Tips on Cleaning / Maintaining Your Art Collection

We love art. You love art. Yet, when tackling your spring cleaning list it can be easily overlooked. Here is a quick guide to help you keep your collections dust free and fabulous.

Contemporary oil and acrylic paintings are generally hassle free and easy to care for. Do note though, to keep them away from direct sunlight and at places with high level of humidity, check your collections periodically to ensure the condition. When in doubt, always a consult a professional.


These advices are intended for light cleaning. If your art is highly valuable or damaged (cracked or peeling) you should consider having it professionally cleaned by an art conservor or restorer.

Oil / Acrylic Paintings: A proven technique that is a little unexpected is to gently clean the surface of the painting with a piece of bread:

1: Decide whether you can clean the painting yourself. If it’s extremely valuable or an antique, use a professional.

2: Gently dust the painting with a soft-bristle brush. As you’re using the brush, imagine that you’re dusting pollen from flower petals.

3: Use the inside of the bread to remove any dirt. Break off a piece of bread and gently rub a section of the painting. When that piece is dirty, break off another piece and continue on another section. Before you use bread on an oil painting, make sure the paint layers are firmly attached so you don’t rub off any paint.

4: Brush away any excess bread crumbs.

5: Hang or re-hang your painting. Take a moment to enjoy the satisfaction of having successfully restored your artwork.

Framed Artwork: Spray some glass cleaner onto a cotton cloth and then use that to clean the glass surface and the surrounding frame.

Ceramic and Glass: Clean these items by hand as you would washing fancy dishware using a 1% soap solution. Toothbrushes help to get into tiny spaces.

Steel, Iron and Aluminum: A soft brush (toothbrush) and a 1% soap solution can be used in most cases. Mild metal polishes can be used to polish it.



Bronze: Dust it to keep it clean. Only use a damp cloth to wipe when its painted bronze.

Marble: Marble is a very sturdy stone so it can be cleaned with various mild cleaners.

Watercolors, Photography and all other paper based works: Always frame your artworks. An unframed paper based work will have a higher chance of growing mold or sustain tears and peeling as the nature of paper is more fragile than canvas, which is fabric. Store or hang them away from direct sunlight as well.