free from moisture. However, you can also use a microfiber piece of cloth if you are not able to find any suitable brush in your home.
Step 3: After that, start removing the dirt very gently from the top of the painting and then go to the bottom with swishing section to section. Cleaning this way will make sure that the dust falls instead of getting stuck in any other place again.
Step 4: While following the previous step, make sure that you do not put pressure on the brush. This is one of the best ways to clean the dirt from oil paintings but unfortunately, this way cannot be the ideal solution for removing stains, deep soiling, and more.
Method 2: Using saliva
Saliva can break the dirt and it is one of the oldest yet professional ways to clean an oil painting. The steps for the same are mentioned below:
Step 1: First of all, take the painting down and put it in a stable place.
Step 2: Now, take a high-quality cotton swab and move it across your tongue until it becomes damp with saliva.
Step 3: After that, do a spot test on the corner of the painting to ensure the working of this idea. If in case, you witness any color on the Q-tip then stop going further for this method of cleaning. However, it is a very rare case.
Step 4: If the painting passes the spot test, start cleaning it by doing the gentle up and down movement with a cotton swab. Take a section at a time and do not panic as this process is a bit time-consuming but worth doing.
Method 3: Using Towels
Using a microfiber towel to clean the oil painting is one of the pocket-friendly and easy ways. To know how to clean properly, read the below shared steps:
Step 1: First of all, put the oil painting down at a stable place for proper cleaning.
Step 2: Now, take two microfiber hand towels and make sure that they do not have any lint or dirt.
Step 3: After organizing everything, start with making imaginary sections on the painting and gently wipe the dirt with the help of those towels.
Step 4: Change the sides of towels gradually or after cleaning a section to make sure that the dirt of one part does not stick over the other.
Step 5: Go from top to down cleaning pattern and make your oil painting shine again.
Method 4: Using mild detergent
A few drops of detergent work well in terms of cleaning an oil painting. To know how you can use it as a magical broom, read the below shared steps:
Step 1: Put the oil painting in a clean, dry, and stable place.
Step 2: Now, take a bowl full of warm water and add a few drops of mild detergent.
Step 3: Mix the solution well until you see form on it.
Step 4: After that, dip a clean microfiber piece of cloth into the bowl and squeeze the water until it becomes damp.
Step 5: Here comes the main step which is cleaning the oil painting gently and thoroughly. Make sure that the cloth is damp, and you let the painting dry after the wiping process.
Step 6: Lastly, do not rub the painting while cleaning.
Tips and Tricks for cleaning an oil painting
There are a few things to avoid and follow while cleaning an oil painting which we have mentioned below. So, please take a look at them and stay away from making any blunder with your precious paintings.
- Do not risk every precious and costly painting by cleaning at home. Instead, seek a good professional who is an expert in cleaning such paintings.
- Say no to ideas like cleaning your paintings with potatoes or doughy bread, as this can leave crumbs there and eventually invite bacteria to ruin the painting.
- Make sure you are not using any baby oil, alcohol, or water to clean the painting as this will make the painting sticky and attract dirt.
- Take the oil painting to a professional for proper varnishing to maintain its aesthetic and monetary value.
- Make sure to clean the painting after removing it from the frame so that no dirt gets stuck on the corners, and you get deep cleansing.
Above we shared a brief guide answering “How to clean an oil painting” which might have helped you in choosing the appropriate way to clean your painting. Not only that, but we also shared some tips and tricks that might have enlightened you about what to do and what to avoid in this case.
Giving your precious and beautiful paintings a professional treatment is also very important to maintain their authenticity. So, if in case, you witness any tough stain or any other damage, run to an expert first instead of experimenting with something on your own.
Last but not least, if you want any further suggestions or have any queries, do mention them in the comment box below. Thank you for reading.
1. Why I should use saliva to clean an oil painting?
Saliva can break down dirt and it is very safe to follow. It is one of the professional ways that are being followed by museum curators to clean the paintings.
2. How to clean an oil painting?
The best ways to clean an oil painting are by using a soft paintbrush and by using saliva on a cotton swab. From removing dirt to cleaning the minimal stains, these methods can help you very nicely.
3. Can I use water or oil to clean the oil painting?
No, do not use any baby oil, alcohol, or water to clean the painting as this will make the painting sticky and attract dirt more easily.
Preeti Jha is a young writer who loves reading, writing, and using words in the crispiest and clearest way possible. She has 3+ years of industry experience and holds a very good command over language and representation of content. She believes in hard work and dedication when it comes to winning any milestone or getting loyal readers. From reporting and anchoring to writing and radio jockeying, she has an interest in various fields of mass communication.