For Artists and Collectors Alike: Protecting Your Paintings Without Damaging Your Artwork

Framed paintings are very popular, and you may have some yourself in your home. They look stunning, and you can personalize the painting by choosing a unique frame as well as bringing the painting to life.

But if you have paintings in your home, you will want to make sure you look after them properly.

So how do you go about protecting and cleaning your paintings to keep them in perfect condition and prevent deterioration? Here are some tips to follow.

Protect Your Paintings

First, let’s look at how to protect your paintings. The better you protect them, the longer they will last and the less often you will have to clean them in the first place.

Does your painting have a coat of varnish? Many original paintings do, and this helps to provide protection from dust. If it doesn’t have a layer of varnish, it’s not a problem and you can still care for the painting.

One of the most important things to remember is to keep your paintings out of direct sunlight. You may think that the painting looks best where the sunlight hits it, but paints are sensitive to light. If you hang it up right where the sun hits it, this could affect the colors over time.

Also remember to hang them somewhere dry. Oil paintings especially do not like humidity, so damp walls and damp rooms are out of the question.

Don’t hang your paintings above a radiator either. Again, paint does not do well in extremes of temperature.

Avoid smoky areas as well. Does someone in your house smoke? This can damage the painting because the soot and smoke are harmful. So make an effort not to smoke near to your paintings.

If you are not displaying your artwork, make sure you store it carefully. The obvious place is the attic or the basement, but both of these areas can suffer extremes of temperatures, so be very careful.

You could also protect your paintings with glass, and this can be a good option for fragile paintings and older artwork. However, this is not suitable for all paintings, so always consult a specialist first.

Keeping Your Paintings Clean

If you want to clean a painting, take great care. You should only really clean your painting to remove dust, but even so you should still be careful.

Avoid all standard cleaning products. They contain harmful chemicals that can damage the painting. Also avoid use water because this can affect the colors and the fabric.

Instead, keep it dry, and simply take a soft brush to the painting and give it a light dusting. Ensure the brush is clean and then brush it over the paint to remove the dust.

Saliva could also be used. This is not the same as water, and it is less risky. Use a cotton swab and moisten it with saliva, then wipe it over the painting lightly. However, don’t do this soon after eating or drinking.

Whatever you do, always test on a corner of the painting first to see what happens. Does it help? Wait a few hours to see what happens before continuing.

Choose Prints Instead

You could also choose prints that last longer. For example, you could buy framed artwork from somewhere like These are printed onto 240gsm fine art paper and the quality stays the same so you do not need to worry about paint, and just give them a light dusting to keep them clean.

Restoring Artwork

Sometimes a simple clean is not enough. Your artwork may have been affected over the years by various elements, and it may need to be restored professionally.

If you spot cracks in the paint, discoloration, or the paint is flaking off, these are all signs that you need a professional to take a look.

Be Careful About Strange Cleaning Methods

There are many tips online about how to clean paintings, some of which involve using food. Always be careful where you read about these because sometimes they may be for a particular kind of painting, and sometimes they might not work at all. They could even cause irreparable damage.

If you need to do anything more than a light dusting using a brush, consult a professional rather than risk it.

Enjoy Your Paintings for Longer

It is wonderful to have framed paintings in your home. They reflect your personality, provide a talking point, and make any room look more interesting. If you have paintings in your home, make sure you care for them properly, and if you need to clean them, always take care. Never risk it if you are not sure, and instead consult a professional or a restorer to bring your painting back to life.

Madeleine Ridge is an interior design consultant with a penchant for art and prints. She also tries her hand at art projects and painting. She enjoys sharing her interior design ideas online through her writing.

Mars Cureg

Web designer by profession, photography hobbyist, T-shirt lover, design blog founder, gamer. Socially and physically awkward, lack of social skills, struggles to communicate with anyone who doesn't have a keyboard. Willing to walk to get to the promised land. Photo and video freelancer, SEO. Check out more on my Google+

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