How to Clean Your Art

Art collectors take pride in their extensive collections, artistic knowledge, and beautiful home galleries. To keep your artwork looking its best, here are several dos and don’ts for cleaning and maintaining your collection.

Artwork 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.

Artwork Behind Plexiglass

Peter Max Park West Gallery Valentine's Day

Framed artwork by Peter Max.

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.

Artwork on Metal

clean metal art

A microfiber cloth is excellent for removing dust and small blemishes.

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.

Bronze Sculpture

Nano Lopez Little Davian Park West Gallery

“Little Davian” and its accompanying giclee, by Nano Lopez.

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.

Acrylic Sculptures

“Statue of Liberty Ver.III #118” (2016), Peter Max

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.

For more art tips, news, and collections, follow Park West Gallery on Facebook or Twitter!

18 Responses to How to Clean Your Art

  1. Kenn says:

    Any tips on repairs to ornate frames that have chips or scratches?

  2. Joe Idzakovich says:

    Thanks so much for the tips! We were especially curious as to how to clean our Max acrylic sculpture!

  3. Bob Nalley says:

    THANKS……I appreciate this direction/advice. Bob

  4. ALEXANDER ALEXANDER says:

    Thanks for the tips

  5. Clayton Young says:

    Thank you

  6. Clayton Young says:

    Thank you for the tips

  7. Lesly L says:

    Thanks for the tips on cleaning. Found them very useful.

  8. Colin Jowett says:

    I like to (gently) use a compressed air canister as used for PC keyboards etc.

  9. Tracey Holbrook says:

    Thanks so much for the tip because my other paintings have glass over them, but I recently made a purchase of a few paintings and just got a piece and it doesn’t have glass over it. So yes, this will help me.

  10. Sanjay P says:

    Great teaching

  11. Todd Hayes says:

    A sincere Thanks for letting your collectors in on these very important steps to keep our artwork looking its best.

  12. Darlene UZELAC says:

    Great advice. Thank you

  13. Darlene UZELAC says:

    Very informative. Thank you

  14. Lee Meyer says:

    This is very helpful. I have a few oil on canvass pieces and have never done anything more aggressive than lightly dusting with a feather duster. Thanks!

  15. Sandi Davison says:

    The tips were very much appreciated…thanks for posting them!

  16. Bernice Kirzner says:

    How do I clean my Agam with the numerous “folds”. Although the shadow box will help, it will not precent dust from settling into the deep paper “folds”.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • Park West Donation Benefits Delaware Military Personnel

    The freedom of speech and expression are critical components to art, which are just a few of the reasons Park West Gallery is proud to support those who fight to ...
    Read More
  • Pat McManus: Painting the Softer Side of Nature

    Artist Pat McManus jokes that he paints wildlife instead of people for one reason: They’re not picky.“I’ve tried painting people—you have to be very accurate with people,” McManus says ...
    Read More
  • How Wyland Became One of the World’s Biggest Marine Wildlife Artists

    As an artist, Wyland is used to working on big canvases.He first rose to fame in the 1980s painting life-size murals of whales—that’s right, life-size whales—on the sides of ...
    Read More
  • Park West’s Latest Artist Videos Attract More Than 3 Million Views, Win 3...

    There is nothing quite like watching a master artist at work and,. as it turns out, our collectors—and the filmmaking industry—agree.In 2017, Park West Gallery launched a new series of ...
    Read More
  • Matt Beyrer, Peter Max, Picasso, and More Shine in Park West’s 2018 Summer...

    Now that summer’s almost here, couldn’t you use a little more color in your life? Brighten things up with a new work of art from Park West’s 2018 Summer ...
    Read More
  • Behind the Artist: Anatoly Metlan

    Artist Anatoly Metlan is inspired by the world, so in turn, he inspires the world with art that celebrates its beauty and cultures.Born in 1964 in Yalta, a Ukrainian ...
    Read More
  • Why Animation Art is One of the Most Important Art Forms of the...

    Animation art is beloved around the world, but, if we’re being honest, it’s also underappreciated.How is that possible? How can it be adored and taken for granted at the same ...
    Read More
  • Norwegian Cruise Line’s Newest Ship Sets Sail with Unforgettable Wyland Art

    The launch of a new cruise ship is always a big deal, but the debut of Norwegian Bliss is shaping up to be an event no one will ever forget.Norwegian ...
    Read More
  • 11 Pino Artworks That Will Make You Want to Hug Your Mother

    There’s something indescribable about moms. They exude a calm comfort, this sense of maternal caring and nurturing. Even those of us with moms who are more inclined to chase us ...
    Read More
  • May 11 Is a Surprisingly Significant Day in Art History—Here’s Why

     If you Google “what happened in history on May 11,” you’ll find a lot of interesting tidbits.May 11 is the day that Alexander became Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, Christopher ...
    Read More
  • Park West CEO Albert Scaglione on the Art Market’s Obsession with Picasso

    More than 40 years after his death, Pablo Picasso continues to make headlines, and it seems like the public’s fascination with the Spanish artist is only growing.Picasso is currently the ...
    Read More
  • Shedding Light on 4 Works of Art by Thomas Kinkade

    Thomas Kinkade was one of the most collected living contemporary artists until his passing, and for good reason—he sought to enrich the lives of others with beautiful imagery that ...
    Read More