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HOW TO CLEAN AN OIL PAINTING: 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

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Are you an art lover or an individual starting to appreciate the beauty of masterpieces? We are pretty sure that you belong to one of the two categories. Well, if you are an art enthusiast, we also know what your most prized possessions are! Beautiful and inspiring oil paintings - aren’t they? 

 

Like all other cherished assets, oil paintings also require special attention, care, and maintenance so it looks as vibrant as its original form. The thing with oil painting on canvas is that the continuous exposure to moisture, dust and harsh weather on account of the display makes them dirty too soon, inviting regular cleaning. 

 

How can I clean an art picture, you may ask? Many people believe it’s just like cleaning anything else, and all that it needs is a wet swap and a sturdy hand! Well, that’s not true. Cleaning a painting is no less an art, than painting the artwork itself! Therefore, we’ve master-crafted 5 things that you should know about cleaning an oil painting that will help you make them as new, fresh, and attractive.


A trompe-l'oeil A palette with a spatula and paint brushes, an engraving, an oil painting, and a drawing with a pen and compass on a wooden partition by Jean-Francois de Le Motte - Reproduction Oil Painting

 

Know Your Painting before Cleaning

 

All oil paintings are not the same. They have different textures, mediums, base materials, and ages in terms of the number of years since they have received the finishing touch. For this very reason, it is important to know that different kinds of oil paintings must be treated in a variety of ways. 

 

Therefore, the first and foremost step while cleaning an oil painting or an oil painting reproduction is to know your painting well enough to determine what works for you, and what won’t. You should pay attention to the texture and see if the texture is flawlessly smooth or has thickened lumps. Another criterion is to know the age of the painting for more careful cleaning. Also, it’d be wise to check if the base material is canvas or hardboard. 

Keep it Simple

 

Notwithstanding the kind of painting you wish to clean, it’s always good to keep the cleaning process simple, and effective. By keeping it simple, we mean the use of mild cleaning products, gentle hands and have some restraint while you do the honors! 

 

A soft brush to dust and some soap-water coupled with a sponge or a cotton cloth can work wonders when done right. The use of harsh formula and severe force will do irreversible damage to the masterworks which you will regret in some time. 

Your Saliva Can Do The Magic!

 

While many won’t be aware of it, human saliva has amazing cleansing and anti-bacterial properties, that can be used to gently clean and brighten up oil paintings! The best part about using saliva to clean the marvelous artworks is that it cleanses long-accumulated dust and grease from the painting.

 

What’s even better is the fact that it’s not strong enough to cause any damage to the piece of art. That’s a perfect balance which is required, isn’t it? Try dipping a cotton bud in your saliva, gently brush it through the dusty painting, and see the magic for yourself!

Precaution is better than cure

 

Having understood the magnitude and the importance of the task of cleaning an oil painting, it becomes even more important to exercise the precautions associated with it. It is highly recommended to start cleaning from a corner of your painting before going all out with it to look for any possible adverse reactions.

 

No matter how tempted you are to dust your new acquisition, do not attempt to clean if it isn’t at least 2-3 years old for it may be severely damaged. Also, to ensure there is no leftover from the detergent or cleaner that you used to clean a painting, it’s advised to rinse the painting using a clean water-soaked cloth and rinse it with a dry, soft towel.

Professional Help is Always worth It

 

No matter how confident you may feel about cleaning your painting on your own, there are certain magnum opuses that need special attention. After all, they are too precious and amazingly beautiful to be risked to a casual cleansing exercise. 

 

 In such cases, it’s always better to take professional help from the people or agencies that are into the business of oil painting reproduction. This incredible professional help can be in the form of advice on oil painting cleaning and maintenance. You can even get the cleaning done from the professional agency dealing in painting online as well as offline. 

 

 Now that you are well-versed in the nitty-gritty of cleaning the invaluable oil paintings, they will stay newer and fresher than ever. 


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