How to Clean Picture Frames, Collectibles and Art Items

cleaning artwork

Are you looking for ways to make your home look cleaner and feel more sanitary? Consider deep cleaning the objects adorning your home. Think about the artwork hanging on your walls. When was the last time your picture frames were given more than a swipe of a feather duster? How often do you properly clean each of your collectibles and figurines?

Dust and grime accumulation may be affecting your home’s aesthetic (and your health) more than you think.

To help you whip your artwork and collections into shape, we have compiled our very best cleaning tips. For many of these items, you’ll just need warm water, dish soap, and soft cloths to get your objects looking fresh and clean. Learn how to clean art, collectibles, picture frames, and glass from the professionals at Art Restoration Technologies.

How to Clean Picture Frames

When cleaning picture frames, it’s best to carefully remove the artwork and glazing (i.e. glass, acrylic or plexiglass) from the frame before cleaning. If the art cannot be easily removed from the frame (i.e. paper backing, board, etc.), you may want to contact your local art restoration professional. Removing the artwork prevents your cleaning solution from seeping into the paper or getting on the glass. The supplies and methods you use to clean a picture frame will depend on what the frame is made of.

Wood Frames
For smooth wood frames, a microfiber cloth and a little furniture polish will work. If the frame is porous or especially dirty, use a microfiber cloth and a solution of water and wood-cleaning product. Follow the directions on the bottle.

Plastic or Acrylic Frames
Plastic picture frames are hard, non-porous surfaces. A microfiber cloth and warm, soapy water will clean these kinds of frames quickly and effectively. The same method will also work on acrylic frames. Please note, never use paper towels to clean acrylic because this can permanently scratch the acrylic surface.

Silver Frames
It’s only a matter of time before your silver picture frames begin to tarnish. The safest cleaning option is to use silver polish and a soft cloth. If you don’t have any silver polish on hand, there’s an easy and effective home remedy you can try: Mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water and use a soft cloth to rub the soap solution all over the frame. Then wipe the frame clean with a clean, damp cloth, and buff it dry.

Brass Frames
Brass is a tough, corrosion-resistant metal. If your brass picture frames start looking dull, smudged or tarnished, acid is the answer. Mix equal parts salt, flour and white vinegar to create a paste. Spread the mixture all over the frame and let it sit for about an hour. Then just wipe the paste off with a damp cloth and buff it with a dry microfiber towel.

Gilded Frames
Gilded frames are fragile and valuable things of beauty. There are several different methods of gilding, and each one has its own cleaning requirements. Determining which kind of gilding is present requires painstaking analysis, and using the wrong products or tools on a gilded frame can cause extensive damage. That’s why we recommend having dirty gilded picture frames cleaned by a professional.

How to Clean Picture Frame Glass

If your picture frame has glazing that is real glass, it’s safe to clean the glass with your regular window cleaning product and a paper towel. However, if the glazing is made of acrylic or Plexiglass, do not use household window cleaning sprays or paper towels because these products will damage the surface. Instead, use a solution of warm water and dish soap with a clean, soft cloth. Rinse the glazing with fresh water and buff dry with a clean microfiber towel.

How to Clean Ceramic Figurines

To clean glazed or unglazed ceramics or porcelain figurines, dip a soft cloth into a warm water and dish soap solution. Use the soapy cloth to gently clean dirt from the figurine. Use fresh water and another clean cloth to wipe soap residue from the object. Lastly, buff it dry with a microfiber cloth. Don’t soak ceramics in water, and never use harsh chemicals like bleach to clean these items.

Do I Need to Sanitize My Frames or Collectibles?

You may be concerned about the possibility of germs accumulating on your household collectibles or wall hangings, and that is a valid worry. According to the Mayo Clinic, viruses tend to live longer on smooth surfaces like glass (5 days) or plastic (3 days) than porous surfaces like cardboard or fabric (1 day). The good news is that cleaning all those objects with soapy water will kill many viruses that may have been lingering on their surfaces. Plus, germ transfer is a bigger concern for objects people touch regularly, like light switches and doorknobs.

Specialized Cleaning Services You Can Trust

Your local ART has art experts who clean art items of all kinds every day, including figurines, artwork and so much more. When you’re ready for an expert’s touch, call ART at 800-227-0796, or complete our online Service Request form today and a member of our team will reach out to you to discuss your cleaning needs.