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Cleaning Oil Paintings

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Keeping artwork looking nice is important, since for many of us, it is a focal point in our home. However not all artwork can be cleaned in the same way. This is a guide about cleaning oil paintings.


Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

3 found this helpful
July 14, 2011

An oil painting can be cleaned by rubbing the surface with a plain piece of white bread, then dust off the crumbs. NEVER try to clean a watercolor or pastel painting.

Source: I paint and have learned these tips in the course of my studies.

By Maya from Redlands, CA

Comment Was this helpful? 3


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
May 20, 2017

How do I clean cigarette tar off of oil paintings and or acrylic paintings?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
May 21, 20170 found this helpful

You can clean it yourself with a mild dishwashing solution. If the painting is valuable, take it to a professional.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

August 3, 20060 found this helpful

Any ideas on how to clean a dirty oil painting at home?

Minna from Umited Kingdom

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
August 4, 20060 found this helpful

I'm an artist and I would suggest you have it professionally cleaned. Even though I paint and have many of my own works, I would NEVER attempt to clean them myself. You could destroy the surface and then the value of the painting would be less too. Hope this helps you out.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
August 10, 20060 found this helpful

An artist once suggested a weak solution of methylated spirit, dabbed on very gently with a lint-free cloth. I tried this and it did lighten the painting, bringing some areas to visibility. However the painting was already old and crazed so I wasn't too scared of damaging it - I would be reluctant to try this on something more valuable and agree you should have it professionally cleaned.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

0 found this helpful
May 13, 2013

I inherited a large oil painting (framed) and need to know how to clean it, properly? Is using a dust-rag sufficient?

By Pamila from K.C. MO

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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