How to clean a painting

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It’s worth putting in a little extra effort to keep your artwork in the best possible condition. In this article we will tell you exactly how you should do it. We want to convey advice from Rob Delamater and Gaetan Caron, founders and art directors of The Lost Art Salon, a gallery in San Francisco specializing in artists of the modern era, on the best ways to care for, frame, maintain, store and move works of art.

  1. The easiest way to clean a painting on canvas is to use a white cotton cloth soaked in gentle soapy water. Olive oil-based soap works wonders. You’ll be surprised to see how much dirt comes off. If the painting still looks grimy, it’s better to see an art restorer.
  2. Many times the canvases weakened on the stretchers. The easiest way to re-tighten the canvas is to spray water on the back and leave the piece to dry in the sun for several hours. This process is safe and will not damage the painting itself.
  3. If you are cleaning a painting, avoid wetting open paper without paint, as this can lead to the formation of water spots. With works on paper with many water spots, it is better to leave them alone or contact a restorer specializing in works on paper.
  4. Of course, it is recommended to clean paintings regularly with a dry, soft, and thin brush.
  5. A good piece of advice would be to keep the works on paper away from damp places such as bathrooms or near the stove in the kitchen. It is also worth noting that the sun can also damage works of art, mainly works on paper, turn the paper yellow, and sometimes cause the paper to almost crumble.
  6. Oil paintings are much stronger than works on paper, but they also change color when exposed to the sun. If you have a sunny place, ideal for artwork on canvas, you can put it in a frame behind UV-protected glass with spacers. This way you will not only save the artwork, but you will also have to clean an oil painting less often.

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