Cleaning Oil Paintings

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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August 3, 2006

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

Minna from Umited Kingdom


By Gepe (Guest Post)
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.

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By Lekki (Guest Post)
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.

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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

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July 18, 2017

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.

Cleaning Cigarette Tar Off an Oil Painting

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