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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 Lee from Redlands, CA
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Any ideas on how to clean a dirty oil painting at home?
Minna from Umited Kingdom
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.
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.
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
Cigarette tar can be nearly impossible to clean from an oil painting yourself. It may require professional cleaning. This is a page about cleaning cigarette tar off an oil painting.