How to Clean Your Art
Art collectors take pride in their extensive collections, artistic knowledge, and beautiful home galleries. But maintaining an art collection—that takes WORK. Some of the most frequently asked questions we get from collectors are about how to clean art.
They’re usually followed up by “Am I supposed to clean my art?” and “Is it wrong that I’m a little afraid to clean my art?”
It’s not wrong at all. It just takes a little practice. To keep your artwork looking its best, here are several dos and don’ts for cleaning and maintaining your art.
How to Clean Art on Canvas
Works on canvas require careful attention. If the artwork is in need of an extensive cleaning treatment, we recommend that you use a professional art conservationist to clean and restore the painting.
If the artwork requires a light dusting, tap the painting lightly to remove any loose dirt or dust. Afterwards, use a non-shedding, light cloth and gently dust the surface of the painting.
How to Clean Art Behind Plexiglass
Plexiglass is often preferred when exhibiting artworks on paper for its flexibility, light-weight composition, and its ability to refract and filter damaging UV light.
When cleaning dust and dirt from plexiglass, avoid using cleaning supplies that contain ammonia, abrasives, or solvents. Use a gentle cloth made of non-abrasive materials. Lightly wet the cloth and gently polish the plexiglass. Continue to polish and turn the cloth to avoid washing the plexiglass with a dirtied area.
How to Clean Art on Metal
Even though artwork on metal is often protected with a high-gloss urethane coating, long-term damage can still occur if not taken care of properly. To keep your artwork on metal shining, use a dry cotton cloth to lightly rub off dust. Be sure to use a clean cloth, as soiled fabric could potentially cause damage.
To remove fingerprints, first remove any dust to reduce the chance of scratching the artwork with loose grains. Next, dilute a spray detailer, found in most auto parts stores, with water. Use the cleaner to gently wipe off the fingerprints.
Do not use metal cleaner to polish or clean the art. This risks removing the protective clear coat and sheen of the artwork.
How to Clean Bronze Sculptures
Bronze is created from copper alloys, making bronze sculptures incredibly durable. Bronze sculptures are typically coated with a layer of wax or a clear lacquer upon completion. This acts as a barrier to any humidity and prevents oxidation and metal discoloration.
While this initial wax or lacquer coating will ensure the longevity of your bronze sculpture against harmful oxidizing agents, each bronze sculpture should be dusted regularly. To best clean and dust bronze, mix together unscented soap and water in bowl.
Lightly buff the sculpture using a clean cloth and the soapy mixture. Soaps with fragrance or unnatural additives may have unknown consequences, so it’s best to avoid these while special bronze cleaners are costly and unnecessary.
How to Clean Acrylic Sculptures
Acrylic sculptures should be cleaned and cared for like artworks behind plexiglass. Do not polish or wet any painted areas of the acrylic sculpture as this may potentially cause damage.
We hope you found our “how to clean art” tips helpful! If you have any additional questions about building or maintaining an art collection, you can contact our gallery staff at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.