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Art Cleaning 101: The Fine
Art of Cleaning Fine Art

January 16, 2024

Paintings, antique chandeliers, and other valuable items need cleaning like everything else in your home. Regularly dusting your paintings and other art will help prevent the buildup of dust and dirt. Still, deeper art cleaning requires a light touch and mild cleaning solutions to perform the job safely. Skip the scrubbing and harsh cleaners—your vacuum, soft-bristled brushes, and soap and water are all you need to protect your delicate valuables.

If you take your time and are cautious, you can clean oil paintings, collectibles, and other valuable decor at home. Use the tips below to learn how to clean artwork, keep it looking its best, and protect it from damage.

How to Clean Artwork and Frames

Oil paintings can be fragile, and if there is the slightest concern about the finish, they should be handled only by a professional. If you feel confident and your oil painting only needs a light cleaning, you can use a soft-bristled brush to dust the grooves and canvas as required. Follow with a soft bristle vacuum attachment, being careful not to move the fabric of the canvas as you sweep up loose debris.

To clean buildup from picture frames:

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  1. Wear plastic gloves and carefully remove the artwork and glass before cleaning. If the art cannot be easily removed from the frame, you may want to contact an art restoration professional.
  2. Wipe off dirt with a damp cloth, brush the crevices with a toothbrush, then sweep off the debris with a soft brush.
  3. Use orange oil or other protectant on the frame and let it dry before reassembling.

How to Clean Crystal Chandeliers

Chandeliers come in all shapes, sizes, and styles; most contain materials such as glass, crystal, and brass- or silver-plated metal. If available, follow the care instructions accompanying the packaging.

Chandelier cleaning begins with:

  1. Shutting off the light and allowing the bulbs to cool.
  2. Place a drop cloth beneath the fixture to catch the dust.
  3. Depending upon the level of dust and grime, you may only need a light dusting with a soft-bristled brush. Heavy buildup and dirt will require a ladder to safely reach the chandelier and delicately wash each crystal or bulb one at a time.

How to Clean Marble Statues and Figurines

Marble art cleaning isn’t difficult, but be aware the material is porous and considered a soft stone. Because of its more delicate makeup compared to harder stone like granite, skip the scrubbing and be mindful of how wet you get the marble. Here’s the best practice when it comes to cleaning marble statues and figurines:

  1. Use a sponge and mild dish detergent in a bucket of warm distilled water. Distilled water is preferred because the minerals in tap water can etch or damage marble.
  2. Dampen the sponge and wipe the marble with firm strokes.
  3. Wring the sponge out frequently and soak up excess water and soap.
  4. Wipe off the soapy residue and dirt with a clean, damp sponge, then dry the marble with a soft towel.

When to Call in a Professional

Family heirlooms, vintage art pieces, and antiques can be more difficult to safely clean when they are fragile or heavily soiled. Excessive buildup, flaking paint, chipped plating, and other cleaning hurdles can make cleaning artwork risky. If your art and other decor items are valuable and there’s any doubt about your abilities to clean them safely, it’s time to call in a pro. Professional art restorers have the experience and tools to clean and restore fine art to its former glory.

The Fine Art of House Cleaning

Fortunately, cleaning most things in your home doesn’t require a light touch like fine art cleaning, and when you partner with The Maids®, it doesn’t require so much work either. With some elbow grease and our extensive library of helpful housekeeping guides, you can do the job faster and easier.

Whether you use tips from the pros to do it yourself or invest in our popular cleaning services, you can enjoy a cleaner, healthier home more often. Discover how The Maids can make your home a better place for you and your fine art when you get your free cleaning quote today.

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