How to Clean Art and Collections

How to Clean Art and Collections
Golden frame

How to Clean Art and Collections

From: Making a Home: Housekeeping for Real life (Better Homes & Gardens)

To many people, a sentimental object is just as valuable as one with monetary value. Take care of both types correctly and you’ll be able to pass it down for generations.

Paintings, Prints and Drawings: Cover anything that might smear with glass. Never spray glass cleaner directly onto glass as the moisture will get behind the glass and wick into the paper of the artwork to ruin it. Always spray glass cleaner lightly into a dry soft cloth and then clean the glass. Leave deep cleaning and restoration to the professionals. Dust artwork with a soft, dry paint brush. Keep away from direct sunlight, heat, cooking and smoke.

Picture Frames: Dust picture frames with a soft, dry paint brush. Frequently dust the tops of frames, being careful that dust doesn’t fall onto the art. Clean ornate frames with pure canned air that contains no cleaners or lubricants. Canned air is available in computer and art supply stores. Use the attachable straw nozzle to reach small cracks and crevices.

Ceramics: Wash glazed ceramics in lukewarm, soapy water. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Wipe unglazed ceramics with a damp cloth and avoid immersing in water.

Brass: A gentle patina is desirable, but tarnish is not. If you prefer shiny brass, use brass polish that contains wax to seal the surface and prevent the brass from acquiring an aged look. If you like patina, use brass polish without wax. The brass will initially look shiny, then mellow. Keep brass away from humidity and handle as little as possible.

Antique Ivory, Horn and Bone: To keep the desirable warm white color, expose to natural light but keep away from intense sunlight and heat. Dust with a soft, dry cloth. Do not expose antique ivory, horn or bone to water or cleansers. Wipe ivory piano keys with a soft, damp cloth. If the keys are soiled, swipe the cloth over a cake of Ivory soap and rub the key in a lengthwise motion until the stain disappears. Dry the keys with a soft cloth. Do not use solvents or chemicals.

Clocks: Follow the care instructions that you would for furniture made from the same material. Keep clocks on level surfaces, away from temperature changes, direct sunlight, and heat vents. Place tall case clocks – such as grandfather clocks – in stable corners where they are least likely to be tipped over or knocked into. Clock repair and sales shops sell devices to secure clocks to the wall.

Candlesticks: Polish brass, silver, or other metal candlesticks with a cream metal polish formulated for the specific metal and a clean, soft cotton cloth. Never use a paper towel as it can scratch the metal surface. Take care to remove polish from the crevices. Wipe glass and crystal candlesticks with a mild vinegar and water solution or with a clean, soft cotton rag moistened with commercial glass cleaner. Soak grimy candlesticks in a vinegar and water bath. Rinse, dry, and polish with a lint-free cloth. To remove wax from new candlesticks, not antique copper or brass ones, gently warn the holder with a hair dryer. Don’t overheat. Wipe away wax.

If you’re not comfortable with your own cleaning abilities to delicately hand your valuables, you can always count on the professionals here at Castle Keepers House Keeping. We offer house cleaning in Portland, Atlanta, Dayton, Charleston, and Greenville. Contact us today for your free quote!

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